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 2

By Murray Dewhurst in Singapore

The day started for me with a mad rush to get to the Singapore Design Centre in time for the start of day 2 of the symposium. Talking into the night in a bar in Kampong Glam before returning to the hotel to write up my blog post made for a very late night!

Collecting materials for Richard Alomar's activity
I arrived just in time to find Richard Alomar's excited activity participants getting set for their challenge of documenting and mapping their symposium experience.

9:15 – look for your workshop codes!

Workshop time next so look out for the man holding up your reworkshop code. Before long we're all on our way to the workshop destinations.

I tagged along with Melanie Reims workshop 'Found in Translation' – the influence of Calligraphy in the Figure and Environment.

Everyone came armed with brush pens, Melanie helps them through various techniques to master the brush and suggesting form and posture with thin and thick lines. Easier said than done for those of us used to fine liners and pencils!

"If somebody moves, don't get upset, someone will come to replace"

I had to keep moving, so quickly wandered along to Marc Holmes workshop actors on a stage, sketching characters on the street. The fact that this street is Waterloo Street, a busy street of markets and temples means there's no shortage of characters to practice on!

Li Yun Yong and KC Lee in action on Waterloo Street
Mark Leibowitz and Asuka Kagawa sketch in Marc Holmes worskhop
'Heads, Hands, Stuff' – all part of Marc's process. Kenneth Chia from Singapore in sketch action.
One of the features for this years symposium has been Sketch Passes — no problem if you don't want to do the full workshop thing, just come along and sketch! This group below were on Waterloo street too, and appeared to be in their happy place.

Then lunch time there's no shortage of options and people to hang out with. We had a hilarious waitress who insisted on being drawn, it even earned me a free drink.

Then it was time for Sumo Capecchi's workshop, A Collective Reportage — Religions and popular devotion in multicultural Singapore. An opportunity to gain sketch access to an important buddhist temple – the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho temple, of the goddess of 1000 hands, Kuan Yin. Simo encourages sketchers to observe and use their sketchbook to help process new unfamiliar situations and make a comprehensive reportage.

Simo introduces her workshop
Details inside Kwan Im Thong Cho temple
Jayakrishnan from Kerala, India
 I moved on to Suhita's workshop - Capturing Chaos. Suhita encourages sketches to apply loose sttrokes, then push the background back with shadow values then finally bring the foreground out with bold colour.

I did a quick section of the cxxxx temple before heading back to the centre for the board open talk.

Finally for the day the board gather in an open discussion. They explain what's been happening behind the scenes of Urban Sketchers, such as education initiatives, the work the symposium organisers do and the editorial team and plans for the future to growth of Urban Sketchers.

 I couldn't resist a quick capture of the nearby Sri Krishnan Temple before we headed back to base.

The board took the stage at the end of the day to discuss some of the USk initiatives and projects and to field questions. It's clear there's a huge amount of work going on in the background with education, symposium organisation and editorial work. Pretty amazing considering they're all volunteers.
The USk board — Mario, Gabi, Suma, Elizabeth and Brenda
See you tomorrow!





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