Meet the Correspondent: Marina Grechanik > Tel-Aviv, Israel$show=/search/label/Marina%20Grechanik

"Sketching is one of my passions. I don't feel comfortable when I leave home without a sketchbook and some pens in my bag. I think that my way to put things in my memory is to draw them. And taking pictures isn't the same thing.

I live in a very dynamic surrounding — Israel is a warm country with warm weather and warm people. Of course, we have seashores, which calm us a little bit. I love to sit in a corner of some Tel-Aviv coffee shop and explore relationships: between people, their environment, between myself. All this unique local mix of cultures, languages and styles is always a great source for inspiration. You need to be fast, because, as I said, everything is very dynamic. But that's why I love it so much.

Sometimes, I look around, and I find some usual items like sugar bags or napkins. I use them in my drawings to show the atmosphere. Sometimes I draw directly on placemats."

• Marina's art on Flickr.
• Marina's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Tina Koyama > Seattle$show=/search/label/tina%20koyama

"The dictionary says that a hobby is “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation.” Although urban sketching certainly provides both pleasure and relaxation, I don’t think of it as my hobby. I think of it more as a way of life – something that has become such a normal part of my everydayness that it shapes how I view the world.

For most of my life I had both the fear of drawing as well as the desire to draw. In 2011, inspired by Gabi Campanario’s Seattle Sketcher column, I finally decided to overcome the fear. His drawings of Seattle – my birthplace and lifelong home – were of sights that I had seen many times, yet had never truly seen. I wanted to learn to see, and therefore experience, those locations (and any new ones that I travel to) more completely. Part 8 of the Urban Sketchers Manifesto, to “show the world, one drawing at a time,” has a flip side: Sketching enables me to see my own world, one drawing at a time.

In the last four years, it is not an exaggeration to say that Urban Sketchers has changed my life. I have met and sketched with many wonderful people around the globe, either at symposiums or during other travel, because the USk network brought us together. I sketch almost weekly with my local group, sharing sketches, art supplies and friendship. Even when I stay home and enjoy sketches online, I am still a part of that rich network, learning with every sketch about other people’s lives.

In May, my husband Greg and I went to France for the first time, and I sketched the Eiffel Tower. Sketching one of the world’s most famous icons felt like a dream come true – the ultimate in urban sketching. But although I can’t resist sketching world-famous icons whenever I’m fortunate enough to see them, for me, urban sketching is much more than that.

Urban sketching is a tree with its middle chopped away to accommodate Seattle’s ubiquitous power lines. It’s about a couple of women chatting over coffee, or about workers roofing the house next door. It’s about an excavator filling a hole where a cherry tree once stood. Or the Tibetan monastery I drive by frequently that I couldn’t resist because it’s bright orange. Urban sketching is a string band performing at a local farmers’ market – or perhaps in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Celebrating the mundane as well as the famous is what urban sketching is all about. My sketches are not necessarily about “special” moments; they are moments made special because I sketched them."

Tina has been editor of Drawing Attention since 2013 and now serves on the Urban Sketchers editorial board. See more of her sketches on her blog, on Flickr and on Instagram.

Meet the Correspondent: Pete Scully > Davis, Calif.$show=/search/label/Pete%20Scully

"I am from urban north London, but now live in urbane Davis California. I sketch, I write, sometimes do things and go places and my name is Pete.

When not Davis, I sketch Sacramento, San Francisco, London, or anywhere else I happen to be. I tend to erase people and cars from my cities, but I'm starting to get over this.

Davis: calm, old-fashioned, progressive, quirky, very very hot in the summer. I use micron and copic pens, with watercolour."

• Pete's blog.
• Pete's art on Flickr.

Meet the Correspondent: Suhita Shirodkar > San Jose, Calif.$show=/search/label/Suhita%20Shirodkar

"I was born in Mumbai (Bombay) and lived in different parts of India until I moved to San Jose, California, where I now live.

Travel inspires my art, but, traveling or not, I try to view the world around me as a traveller would; so whether I’m capturing a moment of calm on the banks of the Ganges in India, or sketching over coffee at my local coffee shop, I aim to look deeply, and with wonder, at both the everyday and the exotic, the old and the new.

I love color. My sketch kit consists of Extra Fine Sharpies (the fact that they bleed into the paper as soon as they touch it works really well for me—it forces me to work super-quick), a small set of Prismacolor pencils and a little watercolor travel set".

Meet the Correspondent: Omar Jaramillo > Berlin$show=/search/label/Omar%20Jaramillo

"I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I studied architecture. I moved to Kassel (Germany) in 1999 to accomplish a master degree. Although I have always drawn and paint, it was not until I started studying in the Uni-Kassel, that I started keeping a travel sketchbook. I had a teacher there who used to do a lot of sketches when he travelled on university excursions. When he retired, I helped to organize an exhibition of his sketches. He brought a huge box full of sketchbooks he had filled since he was an architecture student. I spent a whole day selecting the most interesting drawings. It was a wonderful experience that opened my eyes to a new world. In the last 10 years I have the feeling of being in a long journey. I like to discover the cities where I live, to understand why a place is the way it is and what makes it different and unique from others. Drawing is for me a way to learn to love a place, to become part of it. I like to draw architecture but I am more attracted to urban scenery, portraying how people live in the city. Since I’m a foreigner, everything that locals find normal and taken-for-granted, for me is exotic. I always carry a small watercolor travel set from Windsor and Newton and my sketchbook in my bag. I always thought that drawing was a solitary experience until I found Urban Sketchers. It was amazing to find so many people doing the same thing. It is a great place to share!" • Omar's blog. • Omar's art on flickr. • Omar's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

Drawing Attention – March 2014

USk Board Meets in Savannah

Our hard-working Board of Directors: Clockwise from top left:
Jason Das (President), Marc Taro Holmes (Secretary),
Gabriel Campanario (Treasurer/Editorial Director),
Jessie Chapman (Membership Director), Elizabeth Alley
 (Vice President/Events Director), Mário Linhares (Education Director).
 (Photo by Jessie Chapman)

The Urban Sketchers Executive Board met in Savannah, Georgia, last weekend for their first-ever in-person meeting. Vice President Elizabeth Alley reports:

We had a very productive weekend discussing all areas of the USk organization, especially Membership and Education, and initiated plans that will have a positive impact on the organization, its members and the future of observational sketching on location. You’ll begin to see these new initiatives rolling out soon.

We added an Editorial Director to the executive board, and voted Gabriel Campanario to that position. He will continue to serve as Treasurer as well.

Elizabeth Alley was named Events Director, and will continue to serve as Vice President.

Sketchcrawl in Savannah. (Photo by Savannah Now)
We also attended a sketchcrawl organized by Kip Bradley and hosted by the Telfair Museum, which kindly provided us with meeting space. Many locals attended, as well as sketchers from as far away as Atlanta and Charleston, and it was a great opportunity to meet people and to see more of the city. (See Marc Holmes' weekend recap and more sketchcrawl photos by Savannah Now.)

We hope that you will be as excited as we are about the changes to come, and we’re looking forward to sharing them with you.

Urban Sketchers in Action

Urban Sketchers in Madrid were recently featured on the cultural television program, "La aventura del saber.” See the 10-minute video clip online (Spanish).

USk.Spain, an online newsletter
Urban Sketchers Spain has published USk.Spain, an online newsletter of urban sketching happenings.

Shari Blaukopf, Denise Benoit and other Montreal Urban Sketchers are featured in a video by La Presse (French).

The Vancouver (B.C.) Courier published an article about urban sketching featuring Vancouver sketcher Sigrid Albert. She was also interviewed by Co-op Radio.

Ken Avidor, the man on the street in the Twin Cities (U.S.), now writes a biweekly blog post about urban sketching for

James Nutt's sketch of the Essex House
in Miami.
Minneapolis architect James Nutt recently had a fantastic serendipitous sketching adventure during a trip to Miami: “I stopped in at the Clevelander and did a few sketches and then blogged them,” James said. “The hotel picked it up and gave me a call. They said they loved what I did and to pick four days to come down and draw. Expenses paid and I took my family! Wow. Best trip ever!”

Seattle architect and urban sketcher Stephanie Bower has been awarded the two-month NIAUSI fellowship to Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy, where she’ll be working on sketches and paintings for an illustrated walking guide to the hill town. She’ll also be teaching a workshop there July 4 - 10.

Urban Sketchers Malaga sketching from scaffolding.
Urban Sketchers Málaga have gone to great heights for sketches. They recently made arrangements to climb scaffolding to draw the works inside the Santo Cristo de la Salud Church. Their sketches from the day are shown on Flickr.

Sketcher Inma Serrano was invited to illustrate an online literary book with her urban sketches.


The National Museum of Singapore is featuring the work of 50 members of Urban Sketchers Singapore in conjunction with “A Changed World,” an exhibit by pioneer Singaporean artists.

Stephanie Bower will exhibit her sketches made in France, Italy and Spain last summer while she was on the Gabriel Prize architecture fellowship in France. That prestigious award is given to one architect in the U.S. each year to pursue a project that encourages learning about architecture through hand drawing and painting. The exhibit will be in Seattle March 6 - April 25 at the MITHUN Threshold Gallery.

Ami Plasse has an exhibit called “Storytime” at Houston’s Pictures Plus Gallery. The show focuses on a wide variety of Ami’s life drawing work from the subways of New York to the bars and music venues of Austin.

Workshops and Other Sketching Opportunities

Seattle-based sketchers Gail Wong, Frank Ching and Gabriel Campanario have been invited to give a three-day workshop at the Washington State University campus in Pullman. The event, which is sponsored by Canson, Royal Talens and Stillman & Birn, consists of presentations, hands-on sketching and panel discussions. Registration is $200. For more information, contact Bob Krikac at rkrikac (at) wsu (dot) edu.

Urban Sketchers Chicago is hosting a sketching seminar June 7 - 8 near the Palette & Chisel art store. At various downtown Chicago locations, highly regarded instructors will teach topics like location sketching, color theory, sketching on the iPad and choosing what to sketch. For more information, contact urbansketcherschicago (at) gmail (dot) com.
Sketching El Hogar Filipino Building.

The second annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl is set for July 11 – 12 in Portland, Oregon. No workshops or lectures are planned for this free event. It’s just two days of non-stop sketching in Portland’s rich cultural environment. “A veritable cornucopia of friendly people and things to sketch.” Who could resist that?

Meanwhile, Urban Sketchers Switzerland is gearing up for its third annual national sketchcrawl in Neuchâtel April 19.

You have to be quick to catch Paul and Liz! When Paul Wang and Liz Steel offered their “Expressive Urban Sketching” workshop, it filled in a matter of days. And no wonder – it will be held on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbor.

Seahawks victory parade
sketched by David Hingtgen.

Blog Surfin'

Check out the cool animated images of Urban Sketchers Philippines sketching the controversial El Hogar Filipino Building.

In early February Miguel Herranz sketched protesters at Partido Popular headquarters protesting passage of a new law forbidding abortions in Spain.

Inma Serrano continues to report on Corrala Utopia in Sevilla, where 30 families have been in danger of being evicted.

While ecstatic Seattle urban sketchers David Hingtgen, Gail Wong, David Chamness and others posted celebratory sketches of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory, Veronica Lawlor gave her perspective of the event in New York – I mean, New Jersey.

Shout it Out in Drawing Attention

Not seeing anything about you or your Urban Sketchers group in Drawing Attention? Then we want to hear from you! Please send your urban sketching news items with links and images to: drawingattention at urbansketchers dot org. Or tag me, Tina Koyama, on news you post on the Urban Sketchers Facebook page. You can subscribe by e-mail. Happy sketching!




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