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

Captain Cook's Landing Place, Kurnell

By Liz Steel in Sydney, Australia

On Tuesday I headed out especially for a big sketching day out - the first of a series that I plan to do on a weekly basis for the next 3 months.  I wanted to visit a good 'starting' location so I choose Kurnell and the nearby beach suburb of Cronulla on the southern edges of Sydney.

Captain Cook's Landing Place at Kurnell is the location of the start of "modern Australia" - the place where the British first came ashore and claimed the land as theirs in April 1770.  I understand and respect the sensitivity of this moment in history and the impact on the indigenous peoples of the land - it is certainly hard not to be conscious of this when visiting the site.

There is not a lot to see at the Kamay Botany Bay National Park to mark this historic spot - a few simple monuments and a very informative visitor centre. The first marker is this small stone plaque on a rocky outcrop in Botany Bay - the Landing Place.  I wasn't game enough to jump across on the uneven, barnacled,  rock-pool ridden rock to read it - so I sketched from the furthest point I felt comfortable standing on (I had already managed to get my feet wet to get this far!)

The second moment is a simple obelisk of Sydney Sandstone.

When I chose this location I didn't realise that it was also the spot where the first western style watercolour was done in Australia. Captain Cook sailed around the world in the Endeavour. On board was Joseph Banks, a self taught Botanist with a team of  naturalists and illustrators along with lots of equipment for drawing and preserving specimens. Their purpose was to collect and draw as many samples of the flora and fauna in the new lands as they could - and arrived back home with 1300 drawings! I found a lovely description of the illustrators working under mosquito nets to prevent the flies from eating their paints and felt a special connection with them. Although my paints were not under threat I was certainly annoyed by constant flies (a nice welcome to the Australian summer - hey?)

Cook was the first to sail and chart the east coast of Australia - this is a view looking south from Cape Solander - rough seas and dramatic weathered sandstone cliffs.

BTW if you haven't noticed I was using different media for each sketch. New brown ink from De Atramentis in my Sailor Pen for the first sketch, black ink for the second and just watercolour pencils for the third. It is always a good feeling when you use everything in your kit in the one day.

After three hours of sketching at Kurnell I was ready for lunch and as I had done some cafe research beforehand (naturallly!) headed to the nearby beach suburb of Cronulla to check out Grind Espresso. Not only was the coffee good - but just look how they served my tea and cake. Oh! I have such a weakness for fine china... but most of you know that!

I did a few more sketches during the day - see them and read a full report with photos on my blog.

It was just SO good to get out sketching and exploring on my own again. As much as I love my freelance lifestyle and working from home, I just find it almost impossible to give myself this all important 'time out.' Next week I am starting my own online course SketchingNow and one of the features includes the use of examples from recent sketching adventures in Sydney.  I am very much looking forward to the course, but it is this plan to get out sketching Sydney that gets me most excited -  to do what I love the most!

There is just something so special about getting out with your sketchbook - isn't there? - you never know where it will you lead you!




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