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

Freedom Revolution Workshop - sketching "heroes" of Lisbon

By Marina Grechanik in Lisbon, Portugal
Two weeks already passed since I came back from Lisbon. It was 6-days trip only (and two of them were flights), but I think I had enough experiences for a month - I really had everything in this small journey! I was very excited toward masterclass and workshop I was invited to give. Teaching isn't my main activity, I do it from time to time on special occasions, and every time it's a new adventure.I'd shared on my blog the post about the masterclass and separate post with some of Lisbon sketches.
Freedom Revolution Workshop, the workshop I was invited to give, was planed to the last day of my stay. Our meeting point was at the charming Largo do Carmo - small beautiful square, which I had a chance to sketch a day before. The weather wasn't perfect - cloudy and rainy. But of course it couldn't stop our group of enthusiastic sketchers to gather and to enjoy the day.

After the short acquaintance round, when each one introduced himself and told in a few words why he loves sketching, we dived into our people-sketching-without-fear workshop. The first exercise called "Capture Emotion!", and its purpose was to learn to look around us, find characters with interesting facial expressions, and capture emotions in expressive and fearless way. Some sketchers started to swim immediately, as fishes in the sea, others were needed some time to warm up, but all of them had fun and were very brave!

I did some fast portraits, just to feel the exercise ;)

Here are some great results of capturing emotions, although we tried to focus on the process:
Rain become stronger, and we moved to the covered Rossio Train Station and started with our second exercise - "Capture Action!". As you can guess, this time we focused on body language and on capturing action. Drawing people in motion is one of the most difficult missions for the sketcher. There are no tricks or magic tools to get this skill, except practice and training our visual memory and our eye-hand coordination. All you need is to be brave, to start and not to afraid to do a lot of "bad" drawings. Flower vendors were selling  everywhere red carnations - the symbol of the Portuguese Revolution, which was celebrated at this day. Our group probably got some of revolutionary spirit and sketched fearlessly people in action.
I couldn't help not to sketch the woman selling carnation flowers:

Here are some great sketches of people in action:
After a 3-hour sketching session we had a lunch break (which included some sketching again ;)), and arrived to the our final sketching point - Praça do Comércio, well-burned in my memory since the final Sketchcrawl of the Lisbon USk Symposium took place there. Now, when we were warmed up, and had practiced sketching people in action and describing their emotions through their expressions and body language, we were ready to put them in their surroundings. So, in the final exercise sketchers asked to put their "heroes" into the scene. Everybody spread out looking for the interesting stories.

Here are the stories from the square, every sketch tells different narrative, from different point of view and with different mood, and that's all the story about urban sketching for me!
our amazing group!
It was wonderful experience with amazing, enthusiastic and talented group of sketchers, I enjoyed a lot and also absorbed a lot - no doubt that teaching is the best way to learn! I want to thank again my Portuguese hosts -  Mário LinharesJosé Louro and Ketta Linhares, for inviting me. I have to say that I felt a bit envy of Lisbon USk branch - they have a wonderful group of so many talented sketchers and educators, leading the huge group of sketch-lovers from Lisbon and not only. It was a pleasure to meet in person! Here are posts by some of the participants: by Mário Linhares part 1 and part 2,  by Pedro Loureiro, by Paula Cabral.
It was a wonderful sketch-trip, Lisbon will be always in my heart (and in my sketchbook ;)).
Here are some sketches I did on my free days, you can see the entire Lisbon sketchbook on Flickr.

Of course, flights and waiting for connection in the airport were also a part of the journey:

Now, when the Lisbon trip is over, I'm looking forward to the Singapore USk Symposium, where I'll be teaching together with my friend and fellow sketcher Ea Ejersbo this workshop in a bit different format. See you there!!!





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