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

My Summer Location Drawing Class at AAU, San Francisco (Pt 5: the Filbert Steps)


If you are ever planning to meet someone at the Filbert Steps, be very clear whether you mean at their bottom at Sansome Street or three vertical blocks of scenic gardens and wooden stairs higher at their other terminus atop Telegraph Hill. You might also mention that you do not mean the other end of Filbert Street, way across town, and not any other stairs either that may lead up the other side of the hill to Coit Tower. Even if you do specify, you might end up doing a bit of running around. I went up and down about three times wrangling students. The gardens, maintained by local residents, are lush and shady and the views of the Bay to the East are spectacular. Today's lesson was about composition and thumbnailing. I quickly drew a small thumbnail at the top of my page, realized I wanted a wider view, and framed accordingly.

At the top of the hill stands the 210-foot Coit Tower, built in 1933. Art deco in its styling, it is said to resemble the nozzle of an old firehose, mostly by those who have never seen one. Inside are great WPA murals depicting city life and industry, and outside, on the plaza, are viewfinders to take in the panorama of the city below. "Step up," they invite from their ringed bases. Look for the green and red "wild parrots of Telegraph Hill, "of documentary fame, flying around and landing in the trees. Next: Hyde Street Pier.

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