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

Singapore Day 3

[By Murray Dewhurst in Singapore]
Day 3 of the symposium was a really fun day.

Stick Man
Today I attended the beginning of Ch'ng Kiah Kiean's workshop 'Extending & Expanding Sketches'. He began with a PowerPoint presentation to give us some background to his work and materials. As he announced early on 'I use the twig!' That's right - he's the guy from Penang, Malaysia who does the most incredible large widescreen drawings using a stick.

He showed us a photo of his very own art shop — essentially the tree in front of his house – from that tree he fashions his pointed sticks to suit his unique style, he believes that art materials needn't be expensive — which sounds good to me. 'Extending and expanding' refers to his habit of adding multiple extra pages on to the sides of his sketches - the 'A' series of commercial papers and pads just doesn't suit his view of the world.

Frame Up
Sadly I couldn't stay for the rest of his workshop so I moved off and caught up with Virginia Hein's workshop 'Light and dark with a punch of colour' in front of the Singapore Art Museum. Virginia's workshop was all about about scene selection, then building the scene through lights and darks. She started by handing out cardboard framing cards - kind of like what a movie director might use to select a scene. 'Don't worry about fails!' she said, 'I go for epic fails'. I captured the sketchers using her framing cards to help them select a scene.

The Coach
I dropped in to Frank Ching's architectural drawing workshop. I had no idea he was such a ball of energy. Constantly moving around the sketchers with a towel draped around his neck, he reminded me of some kind of ringside boxing trainer. He says 'The trick is stripping the scene of detail so you can see the underlying geometry'. A great sense of humour too, important I would say when you're helping struggling students understand the difficult subject of perspective. I sketched him in just a few of the postures he assumed whilst coaching the sketchers.

First Impressions
Shari Blaukoph's nearby workshop 'Big brush capturing the first Impression' encouraged sketchers to put down minimal outlines then block in bold shapes first, then add the detail later. '...most sketchers start with line so I'm trying to get them to work the other way'. I'm definitely a put too much detail, and then add some colour sketcher so I found this quite intriguing. Here Kapil from Australia is getting his head around a different way of working...

World Tour
That was the end of the day for workshops so I snuck into the auditorium back at home base to check out Luís Simões talk on his project "World Sketching Tour - Five continents, Five years, One dream". His story is of giving up all worldly possessions, his day job and traveling non-stop. A great story teller, he filled us in on some of the adventures he has had on this journey and what it means to him.

Danger Man
It was Gabi Campanario's turn in the auditorium next for his lecture 'Drawing for Publication — the triumphs and tribulations of a newspaper Sketch Columnist.' Gabi works as a full time journalist and artist for the Seattle Times. We learned that there's more too it than making pretty pictures - 'It's not enough that it is a beautiful sketch – you need a little more to make a great story', then he took us through a sometimes funny history of his career as a sketch journalist. A word of warning though, 'It's a fun job but it's very dangerous, I have been attacked by goats!'

Funny Guy
'Capturing mood in Watercolour Sketches' was the title of Zhu Hong's demonstration, and he soon had everyone laughing with his quirky approach to adding a bit of fun to your compositions.

The sketching hand was getting pretty tired by the time a bunch of us hit Little India, but there was just enough time to get Birgit and Petra on paper before the Goat curry arrived.





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