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 – June 2014

Urban Sketchers Events and Workshops

It’s not too late to register for the 5th International Urban Sketching Symposium in Paraty, Brazil

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 Swasky.

Be in Portland, Oregon, July 11 – 12, for the Second Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl! Use the RSVP link to let organizers know if you’re planning to attend.

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

San Diego USk's newsletter

San Diego Urban Sketchers just celebrated its first anniversary! Meetup group organizer Lydia Velarde has published a newsletter to promote the group’s activities. 

A new regional group has launched in northern England: Urban Sketchers Yorkshire. “We were formerly SketchCrawl North and have been meeting every month since 2010,” said Lynne Chapman, “but have just had a name change and become officially affiliated – hurrah!”

Happy first anniversary, USk Philippines!
Urban Sketchers Philippines celebrated the group’s third anniversary with a sketchwalk in the Salcedo Saturday Market May 24. At left is a photo from the group’s Facebook page.

Last month Drawing Attention reported that Urban Sketchers Girona would be celebrating Girona’s 59th Temps de flors (Flower Week) by sketching in the old town Civic Center May 10 – 18. Their sketching received 2 minutes of great local television coverage. 

Patrizia Torres reports that a regional Spain Urban Sketchers meeting took place in the mountains of Cádiz May 23 – 25 (photo below). The event began with presentations by five representatives of the major USk groups in Andalusia: Seville, Malaga, Córdoba, Cádiz and brand new Aracena (Huelva). Presenters discussed “how and when we decided to sketch the first time, how did our city groups started and grow,” Patrizia said.  The next two days were the Regional Sketchcrawl all around the village and surroundings of Grazalema. The Neilson Art Gallery, which provided sketchbooks to participants, will host an exhibit of their sketches this autumn.
Urban Sketchers Spain met for a regional sketchout in Cádiz.

Juliette Plisson reports that Urban Sketchers France is preparing for its second sketchcrawl event June 7 – 8 in Seté. Last year in Lyon, about 60 sketchers attended. This year sketchers from Spain, Belgium and France are expected to participate in the free event. It will be “a nice dinner and lunch with friends – no workshops are planned,” Juliette said.

Marina Grechanik reported on her blog about Urban Sketchers Israel's first expo as part of Illustration Week 2014 in May. “For the past two-and-a-half years, we have been meeting once a month at different sites around the city to sketch together and observe with an attentive and fresh look at this unique urban landscape and its residents,” Marina said. “At the exhibition you'll be able to see works from 25 sketchers, each one with his own style and unique point of view.”

Urban Sketchers board members Jason Das and Elizabeth Alley will represent Urban Sketchers at the Americans for the Arts 2014 Annual Convention in Nashville, June 13-15. “We'd love to meet up with anyone involved with USk (or just interested in what we do) who might also be attending the conference,” Jason said.

Sketchers in Action

Simo Cappechi’s collection of sketches of an artificial canal in Emilia Romagna has been published in a book that will be distributed free to citizens. The canal is “a complicated system of dewatering pumps that carries water from the River Po for a hundred kilometers along the countryside, mainly for irrigation purpose,” Simo writes on the Urban Sketchers blog. “Nice that some smart engineers involved an urban sketcher to describe technical matters to citizens in a more understandable way.”

Florian Afflerbach's new book.
German urban sketcher Florian Afflerbach has just published a book on architectural drawing (shown at right): Basics Freehand Drawing. Published in English and German, the 96-page book is part of a series for architectural students and anyone interested in architectural drawing. A large part of the book is about materials and techniques; another is about drawing architecture – from imagination for design projects and from direct observation, Florian says. More than 80 images show different drawing techniques and examples of presenting perspective drawings of buildings, interiors and details.

The New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects has published an interview with Richard Alomar about his sketching, the New York City Urban Sketchers group and sketching events in the city.

Penang sketcher Ch’ng Kiah Kiean will have an exhibit with Wong Sau Ching called “Sketching the City” at ChinaHouse’s Art Space I and II June 6 – 20.

Urban Sketchers partnered with popular sketchbook manufacturer Moleskine on a live sketching event, "Moleskine City Stories," in New York City May 17. Sketchers Richard Alomar and Josiah Hanchett sketched at Moleskine's SoHo location, and Suma CM and Jason Das sketched at its Time Warner Center location. Each conducted a brief learning session, describing their own take on sketching in public. Richard, Suma, Josiah and Jason shared their sketches throughout the day on social media. You can take a look by searching for #moleskinestories on Twitter and Instagram.

Mike Daikubara's new book is available at four Boston gift shops.
Mike Daikubara of Boston is thrilled that the Bostonian Society has invited him to sell his latest self-published book, Urban Sketching the Freedom Trail, in the society’s four gift shops located on the trail. If the book sells well, the society has proposed a larger press run. Mike spent last summer walking and sketching the historic 2.5-mile trail over the course of 11 weeks. His sketching journey is now recorded in the 74-page book published on Amazon. Read about Mike’s book on his blog.

The travel/art blog Wanderarti has published a post about Keith Miller’s sketching travels.

Clara Marta Moreno reports that the sixth edition of the sketchbook workshop, "De Vuelta con el Cuaderno," will take place in Zaragoza June 28 – 30, and registration is open. The theme for this year's edition is drawings on the train and during travels.

Fred Lynch is featured in Drawing magazine.
Drawing magazine's spring issue features Massachusetts sketcher Fred Lynch's urban sketches of Italy. The article includes work by six artists worldwide who specialize in drawing with ink.

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: 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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