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 street scenes in ink only

 by Liz Steel in Sydney, Australia

Something quite surprising has happened to me in the last few weeks… I have stopped using my watercolour paints and instead have been totally addicted to sketching just using pen!

It all started with this sketch that I did in the final hour of a recent trip to Tasmania, where I was making a more conscious effort to sketch street scenes. I was on my way back to the car to drive straight to the airport, it was about to rain, and I didn't want to get out all my paints and do one of my usual quick ink and wash sketches. So instead I just pulled out my Sailor Pen with a bent calligraphy nib and drew the view of Arthurs Circus standing up. It was so quick and easy, and I found that without the distraction of thinking about colour, I was able to focus more on the space and the tone. It was also nice to have a standing perspective. When you sit on the ground or on a stool, your view is below the natural eyeline of walking through the streets - how we actually experience the city.

Once I got to my car I did another one before driving off - I have this terrible habit for trying to squeeze 'one more sketch in' when I should be just moving on! This time I was thinking about how to explain tone, colour and texture with my lines…. and after this sketch, I knew that I was hooked.

A few weeks ago we had our monthly USK Sydney meeting at the Five Ways intersection in Paddington. We had set a challenge of 'five ways at Five ways' and with all my organising responsibilities, I knew that it would be hard to get five ink and wash sketches done.  A lot of you know that I normally use a very quick gestural form of setup, but on this occasion I went straight for ink.

I really wanted to focus on accuracy and recording the sense of place as I stood on each of the five corners, and once again because I was only using one tool, I found it easier than I expected.

When I started sketching regularly 8 years ago, the fact that I wanted to paint helped me push through the drawing in order to get to the colour - the next stage pushed me ahead.  In a way, this is the opposite - because I am not even thinking about painting, I am liberated to try more complex scenes - I am drawing rapidly but with a degree of accuracy that I am pleased with (of course it can always be better). You can see the full set from this day in Paddington here. I also have written a blog post about measuring and accuracy on my blog here.

Anyway, I am buzzing! Instead of my usual sketches where I explore the architectural design of a single building, I am wanting to draw the whole scene, and do this in my usual spontaneous and quick way. Instead of colour, I am loving the decision making of how to treat colour vs tone vs texture with line. Here is a watercolour sketch of a single building on The Corso Manly that I did in October, contrasting with my sketch from a few weeks ago - wanting to draw The Corso as a whole.

I am still doing my cups of tea in paint (hold on… there has been more coffee lately…what is going on?), but the main excitement is my panoramic scenes.

I never know what direction my creative journey will head next, but I sure enjoy the ride where ever it takes me. I am sure my colour will come back soon, but I am enjoying this period to focus on accuracy in my drawings, my lines and marks. And especially that it is enabling me to tackle more complex scenes that tell a richer story about where I am.





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