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

You Snooze, You Lose

By Róisín Curé in Clarinbridge, Co. Galway

None of us who takes a sketchbook with us when we're out and about is in any doubt about the benefits of urban sketching. Yesterday was yet another example of how a regular afternoon can be made into an eventful one just because of a bit of public sketching, and today was just as nice, for different reasons.

Friday night was the annual Ballinderreen Sports Ball, a fundraiser for the local GAA (Gaelic Athletics Association) sports grounds. It was a glamourous affair, all gowns and glitter. I am not from "the Country", which is the term used by Dubliners to describe the entire island of Ireland outside Dublin, and although I've been here since '91 I'm still being educated about certain aspects of country life. A number of items were auctioned on Friday night, and when the cow and horse mats came up for auction a frisson of excitement went through the room and upped the tempo - and they sold well, since there were a lot of people present who could put such things to good use (although I've yet to learn exactly what they'e used for). Other items donated for auction included silage, firewood and - my favourite - "Make a will X 2" from a local solicitor. I had donated a fairly large painting, and I was relieved that it fetched a decent price; there's always the risk that you donate something and no one bids for it, a possibility to which I had not given much thought. Better not to! Painting is the only thing I ever contribute - I don't teach the kids to hurl, or do camogie, nor do I bake very well - so I'll always do it and I'm especially happy if it makes money for the sports facilities, which are the beating heart of the community and the reason we keep our kids on the straight and narrow (that and the vibrant traditional music we do here).

It was only midnight when I left but I taught most of Saturday and while I had plans for a nice cycle ride afterwards, the lovely sunshine of earlier in the day had disappeared, and I decided to have a snooze instead. So far, so uneventful. I could have continued quite happily to do nothing for the rest of the afternoon, but I suddenly had to drop one of the kids somewhere, and I figured I'd grab a sketch while I was at it. So I went to Claire's Tearooms, ordered coffee and an extremely large piece of lemon cake and took out the pens and paints.
"Are you sketching here?" asked the lovely Claire.
"Yes, I hope you don't mind," I answered, in between mouthfuls of delectable lemon cake with whipped cream and a lovely coulis kind of thing. Far from minding, the conversation turned to all things art and after a while Claire came up with a few ideas for sketching sessions in her beautiful tearooms, which have a real vintage-china-and-roses feel, and the food she serves is always perfect. We settled on a plan to arrange sketching sessions over the next few weeks.
"I don't draw," she said. "I simply can't. I hope I express my creativity through baking."
"I accept what you're saying," I said, "but when I look at how high the standard is in my classes - kids and adults alike - I think either I have a flukey amount of really talented students, or people are a lot better at drawing than they realise."
I am convinced it's the latter.

Meanwhile, the two ladies in the back of the room came and paid for their coffees (they had one piece of lemon cake between both of them, I might add).
"Were you drawing us?" one of them asked.
"Yes - I knew I was spotted," I said, but it turned out that they were very happy to have been drawn, and when I offered to send them each a scan, their pleasure was very touching.
I kept the staff waiting after closing time to finish the sketch, which I'm sure they could have done without, but Claire made me feel very welcome - and, to my delight, treated me to my delicious cake. I hope she finds a use for my sketch - she mentioned a Christmas menu (which I will have to try). And now, thanks to the sketching sessions we're hoping to stage, I'll have another opportunity to evangelise the locals and get them urban sketching too...

Less than 24 hours later, I was back in Claire's, in that very chair which fills the foreground in the sketch above. I was with two sketchers with whom I often meet up on a Sunday. My friends Josephine and Lelia drew me, and I drew the mirror beside me:

A bit dull, without the two customers who came and sat down, if only I'd waited.
"Has anyone seen The Vicar of Dibley?" asked Lelia.
"A bit of it, once," I said.
"Well, you look just like the Vicar of Dibley in my drawing," she said.
I creased up laughing and hotly protested that I didn't look anything like Dawn French, as I wasn't in a cassock and don't have black hair. That's me, in my RED hair, and non-religious vestments, in the corner of the mirror above. I've asked Josephine and Lelia to send me their sketches - Josephine's was quite complete - so anyone who has watched The Vicar of Dibley can judge for themselves.

Two ordinary sessions sketching in Claire's, leaving me with lovely - if simple - memories of laughter and friendship, and only a few more calories than is good for me.

More of my work here.





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