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

Peter Rush draws boxes of energy

Interview by Murray Dewhurst

Urban Sketchers are fixated by sketchbooks — we spend hours obsessively trialling expensive new sketchbooks and we each have our favorite brand. Introducing Peter Rush, an Australian architect who eats that stereotype for breakfast by capturing Sydney's urban spaces on the back of cereal boxes.

What initially attracted me to your work was your expressionistic style and energetic line. How did your style develop?

Like everything it continues to evolve. But I do admit it can be a battle to get away from the careful drafted lines of my architectural work. I constantly work at keeping a free hand.

Illawarra Rd, Marrickville

Why cereal boxes - you must devour an awful lot of cereal?!

No, not me!  It's my teenage boys. They save them for me now, they know the boxes I like. Drawing on boxes really came by accident. I was caught out once without paper and I fished out a box from a rubbish bin. Essentially I'm cheap; at university I got in trouble for not respecting conventions because I completed a design presentation using the back of posters that I pulled from the architecture school notice boards. I also used a novel as a sketch book during a time in Berlin because the novel was cheaper to buy than a sketch book.
Hunter St, Sydney

You seem to have quite a multimedia approach to your materials. What favourite materials do you take sketching with you and how do you work?

I have a very flexible approach to what I draw on but I am very comfortable with my coloured pencils. These days I go out sketching with my A2 sketch pad and a couple of boxes. You choose a material that gives the right expression, mood and texture. Cereal boxes are good quality card and they allow me to use the lighter colours more effectively. Sometimes my drawings are more ambitious and I take them home to finish. Mostly I think my sketches are better if I finish on the street; they have more energy and are less laboured.
London St, Enmore

You work as an architect. I equate architecture with accurate perspective drawing and being focused purely on a building, its form and function, yet your sketches are so full of loose energy. Tell us a little of your background as an architect and how it relates to your artwork?

Yes, drafting requires you to be accurate. Architectural drawings are instructions to others on how a building needs to be constructed. It can hardwire you to be careful, you cannot make mistakes.
Newtown Hotel
Over the years I have done many perspective drawings, I really enjoy them and continue to do it by hand even though the computer can do it for me. As a consequence, I am reasonably at ease when I am on the street finding my vanishing points. It does keep those loose lines under control. You mention 'Form and Function' – that is something I really believe but it is a misunderstood term, associated with detachment and the impersonal. I think Louis Sullivan, who coined the term, meant that architecture should be organic and come naturally from yourself by feeling and understanding the place. You know, it's the prairie school work like Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Burley Griffin.

Newtown Post Office
I take inspiration from the work of architect Marion Mahony, her drawings are so beautiful. Although I draw differently, I like to think, I try to follow her approach by allowing my spirit and character to show in my work. Whether it is architecture or drawing, I try not to look at objects in isolation.


How did you start sketching - as a student or is it something that you've developed later in life?

When I was a boy I loved drawing trees. My high school did not teach art but I remember being encouraged by my geography teacher Mr Frank O'Grady to draw freely with a soft pencil.
Hordern St, Newtown

What do you try to depict in your artwork?

My drawings are essentially architectural. Not in an analytical deductive way but to try and see the mood and energy of a space. That space can be an intersection of streets, the interior of a church, a clearing between trees, anything spatial.

What is it about Newtown and Sydney that inspires you?

Not much until recently. I was so familiar with these streets, I didn't feel the need to draw them. But these days I am constantly caught up spotting the spatial juxtapositions of these busy streets. I love the mess of signs, traffic lights, ornate facades, awnings, traffic filled streets and the people of course.

Sydney General Post Office

Do you have any advice for new sketchers?

Draw freely with a soft pencil! With my sketching I generally start slow, firstly mostly just looking, seeing the space in front of me, noticing the light, watching the people. Then I go for it.

Coogee Flats

What does the future hold for your sketches?

Bigger pieces of paper, larger boxes.

For more sketches, visit Peter at Flickr.





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