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

Expressive Urban Sketching Workshop in Sydney

Back to normal life after an amazing week here in Sydney. The reason was the 2 day Expressive Urban Sketching Workshop that I co-taught with Paul Wang from Singapore - but the entire week has had a symposium like feel and I have been riding the USK creative energy wave!

Our workshop was based on Cockatoo Island - a spectacular setting with lots of amazing old industrial and historic buildings and ship building equipment and cranes as subject matter. The ferry ride to and from the island morning and evening was like the icing on the cake… Saturday morning was amazingly still and clear and in the evening as we left it was dramatic with storm clouds. 2 Sketchers camped on the island "glamping'' as they call it...I think if we run this workshop again more of us will stay overnight.

Paul and I spent two days on the island beforehand refining the content of the workshop and doing a little sketching for ourselves… such as the one above. We had a few potential challenges to deal with. The Biennale of Sydney opened on the two days of our workshop - this meant that the island would be busy, our usual wet weather hideouts (the big industrial sheds) were being used for exhibitions and their could be a lot of campers overnight meaning that the table area where we had hoped to use could have been crowded. Threatening weather forecast all week added to my challenge… but it all worked perfectly - less crowds, few campers and wonderful weather.

We had an amazing group of 25 sketchers for the 2 days. 9 were from regional NSW or interstate (from Brisbane to Adelaide) and one sketcher, Uma, was from Montreal Canada!

This is the first gathering we have had in Australia of USKers so it was a real 'symposium like' feel on the night before when we had a meet and greet at the MCA cafe overlooking the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It was the first time that a number from our facebook group had met each other, some new faces…and a little reunion for the 4 Australians that were in BCN!

I will be writing more about the workshop during the week over at my blog… and hope that we can put together a little video as well…but in the meantime here are a few photos from the two days. Flickr set of my photos is here.

We had a number of exploratory sessions - expressive  lines &  shapes, expressive mixing and then applied these to different locations around the island. We also looked at expressive design - having a strong focal point and spiraling out from it. The work done was very inspiring and it was wonderful to see everyone have a go and take risks - with spectacular results.

It was just so great to be able to teach alongside Paul… and for me the most memorable part was our combined painting demo. It was so much fun to work together on the one piece. I started working in my usual somewhat crazy spontaneous way, mixing line and paint on the page. Paul was giving commentary and then on a few occasions decided that the work needed a splash or two, or some forceful scraping while I was in full flight… he then added the final touches to pull it all together.

A huge thankyou to our sponsors - Stillman and Birn who donated sketchbooks and sample packs, to my local art store The Artscene who gave us pencils, paint brush, watercolour paper and a canvas bag to carry all the goodies. Paul and I supplied everyone with a little pill box of ink, wax, salt and three special colours of Daniel Smith paint- special thanks to Arters in Singapore for doing a good deal for us so that we could supply these amazing Daniel Smith colours to everyone. Thanks also to my support team who have helped me over the last few months trying to coordinate it all.

Of course Paul and I are already planning our next workshop! And I am certainly not tired of sketching on Cockatoo Island... in fact I think I am in more keen to go back and sketch some more!





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