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

Every day a sunny one in our memories (except in Bray)

Bray is a Victorian seaside town on the east coast of Ireland. My father was born and brought up there, and his parents ran a pharmacy on the Quinsboro Road just off Main Street. Dad ran his knitwear cooperative in a little building behind his parents' house on the Herbert Road, and I had to walk from the train station to my grandparents' house every day after school, to await my lift home. I hated Bray growing up - there was nothing really wrong with it, but it was the setting for all my teenage grievances, my constant social embarrassments, my failures to impress. Now it is a town full of Euro saver shops and fast-fashion boutiques, and a McDonald's occupies the entire ground floor of the beautiful red-brick Victorian Town Hall.

I grew up about six miles from the town, which means that I'm not from Bray. Nonetheless my husband thinks it is very funny to say "You're such a Bray girl," which he has no right to do because (a) I'm NOT from Bray, and (b) he's English, which automatically disqualifies him from slagging any Irish person's hometown (or not, as in the case in point).

Bray has a very special redeeming feature in the form of a long seafront promenade along the water's edge where the Irish Sea starts. It's always packed with walkers, joggers, dogs and people on varying numbers of wheels. Along its length are ice cream parlours selling anything from your standard Irish '99 (that's a white swirl of soft vanilla ice cream in a cone with a Cadbury's Flake sticking out the top) to much more fancy Celtic Tiger-esque Italian gelato in lots of flavours, with fancy prices to match. It's far from gelato we were reared!

These two ice cream parlours are very much in the former vein. The one on the right is called Maud's, but I suspect Maud may have a hand in both establishments, as the ice cream cones on the overhead signs are obviously designed and produced in the same factory, some of them having been cunningly reversed in Photoshop to give the illusion of a great variety of pictures of ice cream. Happily for Maud, my drawing is so inaccurate that this illusion is even more convincing.

Some people who saw this sketch spoke of how it evoked happy memories of visits to the seaside. That's why I felt I had to give the full picture of my chequered experience of Bray. Thanks be to the heavens, those miserable teenage years are far behind me, and now Bray is a place where the wonderful things in my life are underlined. I'm lucky enough that my family and I often stay with my parents in their lovely home near Bray Head: after a walk along the Seafront, I buy my kids garishly-topped whipped ice creams at Maud's, and we take a meandering walk up the hill to my folks' house, past all the beautiful gardens and lovely Victorian houses.

There are funny little kiosks all along the Seafront selling all kinds of stuff (including ice creams). I don't know how I didn't notice that they are all painted in different candy-striped colours until earlier this year. I think it may be because they were painted pale gloss blue for ages, but my mother says they've been stripy for years. Maybe I refused to see them, like a prisoner who can't go through the open door when he's been released. The kiosks are actually adorable now, and I very much want to sketch them all. There is a sunshine-yellow striped one: a crushed-berry striped one: this blue one, and just wait until St. Patrick's Day, when I will sketch, and post, the Kelly-green striped one, which is festooned with green, white and orange bunting, and sells green, white and orange balloons. Mmmm. I know all the sketchers are salivating at the thought. Add to this the hordes of people dressed in weird plastic leprachaun suits - just the facade of the leprechaun, mind - like the black guy I saw last year with a fake hairy red beard, fake stovepot hat with big gold buckle and fake pink plastic pot belly, and us sketchers are giddy with excitement. But the kiosk I drew here was a little more low-key.

 Normally passers-by have quite a bit to say when I'm drawing, and I love the interaction, but I was out of luck that day. Bray attracts a demographic who may or may not be avid sketchers, but the lovely thing was that the one or two people who did stop to talk to me became very thoughtful as they reminisced about how they used to love drawing as a kid. I always evangelise them immediately, and urge them to take up urban sketching. Most people were more interested in those huge inflatable balls and the Hello Kitty and Homer Simpson inflatable dolls, and I heard a young lady complaining about one of those games where you have to hit a target for a prize or something.
"Ye have to do it tree or fower times before you even GET de teddy," she said - I hope that's easily translated into whatever English you're more used to.

From my parents' house, there's an amazing vista of the Seafront wrapping its way along the water's edge, with a row of those beautiful Victorian houses lining the road that runs along its length. One side is all buildings and funfairs and stuff, the other is a great sheet of blue sea: I will make a point of drawing it the next time I'm up.

I won't be drawing the Euro shops matter how brightly-coloured.

More of my work here.





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