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 - Final Week

By Mike Daikubara in Tokyo and Hakone, Japan

Waiting for my old friend for dinner, I was able to capture this right in front of Shibuya Scramble crossing with crazy amount of people crossing. I wanted to actually sketch the famous dog sculpture "Hachiko" (as seen in the green stamp below) but it turned out that the area was a dedicated smoking section making it hard to sketch.


For dinner we went to a restaurant that served one of my favorite foods I could rarely get outside of Japan - Dojou! Dojou is a Japanese loach, a small eel-like freshwater fish which is quite disgusting in appearance but prepared correctly, the taste is amazing. Many Japanese hate it or actually cannot eat it due to the appearance, but at the same time many people love it and is treated as a delicacy.
I fall into the latter and love Dojou. Here's all the various types of Dojou's I had as well as other delicacies that are hard to get outside of this country.

For lunch the next day I had Udon Noodles at a fairly standard franchise type of restaurant. Yet they had somebody making hand made udon at the store front so I got a quick sketch along with my Tempura Udon which was excellent.


At Shinjuku station I met up with my uncle to head out to Hakone for the weekend.
I haven't  been to Shinjiku station in about 20 years and was completely lost since I couldn't believe how much they expanded this station, mostly deep underground.
Here's my Shirasu Bento (Dried Anchovy)  I had for lunch as well as the 'Romance Car' train which we took to Hakone.

Romance Car

Arriving at Hakone Station, my uncle told me we had 15 minutes before our bus arrived and asked me if I wanted to sketch the scenery.  There was no way I could sketch this in 15 minutes but I took up the challenge and believe I at least was able to capture the feeling (color was added later). The scene was quite stunning and wish I had more time. Hakone Station

20 minute by bus, we arrived at our Ryokan Hotel - KAI Hakone.
My uncle had arranged everything about this trip so I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the Hotel was. Probably the nicest Japanese style hotel I have ever stayed in.

The room was vertically long but had small alcoves on the sides to break up the bathroom, tiny bar sink area, and an area for lights/decoration. The rear balcony faced the mountain and a stream - stunning view!

When sketching hotel rooms I usually find something really intriguing about the room. In this case it was the fact that they allowed customers to smoke in all rooms and there was not a dedicated smoking/non smoking room.  I had a hard time believing this because I could not smell a bit of any remainders of the smoke in the room.
Well, it turned out they had a hidden window behind a Shoji Panel, as well as windows on the side of the room too. I would imagine opening all the doors, windows and balcony would allow great ventilation in the room. Quite clever.

KAI Hakone

After the mystery was solved, I went to enjoy the hot springs onsen bath - another stunning design where the back of the bath room had no wall and just faced the mountain. It was a little cold at first but once your submerged into the hot onsen bath, it was heaven.
Onsen bath

Dinner was kaiseki style and was amazing.
What I love about Kaiseki style is that small beautiful dishes with beautifully prepared food is brought out one at a time - perfect for sketching! 

Dinner @ Kai Hakone

And here's breakfast.
Each meal came with a hand written menu by the head chef of the restaurant. (similar to the writing in the sketch)
There was so much food that I felt like I ate for the entire week....

Breakfast @ kai Hakone

The next day we took a relaxing sight seeing trip to Kamakura with the Enoden Train - a very popular 2 train car that runs along the sea side. Here my uncle's reading the paper on the train. Enoden

Well, that's it for my recent trip to Japan.
I already miss Japan but it's good to be back home in Boston too.

In case you missed it and are interested in the sketches from the previous weeks, here they are:
Part 1 - Tokyo
Part 2 - Osaka and Nara
Part 3 - Kyoto





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