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

Homeless in Oxford: a reportage project

[Interview with Jack Wheatley, by Marcia Milner-Brage]

During the summer of 2014, having recently graduated with a degree in Illustration from Camberwell College of the Arts in London, Jack Wheatley did a three month Topolski Residency at the Topolski Studio in London. The focus was to “produce, distribute and exhibit” a set of reportage drawings “chronicling contemporary issues of the twenty-first century”. The inspiration for these residencies is the twentieth century reportage drawings of Feliks Topolski.

How did you chose the subject for your residency?

I had a free place to stay in Oxford in my sister’s student house so I commuted back and forth to London twice a week over the summer to attend the classes for the residency. So I spent most of my time in Oxford, which I explored on my bike. One thing that struck me was the large number of homeless people living in Oxford, many who looked like they had an interesting story to tell. I decided to make drawings and interviews of some homeless people the subject of my final drawings for the residency show.

.Reportage project - Homeless Oxford

How did you get started? What did you do to gain access and trust from these individuals? Was it difficult for them to agree to being drawn?

Reportage project - Homeless Oxford
The first person I drew.
It was hard to approach the first man to ask if I could draw and record him, as I had nothing to show him. He agreed to be drawn begrudgingly and asked if he could have some money for his effort which I agreed to. Once I had got so far he had a look at the drawing and immediately brightened up when he saw I had captured a good likeness of him. By the end of the drawing he was very pleased with how it looked and did not want any money. He told me where I could go to meet other homeless people. It was by a monument situated by one of the Oxford colleges. The monument is where some of Oxford’s homeless spend their evenings. I made all my drawings here in the evenings. After I had a number of drawings which I could show people, word got around that there was someone drawing their friends. After that, it was much easier to approach people and draw them.

Tell me how the words came about on the page.

I recorded the conversations I was having on my iPhone and later transcribed the recording onto the drawing. I had to pick and choose sections of the interview to write down.

Reportage project - Homeless Oxford

Some of the drawings are without words.

I had transcribed down more conversations but on separate pieces of paper, which have been lost whilst moving around. Even without words, this is one of my favorite drawings. I like the unusual angle I have drawn from, as I was sitting further up some steps. The man on the left I had met and drawn before. He told me how his friend on the right had tried to kill himself numerous times by overdosing and he had saved him every time.

Reportage project - Homeless Oxford

This lady was very friendly and we talked for a couple of hours about many things. Her dog, that helped her if she had an epileptic fit, had died recently, so she was in Oxford where she knew people on the street who could look out for her. When I was talking to someone else later they rolled their eyes and mentioned that she talked a great deal.

Reportage project - Homeless Oxford

Over what period of time did you do the drawings? How much time did you spend on a drawing? What size are they? Materials?

I spent about three weeks on all the drawings. I can’t say how long I spent on each drawing exactly but around the twenty minute mark. I drew in an A3 sketchpad with a solid graphite pencil, which was great for using on its side to put down large areas of tone quickly.

Reportage project - Homeless Oxford 14
The man on the left had a dog called Freddie who was a great shaggy hound and was well known in Oxford.
What did you hope to gain for them in doing these drawings?

I did not go into this project with the idea of helping anyone but more just to record stories and give people a voice that may not always be listened to through a form that was engaging: drawing. If the project resulted in someone being better off from it I would be delighted but I thought I would let that come naturally.

Reportage project - Homeless Oxford

This drawing is intriguing to me. What are the numbers at the top of the page? What’s SNOWY? What is a code man?

Reportage project - Homeless Oxford

I don’t really know the full story as he didn’t talk, but some of the others told me that he was a code breaker in the war and enjoyed code puzzles. He gave me the number so I could work out his name. Each number represents the position of a letter in the alphabet. His name was Snowy.

What is the takeaway that you have from this experience? What was most compelling for you about this project?

I found everything about the drawing and interviewing process very interesting as I had insight into a different world which most people don’t get to see. I was able to do this through drawing which broke down barriers which may have existed if I had been simply interviewing people or photographing people.

Reportage project - Homeless Oxford

Is there anything that you’d do differently?

I was limited for time so couldn’t create a really in depth investigation. Next time I do a project like this I will do more drawings of the same person so I have more pages to put text and get a more rounded story. There was a lot more I could have done, like put on a show in Oxford, but I was tight on time as I had to go back to Wales.

What came after your Topolski Residency and the Homeless in Oxford project? What are your plans for the future?

I am currently in my home county of Pembrokeshire (St. Davids, Wales), which is as far west as you can go. It is an extremely beautiful place and is steeped in history. It is a most incredible location perched on top of a cliff and is full of art. I draw regularly, though I have not made any new reportage work. I find my drawings from direct observation have more energy and vibrancy, you can’t dither and this shows in the energy of the marks made.

Gouache painting of the cliffs of Pembrokeshire in Wales

I am working in a hotel to save money for travelling. I plan on travelling for a long period of time; though I do not know exactly where I am going, I will start off in Nepal in September. I plan to make a blog specifically for my travel drawings. I hope to interview people as best I can.

I don't have a photograph of myself. Here's a self-portrait.

Scan 12
Jack Wheatley





USk News$type=blogging$ct=0$au=0$m=0$show=


[Workshops Blog]$type=two$c=12$ct=0$m=0$show=