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 Attention – May 2015

Urban Sketchers Events and Workshops

You still have time to register for the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore July 22-25. Workshop passes are still available – get them while they last! Unlimited sketching passes are available. Join us for the fun!

Sketch in Naples with Simo Capecchi and Caroline Peyron! This exciting workshop in October will feature painting on Ischia Island around Aragonese Castle. Plein air oil painter Kelly Medford will demo oil painting techniques.

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

Urban Sketchers Switzerland received fantastic television coverage in March on the Swiss National Television program "Kulturplatz." The program featured urban sketchers Boris Zatko, Urs Lauber and Andre Sandmann. In addition to showing sketchers in action, the show featured Andre talking about Urban Sketchers and the USk blog. The program has been broadcasted in Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

See the work of Urban Sketchers Montreal (Canada) in "Draw Me a Mountain," an exhibition opening May 2. Visitors to Montreal can enjoy the show and Montreal's central park weekends through May. 

Urban Sketchers Sao Paolo
Urban Sketchers Sao Paolo (Brazil) recently sketched at Santa Casa de Sao Paulo, a hospital founded in 1560. The "neogothic buildings make you feel like you are in a Harry Potter movie," described Ronaldo Kurita. The hospital board appreciated the sketches so much that the work was featured on the hospital's website gallery and social media.

And speaking of USk Sao Paolo, the group will be celebrating its 50th sketch gathering May 9 by sketching at Largo Sao Francisco in old downtown Sao Paolo.

Urban Sketchers Chicago (USA) is pleased to host its second annual Sketch Seminar July 11 - 12. While sketching at various sites throughout downtown Chicago, instructors will present inspiring workshops on urban sketching. "We are very excited to be able to welcome sketchers to our wonderful city and create sketching and learning opportunities for people," said Alex Zonis.

Urban Sketchers France was featured in the Modern Art Paris Pompidou Center Library's magazine. Nicolas Beudon is featured talking about the the worldwide USk movement and France's local group. The article includes sketches by Emily Nudd-Mitchell and Christine Deschamps.

Urban Sketchers O‘ahu takes an innovative approach on its blog: In addition to finished sketches, members share and discuss process sketches.

Sketchers in Action

Marc Taro Holmes is just back from Richmond, Virginia (USA), where he taught an Urban Sketchers workshop at the  Virginia Centre for Architecture. Marc has generously shared the full text of the workshop exercises on his blog.

Kate Buike's sketches of Little Free Libraries
Seattle (USA) urban sketcher Kate Buike has been sketching Little Free Libraries in her community. Those sketches have just been published in The Little Free Library Book, a history and resource of this innovative worldwide program to encourage reading and sharing of books.

As part of the American Institute of Architects national convention in Atlanta (USA) this month, five instructors will present a day of urban sketching, said Scott Renk, one of the instructors. The sold-out event is designed to encourage architects to "Get out and draw with this hands-on session that illustrates the power of urban sketching."

San Francisco Bay Area (USA) urban sketcher Oliver Hoeller (better known as visual flaneur) has just published a book of sketches from his travels on the Amazon from Colombia to Peru last year. Called No Road In No Road Out: Slowboating the Amazon, the book is now available on

A sketch by Pedro Cabral in his new book.
Pedro Cabral has been walking and sketching Via Algarviana in Portugal, a 300-kilometer trail that crosses Algavre mainly over inland mountains. He has just published a book of his sketches from his adventures. Contact Pedro at to purchase the book.

Joan Tavolott can say something not many urban sketchers can say: She sold a sketch at Sotheby's! When New York City Urban Sketchers sketched at Sotheby's a while back, Joan sketched a designer show house, attracted to its colors. "An older gent asked me if I sell my work and was this piece available. Hell yes! I told him my price and he bought it," Joan said. The buyer was either the father or grandfather of the show house's designer and bought it for him as a remembrance of his first display at Sotheby's.

Simone Ridyard's work is a finalist in Moleskine's Reportager Award.
Congratulations to urban sketchers Simone RidyardFred LynchOmar Jaramillo and Oliver Hoeller, who are among the finalists in Moleskine's Reportager Award.

Sketchbook Skool, the popular online art school and community founded by Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene, has featured a number of urban sketchers as instructors during previous courses, including Tommy Kane, Prashant Miranda, Liz Steel, Cathy Johnson, Melanie Reim and Veronica Lawlor. The current course, "Stretching," will feature classes by Lapin, Jason Das, Miguel Herranz, France Belleville Van Stone, Jonathan Twingley and Miguel Herranz.

Shout it Out in Drawing Attention

Not seeing anything about you or your Urban Sketchers group in Drawing Attention? Then we want to hear from you! Please send your urban sketching news items with links and images to: Or tag me, Tina Koyama, on news you post on the Urban Sketchers Facebook page. Subscribe by e-mailHappy sketching!




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