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

Sketching Sound and Music in Ballinderreen, Co. Galway

People had been talking about Máirtín O'Connor, and how amazing he was, in the weeks leading up to his concert in Ballinderreen Community Centre, Co. Galway, on 4th October. That was all I knew - I had never heard him play. But when I was asked to come and sketch Máirtín and his friends as they played, I was delighted to accept.

The first group to play were members of Ceoltoirí an Doirín. What an ensemble. Their passion for their music was clear, and their skill for kids so young was impressive. I know one or two of the parents of the young musicians, so I shouldn't have been too surprised at their dedication. One of the boys playing has an older brother, who at just eleven years old, his mother told me, felt he couldn't get through the day without playing his uilleann pipes. That kind of dedication really showed in the kids: they were truly excellent. Away from the instruments, they seem to have a groundedness and calm unusual in teenagers (although I wonder if their parents would agree, all of the time). I decided that the next time I have a party I will hire them to come and play.

Then one of their number, a beautiful young redhead third from the left in the above sketch, sang a couple of solos. She was like a young songbird. My favourite was "Red is the Rose..."

When Máirtín O'Connor and Brendan O'Regan began to play, I decided to colour in full whatever I sketched, which meant following my rule of drawing and painting in full the figure I've just drawn, because it will probably move before I finish. So off I set, painting the figure of Brendan, on the far left. But the best laid plans...the two guys' playing suddenly began to speed up, taking on a frantic pace that reminded me of a kind of trance Delta Blues with West of Ireland written all over it. I knew my sketching intentions were in trouble - I had no choice but to jig, tap and jerk along with the beat, the accuracy of my pencil line taking a backseat to my compulsion to move. This isn't going to work, I thought, but after that tune ended things calmed down a little and I pulled myself together. But I still drew little vibration lines above Máirtín's leg like you might do in a cartoon - I couldn't ignore the fact that he didn't keep still for a second. That's him in the middle.

Máirtín and Brendan were joined by Ciara and Sinéad, Máirtín's two daughters. They were tall and slim, two visions of loveliness. It wasn't just that they were beautiful - Ireland is full of natural beauties - but they radiated serenity as they took to the stage with their fiddles and sat next to their father. Every now and then, the girls would exchange a comment and a smile; and once they began to play, the language of music was one everyone on stage understood perfectly and the communication between father and daughters as they played was easy and sweet. Then Máirtín introduced another tune.

'As a young fella,' he said, 'I used to love hearing my grandparents play together. There was one tune they particularly loved. "Play "The Blackbird" for me," one would say to the other. "It's too hard," the other would say. "You do it." Indeed, it can be a tricky tune to play. Now Ciara is going to play it for us, as a slow air...all on her own-io.' That's Ciara on the far right.

Ciara took up her cello and soon, for the second time that evening, I had to stop sketching. The music rose and fell as her bow moved over the strings, the melody transporting us to a place of bliss. I was just in front of her, a place in the front row having being set aside for me to sketch. I'm sorry I didn't draw Ciara playing the cello - I guess I have yet to master the art of professional detachment. (The day I lose my passion is the day I stop drawing.)

It all ended far, far too soon, and as the lights went up I noticed to my chagrin that all my figures were yellow, and the delicate pink skin tones that I thought I had done were nowhere in evidence. Painting under glitzy concert lights in a room that is essentially dark has its disadvantages, and I'll have to learn to compensate for that in future.

Two days after the concert, I ran into Breandán. I told him how amazing I thought the younger musicians were.
'They're still on a high,' he said. 'I'd say a lot of them didn't sleep that night.'

What a gift those kids have been given, and now they're giving it back to us. The future of our glorious musical tradition is in safe - and talented - hands.

More of my work here.





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