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

Day 2 #USkSingapore2015! The fun continues

By Maria Regina Tuazon in Singapore

The destinations are overwhelming as much as we're spoiled for choice when it comes to workshops to explore.  This was the scene before the various workshops started. For the coming days, look out for the boards the symposium staff put up to find your instructor and you're set! 

In the morning I tagged with Marc Taro Holmes' workshop, Sketching Characters on the Street.  I was supposed to be helping him out with but I was also sketching the event so luckily Shirley Ong Tan managed to help out and I get to check out the ones within the same strip.  He gave simple guidelines to be able to sketch people quickly by locking he  shape of the head with some anchor points and mapping out shapes of the face which all add up and come alive with the last touch of spot darks. Here the class was asked to stand in a circle and draw someone opposite you. 

We then headed out to Waterloo street which was a small strip but had a Buddhist and Hindu temple next to each other. It was an active street filled with flower vendors, fortune tellers and other people who sell stuff which was perfect for catching different characters on the street 

This flower vendor didn't like to be sketched :( 

This Buddha whom people touch to get blessings from marks the spot for show and tell!

Melanie Reim's workshop, The Influence of Calligraphy in the Figure and Environment, was also at the same location. I checked it out and she was showing the class some inspiring examples of calligraphic work in art and sketches. Using varied lines from thin to thick with a brush or flexible pen and composition play big roles in creating calligraphic marks. I came in at the middle of her workshop so I got a bit of idea what they were doing and tried it. 

I tried sketching with a pen and a brush pen too and realized how easy and addictive it can be once you get the hang of it.  Here are some sketchers just outside the Sri Krishnan Hindu temple. 

The goddess Lakshmi holding some  lotuses and the Monkey God Hanuman are visible from the entrance. 

After lunch I caught Matthew Brehm (The Structure of Light in Watercolor) briefing his group before going out and he was talking about tones, thinking in light and dark, building major shapes, color compliements, having warm shadows and zooming out to simplify things. He stresses the importance of leaving some whites for the highlights.

I also briefly caught Gail Wong's workshop (Exploration in Expressive Watercolor through Shape and Value) before they headed out. They were laying in washes and she told the sketchers to be fearless and to play like a five year old! She said sometimes there are inevitable blooms but you just need to leave it alone and let it be part of the process .

Headed back to Waterloo and caught up with Suhita Shrirodkar who was teaching Capturing Chaos. Drawing crowds overwhelm me and she showed how putting in a structure first gives you the freedom to put something unstructured over it. Crowds are a lot of things connected together and she sad be comfortable with a mess!

That's the group as a crowd in front of the crowd they are sketching..

 In between the crowds there's Fiona from Sydney right outside, sitting on the floor of the temple grounds. She's in Veronica Lawlor's workshop but I didn't catch the class being briefed so I can't say much yet about it.

I tried to catch a few more groups nearby but only found the tail end of Inma Serrano and Miguel Herranz's workshop (Thin Line, Bold Line) at Bras Basah. They were all doing their own sketching before the final show and tell.

 I realize how much urban sketching has changed the act of drawing. There is time to draw and filter stuff by yourself but without a tribe like this, it's not so solitary and won't be so enjoyable as all the sharing and tripping out that we do. 

 There's Kenneth Chin drawing a partner from the class and I got to sketch them while
 Inma sketched me. 

And I sketched her back!

Went back to the National Design Centre and we had the board of the Urban Sketchers up on stage talking about how they all started sketching and blogging and doing their roles. They answered questions from an open forum and encouraged everyone to come forward if they would want play a more active role in the organization. What an inspiring day! Hopefully we get to cover more and different workshops we didn't touch today and go more in depth.

#usksingapore Maria Regina Tuazon





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