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

NAPLES INVENTORY: Collect the City

logo by Franco Lancio
Registration for this workshop is closed. To be informed about next Volterra's workshop (July 23/28, 2014) and other italian adventurous sketching meetings, please email to simo.capecchi(at)

III° Naples Urban Sketching Workshop 
Thursday 5 - Sunday 8, June 2014 

In this third edition we will offer another deep immersion in the city of Naples through its diverse "collections": we'll be sketch hunting in some of the most famous city museums, but also in some animated historical districts. Sketchers are collector, obsessed sometimes by the need of filling their sketchbooks with the most exhaustive description of a place. Taking this habits to the extreme, we suggest to work on a city inventory, so that every participants will create his/her own neapolitan catalogue as a personal project. 
Our theme will be how to represent the contrast between order and disorder, the perception of a single object in the multitude of people, signs, objects and artifacts that form an urban environment. Participants will be guided to discover Naples by different approaches to urban sketching. Field sessions will be lead in turn by Simo Capecchi, an architect that likes to paint; Caroline Peyron, a French art teacher and artist based in Naples; Federico Gemma, an awarded wildlife artist from Rome, and Nina Johansson, a talented artist and teacher from Stockholm. 

Several people and institutions in Naples liked our Urban Sketchers manifesto and kindly collaborated to this workshop organization. 
Thanks toFondazione Morra (and Museo Nitsch), "Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della città di Napoli e Reggia di Caserta" (with Museo di Capodimonte and the Laboratorio di Restauro), Museo Zoologico, "Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli" (with Museo MANN), Palazzo Reale.
Many thanks to our friends:  Riot Studio, Teatri35Napoli Monitor and Ramaglia (Artisti in Vetrina).  Franco Lancio: graphic and Tza, Tzi e Ki art installation. Slowlina: catering.
Thanks to Moleskine that donated precious watercolors sketchbooks. 

locations / instructors 
City Icons, City Signs - Quartieri Spagnoli with Simonetta Capecchi 
Sketch Hunt - Zoological Museum with Federico Gemma 
Ways to collect a place - Montesanto market with Nina Johansson 
Order and Disorder - Capodimonte & Archeological Museums with Caroline Peyron 

City Icons, City Signs with Simonetta Capecchi 
In the Quartieri Spagnoli I am fascinated by the tangle of people, objects and artifacts that invade, fill or decorate public streets. Clothes hanging, drying rack, chairs and furniture left on the street, sacred images and altars, parabolic antennas, displays of a variety of goods... Quartieri Spagnoli is also an open-air museum for writers cyop&kaf and their hundreds graffiti are signs that dont go unnoticed among these narrow streets. 
Among all this, we can look for repetitive elements, like endless variations on the same theme. With ink, markers, pastels and colored pencils we'll try to depict this lively environment. A sort of treasure hunt can be made looking for signs and icons that can be most significant to represent this neighborhood. Each one will create a personal map of all his/her sightings. 
Learning goals: To be selective and dont get lost in front of a multitude of signs. To find a personal manner to describe a place and to organize a sequence of drawings in a coherent way. Compose a page that has a graphic value, emphasizing colors, lines and shapes we can see around us. 

Simo Capecchi, near Santa Maria la Nova in Naples

Sketch Hunt with Federico Gemma 
The Zoological Museum of Naples hosts one of the finest 17th century collections of stuffed mammals, birds, reptiles and insects, included some rare and extinct animals. Even if I usually draw animals alive and in their natural habitat, museums of this kind offer a great occasion to practice and understanding animals anatomy and structure. In this sketching hunt, participants will be guided to create and organize their own zoological collection in their sketchbooks. 
Learning goals: Participants will practice the technique of watercolour, the choice of colours and how to enhance the light and transparency. The importance of choosing the right paper and the different effects that can be obtained painting on wet and dry paper. How to achieve luminous grays and neutral tones. How to choose a subject and how to draw shape and volume in a correct way before add details. 
Federico Gemma, Museo Zoologico di Roma
Federico Gemma, Oxford Natural History Museum

Ways to collect a place with Nina Johansson 
There is more to most places in a city than just the things we see around us. There is always an ambiance of colour, light, sound, smell and movement to add to the scene, and there are always little stories going on, things happening. Even if it may be difficult to capture smells in our sketchbooks, in this workshop we will try to collect all these things in our sketches, along with what we see. 
In the lively Montesanto area, between a food market and the funicular station, participants will try a few different ways to collect the many aspects of a place, such as a grid style ordered collection, chaotic overlapping sketches with both colour, movement and sound, and a somewhat more focused collection where we start with a main composition and work our way out from that. 
Learning goals: To build up an impression of a place without necessarily drawing the whole scene in one piece; trying out different approaches to exploring a place by sketching different aspects of it; adding bits and pieces of conversations, details, movements and stories to a sketch, to capture more than just the basic core of buildings and streets that make up a city. 

Nina Johansson, Las Palmas 2014

Order and Disorder. Proust paperolles with Caroline Peyron 
During the visit in Capodimonte and Archeological Museums, and the survey in their conservation laboratories and depots*, we'll work on the contrast between order and disorder. In our sketchbooks this contrast will have to "catch the eye". I'm inspired by Marcel Proust "paperolles", adopted when he needed additional space to annotate ideas in his notebook: each sentence, each word at a rereading would always suggest a new one that he would add to the page with sorts of pop up. The creative process for Proust involved "writing fragments, putting them together and then separating them in order to re-assemble them in another way". Use of transparent paper, added or sticked to the sketchbook, can be a good way to show layers, contrasts and connections between the exhibited artworks and the ones piled in the shadow of depots. Several trasparent layers can give the idea of the "before and after" of the artworks in the Capodimonte restoration laboratory and of the transition from disorder to order or vice versa. 
Learning goals: To experiment how the sketchbook can be enriched by pop up, cutting and adding "paperolles" to transform it in a different object, according to the contest and to the feeling inspired from it. The sketchbook will wittness this overwelming contest and will comunicate the feeling of surprise and discovery. 

Caroline Peyron, Jeu de Dames. Exhibited at Istituto Centrale per la Grafica, Roma 2013

Workshop Schedule 
Four instructors will be present full time, one of them in turn will lead the workshop. Location and timetable may change. 6 hours tuition x 3 days (Thursday to Saturday) plus 3 hours on Sunday morning (21 hours of tuition) and an open sketchcrawl. 

Thursday, June 5 
10.00 am / 1.00 pm welcome and demos in Museo Nitsch (Federico and Nina)
3.00 / 6.00 pm Museo di Capodimonte / Caroline Peyron

Friday, June 6
10.00 am /1.00 pm Museo di Zoologia / Federico Gemma 
3.00 / 6.00 pm Museo Archeologico / Caroline Peyron

Saturday, June 7
10.00 am /1.00 pm Cimitero delle Fontanelle / Simo Capecchi
3.00 / 6.00 pm Montesanto / Nina Johansson  

Sunday, June 8 
10.00 am /1.00 pm Quartieri Spagnoli / Simo Capecchi
3.00 pm: open Sketchcrawl in Palazzo Reale's garden

30 partecipants maximum, 12 minimum. Any level of drawing experience is welcome. 

Supplies  Any supplies participants normally use are fine. We'll use pen, ink, coloured pencils, pastels, brush pens and watercolors. 
Ink, ink pens, coloured pencils, glue, cutter and different kind of trasparent paper will be used for Caroline's workshop; she loves China Ink but it may be difficult to use it inside museums. Check out our sketching gears: Nina JohanssonSimo Capecchi, Federico Gemma.

Thanks to Moleskine that once again will donate sketchbooks. 

Registration fee 
220 €  - students discount: 180 € - including tuition and a Moleskine sketchbook.
To apply please email to: simo.capecchi(at) 

Here is the Workshop MAP
Note: A convenient lodging for the group will be organized in an historical building with some stairs but nice view, single/double rooms with private bathrooms and a common kitchen, look for Casa Morra on our map. Email to simo.capecchi(at) for details.

Past editions photos
II° USK Workshop in Naples  2013  
I° USK Workshop in Naples  2012 

About the instructors

Simonetta Capecchi completed her PhD degree at the University of Naples (Italy) in Architectural Drawing. She currently works as an illustrator. Since 2006, she has curated four editions of "In viaggio col taccuino", an exhibition on travel sketchbooks with conferences and workshops. A selection from this exibition has been published in book form (Sguardi su Napoli, 2009). Simonetta's sketchbooks have been included in many international exibitions and featured in edited collections such as Danny Gregory’s An illustrated life (2008). She contributes to Urban Sketchers from Naples, where she lives. Blog: 
Meet the instructor

Caroline Peyron is a french artist living in Naples. Personal exhibitions of her works has been held in Naples at the Grenoble Institut Français, Biblioteca Nazionale, Castelnuovo and Museo Archeologico Nazionale; in Rome, at Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica and in Paris. She has been an art teacher and has held workshops for private schools and public institutions for over twenty years now. She has art classes with children, adolescents and adults both in private schools and in cultural institutions like Museo di Capodimonte and Museo Archeologico Nazionale of Naples. She is currently publishing her works with "Il filo di Partenope" art editions. 
Meet the instructor.

Federico Gemma (Rome, Italy) is a Wildlife Artist Member of the Society of Wildlife Artists. His passion for nature induced him to get a degree in Biological Sciences in Rome, to become a zoologist. Yet, even before concluding his studies, he employed most of his time drawing naturalist illustrations. Nevertheless his interests still include biological sciences since he works for parks and nature reserves, museums and nature conservation bodies making drawings and illustrations for calendars, panels, thematic areas, books, brochures and magazines. Not only an illustrator but also a painter, he spends his free time travelling Italy, Europe, and the world looking for subjects, animals and landscapes, to portray: "Whenever I can, I take notes always carrying with me a sketchbook, a pencil and watercolours. Life drawing is a fundamental process to me and an irreplaceable tool to observe and fix on the paper instants and ideas. Some of these sketches then become finished paintings, others stay as they are, enduring memory of travels and sightings". 
Meet the instructor

Nina Johansson (Stockholm, Sweden) grew up in Umeå in Northern Sweden, and lives and works in Stockholm since 1996. Graduated from University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm 2002, she teaches fine arts, photography, design and computer graphics. She also paints, mainly watercolours, and does some illustration work. Drawing has always been an important part of her life, and urban environments and patterns are what makes her tick artistically. Nina likes to play with different techniques and approaches to jot down the other aspects of Stockholm, where she lives, and any other places she visits. She fills her sketchbooks with strange drawing experiments, to force herself out of her pen-and-watercolour comfort zone. 
Meet the instructor

*In Italian on Simo Capecchi's web site: In viaggio col taccuino




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