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 - July 2015

Urban Sketchers Events and Workshops

The Sixth Annual Urban Sketchers Symposium takes place later this month in Singapore. More than 300 participants will be there, making this our largest Symposium yet! Sketching and Workshops passes will be available at the event beginning July 22. If spaces are open in individual workshops, they will be for sale to Activities and Sketching pass holders. Hope to see you there!

Not going to Singapore? Then maybe one of these other exciting Urban Sketchers events is closer to home:

Isabel Carmona, Miguel Herranz and Swasky will help you "Push Your Sketching Boundaries" during a three-day workshop in Oxford, England, July 8 - 11.

Join Isabel Carmona, Mercedes Carmona and Swasky in Segovia, Spain, for "Water Marks" on Aug. 5 - 8.

Amsterdam and Liverpool are the locations for "Sketch It On," a series of Urban Sketchers workshops with Frank Ching, Norberto Dorantes and Simone Ridyard Aug. 13 - 23.

Sketch the color and tradition of Kinvara and Galway, Ireland, with Róisín Curé during "Sketching the Wild Atlantic Way" Sept. 2 - 6.

"Painting in Ischia Island around Aragonese Castle," Oct. 8 - 11, will be offered in Naples, Italy, with Simo Capecchi, Caroline Peyron and Kelly Medford.

Reportage sketching of the "Farm to Plate" process in Chatham County, North Carolina, is the subject of a workshop with Stacye Leanza Oct. 22 - 25.

San Diego (USA) will host the Third Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl Aug. 7 - 9. This free event is a marathon of sketching, socializing and fun.

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

For the third year, Urban Sketchers France held a national sketch outing, this time in Strasbourg. Sketchers in all regions of France attended, as well as from at least 10 other countries, bringing the total to 300 participants. See the event's Flickr group for photos and sketches.

Urban Sketchers Chile celebrated National Heritage Day May 31, a day when buildings with architectural heritage are open to the public. Sketchers met in the center of Santiago and drew the Palacio de la Moneda, the government palace, and many other buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries. "The Heritage Day turned out to be an excellent opportunity for Chilean urban sketchers to value and enjoy our architectural heritage in the best way we know," said Rosario Muñoz.

Southampton Urban Sketchers' exhibition at City Art Gallery
In preparation for their second USk Chicago Sketch Seminar July  11-12, Urban Sketchers Chicago offers helpful tips on how to dress and prepare for workshops this summer! Check out the blog post, "Dressed for Sketch-ess."

Southampton Urban Sketchers had an enthusiastically received first exhibition at the City Art Gallery April through June. The exhibition was organized as part of the celebrations for Fifty Years of City status. The exhibit was organized by sketchers Kay Brown and Darren Shorter and Pete Jarvis of Southampton Solent University. Display boards from the exhibit will now be shown at the medieval Wool House.

Urban Sketchers Málaga's exhibit poster
Urban Sketchers Málaga has an exhibition at the main station of the metro train in Málaga. Titled "Metro Sketchers," the exhibition includes drawings the group made on train rides and during a visit to the workshops and maintenance facilities. "We are very grateful to Metro de Málaga for their hospitality to our USk group and for the invitation and building up of this nice exhibition that all metro passengers watch at the lobby of the station when they get down the wagons," said Luis Ruiz. The exhibition was featured in a leading magazine, Via Libre, about Spanish railways. Photos and sketches are shown in the group's Facebook album.

Sketchers in Action

Liz Steel (Australia) has just re-offered her online SketchingNow Foundations course. In 12 lessons, she explains essential concepts for spontaneous sketching on location and how sharpening the way you think will help you sketch faster and more accurately.

Just in time for the summer sketching season, Shari Blaukopf (Canada) has launched a new online video course, "Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink and Watercolor" on the website The course covers all aspects of plein air landscape sketching, from composition and color to texture and line work.

Javier de Blas' book of Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria
Javier de Blas spent March in the Saharawi Refugee Camps of Tindouf (Algeria), a banished population. He is now crowdfunding a campaign on Verkami to edit the publication of his series of sketches from the camps.

Sue Pownall, co-founder of a new UK group, Essex and Suffolk Sketchers, was recently featured in The Connection, a local magazine, in an article about urban sketching.

Ch'ng Kiah Kiean (Penang) and Alvin Wong (Hong Kong) had a joint exhibition, "Sketching the City II," at the Hong Kong Fringe Club in June.

Sue Anne Bottomley (USA) has published a 253-page book, Colorful Journey, An Artist's Adventure Drawing Every Town In New Hampshire. She drew all 234 towns on location over a two-year period. The book is available on

Ken and Roberta Avidor (USA) have blogged about their sketching adventures in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Cathy McAuliffe sketched the victory parade for the Oakland Warriors.
Cathy McAuliffe of the Bay Area (USA) Urban Sketchers enthusiastically sketched the recent celebration for the Oakland Warriors. She reports, "It was all yellow and blue in downtown Oakland for the Warriors' NBA Champions Parade! Huge crowd, estimated to be 1 million, gathered to cheer their team that won the first Championship title in 40 years."

Cathy also was just interviewed by the blog Wanderarti about her spring trip to Japan, where she sketched her way through Kyoto.

Simone Ridyard (UK) has a brand new book on sketching architecture: Archisketcher. The book includes many examples of beautiful urban sketches by well-known sketchers worldwide. Released in the US in July and in the UK in September, the book can be preordered on or at North Light Books.

USk correspondent and Advisory Board member James Richards’ (USA) works of Cuban sites related to Ernest Hemingway’s life and work there were the subject of a solo exhibition, “Hemingway’s Cuba,” at the Nobel Prize-winning author’s home (now a museum) outside Havana. Part of the Havana Art Biennial, the exhibition also coincided with the International Hemingway Colloquium, an annual gathering of Hemingway scholars, which closed the conference with a viewing of the exhibition.

James also led a group of 40 on a five-day “Sketch Cuba” tour through Havana and the western side of the island. The sketchers and a group of Cuban artists led by renowned artist Jose Antonio collaborated on a drawing of “Havana Impressions.” The canvas was displayed during the Havana Art Biennial and will be shown in the U.S. later this year.

Asuka Kagawa of USk Australia recently posted her travel sketches from Spain. She included comments about her materials and how she uses them to optimize sketching while on the road.

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-mail. Happy sketching!




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