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

Next year in paradise? A stretch of sand in Mauritius

By Róisín Curé

Mauritius is a tiny dot of land on the vast expanse of blue that is the Indian Ocean. Travel south, and you hit Antarctica: east, and it's Perth; west, and you'll hit Madagascar; north it's Oman. But each of these places is a very long way away, and you really do feel isolated from the world in Mauritius. I don't know if it's because of this, but there is a magical, Dr. Seuss feeling to the island: the people don't exactly look like characters in his books, not being particularly fluffy, but they are multi-coloured, with origins in China, India, Europe and Africa; and the landscape most definitely looks like a Dr. Seussian one, with bobbles teetering on top of mountains, and adorable bottle palms and the like that are straight from the pages of his books. And to me, from the very start, Mauritius was most definitely Sola-Sollew. To me, it's paradise.

There's a small beach on the north coast in a village called Trou-aux-Biches. I had the great fortune to spend six months living there. Early one morning, I took my cup of tea and my drawing kit to the beach and painted what I saw. The coconut trees behind me threw shadows onto the white sand and boats bobbed in the turquoise water, waiting for young Mauritian guys in mirrored sunglasses to take the helm and churn up the tranquility of the lagoon, tourists on board, or venture past the reef and chase dolphins messing about in deeper water. In my drawing, a man walks purposefully from left to right: he has just greeted the man walking in the opposite direction, with the tiny child beside him. She was an adorable girl of about six, who was skipping happily through the shallows, her perfectly-coiffed, jet-black plaits bouncing behind her. As the two men met, they greeted each other warmly; two native Mauritians, with the beach still to themselves before the hordes descended, apart from the tourist with the paints.

This sketch is what I see when I turn through 180 degrees: these are the coconut palms throwing the shadows onto the sand that you see above. When my husband first visited Mauritius, he was just seven years old, and the trees were tiny. Everything grows fast here: cyclones periodically raze most vegetation to the ground, but it never stops creeping back. For over fifty years, my husband's aunt and her family lived in the house on the right, and my family and I stayed in the apartment on the left. The white picket fence is ten yards from the orange awning; hop over it and you're on the sand, literally a stone's throw from the lagoon. All day long people walk up and down the beach - samosa sellers, hawkers, tourists, and there's never a dull moment - not until the sun starts to set and peace descends. This is what my auntie-in-law looked out upon. Every day. For fifty years. My auntie-in-law and her daughter told me of the time they endured a cyclone, and the sea was trying to carry off their house. "You remember Bou bou, the dog," they said. "Yes!" said my husband. "Of course I remember him! We named our first dog after him - I loved Bou Bou! I used to make him dive for stones." "Well, said, my auntie-in-law, "he was in danger of being washed away by the storm. He was in the doorway - here - with all four paws clinging for dear life to the frame of the door, barely visible through the surf. We were clutching his fur, trying not to lose our grip..." Happily, Bou Bou lived to see another day.

This was drawn a little later in the day, with my back to the two houses, after people had had lunch and were generally lazing about. It was mid-winter, which in Mauritius means you will probably get sunburned, but you may also be rained upon for a minute or two. I enjoyed drawing the tourists as they alternately frolicked in the lagoon and frantically packed up their towels. You can see the cloud threatening overhead, but I'm Irish, and I know what clouds are going to do next, so I bided my time. You can see a bright yellow craft full of day-trippers. These boats drag along huge inflatable rings they call "bouées". I'm sure I haven't spelled that right. The driver of the craft straps tiny kiddies onto these "buoys" and off they go...tearing up the reef. The kids love it, but the boats make an almighty racket and disturb the peace something terrible. I would wish them all well, but every year there is less sea-life to be seen in the water of the lagoon; soon it will be the sterile basin that you can see in other parts of the island. On my honeymoon fifteen years ago, there was so much life under the water just next to the shore that I was terrified and kept having to catch my breath. Two years ago, it was still scary: I finally solved this problem by sending my husband ahead of me, so that he would meet the shark first (there aren't any in the lagoon, but you never know). Last year, it just wasn't scary. Actually, it was worse, but in a ghost-town sort of way. Very sad.

I always thought living on the beach would be nice, but I had no idea just how blissful it would be. One has one's dreams: someday we hope to live there, but I don't think we'll get fifty years out of it. We'd make do with whatever we get.

More of my work here.





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