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

A Low Heart, Raised by Children's Voices

My heart is very low, as someone in our community died a few days ago. He was someone I loved dearly, and it's very hard to make sense of this dreadful business that dying is. I keep telling myself "People get sick, and they die," but it sounds meaningless. So I haven't felt like doing much since then, but life goes on, and there was my daughter and forty or fifty of her schoolmates to listen to yesterday evening as they raised their voices in song and performed Christmas carols in Orantown Shopping Centre in Oranmore, Co. Galway.

They sang Adeste Fideles and put their own word into the Latin...complete with moose-antler hand gestures, but I wasn't quick enough to draw those (one syllable's worth of time won't do it).

I loved their headgear. At the end of the recital they all threw their hats into the air and I saw a funny Grinchy one with broad red and white stripes, but my daughter tells me it was a floppy one and so it was lost in the sea of hats while I was drawing. But the pointy one under the word MOOSE is rigid - my daughter tells me it has a spring in it - and so it stood up proudly above the others.

Tommy is on the guitar. He is a living legend - my big sister, whose musical taste was so sophisticated that I could only look on in awe when I was a youngster, had a cassette of his that she used to play in the car - and that was twenty-five years ago. When I heard he was the music teacher in my kids' school I was agog. He's traditional music royalty and there's nothing he won't do for the kids. Fiddle, tin whistle, singing, guitar...the school and all the plays and dramas they do are always alive with music. And the lad on the right is Múinteoir Cormac. (Múinteoir is teacher in Irish). He's my daughter's teacher, and was my boy's teacher last year in his final year of primary school. He loves music more than anything and will get the class to sing without notice. My daughter loves it and often stops her homework to sing the songs she's learned that day, which can be extremely long, but she has a high, clear voice and I love to hear her. Such a beautiful lack of self-consciousness - long may it last. Apparently he often follows singing with maths, his second favourite thing in the world, so my daughter tells me there are often groans from her classmates when Cormac says they're going to do some singing. The big kid at the back with the beard is Múinteoir Pádhraig. He's a great fella for the music too and I believe his guitar is never far away during class.

Don't miss the kid in the snowman suit at the back on the left. I didn't do it much justice but that suit was wicked. It had big white googlie eyes and its own top hat.

I thought I'd have a captive audience with the singing but I forgot the thing about kids, which is that they are so fidgety, and there is always something interesting to stare at. So their heads twisted this way and that but on the whole it was fine and I was lucky.

I stood beside my friend Sarah and she told me a story of a Christmas present to a relative that wasn't appreciated, and I told her one of a dreadful thing that had happened one Christmas Day many years ago. We felt hugely better for the outrage we expressed on each others' behalfs, and the laughter that followed - she tells a good story, and I suspect I'm no slouch either, if her expression (all wide eyes and laughing mouth) was anything to go by. She kindly held my box of paints when she noticed that dilute watercolour was about to flow all over my coat. The box is too big to use while standing - I need to get a better system.

Looking at this picture makes me feel better.





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