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

Renew your Artistic Licence, or: "Don't Just Document - Design".


Every spring in Montreal we have a brief opportunity when it’s warm enough to be out drawing, but before the leaves come back on the trees. I try to make the most of this time – running around looking for views that will be obscured by foliage later.

This sketch, (done back in April) is the Chateau Ramsay. The old Governor’s residence from 1705. I drew this one leaning against our city hall, looking across the street to Jacques Cartier Square. The Chateau was the first building proclaimed as a historical monument in Quebec and is the province’s oldest private history museum. In the summer tours are given by docents in 18th century costumes.


Bonus sketches! I went by the chateau on the weekend, as part Montreal's World Wide Sketchcrawl #44 and drew the guards, and these pipers. They seemed to get a kick out of being sketched - despite being photographed about 100 times while I was there. I don't suppose an artist comes by every day. The pipers asked me inside to get photocopies of the sketches. (I can report, the chateau's office is not 100% historically accurate). These drawings might turn up on their team shirt later this summer.


I’d like to use this sketch to talk about ‘artistic license’. Your special ability as an artist to alter reality to suit your needs.

I feel we should be making a conscious effort to compose what we see. We are free to edit out unimportant or distracting details.

A great storyteller never lets facts get in the way of the truth.

One of the big advantages of drawing on location is that you can move around the subject. It’s the reason I often sketch standing. You only need to shift a foot to the left to change your view angle enough to understand what’s blocked by a tree. You’re not a camera - locked into a point of view.  And, unlike a plein air painter, you don’t have a big easel pinning you in place. (Ok, in fact I do have an easel, but I use a light-weight camera tripod I can pick up and walk with).


In this case I have made some significant changes from reality. Can you ‘spot the differences’?

I've cut down a big tree, pushed another one behind the tower, lowered the fence posts, and removed a complicated lamp post as well as a bunch of ugly signs. This is all in order to sketch an unobstructed view of the front elevation. I've also completely ignored the correct number of windows and dormers. And of course I've left out the neighboring buildings. Plus I frequently do this unconscious thing – ‘slimming’ the building, sketching it a little taller, a little more elegant than it really is. And of course - I am using color to selectively guide your attention. The principle I call 'Gradient of Interest' at work.

This is all stuff that just happens without planning. It’s built into my eye-brain-hand circuit. These errors (or improvements, depending on your taste) just happen naturally. In fact, I’m *trying* to be as accurate as possible. But I’m not willing to slow down the energy of the drawing in order to be perfect. I’m going for the feeling of the building, not the architect’s rendering. (Nothing against architects! Some of my best friends and all that).

I hope you’ll be encouraged to take some artistic license with your own sketching. Just have fun with it. Concentrate on what a place feels like, the impression, the atmosphere, and it will come through in the sketch.

OK – I’m going long here – so I’ll wrap up with some progress steps, showing what I call ‘Drawing from the Outside In’. (Lots about this in my upcoming book ). It’s just a matter of getting the outside ‘box’ first, then filling all the details inside the box you've made.






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