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 – July 2014

Penang's Sketching George Town II

Urban Sketchers Events and Workshops

Ch'ng Kiah Kiean
reports that Urban Sketchers Penang is looking forward to Sketching George Town II in early July. The three-day event, which will include workshops, presentations and an exhibition, is expected to attract 150 attendees from nine countries.

Drawing on Stage in Tuscany is the name of Simo Capecchi’s Urban Sketchers Workshop in Volterra July 23 – 27. The workshop will include live sketch reportage of the theater company Teatri35.

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.

It’s still not too late to register for the 5th International Urban Sketching Symposium in Paraty, Brazil! If you are Paraty-bound, stay on top of symposium and travel information by logging into the new Discussion Forum. And don’t forget to introduce yourself on the symposium blog!

The Second Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl in Portland, Oregon, is coming right up – July 11 – 12! It has already received attention from OregonLive, the online version of The Oregonian newspaper. 

Plein Air Artists of Riverside, California, participated in the 43rd
quarterly World Wide SketchCrawl in April.

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

Marina Grechanik
reports that Urban Sketchers Israel participated in its first group exhibition as part of Tel Aviv Illustration Week. Featuring the work of 25 sketchers, the exhibit attracted the attention of local and national media, Marina said, including the blog DesignBreak, Israel national television channel 1 and Israel's largest newspaper, Yedioth Ahronot, promoted by the Municipality of Tel Aviv.

Urban Sketchers Kuching received a great article in The Star on June 11. “Having cameras on mobile phones mean you can take snap shots anywhere anytime,” urban sketcher Peggy Wong said, quoted in the feature article. “Sketching is more of a personal representation of the world. There isn’t even a right or wrong way to sketch.”

The Dallas/Ft. Worth contingent of USk Texas recently sketched
at the historic Texas and Pacific Railway Terminal.
The crowning of Spain’s new king was occasion for three sketchers – Joaquín González Dorao, Patrizia Torres and Inma Serrano – to blog about the historic event collectively.

Tim Richardson of USk Birmingham announces that the group’s next gathering will be on July 12 to coincide with the 44th quarterly World Wide Sketchcrawl event. The location will be St. Martin's Church and its environs. Results will be posted on the group’s Flickr stream, Facebook page and blog. (Is your USk group participating in the World Wide Sketchcrawl? Send a link to your images to

USk Girona will participate in Festival Pleinart.
Urban Sketchers Girona will gather on Sept. 13 as part of Festival Pleinart. They will spend the day drawing around Montgrí and then meet up again in the evening to share sketches and socialize while enjoying jazz.

Kip Bradley, an administrator of the international Urban Sketchers Flickr group, is now curating sketches from the group’s weekly themes and posting them on the main Urban Sketchers blog. Recent themes include modern steel and glass buildings and construction projects. Participate in the themes, and you may see your sketches on the blog!

The Urban Sketchers editorial team recently announced that it is accepting submissions of guest posts, and proposals from enthusiastic guest contributors are pouring in! You can soon look forward to sketches, tutorials, book reviews, videos and much more from all parts of the sketching world.

Sketchers in Action

Tia Boon Sim, founder of Urban Sketchers Singapore, was featured on the blog My Red Palette about her enthusiasm for urban sketching and its popularity in Singapore. 

Teasers from Marc Holmes' new book appear on his blog.
Montreal urban sketcher and USk founding board member Marc Taro Holmes is happy to announce publication of his book, The Urban Sketcher: Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location. Forthcoming from North Light Books in October, the book can be preordered now on

Cathy Johnson, urban sketcher and writer of the popular book and blog, Artists’ Journal Workshop, has just published a new book: Painting Nature in Watercolor with Cathy Johnson: 37 Step-by-Step Demonstrations Using Watercolor Pencil and Paint. Available now on in paperback and Kindle version, the book is one of 30 that Cathy has authored. 

USk President Jason Das has an exhibit at BRIC House arts center
in Brooklyn.
Urban Sketchers President Jason Das will have an exhibit of large urban sketch paintings at BRIC House arts center in downtown Brooklyn July 30 through the end of August. 

Claudio Feldman Pincas, an Argentine architect and mixed media urban sketcher living in Belgium, just had an exhibit of his paintings and drawings at the Brugge Dienst Cultuur. Pages from his new book can be previewed on Blurb.

Ken and Roberta Avidor, urban sketchers in St. Paul, have been reporting on the flooding of the Mississippi River with their sketches. Their sketch reportage caught the attention of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. “These days, epic events like flooding rivers and swollen streams are captured in photos snapped on phones and shared in seconds,” the Pioneer Press said. “The Avidors, however, offer a slower, more artistic view of their world.” 

Claudio Feldman Pincas had an exhibit at Brugge Dienst Cultuur.
Urban sketchers James Richards and Richard Alomar will be joined by digital sketching guru Bob Chipman and artist, designer and author Chip Sullivan in leading an all-day sketchcrawl for the national meeting of the American Society of Landscape Architects in Denver this November. 

Along with six other artists, Barcelona urban sketcher Lapin just had an exhibition at Mitte Barcelona Gallery to celebrate the gallery’s third year. “The concept of the exhibition was a tribute to our city Barcelona, and I loved the idea as this beautiful city is a constant inspiration for me,” Lapin said. “My inspiration was the tiles of Passeig de Gracia by Gaudi and through them an interpretation of the iconic symbols of Barcelona.” And speaking of Gaudi, Lapin just finished leading an urban sketching workshop on the Sagrada Familia in June.

Nuremberg urban sketcher Manfred Scholz recently sketched in Camino de Santiago, Spain, including a service for pilgrims in the Cathedral of Santiago, which was a highlight for him.

New York urban sketcher Veronica Lawlor will be joining the captain and crew of the 19th-century whale ship Charles W. Morgan during its historic voyage this summer on its Provincetown-to-Boston leg. “While aboard the Morgan, I will create a reportage essay of the voyage, in words and pictures, to add to my reportage of the restoration of the ship,” Veronica says on the Urban Sketchers blog.

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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