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

#USkSingapore2015 Last Day.. It's a wrap!

by Maria Regina Tuazon in Singapore

It has been an amazing time here in Singapore with sketchers all over the world convening at the red dot this past week for the 6th International Urban Sketchers Symposium! Putting faces to names,  meeting new friends, learning from inspiring people and drawing each other and beside each other  who share the same sketch fever was a total sketch heaven!


My last day started with Veronica Lawlor's The Urban Sketchers Cookbook breaking down the visual language into line/calligraphy, colored lines, marks, texture and pattern. Exploring each of the these elements in thumbnails like ingredients and then putting them together as a recipe in one frame to cook up a flavorful gourmet sketch was another eye-opening moment for the participants! Yum! 

Here's one of the sketchers with the recipe of line, marks, texture and shape.

Veronica's demo, show and tell and works by the workshoppers. Photo credit: Don Low. Thank you.

I caught up with Simo Capecchi's group doing A Collective Reportage (Religions and Popular Devotion in Multicultural Singapore). They were following devotees, sketching and taking down notes about people's acts of devotion at the temple. Later on they will be collating all the information from everyone, see the connections between the Chinese and Hindu temples which are located next to each other and report it as one big overview with perspectives from a multicultural bunch of sketchers!

Headed down at the Bugis Junction for James Richards' workshop on Capturing Singapore's Lively Urban Spaces. The idea was to catch the energy of public spaces and see the architecture as a backdrop for the real pulse of the city which is the people.  

Some sketchers are comfortable with drawing people and they claim they can't draw buildings and the other way around. This workshop broke it down and put both together to complement each other in exciting ways! 

Back at the National Design Centre, Mr Guan Dao Ignatius Yeo did a demo on folded pens. Guan Dao is a type of Chinese weapon used in martial arts and how apt that he calls it that because the folded pens look like knives! They're harmless but mean and expressive on paper :)

Zhu Hong also did a demo on Capturing Mood in Watercolor Sketches.  Now mostly seen drawing with a mobile phone, it was a great opportunity to catch him in action with traditional media! A lot of wet on wet washes left a puddle of water on the floor but an amazing explosion of color on paper!

Sneaked into Luisa Hung WanLu's lecture on Sketching as a Tool for Study.  In one of her case studies, a shophouse to be demolished didn't have a lot of information about it. She tracked the people who used to live there and recreated them in sketches. The minute details revealed a more personal human condition and presented even some harsher details in almost cartoon-like manner to get the message across. With Luisa is Lisa Huang Lishan of USk Singapore with a hat on who assisted with translations.

While both these things are going on there was The Big Crit! Like musical chairs, after a limited time, participants who signed up for it move from one set of teachers to the next and I think that's a pretty cool way to meet, get expert creative critique and talk sketch up-close and personal!

And the big sketchwalk! Yup,  all sketchers unite at the SMU Green which is a huge wide open piece of greenery at the midst of a bustling street scene! Sketching and being sketched!

 Just as we were striking a pose for the big photo, the National Day Parade practices were going on, and as if on cue, the fighter jets took off like daytime fireworks in the sky! Photo credit: TungTung Singapore

It's definitely a big celebration of the Urban Sketchers love for sketching and it's also Singapore's jubilee this year! Thanks everyone for making this happen and coming all the way to party big in the name of Sketch at the little red dot!

Here's also a big thank you for the successful auction and the winners of the lucky draw!

Here's a pic of the correspondents Murray Dewhurst, Teo Yie Chi aka Parka, myself, Maria Regina Tuazon and Gabi Campanario!

That's it for now.  From sunny Singapore, big big thanks! It's a wrap! 
See you all online and at the streets! Happy sketching :) 

#usksingapore2015 Maria Regina Tuazon





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