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 - May 2014

Urban Sketchers Events and Workshops

There’s still space for you at the 5th International Urban Sketching Symposium in Paraty, Brazil! Whether you want the full workshop and activities experience, the social experience of sketchcrawls and receptions, or some of both, this year’s tiered format has a participation level that’s right for you. Learn more and sign up!

Venerable Oxford, England, will be the site of Pushing Your Sketching Boundaries, an Urban Sketchers workshop July 9 – 12, taught by Isabel Carmona, Miguel Herranz and Victor Martínez Escámez (better known as Swasky). 

Naples Inventory: Collect the City, an Urban Sketchers workshop in June led by Simo Capecchi, Caroline Peyron, Federico Gemma and Nina Johansson, filled up quickly! Look forward to seeing sketches and photos of the event. To be placed on a waiting list or for information about future workshop opportunities in Italy, write to simo.capecchi at gmail dot com.

Urban sketchers Nina Johansson and Swasky will lead the workshop Draw Gaudí in Barcelona June 26 - 29. Participants will develop their on-location drawing skills and sketch their way through the works of Gaudí. 

Second Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers
Sketchcrawl image by Linda Daily.
The sketching action on July 11 – 12 will be in Portland, Oregon, where the Second Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl will be taking place. The free event is all about “meeting old and new friends in a rich environment laden with tons of Portland eye candy for your sketchbooks,” says Jim Bumgarner. Use the RSVP link to let organizers know if you’re planning to attend.

Sketching George Town II, a free international sketching event in Penang, will be held July 4 – 7. Sketchwalks, sketchbook sharing and food are on the agenda. 

Urban Sketchers Chicago will host Chicago Sketch Seminar June 7 – 8, including a variety of workshops. 

Publication Opportunity

Barcelona-based publisher Ara Llibres is seeking urban sketches to illustrate books in its European cities series. The publisher is looking for sketches of Paris, London, Rome, Prague and Berlin. Selected sketchers will retain rights to their work and be compensated financially, as well as receive a copy of the book, said Ara Llibres representative Myriam Soteras. Interested sketchers should contact her at

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

Urban Sketchers London has an exhibition of their sketches through June 30 at Timberyard in the trendy Clerkenwell Design Quarter of London. Participants include James Hobbs, Katherine Tyrrell, Thomas Corrie, Isabelle Laliberté, Zhenia Vasiliev and Jhih-Ren Shih. The exhibition is the group’s third.

Picasso workshop in Malaga.
Patrizia Torres of Urban Sketchers Málaga reports that she and fellow urban sketchers Luis Ruiz, Swasky and Inma Serrano and art teacher and calligrapher Miguel-Anxo Varela gave a workshop called Picasso’s Málaga: Impressions on a Sketchbook. 

Urban sketchers around the globe took park in the 43rd World Wide Sketch Crawl April 19. Toronto Urban Sketchers participated in the quarterly event for the first time. Despite the chilly temperature, more than 20 sketchers participated in the all-day event, sketching at a variety of venues. See more sketches of the 43rd Sketch Crawl in SeoulStockholm and Munich.

The newly formed Urban Sketchers Azores brought sketchers Mário Linhares, Ketta Linhares and Eduardo Salavisa to the island of São Miguel for three days of exhibitions, workshops, roundtables and intensive drawing among kids and adults alike. 

Sketch of San Sebastian window by Whee Teck
Urban Sketchers Girona will celebrate Girona’s 59th Temps de flors (Flower Week) in the old town Civic Center May 10 – 18. Their sketches will be displayed there in a showcase all week. Sketchers are invited to participate in public sketch outings on May 3 and 10. 

The international Urban Sketchers network is an ideal way for travelers to find fellowship as they sketch other parts of the world. Singapore sketchers Tony Chua, Ignatius Yeo, Lisa Huang, Whee Teck Ong, Tan Chit Seng, Edric Hsu and Milo Sudaria spent several days in Manila in April sketching with Urban Sketchers Philippines. Ignatius said, “The first time I stepped on Philippines soil in 2010, it was love at first sight with those slum areas, illegal squatters, the filth, the suspicious alleys and all.” Since then, he’s been to Manila three to five times a year. His most recent visit “turned out to be a most wonderful trip sketching, eating and sharing,” Ignatius said. “At the end of it, it was the fellowship I enjoyed and treasured the most. Manila, I'll be back – for more.” The USk Philippines blog has great photos and animated images of their gathering.

Sketch of Quintan Market
by Ignatius Yao
Australian urban sketcher Lionel King recently experienced similar sketching fellowship. Although business responsibilities brought him to San Diego and Paris (among several other locations during his month-long trip), it was Urban Sketchers and introductions from fellow Australian sketcher Liz Steel that led to his “personal worldwide sketchcrawl.” Read about his adventures in two parts.

Simone Ridyard reports that USk Manchester’s blog is up and running. Check it out!

Sketchers in Action
Eduardo Vicente's book

Eduardo Vicente of Urban Sketchers Spain announces that the city of Barcelona has published his book, El Putxet i el Farró, as part of its Carnet de Voyage collection highlighting Barcelona neighborhoods. The book was released on April 23, San Jordi (St. George’s Day), an annual festival for bookworms and booksellers. Barcelona TV featured Eduardo talking about the Urban Sketchers movement. The interview, conducted in Catalan, is during the end of the program.

Sue Pownall in the Oman
newspaper The Week.
Sue Pownall and Urban Sketchers received publicity April 16 in the Oman newspaper The Week. Sue was interviewed about a sketching event she organized, Sketch Muscat for Charity, to raise funds for children of Syria through UNICEF.

Alon Chitayat, a self-described “addicted subway sketcher,” has created an interactive installation of his daily New York City subway sketches. Produced with Jeff Ong, “’Subway Stories’ aims to create an intimate experience between the user and the subway, but also between passengers, bridging the gap between the isolating experience of public spaces with the power of stories.” View the video documentation of the project. 

Seattle urban sketcher and architect Anita Lehmann has published a book called Drawing Lessons from Civita, including many urban and other sketches from her Italian adventures. 

Barcelona urban sketcher Lapin is participating in a new exhibit at Plom Gallery. "Art for Kids" is the concept of this mini gallery in Barcelona’s Eixample neighborhood. This contemporary art gallery is “dedicated to small people to be able to introduce them to the art world from an early age,” Lapin says. “I participate to the collection of the gallery three original vintage car drawings.”

Alon Chitayat's interactive installation of sketches.
Following the BBC R4 interview that Simone Ridyard and James Hobbs gave in January, Simone was contacted by Tate Liverpool and invited to run its annual summer school “Drawing the City” program. 

Reportage Sketching 

A guest post by Kalpana Balaji of Chennai, India, on the Urban Sketchers blog shows us “India's longest elections in history.”

April 25 was Freedom Day in Portugal. Find lots of sketches of festivities and commemorations marked by bright red carnations on Urban Sketchers Portugal’s blog.

Meanwhile in Auckland, Murray Dewhurst sketched the ANZAC Day parade at the Auckland War Memorial Museum commemorating those who gave their lives in Gallipoli in 1915.

“Keep doing it”

This edition of Drawing Attention closes with an anecdote from Fort Worth, Texas, urban sketcher Jim Richards. At a recent USk outing after he had just sat down to sketch a building:

“An older, well-dressed woman came by walking her dog (so she almost certainly lives downtown). She stopped and said, ‘What are you doing?’

I said, ‘Oh, we’re just having fun.’


‘Yes, ma’am.’

‘Well, keep doing it. You make our city better.’

I think the exchange underscored an aspect of what we do that we don’t often talk about. We often focus on the products – the contents of the sketches and posts themselves. And that’s important. [But] this exchange reminded me that the process – the mere act of ‘showing up’ and putting artistic activity on the street – changes the dynamic of the city a little. It’s more humane. It’s more appreciated. . . It’s a gift that we give to the cities we draw beyond our own sketches, learning and friendships.”

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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