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

Drawing Attention – January 2015

Happy 2015, sketchers! 

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

A sketch by Luís Ançã is shwon in a window in Elvas.
Urban Sketchers Portugal is pleased to introduce its official Facebook page, which opened in December. In less than a week, the group had more than a thousand followers, said Mário Linhares. Check out USk Portugal's sketches and follow them!

USk Portugal has more exciting news: Back in 2013, the chapter was invited to sketch in Elvas (near Spain). "This year, the local Association AIAR and the city council invited us to use our sketches in old and closed shop windows and doors," said Mário Linhares. Shown here is a photo of a window displaying a sketch by Luís Ançã.

Welcome to three more new USk groups:

Although Urban Sketchers Tacoma (USA) has been meeting for more than a year and posting their sketches on Flickr, the group just established its brand new "official" USk blog.

Another recently formed group is Urban Sketchers Thailand, which has been posting sketches to its Facebook page since December.

Southampton (UK) Urban Sketchers formed last April with just a "handful" of sketchers but now has more than 100 members on its Facebook page.

Urban Sketchers Yorkshire sketch before scoffing!
Urban Sketchers Yorkshire celebrated Christmas with some fun sketching activities, according to Lynne Chapman, hostess of the festivities. "Everyone contributed food, which we piled up onto the dining table. Before we scoffed the pudding course, we sketched it, directly into the white paper tablecloth. One of our members brought a stack of paper espresso cups . . . Everyone sketched what they could see round a cup. Then we played sketch speed-dating: We squeezed about 15 people round the table and had two minutes to draw the person opposite. Then . . . we all had to move round one seat and start again, for another two minutes." Great indoor sketching ideas for those of us enjoying the colder months!

Urban Sketchers Chile sketching at Liceo de Aplicación.
In December, Urban Sketchers Chile sketched at Liceo de Aplicación, a high school in the ancient heritage district, the Concha y Toro. According to Rosario Muñoz Gajardo, the sketchers drew in three stations, portraying "the majesty of the school's construction, combined with murals painted by students. The auditorium, with its dome, decoration, iron beams and stained glasses, generated a bright and elegant environment that we simply could not avoid to sketch," Rosario said. The group later exhibited previous sketches at a seminar about the neighborhood taking place in Liceo. "At this meeting there was a sense of community and complicity that motivates us to continue with our encounters," she said.

The online publication Design Arts Daily published a story about Urban Sketchers New York City, including photos of a recent gathering at Winter Garden and an exhibition at SVA Chelsea Galleries.

Sketchers in Action

Paul Wang's sketch is published in National Geographic Traveller.
Singapore urban sketcher Paul Wang's sketch of Penang's Armenian street is featured in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of  National Geographic Traveller. Paul said he is "super thrilled" to have his work published for the first time in an international magazine.

The UK edition of the Huffington Post ran a story Oct. 9 about City Stories, Urban Sketchers' project sponsored by the popular notebook manufacturer Moleskine. The article featured Adebanji Alade, Olha Pryymak, James Hobbs and Andrea Joseph, the four sketchers who participated in the event in Covent Garden, London.

The online publication MinnPost of Minneapolis-St. Paul (USA) published an article about avid urban sketchers and committed bike commuters Ken and Roberta Avidor
 Dec. 19. "They sketch at every opportunity, cataloging people, places and things easily missed by those zipping by in their cars," the article said about the car-free couple. The article mentions the Avidors' enthusiastic membership in Twin Cities USk and MetroSketchers.

Stockholm (Sweden) urban sketcher Nina Johansson's exhibition of 96 sketches opened Dec. 5 at Spårvägsmuséet in Stockholm. Titled "Stadssamlaren" (The City Collector), the show includes floor stickers of sketched utility covers and her sketch kit.

Some of Kumi Matsukawa's sketched fans at Cafe Chalote.
Tokyo (Japan) urban sketcher Kumi Matsukawa will have an exhibition at Cafe Chalote of sketches she makes on traditional uchiwa fans. The exhibit runs Jan. 5 - 28.

Hugo Costa is offering a drawing workshop with the Architecture Association of Valencia (Spain). The Jan. 29 workshop will feature illustration, comics, graffiti and urban sketching.

After the announcement Dec. 17 that the US would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, several urban sketchers blogged about visits they had made to Cuba, including Lapin (Barcelona), Melanie Reim (US) and Jim Richards (US). Then a call went out on Facebook inviting more sketchers to post their sketches of Cuba, and many others responded. See the USk blog for sketches and stories by Laura Ruccolo (France),  Gustavo Racca (Brasil),  Sue Pownall (UK), Eugene Zhilinsky (Canada) and  Félix Tamayo (Spain).

Shout it Out in Drawing Attention

Not seeing anything about you or your Urban Sketchers group in Drawing Attention? Then we want to hear from you! Please send your urban sketching news items with links and images to: Or tag me, Tina Koyama, on news you post on the Urban Sketchers Facebook page. Subscribe by e-mail. Happy sketching!




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