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".
Blog
Flickr

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

The aftermath of protests in Kyiv

Editor’s note: On February 20, Ukraine lived one of its most tragic days in recent times when dozens of antigovernment protesters were killed by security forces close to Kyiv’s central square, known as the Maidan. As many as one hundred people were reported dead. In this guest post, local urban sketcher Natalia Litvinenko describes her experience that day and shares sketches she made on and around the square after the massacre.

Feb. 22, 2014. Marks from burned tires were still fresh on the pavement as a passerby paused to reflect on the scene. The sight of sharp anti-tanks hedgehogs contrasted with the gentle shape of a Ukrainian flag waving from a leafless tree.

Feb. 22, 2014. Orange helmets worn by protesters lied over a wall of cobblestones. Another sign of the violence could be seen in the background: The burned walls and windows of the Trade Union building.

Feb. 22, 2014. The remnants of canisters from Molotov cocktails and piles of cobblestones that were used as weapons became the subject of an impromptu still life.

Feb. 22, 2014. People brought flowers to remember the victims.

By Natalia Litvinenko

The subway system was shut down, few buses ran and it was impossible to hail or phone a cab. Many people don’t own cars here, so they had to hitchhike to get transportation. My friend had to walk five kilometers in the snow to get home. My office email was filled with messages from people offering rides to those who needed them.

Then the offices were shut down and we were told to work from home "until the situation stabilizes," as it was very unsafe to go outside. Thugs hired by the government were roaming around, ransacking the city and beating people up. Some guys would patrol the neighborhoods to protect people from those thugs, some would go to Maidan and help with what they could. They brought food, warm clothes, and dug up cobblestones to be used as weapons. They also brought helmets and bottles for making Molotov cocktails. They also burned tires hoping the smoke would protect them from pro-government snipers firing at them.

On February 22, 2014, two days after the sad events, I went to Maidan to see the scene for myself. Black dirt and ashes from burned tires covered the bare ground. In some places, you could still see stains of blood. Thousands of people brought flowers and candles to remember the victims. The smell of burned wood that protesters used to keep warm was still in the air.

Now the situation is much safer and stable. We hope for a better future as our country comes together again. But there are still barricades in the center of Kyiv and people still remember the "Heavenly Hundred," as the fallen protesters were called.

On April 6, I did the last sketch (below). Two dummies dressed like protesters and a pile of tires are now a so-called monument to remember why people rose and what they fought for. The writing on the container says "Share warmth [with others]." The other one says "Heroes are not dying."

April 6, 2014. A makeshift monument honors the lives lost during the February protests.

Natalia Litvinenko works as a technical writer for a software company and sketches during her free time. “I don't have artistic education, but art is my passion, something that I love doing more than anything else,” says Natalia. She recently started a flickr group for urban sketchers in Ukraine, and this is her first guest post for UrbanSketchers.org.

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Want to contribute a guest post? Email USk Editorial Director Gabriel Campanario at gabi@urbansketchers.org.

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