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

Pushing Your Sketching Boundaries in Oxford - 2015

Contact: e-mail Isabel: for information and a registration form.
Oxford is one of the greatest cities in the heart of England - the city of dreaming spires - Everywhere you go there are beautiful locations, people, cyclists and loads of stories to tell.

We have organised six different locations for the 3 day workshop and you would be experiencing them all,  from the quirky Oxford University Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museums to Radcliffe Square within the Bodleian Library complex, the Oxford Covered Market, scenes from Broad St by the Sheldonian Theatre and St Aldate’s streets and the views from Christ Church Meadow.

Join Urban Sketchers Isabel Carmona, Miguel Herranz and Swasky for 3 full days workshop that will get you to know Oxford intimately and to develop your personal urban sketching techniques.

The workshop will be hosted Museum of Oxford where we will start and end each day and we will put up a developing exhibition of our work created during each day in their gallery space. After the workshop, the exhibition will continue at the Museum until the end of July.

It will be fun but hard work, as you will be enjoying learning and experimenting all the  time, trying out different ways of drawing, sketching and using colour without fear, sharing the work we do and discussing our findings intensely.  There are no mistakes in urban sketching only lessons.

Each of the instructors will explore different themes of urban sketching.

Colour in the eye of the beholder (Isabel)
Isabel’s theme is Colour:  we all see colour different, as colour is light reflected and perceived by us on the back of the eye and stimuli sent to our brains. 
How many times have you argued about What colour is this?
Using watercolour as the main medium, we'll explore the idea of colour and contrast as the starting point of a sketch.
In this workshop we'll start with colour (in watercolour) to abstract what we see, using colour boldly and with strong contrast. Drawing can take place later either with more colour more linear marks or with pen if preferred.

colour shapes first - linear marks later

The process will help participants to think about a sketch from the general (capturing your vision of colour and the big picture in blocks) to the particular (adding detail and focus gradually). Key points are contrast, strong complementary colours, light and shade, colour marks.

Capturing the picture in big blocks of colour

As the main working tool is watercolour, we'll experiment with creating various marks using brushstroke and varying our marks from broad strokes of colour to fine lines…
We will talk about colour, perception, abstraction and individuality.

Don't worry if you have not used watercolour before, the basics will be covered. If you've used watercolour before, be prepared to use strong colours!

Exercise of building up layers of colour in watercolour

Thin line, bold sketch (Miguel)
Miguel’s theme is Line.
Following the line to see what it shows you over the paper, to wander between life and drawing, to see how your hand, your pen and your line give can give themselves another different life to the drawing.

We will experiment how to sketch spaces with no reference or erasable tools (no rulers, measures or pencils) in order to be able to put invisible reference points, add or divide dimensions, checking  depths, heights and tilts on your paper just working with your eyes and mind. This will allow you to draw much slower but to finish the sketch much faster.

The second exercise will be spiral drawing, which do not mean drawing spirals, but taking a main favorite little focus point that takes our attention and to draw it on the center of the page. Then drawing everything around following a spiral movement to avoid losing the reference of the focus point but letting it grow to all the page surface in a some kind of “organic” way.

Drawing people from Lilliput to Gulliver’s (Swasky)
Drawing people is the most scary topic,  even if we assume we know how to draw buildings. It is the most difficult for everybody, even for me. So let's go a bit further, we will work most of time in the middle of nowhere, there where nobody doesn't want to go. Unpleasant feelings will be our first sensations but after a little bit of theory we will see that it is not so difficult. The human body is just a question of how we see things. Exercises will focus in drawing crowded scenes or locations where people are gathered. Little by little we will increase difficulty, following a push and pull learning strategy.
6 or 10 seconds sketch. Starting up our approach to draw people.
While capturing people in motion is often a challenge, this workshop will begin with some indicators about how to let go of the fear of drawing people, how to identify the body language. We will also notice all the stories that are behind each place in relationship to the people.

From the body to the face. People on place and context.
We will work hard and on location, drawing as much as we can and trying to capture body language and face expressions.

Drawing commuters on the train. Face expression.
Learning goals
  • Pushing participants out of their comfort zone, at their own level. From beginners starting to sketch to more confident participants, we aim to teach you something new and push you outside your boundaries, helping you experiment.

  • Experiment with different techniques and ways of approaching a live sketch situation, helping you find your own self expression.
  • Using and trying different approaches - line drawing with pens and pencils,watercolours and colour in different media, textures, light and shade, mark making tools
  • Using more colour and texture and making you think about how do you represent what you see and to develop your own way of representing what you see in colour with confidence
  • Losing the fear to draw people
  • People, context and the story underneath.

Workshop Schedule
Tuesday 7 July
Welcome in the Museum of Oxford in our meeting space, in the evening at 4.30pm.

Wednesday 8 July
9.00am -9.30am Welcome at the Museum of Oxford
9.30am-12.30pm Isa, Miguel and Swasky workshops
12.30pm- 2.00pm Lunch
2.00pm - 4.00pm Isa, Miguel and Swasky workshops
4.00pm -5.30pm Review and exhibition pin up

Thursday 9 July
9.00am -9.30am Meeting at the Museum of Oxford
9.30am-12.30pm Isa, Miguel and Swasky workshops
12.30pm- 2.00pm Lunch
2.00pm - 4.00pm Isa, Miguel and Swasky workshops
4.00pm -5.30pm Review and exhibition pin up

Friday 10 July
9.00am -9.30am Meeting at the Museum of Oxford
9.30am-12.30pm Isa, Miguel and Swasky workshops
12.30pm- 2.00pm Lunch
2.00pm - 4.00pm Isa, Miguel and Swasky workshops
4.00pm -5.30pm Review and exhibition pin up
Works' exhibition Opening. Exhibition continues to end of July

Saturday 11 July

10.00pm -5.00pm Sketchcrawl in Oxford - USk London will join us

30 attendees maximum, 18 minimum. Any level of drawing experience is welcome


A list will be provided for participants - generally bring what you normally draw with.This is what Isabel and Swasky work with:

Registration fee
£ 225 - (£180 concessions - 20% discount for students 
or unwaged -with proof of concession status)
To book - e-mail Isabel: for a registration form.

Cancellation policy: All fees are fully refundable if cancelled prior to 22 June 2015. If cancelled after 22 June, a £25 cancellation fee will be retained. In the event of too few registrants, all monies will be refunded.
Workshop map
Oxford 2015 Worskshop map

About the instructors
Isabel is Spanish but studied in UK where she practices as an architect and artist. Her passion is watercolour, easy to carry around and sketch on the go and likes experimenting and mixing media to get interesting effects. Isabel started sketching in 1993 as part of her architecture training and continues to this day. She joined Urban Sketchers Spain in 2011 and USK London in 2014.  As an artist she is part of West Berkshire and North Hampshire Open Studios scheme and joined the Oxford Printmakers Cooperative in 2013.
After a long career as advertising creative in Spain and Italy, Miguel becomes a freelance illustrator a few years ago. Working all day with digital media drove him back towards the live touch of the sketchbook that had finally grown to become his main medium of expression.
Swasky. Born and raised in Barcelona, Swasky has been drawing most of his lifetime, but when he finished his BFA he left drawing because he tried to start working. Then he decided to start again a degree in Audiovisual Communication. Once he fulfill his second degree he worked in an advertising production company, RCR, disappointed with a job so stressful and invidious he left his job and run a shop. With a new life he started drawing again.  




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