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 – February 2015

Urban Sketchers Events and Workshops

Coventry is the location of
a new Urban Sketchers workshop.
A new Urban Sketchers workshop will be held in Coventry, England, this April! "Space Oddities - Pushing Your Sketching Boundaries in Coventry" will be led by Isabel Carmona, Swasky and Simone Ridyard. Hosted by the Herbert Gallery, the three-day workshop will focus on the theme, "Architecture and space. How do we represent space? Drawing is a matter of beliefs, do you believe in perspective?" Space is limited to 30 attendees, so sign up now!

Sunny San Diego (USA) will be the site of the third annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl Aug. 7 - 9, 2015. RSVP by e-mailing, and visit the event's Facebook page or blog for more details.

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

Urban Sketchers Costa Rica participate in a Moleskine event.
Urban Sketchers Costa Rica was invited by the local book store chain Libreria Internacional to participate in an event to launch and promote the Moleskine brand. The Jan. 21 event, which was held in Multiplaza Escazu Shopping Mall, attracted a crowd, said Julia Stephan. "Sketchers and visitors alike personalized their gratis Moleskine journals with word stamps, and our group produced great drawings of this fun event and people," Julia said.

Urban Sketchers Ukraine launched its first exhibition Jan. 18 at an "anti-cafe" in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine. According to Natalia Litvinenko, "Fourteen sketchers took the courage to tear their works out from their sketchbooks and displayed them as collages on cardboard paper on the walls." The result was "just as we aimed it - not official/snobbish/boring as it could have been had we placed them in a gray gallery." Natalia gave a presentation about Urban Sketchers on the opening night. Check out the photos from the preparations and the show opening on Facebook.

Sketches are being prepared for USk Ukraine's
exhibit in Kyiv.
Urban Sketchers Philippines welcomed the new year with a gathering and exhibit that opened Jan. 10 at Conspiracy Garden Café in Quezon City. The exhibit, “Rough Notations: drawings from direct observation,” ran through the end of January.

Urban Sketchers Tacoma (USA) received great coverage Jan. 2 in The News Tribune. The article, "Tacoma’s Urban Sketchers share in a community that goes way beyond Pierce County," includes an interview with organizers Frances Buckmaster, Rom LaVerdiere, Kate Buike and Mark Ryan. Attendance was up at a recent sketch gathering, thanks to the article's publicity.

USk Philippines began the new year with a group exhibition in Quezon City.

Sketchers in Action

Bethann Merkle is offering a workshop called "Field Sketching: Drawn to Natural History" in Glacier National Park, Montana (USA). The June 19 workshop will include 5 to 6 hours in the field exploring a variety of observational sketching and journal techniques.

Speaking of Bethann, an Arizona Daily Star photographer caught the Laramie, WY (USA), artist working on field sketches for a commissioned book about desert bighorn sheep in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

A sketch of Florence by Alvin Mark Tan in his new book, Ciao Firenze.
Alvin Mark Tan, an urban sketcher from Singapore, is currently living in Florence, Italy. He just published Ciao Firenze, his second published sketchbook, "a collection of ink, watercolour, and gouache sketches on the beautiful renaissance city of Florence."

Seattle (USA) urban sketcher and architect Stephanie Bower will offer an architectural sketching workshop in Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy, June 26 - July 2. The workshop focuses on perspective and watercolor sketching in the picturesque, ancient hilltown north of Rome. Stephanie will also be offering her popular "Good Bones" workshop in Seattle this spring.

Marc Holmes has a new video course on drawing people in action.
Montreal (Canada) urban sketcher Marc Holmes has just launched a video course on Called "Drawing People in Action," the course is "aimed right at urban sketchers - people who are already doing visual journeying and want to get better at capturing spontaneous portraits and include action into their sketching," said Marc. Right now, Marc is offering a special deal to readers of Drawing Attention! The first 50 urban sketchers who e-mail him (marc(dot)taro(at) and say they saw this offer will receive a 50% discount.

St. Paul (USA) urban sketchers Ken and Roberta Avidor made the news again Jan. 5 for capturing "life in the Twin Cities with pen and paper" in the St. Paul Star Tribune. The car-free couple commute by bicycle, which enables them to see -- and sketch -- more of their city. "It's easier to stop and turn around when we see something that interests us," Roberta said, quoted in the article.

Reportager, in partnership with Moleskine, announces a call for submissions for the 2015 Reportager Award. The award is intended to encourage new, existing and emerging talent and projects in the area of reportage and documentary drawing. Several levels of prizes will be awarded, including an additional opportunity for entries produced on Moleskine notebooks. Terms and conditions, guidelines and an application form are on the Reportager website.

A Couple of Chuckles

You've probably already seen Hallie Bateman's comic guide published in the Awl, "How to Draw People on the Subway." But have you read The Onion's Jan. 20 article, "Artist Always Carries Around Sketchbook In Case He Feels Like Making Someone Uncomfortable"?

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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