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

Good Days in Galway

By Róisín Curé in Galway, Ireland

Ah small part of Galway has once again cast off its cloak of misery and gloom, winter has fled to the north somewhere and we're all basking in sunshine. I was doing stupid stuff in front of a screen and then I had to get out so I stuffed my sketch kit and folding stool into a rucksack, hopped on my bike and sped off, my head at a funny angle because the stool was digging into my neck. The hedgerows smelled marvellous - is that what fresh new nettles smell like? - dandelions of the most intense yellow had just made their late-spring arrival and the sun cast neon blue shadows of leafless trees onto the twisting country roads. I considered stopping and drawing them, but I had a destination, so I pressed on. Then I remembered that if the sun went in, sketching the trees' shadows would come to an abrupt end anyway.

I stopped at Killeenaran Quay and whipped out the sketching stuff. The tide was very low: it's a spring tide, one of the few times you can reach Island Eddy on foot.

I was determined to capture those rivulets of water in the mud. The sunshine made it all a lot easier - there's nothing like strong shadows to give you a short cut to a successful sketch, because it's so much easier to see edges of things, and of course the contrasts are much better defined.

I sat in perfect happiness for a long time - in fact I was late for my next appointment - but it's days like this that you remember why you're so grateful to have the means to make sketches. 

Yesterday I sketched as my kids launched their Optimists down the slip at Galway Bay Sailing Club:

I had to be extremely fast because the little lads and lassies were so eager to get into the water. Sure, the bay looked heavenly in the sunshine, but the kids are always eager to launch, whatever the weather. This isn't my normal way to sketch (I'm usually much more tight and careful) but needs must, and within a few minutes all the boats were gone. I didn't really mind being forced to stop as my fingers were numb anyway from the previous sketch I'd done, of the boats still in dry dock in the sailing club. I had started it a few weeks earlier, but gave it up yesterday as a bad job soon after I started, because stuff had moved since my last visit to the site three weeks earlier. This is only part of it - it's about three times the size, so you can't see the lovely blue sky above the clouds.

I wasn't sorry to go indoors and chat with some of the other parents who had brought their kids to Sunday sailing. "What I like about sailing," said one other mother, "is that you can actually get involved. With Irish dancing all you do is ferry the kids around - you can't do anything but sit on a chair for two hours." The mum in question is amazing - she helps her son rig and de-rig his boat. My husband helps our kids too (and berates them loudly for not doing it themselves, since they're supposed to be learning to do it all alone), but all I do is sit around and sketch. I should maybe have felt guilty for doing nothing to help, but I didn't. Instead I looked around the clubhouse and saw some lovely flags, and thus spent the rest of the time sketching while the kids larked about on the beautiful blue playground that is Galway Bay.

The flags were an urban sketcher's idea of heaven, incorporating interesting shapes, bright and varied colours - and they didn't move, or not more than the gentle breeze from the open door could manage.

Sitting in my kids' sailing club while they have a good time. A sunny Sunday afternoon, left in peace to sketch. Irish flags everywhere. These are definitely the good days.

More of my work here.





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