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

How to make artisanal cachaça in Paraty

by Simo Capecchi in Paraty (Rio de Janeiro), Brazil. Photos by Laurel Holmes.

Entrance of Engenho d'Ouro distillery
When I applied for teaching in the v° Symposium, I was captured by the proposal of sketching inside some distilleries in Paraty. The Sketched Reportage workshop idea was to visit some small producers of cachaça to report the making of the popular brazilian distilled alcoholic beverage.

I love to use drawing as a tool to understand things or process. Not only because I studied as an architect but because it is really one of the best use we can do of drawing. Plus, I needed a way to get more in touch with the new place, a part from contemplating panoramas. Asking to locals to explain their activity seemed a great opportunity and it has been!

With three different groups of sketchers I have been in two distilleries where we met really nice people passionate of their work like Norival and Adriano in Engenho d'Ouro distillery  and Lùcio and Fabricio at cachaça Pedra Branca. A day before the workshop I went for a survey to understand the process and being able to synthesize it to the group: three hours are not much for a reportage but hopefully we would at least produce a draft and got ideas for future more detailed works.

How to make Cachaça

The first suggestion I gave was to make a single drawing of "how to make" instructions: a sequence of actions can be described in steps, like an annotated map or an infographic drawing. It's a big effort to be selective but useful in any kind of drawing. I showed a few examples taken from historical illustrations about sugar cane production or from authors like Wendy MacNaughton and I did this one above myself (that was colored later on), where the process is resumed in five main steps: sugar cane harvest, grinding, fermentation, distillation and aging. My full reportage here.

Different approaches to the "all in one page" explanation are the ones below by participants Rafael Fonseca, Genine Carvalheira, Jason Das and the one by Camilla Santino about the manioca flour production.
Rafael Fonseca
Rafael Fonseca at Engenho d'Ouro distillery
Genine Carvalheira
Genine Carvalheira at Pedra Branca (on her blog)
Jason Das
Jason Das at Pedra Branca distillery, Paraty
Camilla Santino at cachaça Engenho d'Ouro
Camilla Santino on the manioca flour making process at Engenho d'Ouro, Paraty.
I then suggested to focus more in one or a few steps for more detailed observations and I gave a flyer with examples of different layouts, ways to combine text and drawing in the page or how to choose what to draw. Some sketchers has been really productive, like Nelson Paciencia that has already a well organized and personal way to describe things, combining words and drawing in the page (see a funny reportage in his blog).

Nelson Paciencia
Nelson Paciencia at Engenho d'Ouro distillery, Paraty.
Other participants where at their first attempt on such a task, being more used to draw landscapes or portraits, but nevertheless seemed to enjoy the experience, like Tina Koyama from Seattle that wrote me "Your workshop was one of my most memorable experiences in Paraty! I learned a lot, and it was a very rich experience to learn and sketch a process. I did only a few sketches but they feel very "alive" to me because I was trying to understand the process". More by Tina on her blog.

In both distilleries they let us taste sugar cane fresh, than they grinded it in front of us so we could drink the fresh juice, than let us taste it once fermented (a sort of wine or mosto) and finally we could taste the distilled product, the cachaça, that has been aged and bottled in a few different flavours... what a treat, it has been a real drink and draw meeting!

And at Engenho d'Ouro we could also taste some delicious sweets made with sugar cane and manioca flour.  More photos and participants drawings in this set.

Engenho d'Ouro distillery

Many sketchers coming from Brazil where familiar to the whole process but others, like me, have never even saw a sugar cane before. Everything was new to me but at the same time I felt so "at home", not only because I met so many people with Italian origins, but it is true that Brazilians have such a natural kindness that I really enjoyed every moment of my trip.

I was lucky enough to have Laurel Holmes joining me at Engenho d'Ouro distillery, so here is her photo reportage.





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