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

Trevor Dickinson's Ironic eye for Australia

Interview by Murray Dewhurst

I’ve enjoyed your sketches on Flickr now for some time, they stand out with your distinctive style, characterised by strong hatching, can you tell us a bit about how your style developed?

The Aboriginal Embassy, Canberra
As a boy I loved Marvel comics, I read the British black and white reprints and I think the lack of colour helped me focus on, and fall in love with, the drawing. I would copy them badly and realise how out of my league the artists were; it started my lifelong interest in line art.  
Fast forward to 2009, I was well into a career as a textile designer and had immigrated to Australia (I'm from Swindon, England originally) and was looking for a way to connect with the country, so I began to go out sketching.  My big inspiration at this stage was Robert Crumb.  It wasn’t so much his comic art I was looking at, it was the drawings of forests and streets in France that hooked me. His work is technically brilliant and precise, but still feels fresh and loose, it definitely opened a door for me.

Sunset Caravan Park, Woolgoolga, NSW
What I find even more interesting than your technique though is your sense of humour. It’s your eye for the bizarre in the everyday that often brings a smile to my face. Does where you come from originally effect your view of Australia or have you always had an eye for the odd or ridiculous regardless of where you live?

Anyone who travels to a foreign country will see it with fresh eyes and this is what I want to represent.  I usually aim to have some kind of new angle to the subjects and finding a good visual gag on the street is enough to make me spend time drawing it.  I was initially trying to highlight elements that were different to the UK but it soon morphed into an obsession with drawing under-represented details. I think these speak volumes about an urban environment. I also like the ground level localism that the drawings appeal to.  So I draw signs, billboards,  postboxes, urban trees, bus shelters etc. I do my best to find the ridiculous whenever possible, but sometimes the humour is just in the fact that I have spent three hours on a sad drawing of an overflowing wheelie bin.
Local Signwriting, Newcastle
What materials and setup do you use when you sketch on site? (how long do you usually
sketch for, do you put down pencil first or rip straight in, etc, etc)

I draw with Rotring Tikki pens, usually 0.5 size.  I also use pen and ink occasionally.
I sometimes go straight into them without any pencil work, I like being forced to keep the mistakes; it gives the drawings a human quality.  If it’s a drawing that I want to colour and sell as a print I might spend a bit longer and use a pencil to plot it out.

Parkes Wa, Canberra
‘The love shack’ and ‘Share a coke with a christian’ - Does it take time to find these gems or do you just stumble upon them?

A bit of both, I’m always on the lookout for subjects and I find cycling is the best way to search for things and often I go out on my bike with a sketchbook and foldup stool to scour areas I’m not too familiar with.  I always have a list of potential drawings that I intend to get to.
I used to be a dispatch rider in London and I’d bike from one end of town to the other without taking in any of the details, it’s easy to slip into that way of traveling again and I fight against it. I still discover subjects that I have passed many times but not noticed, it’s about being in the right frame of mind and always looking.

Bondi Icebergs, Sydney
315 High Street, Maitland, NSW

How does your sketching on location tie in to your art practice -
I see some of them end up as posters?

Amazingly my city drawings have become a full time job.  Coming from a commercial background I always like to have an end product and I initially collected the drawings into zines, then I printed alternative tourist tea-towels and made cards.  This progressed to selling editions of digital prints, some are inspired by travel posters.  I now have a body of work from Newcastle, Canberra and some Sydney.  The drawings have also led to a few large mural commissions and, although it’s a lot of work, I find I can make a living from the art.
In 2016 I have an exhibition in Maitland Regional Art Gallery NSW.  It will be a portrait of Maitland which is a small Australian city about thirty minutes from where I live. It’s the perfect size to get to know fairly quickly, I can’t wait to search for and collect all those odd details that give the city it’s character.

Visit Trevor's Flickr or website to see more
of his work.





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