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

Have iPad—Will travel: Digital sketches of Turkey

By Leslie Akchurin

My husband and I often travel to Turkey, where his relatives and old friends still live. This summer, our daughter was also able to accompany us, as she did when she was small, which was a real treat.

Lately, another exciting aspect of travel for me is the opportunity to sketch with my iPad, which I've been enjoying for over a year. While I understand why certain aspects of digital creation are off-putting to many artists, for someone like me — a shy amateur — iPad art applications have opened the door to actually sketching live, rather than always intending to do so. The tablet is so convenient, compact, and discrete, and allows me to work ideas until I’m satisfied. Then I can easily post my efforts online for old and new friends to enjoy, which is quite motivating. I find Paper 53 to be a natural for the kind of loose pencil-marker-watercolor effects I favor, and application of a non-glare film allows me to sketch outside in the shade. Sometime soon, a larger iPad may be released, which would provide an even more exciting playing field!

These are a few snapshots from our recent adventures:

The shoreline in the harbor district of Antalya, where my inlaws live, was especially nice this spring after the city voted out the businesses (with disco thumping!) that had been branching along the beaches. Now the shore is quiet and clean, with augmented trash removal and new cross walks. Sometimes public spaces really do improve! When we arrived in early June, the temperatures were lovely and clouds gathered each afternoon for a short shower.

Antalya is surrounded by sea and mountains, which kept it a hidden pearl until just recently. Now, in addition to modern roads, its shiny international airport has made Antalya an international tourist destination. Package-deal visitors are mostly bussed off to enormous resorts on the city outskirts, many owned by foreign companies.

We traveled with my brother-in-law to the wealthy old Ottoman city of Afyon to see a large new collection of stringed instruments that he helped Kocatepe University acquire. Most were quite elegant, and represented cultures from around the world. These, however, were the fiercest!

Afyon is short for “Afyonkarahisar,” and the 11th century kara hisar (“black castle”) sits on an enormous lava mound in the old city.

Climbing up to the castle, I rested in the shade to sketch this view of the renovated Mevlevi mosque, which followers of the 13th century sufi leader Mevlana first traveled from Konya to found.

Back on the Lycian coast, which we have explored a lot in recent years, we stopped in the neat, steep town of Kalkan, where we found an unusual number of English residents. This pretty little mosque was originally a Greek church.

At the site of ancient Patara, cows vied with the ruins for my attention, and a stork flew over my shoulder. A woman came to milk the cows and strode up to me, shouting, “Hey there, let’s see what you’re doing!” She squatted down and wanted to see all my sketches, which she approved, and seemed delighted that the cow in the right foreground made it into the picture.

We spent about ten days in a lovely, quiet complex of vacation apartments outside of Datca. The tall pine woods and flowers everywhere added to its beauty.

Wild oleanders, heavy with blossoms in white and two shades of bright pink, line the Turkish coast, and have apparently done so since ancient times, when they were mentioned in descriptions. Such a fragrance!

These little fish are beautiful but incredibly bony! Later we tried a larger local variety—istavrit—that tastes as good but presents less choking hazard.

We enjoyed visiting several ancient cities this past month—Sagalassos, Patara, Xanthos, and Limyra—and this most impressive site, Knidos. We took the long, narrow mountain road to the tip of the Datca peninsula where magnificent sea views prevail. While not many structures remain, we could see the round base for the little temple that housed Praxitele’s famous Aphrodite. In terms of iPad sketching, it was difficult to find the requisite shade. A goat was eying me for the little patch I used to sketch this picture, but I held my ground…

As we were enjoying a bayside lunch in the lovely town of Fetiye, a large sea turtle appeared right near us and hung around so we could admire her from every angle before slowly paddling off. If only she had held still long enough for me to sketch her!

Leslie Akchurin is a Connecticut Yankee who lives in Lubbock, Texas, where she works as a university writing center tutor. She's been sketching off and on since childhood.

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