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 - April 2014

Register Now for Symposium in Paraty

Registration is now open for the Fifth International Urban Sketching Symposium in Paraty, Brazil! This year we are accommodating more sketchers than ever by providing passes for different levels of participation. Visit the symposium website for more information.

Urban Sketchers Applies for Knight Foundation Grant

The Urban Sketchers Board has submitted a proposal for a Knight News Challenge Grant from the Knight Foundation. This year's challenge was, “How can we strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation?” See the full proposal online.

Through April 17, proposals are in the “Feedback” and “Refinement” phases, in which staff and external readers will review the submissions. The public is invited to review the proposals, ask questions and provide feedback. Please offer your thoughts and comments directly on the Knight News Challenge site, and feel free to discuss and distribute among your USk groups. “While we are not judged by the level of ‘applause’ or number of comments,” said membership director Jessie Chapman, “we do feel this is a good opportunity to open a conversation about the future of USk with the most dedicated members of our community – you!”

Urban Sketchers in the News

Urban Sketchers Eskilstuna (Sweden) was invited by a local radio station to talk about urban sketching on March 25.

Kate Buike
Seattle urban sketcher Kate Buike, a volunteer ambassador at the Museum of Flight, was profiled in the March/April edition of the museum’s magazine, Aloft. Her enthusiastic involvement with Urban Sketchers is highlighted in the article called, “Ambassador Converts Big Artifacts into Little Sketches.”

Twin Cities (USA) Metro Sketchers, which includes many members of Twin Cities Urban Sketchers, got television coverage March 9 by station KARE on the occasion of the group’s third anniversary. The two-minute program shows the sketchers taking respite from the cold at the Como Park Conservatory.

A sketch by Jana Bouc published
by the Ogilvy advertising agency.
Bay Area (USA) urban sketcher Jana Bouc is delighted that several of her sketches were used by the Ogilvy advertising agency's Field Guide to its new San Francisco offices for its employees. The guide includes Jana’s sketches of food, bikes, ships, animals and the Ferry Building clock tower. “I was honored, surprised and thrilled to have my work selected for this purpose by an art director at an ad agency where there are so many skilled artists,” Jana said.

Urban Sketchers founder Gabi Campanario’s ongoing exhibit at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry got a plug on KING-TV’s local variety program Evening Magazine March 3.

Exhibitions, Publications and Awards

Urban sketcher Caroline Johnson’s sketch, “Mum in Hospital,” is a winner in the inaugural Guardian Witness Awards. Her sketch was selected from more than 60,000 images contributed by 28,000 people worldwide since April 2013.

Jonatan Alcina Segura's book.
Sketching the Line, an international exhibition of 78 sketches by 13 artists including numerous urban sketchers, features brief impressions of fellow commuters that document place, time and movement. The artists are Kei Acedera, Richard Alomar, Greg Betza, Bobby Chiu, Conor Coady, Jason Das, Sharon Frost, Stephen Gardner, Oona Leganovic, Nicole Little, Anna Rich, Rolf Schröeter and Steve WilkinThe exhibition appears on Pattison Onestop’s digital screens on Toronto subway platforms, the Edmonton LRT and Calgary Airport through April 13.

Florida urban sketcher Thomas Thorspecken has a retrospective exhibit through April 11 in the Cameo Theater’s Snap! Space in Orlando. Called “A Certain Point of View,” the exhibit includes sketches from the first five years of Thor’s popular blog, Analog Artist Digital World.

Spanish urban sketcher Jonatan Alcina Segura has just published a collection of sketches called Cádiz Urban Sketch. His first press run has already sold out!

Veronica Lawlor’s reportage essay and sketches on New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, where residents still struggle to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, will be featured in an upcoming book, Understanding Illustration, by Jo Davies and Derek Brazell.

Mike Daikubara's book.
Mike Daikubara, a Boston urban sketcher, has just published a 74-page collection of sketches he made while walking the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail. “Each year over 3.2 million people visit Boston, Massachusetts, and walk The Freedom Trail, making it one of the most visited historical attractions in the United States,” said Mike. “In the summer of 2013, I walked the trail carrying my small backpack filled with my art supplies and sketched anything I found attracting along the way. In total I ended up walking for 11 weeks sketching the entire 2.5 mile journey and enjoyed every bit of it!” (This book is independently published and is not affiliated with the Freedom Trail Foundation.) Mike is selling the book through CreateSpace.

Urban Sketchers in Action

Sketch by Luis Ruiz.
In early March Urban Sketchers Málaga had the opportunity to sketch aboard a coastal patrol vessel of the Spanish Navy. Read about it in Luis Ruiz’s USk blog post, see sketches from other members in the group’s Flickr stream, and view the terrific video.

Vancouver (B.C.) Urban Sketchers co-hosted a sketching event March 27 with the group Draw by Night at the Museum of Vancouver. The event celebrates the MOV’s exhibit, “Vancouver Imagined: The Way We Weren’t.”

On April 5, Urban Sketchers Girona will visit the 1,000-year-old Monestir de Sant Daniel for a sketch outing. Watch their blog and Flickr group for the results.

Meanwhile in Costa Rica, sketchers are looking forward to Festival Internacional de las Artes and Urban Sketchers Sketchwalk on April 5.

Reportage Sketching

Mariya Diordichuk painting in Kyiv.
On March 7 on the USk blog, London correspondent Olha Pryymak published photos of on-location painter Mariya Diordichuk and her views of Kyiv streets shortly after violence erupted there in February. In another post, Olha included sketches by Victoria Chernyakhivska of protesters in Kyiv.

A guest post by Ludmila Shevchenko, an urban sketcher from Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, was also published in March. Ludmila writes, “I hope the worst is behind us and a bright future lies ahead. And I hope someday you will visit our country and see its beauty and hospitality.” USk Editorial Director Gabriel Campanario is seeking more guest contributions from sketchers in the Ukraine.

In Madrid, urban sketchers Inma Serrano and Patrizia Torres sketched citizen protests against social cuts made by the Spanish government. “Luckily I have the memory and the experience of having been there, and the feeling that many of us are on the same side,” Inma writes. “We are normal people asking to be treated with the dignity we deserve.”

Sketch by Richard Johnson.
Richard Johnson’s new blog Drawing D.C. Together, published in the online version of The Washington Post, includes sketches of local activities and, last week, of an event nearer to my own heart here in the Pacific Northwest: the disastrous Oso landslide north of Seattle, where rescuers are still searching for survivors. The Seattle Sketcher Gabi Campanario also sketched the aftermath.


Simonetta Capecchi, Caroline Peyron, Federico Gemma and Nina Johansson are offering a USk workshop called “Naples Inventory: Collect the City” June 5 – 8 in Naples, Italy.

Sketch by Paul Wang.
Liz Steel and Paul Wang report that “Expressive Urban Sketching,” the workshop they taught on Cockatoo Island in Sydney, Australia, was a terrific success. “We created this two-day workshop to encourage sketchers to experiment, loosen up and express themselves in their own unique ways,” Paul said. Check out the video and sketches from the March workshop on the USk blog.

After her first Seattle workshop in February filled almost immediately, Stephanie Bower offered “Good Bones 2” in March, which filled just as quickly. “It was a great group who came from Seattle and environs, California, Colorado, Oregon and even as far away as Kentucky!” Stephanie said. Located in the historic Pike Place Market, the two-day workshop focused on perspective drawing the first day and watercolor the next.

Canadian urban sketcher and artist Keith Miller will be teaching a drawing and painting workshop in Bali and Lombok, Indonesia, Oct. 14 – 19.

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. Subscribe by e-mail. Happy sketching!





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