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

The beautiful journey that is drawing...even better with tea and cakes

 Last February or March I took my evening class to Claire's Tearooms in Clarinbridge, Co. Galway, for a bit of peaceful sketching on a Sunday afternoon. I knew, or I hoped, that they would feel the difference between drawing in a tutored situation and drawing, on location, whatever took their fancy. Sure enough, the conversation soon drifted into silence as each became absorbed in their subjects, and they all said sketching on the spot was infinitely easier than being in a class...I'll need to think about that one.

In the eight months since then, I think I myself have travelled further down my personal path as a sketcher. This is the drawing I made that day in early spring, done in the little side room that the staff give to groups:

and below is the drawing I made yesterday, done in the main café itself. I left the pens in my pencil case and took my 3B pencil for a meandering walk around the lines of these old ladies' forms. I know it doesn't have the same "pow!" as a drawing rendered in ink, but it felt really good to not have to think about mistakes (even though I didn't remove any lines). It was the fact that I knew I could have removed lines that made the difference.

The tearoom is a great place. The food is seasonal, really excellent, cooked with care by the tall, patrician Claire and her staff, and the atmosphere is always just right. The staff will accommodate you if you're in a group - memoir-writing class, sketching class, they don't mind - and they don't charge you a penny more than you spend on your tea and coffee (and maybe a nice slice of cake). Other venues will charge the teacher €25 for an hour, to cover electricity and things, but perhaps in Claire's they have confidence that you'll succumb to their goodies. (They're usually right.)

Whatever the reason, there are always lots of punters in Claire's. These two ladies looked so comfortable at their table against the wall, a glass of red for the lady on the left, a glass of white for her friend. They chinked their glasses as they drank a toast to something. 

I'll be back soon, and maybe I'll leave my pen at home next time.

Meanwhile I've been inspired by some of the lovely seasonal sketches posted by other urban sketchers over the last few weeks, and I'm surrounded by glorious autumnal scenery. I don't know when the trees have been so colourful - I think it's something to do with the dry summer. I struggle with painting things without lots of definition: I can do indistinct distant things, and big, bold close things, but the middle distance gives me trouble. At the same time, I've been taunted by the beauty around at the moment and I've been dying to try to capture it. Yesterday I ventured out into the wind and sunshine to try again.

It's the combination of puddles reflecting telegraph poles, the bright sunlight, and all those orange, yellow and brown crispy leaves blowing about, that gets me going. I have unfinished business with puddles and I mean to draw more.

I'm trying to stick with my own rule about drawing - getting each point in the correct place relative to its neighbour. That doesn't work for leaves, really, so I just scribble like mad instead. Doesn't really work either. At least I was okay with the car - there were myriad little points that told me where each next one should be.

This is the road that leads down to Killeenaran Quay, which I've talked about on this forum many times. There are two horses in the field to the right of the car, and they are quite sweet, sticking their noses over the wall, curious about my activity (it was too boring for them, so they went). Two of the horses in the field are really close, forever nuzzling each other and grooming each other, but seem wary of anyone else. I'll draw them.

I was nearly blown away but I had 7 layers on, as well as two hats, and I beat the cold (apart from my fingers, as usual).






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