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

3 weeks in Japan: Part 3 - Kyoto

By Mike Daikubara in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto used to be the capital of Japan for over a thousand years (before moving to Tokyo) and they also managed to keep the 'traditional Japanese look' throughout the entire city. It's a beautiful place being a tourist destination for not only people from over seas but for the locals as well.

It's been over 2 decades since I last visited Kyoto but I have many connections to this city. My brothers family lives here and so does my wife's sisters family. Kyoto is also considered a sister city of Boston. It's good to be back and to be able to explore this place for a few days.

The train ride from Osaka to Kyoto was really quick. 
Walking towards the in-laws house we passed by Yasaka Jinja - a well maintained shrine with lots of tourists as well as people praying by ringing the ceiling hung bell with the thick rope.

The next day we went to go see my brother-in law Yoshimasa Ishibashi's stage performance for the opening day of the Kyoto International movie festival. He's a Film director by profession and he conducted all the stage performance for this show. It was a free event so we arrived a few hours before the performance to get front row seats (well no seats but).
This was the perfect opportunity to get some sketching done.

After a couple hours of waiting, the stage performance by Maywa-Denki Finally started. I knew about them for years but this was the first time seeing them perform live on stage.
They're quite unusual in that everything they use to create music with is hand made and also quite strange. Whole lot of fun watching them though.

As it came near the end, lots of dance performers came out on stage and the giant 'Otamatone' Robot in the back started shooting flames from the mouth. It was a blast to watch.
I'm also glad we arrived early since this place was jam packed with people!

After the show I got to meet the person from Maywa-Denki as well as Yanobe Kenji, the artist that created the giant robot. I liked their autographs with little pictures they wrote on my sketchbook for me. The 3rd signature without the picture is my brother-in laws. These were the 3 people that created this show.

The next day I was able to meet up with some local sketchers for a few hours of sketching. Takeuma-San, who I had met through Flickr conducts monthly sketch outings in the Kyoto area and I was able to meet up with them at Nanzenji Temple.

The main gate was quite impressive in size and immediately caught my attention.
For a fee, people were able to climb up to the 2nd floor balcony.

Not sure what this building was but you were able to go inside.
I had to go back to meet up with the sketch groups so I ran out of time for this sketch.

Eikando is not part of Nanzenji but was walking distance and real close.
The leaves were starting to change color and that's when Kyoto gets lots of tourists. It was already quite beautiful so I could only imagine how much more amazing this place would look.

After the sketch session, we met at a nice Tea shop to chat and to show our sketches.
I also went out for a drink with Kato-san and Takeuma-San (the 2 people on the right) and had a blast. Thank you for your hospitality!

The next day was my last day before heading back to Tokyo.
My brother in-law told me about this impressive placed called "Sanju Sangen-do" which has 1001 Buddhist sculptures housed in it. I saw a picture and was immediate fascinated and went to go check it out.

The building was really long with a long narrow corridor inside that allowed you to see all the sculptures. I was told each sculpture had a different expression and if you looked hard, you were able to find one that looked like you. I had never seen anything like this and was quite impressed.

This place was also huge challenge for a sketcher - There were lots of people that needed to walk down this narrow corridor so there were no places to sit or even stand without being in the way of people.

In the center of the building I finally found a small standing spot right slightly out of traffic in front of the largest main Buddha so I began to sketch. 1.5 hours from Pen to Color,  I was completely wiped out from doing this sketch - physically and emotionally. It must have been the amount of people that were in close proximity to me as well as being surrounded by 1001 Buddhist sculptures.

I was quite happy to be able to get this sketch done though since right as I was finishing this up, a monk came to me and whispered to me that sketching was not allowed here.

Before leaving, I got another quick sketch. I wanted to see how many sculptures I could sketch but eventually ran out of energy....
I headed back to Tokyo that night feeling good about the sketches from Kyoto but also completely drained..

~ To be continued to part 4.





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