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

Vietnam - Street Scenes and Landscapes

Guest Post by Peter Andrews, Terrigal, Australia

Vietnam is a place of contrasts between the energy and chaos of the cities and the serenity of the charming rural landscapes, coastline and World Heritage Sites. I have tried to capture this contrast in the sketches I made during a recent visit with my partner over 2014/2015 Christmas New Year Period. I hope you enjoy them.

Street Scenes
Life is lived on the streets. Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City are noisy, bustling with activity and strange smells.

Hanoi still retains some of its fine colonial French architecture but this tends to be subsumed in the mass of wiring, signs, makeshift shades and awnings, add-on structures, aerials, merchandise, temporary kitchens scattered amongst an endless sea of parked motorbikes and push-bikes.  

Ho Chi Min City is home to around 12 million people and it seems they all own a motorbike.

Ho Chi Min City - The Ben Thanh Market is an amazing place to spend a few hours.

Landscapes, Coastlines and World Heritage Sites
The day trip to Ha Long was a spur-of-the-moment decision, but it turned out to be a fantastic day. I was working between an A5 and A6 Moleskine. Because the boat was moving, the view was constantly changing. I had to work very fast to get the scenes onto paper. Lunch gave me an opportunity to add some wash. 

Ha My Beach is home to a number of small fishing villages.

Ha My Beach Restaurant

Ha My Beach - the round, shell-like boats are made from waterproofed canvas stretched over a frame, and simply left on the beach. This sketch was an exception to my normal technique.
This is drawn on a 20x40cm 300gsm watercolour paper. It is much larger than I would normally use – reflected in the finer line work and detail. It took a little longer because I was working at a bigger scale.

My Son Sanctuary 

Hue – Imperial Palace

 Hoi An, Lunar Festival

I like to work fast, try not to over think what I am doing and let the sketch emerge. I usually draw standing up. I don’t use set-up lines, and leave the pen on the paper most of the time – not continuous line drawing but tending towards it. Increasingly I am sketching over two pages – I like the exaggerated horizontal format without the need to carry a large sketchpad. The join in the centre of the two pages influences the composition; I don't want it to occur on a complex part of the scene – sometimes I use it to divide the composition into two parts.

I enjoy the immediacy of black and white and it allows me to carry the minimum amount of material and equipment. Usually I fit everything in my pocket (no backpack to weigh me down).
Landscape format A5 or A6 size watercolour Moleskine that will fit in my pocket.
Felt pen or rollerball pen (sometimes I just carry the refill because it is smaller and you don’t really need the rest of the pen). I have tested different pens and refills because I like to use water-soluble ink. Although the pens I use are black, when the line work is washed it will change colour, sometimes sepia, sometimes blue and sometimes a purple tinge, depending on the paper type or pen I am using. When I don’t want the line work to dissolve, I use a colourfast non-soluble ink pen like Rotring Tikky or Micron.

I have started to carry a water brush pen – in the past I would simply apply a wash with my finger and whatever medium I could find – water, coffee, coke or wine – coffee and red wine add an interesting colour to the wash.

Much of the work is deliberately small so that when it is enlarged it becomes grainy and starts to fracture. It becomes more like graffiti, particularly when it is blown up on a large format plotter to A2 or A1 size.

Peter Andrews is an Architect and Urban Designer from Terrigal, Australia. You can see more images of Peter's Vietnam trip and other works on his Flickr site Panda1Grafix.





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