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

3 weeks in Japan - Part 1: Tokyo

By Mike Daikubara in Tokyo, Japan

I recently took a 3 weeks trip to Japan to see my family, relative and friends. The main focus was to help my father settle into his new life after losing his mother and wife this spring.
The trip was not all fun but I did have a few moments here and there to slip in a few sketches which is always a great way of relaxing the mind in reducing the stressful situation.

Boston Logan Airport in the past year started offering direct flights to Tokyo! A 13 hour non stop trip beats having to take connecting flights which typically took over 20 hours.

I was looking forward to the Japan Airlines inflight food which was excellent when I took the plane in spring. Unfortunately this time it wasn't very good...
One flight attendant found this sketch to be of interest and asked if she could take this picture to show her colleagues later on. I kind of felt bad that I wrote bad things about the food in the sketch.... oh well, it was at least the truth.

They used to call the airport "Narita New Tokyo International Airport" and while there's 'Tokyo' in the name, the place is actually a good 1-1/2 to 2 hours outside of central Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture. I took the Limo bus into the city which is convenient but still had to transfer into a Taxi finally making it to may fathers home.

Next day early morning, completely jet lagged I decided to get a capture of my parents home. This home was built close to 40 years ago and at one point 6 people lived in here. It's now housed only by my father and he recently renovated the inside to make it a little more convenient to live.
For a short time I once lived in this house too and it brought me back childhood memories.

In Shinjuku a funky building caught my attention. A dark cigar shaped building with lots and lots of white stripes. At first I couldn't tell if there was a rhyme or reason to the stripe pattern until getting close to the building afterwards. The building was 'Mode Gakuen' - a fashion, makeup, design school. Definitely an eye catching building.

1st Sushi in Tokyo. You just can't go wrong in the rotating sushi places in Japan where you can sit there as long as you like picking out your sushi of choice that comes along your way. It's quite a challenge to sketch in the really small space but I managed to fumble around with my sushi plates, beer and my sketch book.

I took an afternoon stroll around the Imperial Palace and was able to get a sketch of one of the gates that used to protect the castle. I found out that this spot was a historically famous assassination location from 1860. This area is now a popular jogging/biking spot.

Meeting a local friend at Ebisu train station, he told me about the hidden sculpture at the station. The Daikokuten sculpture was indeed hidden all the way in the back alley of an employee smoking area. Just couldn't figure out why it was in such a hidden spot.

I've never really watched 'Gundam', but it was a popular animation series which started in the 80's and seems it continues to be quite popular even now. We took a stroll to Odaiba to see the life sized mechanical robot which was quite impressive.

A walking distance to Gundam was the Statue of liberty. It was quite small and reminded me of the one in Las Vegas. I assumed this was a fake version but found out that this statue was officially approved by the French government.

To be continued......





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