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

Optimist Sailing in Kinsale, Co. Cork: My Kids are Alone on the Ocean!

by Róisín Curé in Kinsale, Co. Cork

It's strange and somewhat uncomfortable to think about your ten-year-old child alone in the middle of the ocean, especially if you're a mother inclined to think the worst. So maybe the fact that two of my children sail Optimist dinghies in the rough water off the west coast of Ireland is as good for me as it is for them. I don't worry about the thirteen-year-old - he is a well-built fella and has been sailing for years, but I did when he started. Now, I dismiss bad thoughts of endless deep, dark, cold water underneath my little darlings (aaaarggh!) and think of the fact that they are being turned into confident and independent young people.

I used to send my husband and son off on their own on their sailing trips. Now that the youngest sails too, I join them. The first such trip was in Baltimore, Co. Cork in February, and the weekend just gone was the second, the Munsters Optimist Championships in Kinsale, Co. Cork.

I came fully prepared to sketch, knowing that I would have lots of free time. My first sketch was done as the sailors prepared to launch on the first morning.

The scale is a bit wonky, but no matter. A little blonde girl saw what I was doing. She's a very lively, bubbly little thing. "That's my Dad! You've drawn my Dad!" she kept saying, telling anyone she could. I love that aspect about live sketching - the simple joy you give to whomever has been captured in the sketch. I teased the two men (who are friends of mine) about the fact that they were easy to draw because they don't move much.

As the youngsters launched, I drew them on the slip. Now we're talking seriously wonky scale, but I'm not proud! Well, I am, but I think it is good for one's character to try to be less so.

That teeny-weeny Optimist on the right in the foreground? I could say that it was a special small one for a little elf who wanted to join in but the truth is much less interesting. I just got it heartily wrong. The same goes for the two men walking up the slip in their waders - they needed to be further back to be the right size.
Never mind - onwards and upwards. The sun came out and I drew the beautiful Kinsale Sailing Club clubhouse, a very impressive spot altogether. I knew I would have lots of time for the upper part of the sketch, so I spent a while on that. So long, in fact, that my eyes went all blurry. I carefully left the bottom part blank so that I could put the boats in when they returned.

They came back just as I was deciding that urban sketching is too hard on the eyes, leaving me no choice but to get back to my little folding stool and draw like a maniac. The first thing a returning sailor does is take down the sail, so I had to be fast - also, any Optimists that parked (or whatever they do) in the foreground would obscure the clubhouse I'd just drawn. The little blonde girl in the foreground is the one whose daddy I drew earlier.
You can see lots of folk enjoying drinks and chats on the balcony. When I'd finished my sketch I joined them for a pint up there which was lovely but far too short-lived - no sooner had I sat down than it was time to gather the kids and go and find something to eat (Kinsale is known for its gastronomy, so we did eat very well).

Next day, my daughter told me she and her friend (the little blonde one, again) had found the perfect spot for me to draw, just at the top of the steps.

That's looking almost exactly in the opposite direction as my previous sketch. The man in the foreground, Brian, very kindly gave my husband a bottle of water to take out on the rib, as he would be out in the bay for many hours, and I had mislaid the one he'd bought somewhere. As a way of saying "thank you" I put him into the sketch. I hope he likes it.
Kinsale is a very fancy town - as well as the superlative restaurants (with some pretty superlative prices to match) the town is full of yachting types. You can see some of the yachts moored in Kinsale Yacht Club at the top left.

Kinsale town is very beautiful, full of exquisite buildings painting in vivid colours. I had to choose a subject for my last sketch of the weekend, and I did consider drawing one of the adorable colourful houses of the town itself - but even though they are really very beautiful, I was uninspired - not sure why, but it's hard to fathom these things. I had passed the entrance to the yacht club the evening we arrived and thought it would make a lovely drawing, and chose to spend my last sketching hours drawing it. I sat on the side of the street opposite it and people were very friendly as they passed.

The kids returned and we prepared to leave. They had done very well in their races. My son had been doing better than he had ever done, but the sea was very rough and he capsized, losing his position. But he was sanguine - he nearly always is anyway - and both kids were very happy on the journey home.
"There were loads of people going in and out of the gate," I said to my husband as we drove past the entrance to the Yacht Club on the way home. "I have no idea why - there's nothing there but boats." "They are staying on the boats," he said, "sleeping there and so on."
"Sounds amazing," I said.

Maybe I'll find out one day: maybe my children will become so enamoured of sailing that by hook or by crook they'll buy a swanky yacht someday. And I'll sit on the deck and draw. I won't have to dwell on the deep, dark, cold water underneath, because in this particular pipe-dream it will be turquoise, warm and sparkly...

More on my website here.





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