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

Meet the Parents: Easter Weekend at the Seaside

by Róisín Curé in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

My family and I went to Bray to see my parents for Easter weekend.

On Saturday I found myself at a loose end. I'm a bit out of practice at this, so I wondered what to do. Then I remembered I'm an urban sketcher! My parents live on the very highest road in Bray, on the slopes of the schist promontory that comprises Bray Head, near the Cliff Walk. I strolled for a few minutes up the road, catching glimpses of sky and sea in the gaps between the houses as I walked. I took up a position on a viewing platform at the edge of a car park, and sketched the people as they walked up the path which starts at the end of the beach and winds its way up to the car park. I felt guilty to be sitting still as they exerted themselves (although later on that day I joined the ranks of the purple-faced after an invigorating walk of my own along the seafront).

It was a great pleasure to sit in the sun and quietly observe the passers-by: how they interacted with each other, their children and their dogs. I noticed that there were disproportionately large numbers of non-English speakers enjoying the day out: lots of Eastern European, Brazilian / Portuguese, Chinese and Indian voices drifted up to me as I sketched. Dogs would be introduced to each other and a fight would immediately break out. Children were continually told to stay close, even though I couldn't see any danger at all (and I always imagine the worst). Photos were taken and rude words were substituted for "cheese" - by children of no more than about five years old.

The shadows grew longer. Bray has been a watering-hole since Victorian times and retains a very strong look and feel of the period. I felt oppressed by its drabness as a kid: now my own children say they want to live there when they grow up. But all they know is the seafront and taking the scenic route home, walking past perfectly tended gardens with ice creams in their paws.

Far below me, day trippers walked along the wet sand. I struggled in vain to capture the throng of people, ice cream parlours, cars, Victorian hotels - both miserably dilapidated and expensively renovated - and rather smart townhouses that make up Bray Seafront. I produced a woefully inadequate sketch of the busy-ness and mayhem. I'd say I'd go back and finish it but it will never be the first day of real sunshine again, with the tide exactly just-so.

Below are two drawings from an earlier visit to the seafront, done on overcast days and with none of the delightful sunshine of this weekend.

A drawing done at the same time of year, of one of the candy-striped kiosks opposite the strip of Victorian hotels, selling blow-up toys and ice cream...

...and one done in August of the same year, of the gaudy ice cream parlours at the beginning of the strip of Victorian hotels, selling ice cream and blow-up toys...

But back to this weekend. Earlier on Saturday, my older daughter and had I made a cheesecake for Easter Sunday, the recipe for which she had found on her phone. The main ingredients were sugar, fat, chocolate, cream, cheese, sugar and fat. When I took it out of the oven the underside of the tin felt as if it had washing-up liquid on it - all the fat had collected underneath. But after it had cooled down and a few baby chickens had landed on top, it looked and tasted wonderful. There's a very good reason that it was hanging around long enough to be drawn - no one could manage any more. In the older generations' case, that was because we don't have the constitutions we once did. In the case of my three children, it was because they were stuffed silly with Easter eggs, left in the garden by a huge bunny that hops from garden to garden over all the fences.

It was tremendously soothing to sit with my family outside in my mother's beautiful garden and eat a very leisurely lunch. My mum came to Ireland from Canada back in '61. She has never stopped missing it: she still talks of the crisp, clean air, the bright, golden days of winter and warm summers of Montreal. On hot days in Ireland ever since, she has never missed a chance to soak up a few rays, whereas my father (like me) finds direct afternoon sun too much to bear.

Back in Galway, teaching enthusiastic youngsters about the joys of watercolour, and the sun is still shining. I'm taking a leaf out of my mother's book, catching every ray that I can, and she's even inspired me to clean up the garden.
Maybe I'll copy her style even further and try to cop a snooze outdoors after a long lunch - or maybe it's a dream I'll have to keep on hold for another little while.

More of my work can be seen on my blog here

Postscript: I'm afraid I have to correct my assertion that there was no danger for the walkers' children. After mocking them for their paranoia, I found out a day or two ago that there was an attempted abduction of an 11-year-old girl along the seafront a short while ago. The would-be kidnapper didn't know that that the child's mother was not far away (buying ice cream, of course) and he was unsuccessful. So there you go - danger really does lurk everywhere (but it was ever thus).





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