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

The party refuses to end in City of the Tribes...

By Róisín Curé in Galway, Ireland

Grafton Street is one of the posher shopping streets in Dublin City. It's nice any time of year, but every December in the run-up to Christmas the atmosphere on the street changes. Perhaps it's an imaginary hangover from childhood, but in my memory, the street starts to sparkle around Christmas and there's a buzz in the air.

I felt the same atmosphere back in 1991 when I hopped off a bus on my arrival in Galway City for the first time, but it was a Tuesday afternoon in October. There was no festival or holiday to explain the atmosphere - and I quickly learned that's just the way it is in Galway. I was there to start a university degree, and I never left. All these years later, that atmosphere is never very far away. True, there are days when no amount of the legendary Galway vibe can overcome the grey, cold and drizzle. But I haven't experienced such a day in Galway for a long time - I must be due one. In January, no doubt.

Yesterday I had to hang around in town for a few hours while my daughter went to the cinema with a friend, so that I could pick her up later and not have to make the trip twice. I took my opportunity to find a nice spot to draw. Far from the town starting to quieten down - it is November, after all - it was so lively that I felt just the smallest bit left out (although I don't know of many activities other than sketching where you can sit on your own very happily for hours). The people who passed me were typical Galwegians: a guy in a Nordic pattern knit jumper, lots of fellas in beanies with man-bags worn crossways over their shoulders, Brits over on drinking weekends, pretty girls talking animatedly in Spanish, French and Italian, older, somewhat dishevelled men with dogs who knew which pub to turn into with no need for a signal from their masters.

I drew this from the outside bit of Fat Freddy's, a restaurant that has been in Galway since I first arrived 23 years ago, looking down towards the Claddagh. The management had kindly draped blankets in cherry pink and red tartan on the backs of chairs, so that if you did feel like soaking up the atmosphere outside, you could do it in comfort. But I was dressed in my winter sketching outfit, and had no need of such pampering.
You can see McDonagh's fish restaurant on the right - that's been there for decades, and the fish and chips they do in the take away part are always super-fresh. Over the Claddagh I could see a classic late-afternoon winter sky, a watery blue with purplish-blue clouds stealing across it.
The stonework building to the right of the sky is medieval and beautifully restored but I don't know what it is...I will find out.

Two days earlier I had found myself in similar circumstances, with an hour to kill before a meeting. I wanted to draw outdoors, but the rain was pelting down so hard that all the PVC tablecloths under the awnings had pools of water on them. I floundered about pathetically for a bit on the near-deserted street, wondering what to draw, then I headed into Neachtain's pub on the corner of Quay Street and Cross Street, which is a few doors up from McDonagh's fish restaurant, on the same side of the street.
Many moons ago, back in the early nineties in my university days, I was a regular in Neachtain's. It was in the days before the smoking ban, and you could barely see across the room for the thick grey haze. You were guaranteed the craic in Neachtain's - you probably still are, but I wouldn't know, as I lead a different sort of life now. On Thursday, there were a few well-behaved types having lunch or a quiet drink, and the crackling fire in one of the many alcoves and snugs made it most inviting. I settled down at a tiny table in a corner and took out my drawing stuff.

I was unnoticed, other than by the beautiful waitress who brought my soup, and I couldn't believe that I got to draw a person from this close remove without interruption. Maybe he did notice me, but if he did he let it go. 

I'm going to try and capture Galway's atmosphere this winter - from both indoors and out. I'll stop when the magical vibe fades and the town goes to sleep for the winter. But I'm kind of thinking it could be a marathon...

More of my work here.





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