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

Good Morning Kilcolgan...and Good Night!

By Róisín Curé in Galway, Ireland

No matter how much I might like to be out in Galway City with my sketching stuff, it's not always possible. I'm having a period of intense work at the moment (more like: intense procrastination interspersed by short periods of guilt-driven work), and it takes the guts of a day to get to Galway, sketch and get home in time to feed three very hungry kids who think there's never anything in the fridge. So in the absence of such a luxury I'm sketching what's in front of me - and since my workplace is also my home, that's a lot of sketches of home.

One morning last week I came down to this sight through my window:

A rather plump lady sheep was calmly ruminating on her breakfast while her child squashed itself between her and the stone wall. She didn't move for my sketch (she was inscrutable, truth be told) and I was happy to catch the morning rays. That gave me the idea to draw the next morning -

It can work quite well to sketch at breakfast, especially since I'm only the cook, preferring to wait until calm is restored to have my own breakfast. Who looks after the family if the cook is sketching? No one - and good enough for them, as we say in Galway. They went without their nice cup of tea that morning, but they are more than able to make it themselves.

Next day, I wondered if a plastic milk carton would look as nice in a sketch as it did in the flesh, with the morning sun shining through it -

A bit rough, but that's at the very core of urban sketching - to be free and enjoy yourself. The next morning I ignored that principle and made a sketch that I didn't enjoy, just because after three morning sketches I felt I ought to do another. I don't know if I've ever had a worse reason for sketching - but again, it's only a sketch - so what?

Later that day, a tiny set of paints arrived in the post. It is almost microscopic. Eight half-pans in two rows with a third row of four between them that I added myself. I put it to the test (yes, over a breakfast sketch the next day):

I'm trying to pare back my kit so that in theory I can whip everything out and paint standing up, paints in my left hand, sketchbook in my right, pens and pencils hanging off my person somewhere (I'm having a huge amount of fun inventing such a thing with my sewing machine right now).

I took the tiny sketch kit up to bed to see if I could paint lying propped up in bed. I've usually found the kit a bit unwieldy in the past. The only thing that inspired me was a newly-tidied stack of books on the floor:

Urban sketches are often about stories as much as sketches, and this stack of books tells the story of me in a nutshell. The book on top says I read to a child in my room. The travelogues say that I often wish I lived elsewhere. The historical thriller says I like to immerse myself in a romantic and exciting past. The Ross O'Carroll Kelly book says I am very shallow and adore Irish humour. The book on business for artists says I'm always trying to turn paint into gold. The books I didn't choose say my family choose thoughtful gifts. The fact that this is how my books look after they've been tidied up suggests I'm not great at being tidy.

So if you're stuck for something to draw why not draw what's in front of you? Better than sketching nothing!

There's an extended version of this article on my website here.





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