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

A Treat for the Senses: McCambridge's Restaurant and Delicatessen, Galway City

McCambridge's in Galway has to be one of my favourite shops. I don't go in half as much as I should. If I want something special, I go there: last week my sister and I bought a wonderful lunch of grilled artichokes, olives, artisanal Irish cheese, organic smoked salmon and sourdough bread there. The minute you walk into the shop, the smell cloaks you in comfort. It's the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans, dried sausage, cheese...well actually I don't know what the smell is but it's great.

It's been a fixture on High St in Galway for about a hundred years and is still owned by the same family. It's great to see it doing so well - I remember back in my college days I would get these amazing sandwiches in McCambridge's (beetroot and Emmental on ciabatta, mmmm). Me and my classmates would eat them by the rushing water of the River Corrib, and now I buy Easter eggs for my children there.

I felt like knocking out a sketch on Galway's High Street today, but the intermittent rain put paid to that (plus I had forgotten my little stool so my sketching spot was going to be defined by whatever bench was nearby). Then I saw McCambridge's and thought I'd draw from within. I settled down with my coffee and off I went.

I love this sketching business. The coffee bar where I was sitting was jam-packed with people getting lunch, and I overheard snippets of all kinds of conversation, from the diners to my left and right, to the lovely French girls behind the bar. The only problem was my new Schminke watercolour set: I was trying out my new full-pan big set, and it was much too big for the tiny space I had. Eventually I knocked everything over, and my jar of mucky paint water went everywhere.

I saw something quite touching as I sketched: I heard an exclamation, and the lad with the beard was giving a great big hug to another chap. I thought it was a girl at first, because the hug was so affectionate. Then I overheard the bearded lad telling one of the French girls behind the bar that so-and-so was back from his travels, and I realised that the guy he had bear-hugged was a colleague in the shop. It was so sweet to see such camaraderie amongst the staff.

I bought some amazing pesto, a couple of artichokes and some stuffed vine leaves, and after all my sketching I was very hungry. I walked out into the pouring rain and because everyone had fled to the shelter of the shop entrances, I figured no one would notice if I wolfed the vine leaves right there on the street. But it was really pouring and I remembered that there was a dress I wanted to try on: the very nice shop assistant was not going to be happy to let a drowned rat put on one of her dresses. So I joined the tourists and Galwegians under the awnings, finding lots of room in front of a bookshop opposite Lynch's Castle, where AIB Bank is now. A soldier was standing beside me - on duty during a money transfer - and he smiled indulgently as two little kids fondled his gun (I kid you not).

(The dress was much too small. I resembled a certain sister in Cinderella trying to get the zip up, which was very sad as it was black cotton, with a russet-toned cowgirl print all over it, beautifully cut.)

McCambridge's has recently added a restaurant on the second floor. It's really cool and the food is super. I had lunch there with my sister earlier this year and we both sketched. She drew the cake stand: she gave me the sketch and I treasure it. This is the one I came up with:

I loved those two old boys having lunch - they must have been friends for years as they talked for ages. I haven't done the restaurant justice at all: oh well, I shall have to go back, choose something from the table covered in goodies, and do another one. Next time I'll show it in all its finery....if that's possible when it's covered in cake crumbs.





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