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

Blowing Their Own Trumpets

By Róisín Curé in Galway, Ireland

There's a new picture house opening up in Galway City. A picture house is an old-ish Irish term for a movie theatre. It will be called the Picture Palace and it will show independent and art house movies, and it will have a bar. I am very excited about it because the only time you get to see any non-mainstream movies in Galway is when there's a film festival on, and while we have a lot of those, I usually don't hear about them until they're over - if at all. 

A neighbour of mine, Lelia Doolin, has been very active in getting the Picture Palace off the ground. Lelia is of my father's generation (he was in university with her brother) and her energy, zest and joie-de-vivre are indescribable. She is also in my art class and that's how I heard about a fundraising event for the new movie theatre that took place last Saturday night. 
"There'll be a brass band playing soundtracks to the movies," she said, " and there'll be a big screen with clips from the films playing above the band."
"I adore brass bands," I said, "I'll be there."
Once I told a friend that if I ever got rich, I would hire a brass band to play for me. I said that in the meantime I might even learn to play the trumpet myself.
"No, you can't do that," she said firmly.
"Why not?" I asked.
"You mustn't blow your own trumpet," she answered.

On Saturday I left the family at home and drove to the Galway Bay Hotel in Salthill. Between feeding the troops and looking for parking I was very late, and I didn't start drawing until four songs from the end - but I was grateful for the quick sketch I did get done. The band was Galway's St. Patrick's Brass Band, and they were magnificent - the sound was lively and rich with that deep warmth that only brass can provide. There was a young lad of about ten on cymbals - which he clashed with perfect timing - and during the theme tune of Star Wars he wore a Darth Vader mask, which suited the band's all-black dress code very well. Other numbers included Dances With Wolves, Pirates of the Caribbean and The A-Team, so you can imagine it was a very animated affair. When it was over, the band's PRO, David Kelly, approached me.
"Would you like to come and draw us while we rehearse?" he asked. "We've been going over one hundred years, you know."
I said I'd be delighted.

The movie theme was fun: at the door you were offered popcorn and sweets, and one of the ideas of the evening was to dress up in clothes from one of your favourite movies. A few people had made a big effort, including a group of girls with the words "Pink Ladies" emblazoned across the backs of their pale pink satin bomber jackets. This gorgeous creature (she was a lot more gorgeous than this sketch suggests) had a full black skirt with yellow netting underneath, Lolita sunglasses on her head and I think she even had a lollipop, but I might have imagined that bit. As usual, the sketchers always play second fiddle to the photographer, and I was politely asked to move to make way for a big guy with a camera, who needed to get a certain distance from the I lost my chance to draw my girl properly - unless I wanted to put a big guy in black with a camera in the foreground. Personally, I'd far rather have a cool sketch of myself in my gear than your typical girls-in-a-row posed photo but that's probably just me.

Eventually people started to register that there was a woman with a paintbox and a sketchbook at one of the tables. That's when the band leader approached me, and the ladies in the sketch below asked me to draw them. Well, Lelia did. That's her on the right. She looked splendid in a red Chinese silk kimono with white chrysanthemums on it. When I put this sketch on Facebook, I got lots of laughing comments (literally "Hahahaha") - but I didn't mean it to be funny. That's just how I draw. I think the ladies were a little nonplussed too. But then the big photographer started taking pictures of me drawing, and of my sketch. I asked him if he wouldn't mind sending me a lo-res copy of one of the photos, and I gave him my card, but it occurred to me (not for the first time) that he may have been affronted at being asked for a photo for free - whereas no one bats an eyelid asking for a scan of a sketch for free (which I am always very happy to do, but I'm thinking of revising that slightly). So far, the photographer hasn't sent me anything.

Then I stared sketching the dancers in a desultory way. I knew I'd be driving home before too long and so I wasn't drinking, and you know how it's a bit different if everyone on the dancefloor evidently has enjoyed a glass. But the 70s disco music was terrific and soon I was jigging about, making my sketchbook bounce a bit. I admired one or two dancers - particularly the lady in black on the right, who had a very fashionable super-chopped fringe and a beautiful figure. She was evidently in the "cinema" community and smiled a lot. Then there was a tall red-headed guy in nerdy glasses dancing some great moves. That's him on the bottom. He's doing a kind of elephant-trunk dance there, or maybe an Egyptian type of thing. Teapot. I don't know. But he was very inspiring and the tunes were great - Boogie Wonderland nearly had me up on the floor - and then the DJ put on Mory Kanté's Yeke yeke, and I'm a pure divil for African / electronic dance music, so up I got and joined the redhead on the floor. So then there were two redheads in nerdy glasses giving it socks on the dancefloor. The other ladies stared a bit but I never mind that. The song, an extended dance remix, ended and was followed by a boring one, so I sat down, but I am a lot less fit than I thought and I worried for my health: I went home shortly afterwards and I kept the phone on my lap in case I had to phone a cardiac ambulance in a hurry. Melodramatic? Possibly, but I felt most over-exerted. I'll have to up my fitness regime a bit (from nothing at all to something).

There'll be another night like this one - it was a roaring success - and I can't wait to draw the band rehearse. 

Trumpets, music, paints and my kind of showtime.

More of my work can be seen here.





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