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

Two visits to São Paulo: Before and After the Symposium

Just when you thought the Brazil posts were finishing… I am finally about to getting around to sharing a few highlights and reflections. I had nearly three weeks in Brazil and it was a totally unforgettable experience. Not only did I love being in such a vibrant place but I was always in the company of fellow urban sketchers - either visiting like me or locals. I was in Sao Paulo at the start and the beginning of the trip and it is interesting to compare the sketches from the two periods - so that is what I want to do with this post.

There is no better way to start a trip than by two serious sketching days with Marc Taro Holmes. Every symposium we try to have at least one day together (the tradition started in 2011 with our Belem Day) so to have 2 was a special treat. Sketching with Marc is always fun - we have all kinds of fascinating and insightful art chats and he always manages to produce masterpiece after masterpiece - even when he is using a non tested palette of new colours! You can read all about Marc's sketching and the impressive collection of sketches he produced with this limited palette here.

I had not been doing much urban sketching in the lead up to the trip - seriously sketching too many teacups - so it was a total shock to the system to be out on the streets in a mega busy city on my first day after my long haul flight. The first sketch of the Cathedral (above) was done in the most intense situation ever - surrounded by 'interesting' people, a man shouting behind us, a woman shouting at me (and blocking my line of sight),  people coming up to look and chat… and I was worrying at all times about security. But if you sketch regularly somehow your reflex sketching kicks in and I was thankful that Marc was doing most of the chatting to onlookers. You can read the full report of the day on my blog.

I find that it takes me 24 hours to get the feel for a new place - the vibe, the local colours and light - and how to translate it onto my page. In addition, after a long haul flight I need time, to get back into 'the groove' - the state where I am feeling comfortable and my work flows out of me. But even when I am in the goove there is always a number of tensions that are bouncing around in my head. A big scene or a control composition? - how should I use line and colour? are two recurring themes while I sketch. Till I found my feet, I sketched in my traditional way of line first then colour. But on the second day I made a switch after this sketch of Casa das Rosa. It is a beautiful 'coffee mansion' on Ave Paulista… one of the last standing.

These days I find the line first approach can be a little dull - whilst I like the outcome I have more fun when I mix up line and colour. For the rest of my time in Sao Paulo that is what I did.
Sketching the magnificent Estacau de Luz in a looser and quicker style - mixing line and colour and using the variable thickness line of my Sailor pen. It is faster if you add colour first and you are less likely to overdo the linework.

An afternoon spent in the Consolacao cemetery - using a similar approach and with a very limited palette. Read the full report of the day here.

On my return to Sao Paulo after the symposium (and after a week in Rio) there is quite a change in my work. For one thing my colour is stronger and I was really striving to base my sketches on good strong shapes. Doing Behzad Bagheri's workshop was a real catalyst for me to focus even more on shapes and rich watercolour mixtures on the page. There is a  difference in the subject matter too - still architecture but a radical shift in style! Pre:Paraty I was with Marc sketching all the elaborately decorated buildings from early 20th century. Post:Paraty I was with architects (Emma Fitzgerald and local USker Ronaldo) and we were tracking down modern buildings.
I really fell in love with the work of Lina Bo Bardi and her MASP building on Ave Paulista. I was so in awe of its strong architectural form and worrying about doing it justice with my lazy perspective that I decided to throw caution to the wind and paint the red first. I was happy with my decision!

Another strong form was the Auditorio Ibrapuera by Oscar Niemeyer. In a similar approach I drew the sky first. I do find that if you focus on shapes the perspective will try out right (or right-enough!) Full report of the day here

My final day in Brazil was a Lina day - we went to SECA Pompeia in the morning. I know of this building through Eduardo's sketches but the real thing blew me away.

The afternoon was spent doing a tour of Lina's private house - the Glass House. There wasn't any time or opportunity to set aside for a 'decent' sketch but I decided to test out the ideas I had picked up from Richard Alomar's Unfolding Story activity at Paraty.  Here is one page of my quick note taking approach (you can see how my recent Gehry construction site sketches have flowed on from this)

If you want to read all my detailed posts from my trip (lots of photos as well) I have a summary post on my blog.





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