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 – August 2014

Urban Sketchers Events and Workshops

More than 200 sketchers took part in George Town II in Penang.
Sketching George Town II, the second of what has become an annual Urban Sketchers event in Penang, received an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response this year, with more than 200 participants (only 120 were expected). Sketchers from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia and UK attended, according to Paul Wang. “The atmosphere throughout the three days was electric,” Paul said in his blogpost. “We did not want to stop sketching. I had a blast and so glad to be part of this big sketching family.”

Portland, Oregon, hosted the Second Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers SketchCrawl.
On the other side of the world, Jim Bumgarner reports that more than a hundred sketchers from Montreal, Quebec, Burma and the U.S. came to Portland, Oregon, for the Second Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers SketchCrawl.  Activities kicked off Friday evening at a local pub with participants sketching portraits of each other. Saturday was spent in a marathon sketchcrawl in the beautiful South Park Block area of the city. Jim gives a big thank you to Katura Reynolds, USk Portland planning team coordinator, and the Portland Art Museum for putting together a great event. A bonus: The July 13 edition of The Oregonian newspaper ran a story about the sketchcrawl. See participants’ sketches on the event’s Flickr group page and Lydia Velarde’s fun video. Get ready for next year's West Coast Sketchcrawl, which will be hosted by San Diego!

Seattle architects and architectural drawing instructors Frank Ching and Gail Wong will present their popular Urban Sketchers workshop, Line to Color, in Tacoma, Washington, Sept. 12 – 14. Participants will be led through “clear steps covering the complete process of making a sketch on location, from the time you draw the first line until you apply the last touch of color.” It’s filling fast, so sign up now!

In June, Frank and Gail were joined by USk founder Gabi Campanario for an Urban Sketchers workshop sponsored by the Seattle Art Museum. Thirty-five students first toured SAM’s exhibition, Modernism in the Pacific Northwest: The Mythic and the Mystical. After presentations by the workshop leaders, participants then sketched at the historic Pike Place Market. Stillman & Birn and Daniel Smith provided supplies for the workshop.

More than 30 students push their sketching boundaries in Oxford.
More than 30 sketchers from around the world joined Isabel Carmona, Miguel Herranz and Swasky in Oxford, England, for Pushing Your Sketching Boundaries, an Urban Sketchers workshop in July. An article in the Oxford Mail said, “Their daily sketches were then shared in the Arts at the Old Fire Station gallery.” Isabel posted a photo and her sketches on USk London’s blog.

The Fifth International Urban Sketching Symposium in Paraty, Brazil, is less than four weeks away – but it’s not too late to register! Although registration has closed for workshops, you can still get a Sketching Pass to attend all sketchcrawls and social events or an Activities Pass to attend lectures, demos and other activities, as well as all social events and sketchcrawls. Sponsors who are providing materials and other benefits include PEN.UP, Strathmore, Cretacolor, Super5, Advantage Austria, Laloran and Casa do Artista.

Drawing on stage at Volterra Teatro Festival.
Just as this edition of Drawing Attention was about to go to press, Simo Capecchi posted a report of an unusual four-day Urban Sketchers workshop. Ten sketch reportage students had the unique opportunity to sketch at Volterra state prison, where inmates turned to actors to perform a theatrical presentation. “Sketching was not easy at all, packed as we were, all of us moving from small prison cells to the main courtyard in a kaleidoscope of actors that performed simultaneously,” Simo said. Photos and sketches from the workshop are in Simo’s Flickr photostream.

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

Urban Sketchers Vice President and Events Director Elizabeth Alley reports that with the invaluable assistance from volunteer Sonia Tamez, the Events Committee has created a survey seeking input from Regional Chapter administrators on guidelines for Urban Sketchers events. As a US-registered nonprofit organization, USk is known for providing quality events worldwide. Regional Chapters and their activities are an important part of Urban Sketchers. They can help by sharing their ideas and best practices. For those who received the survey, the deadline for participating is Aug. 8. Thank you for your help!

An article about Urban Sketchers Kuching appeared in the online version of The Star July 1. The Kuching sketchers joined forces with the Sarawak Heritage Society to organize an exhibit to raise awareness about conservation issues. “The sketchers’ group and heritage society share similarities like story-telling,” said USk Kuching member Peggy Wong in the article. “The heritage society wants to tell stories of the past and of our cultural heritage. So do members of the sketchers, who want to tell their stories of street scenes, activities, peoples and buildings.”

Eduardo Bazjek reports that Urban Sketchers São Paulo received television coverage July 19 during a sketch outing in the Mooca neighborhood. 

Caroline Manceau's sketch from Urban Sketchers France's event in Seté.
The South China Morning Post published an article July 7 about Urban Sketchers Hong Kong’s efforts to preserve their city’s heritage through sketches. “Since Hong Kong's urban landscape is constantly changing,” the article says, “[Hong Kong USk organizer] Cheung Wan-kay targets neighbourhoods that are forgotten or ignored and worth remembering.”

Urban Sketchers France’s international sketchcrawl event June 7 – 8 in Seté was a huge success, according to Caroline Manceau. See sketches and a video on the group’s blog.

Contributors to the Urban Sketchers Chicago blog have been trying something new lately: Weekly tips and tricks on a variety of subjects, from sketching people to incorporating a copyright on posted sketches.

Urban Sketchers groups around the globe took part in the 44th quarterly World Wide Sketch Crawl July 12, including North Bay, Berlin, Seoul, France, Liverpool and Portland.

Gail Wong of Urban Sketchers Seattle reports that the group celebrated its fifth anniversary on July 20.

Sketchers in Action

Eduardo Bazjek and Fernanda Campos have an exhibit in São Paulo.
The Central Valley Buzz, a local television program, featured Fresno sketcher Rob Carey July 3 talking about urban sketching and the Fresno Art Hop. The segment featured a video of Rob sketching Mt. Etna as it was erupting.

The online publication Ozy published an article about New Yorker Veronica Lawlor’s reportage sketching of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and other events. Veronica’s sketches from 9/11 are currently on view at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Lawlor is the only known artist to have sketched the World Trade Center attack on location, the article says.

Eduardo Bazjek and Fernanda Campos, organizers of this year’s International Urban Sketching Symposium in Paraty, have an exhibit in São Paulo. Casa do Artista, a symposium sponsor, is hosting the exhibit.

USk President Jason Das has an exhibit of 16 urban sketch paintings of Brooklyn, including a 28-square-foot one of a street festival. Through Aug. 31, the show is at BRIC House in Brooklyn, New York. 

Isabell Seidel had a solo exhibition in Allariz/Galicia.
USk correspondent and USk Spain administrator Isabell Seidel had a solo exhibition of her watercolor urban sketches June 13 – July 13 at Fundación Vicente Risco in Allariz/Galicia. The Galician USk group and other local artists sketched in that small town in conjunction with the exhibition.

Urban Sketchers founder Gabi Campanario is excited to announce that he has a new book coming out this fall. The Seattle Times, publisher of his popular weekly Seattle Sketcher column, is publishing a book with a selection of column sketches. “It’s a ‘limited edition, collector’s item’!” Gabi said. U.S. residents may pre-order now at a discount. Information about international orders is forthcoming.

In early July, Portuguese sketcher and architect Hugo Costa posted his 1,000th blog post since October 2010, each containing at least one sketch!

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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