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 – August 2015

Urban Sketchers Events and Workshops

Photo by Azzam Bre Mahaputra
Nearly 400 sketchers from 36 countries gathered in Singapore July 22 to attend the Sixth Annual Urban Sketchers Symposium. The USk Executive Board is grateful to the local team, led by Tia Boon Sim and Patrick Ng, for their hard work and hospitality. Attendees experienced the warmth of the Singaporean people as they explored the "Little Red Dot" while sketching and learning.

The event culminated in a sketch walk at the Singapore Management University Lawn, followed by a closing reception at the National Design Center. Sketchers contributed to the closing reception's silent auction, which raised more than $4,000 USD for scholarships for future Symposium attendees.

The Symposium organizing team (photo by Kelvin Tan)
“As we are still saying goodbye to old friends and new in Singapore, we are already looking ahead to the planning for Manchester in 2016,” President Elizabeth Alley said. “We hope to see you there!”

To see sketches and photos from participants, use the hashtag #USkSingapore2015 on social media. In addition, the Symposium correspondents did an amazing job documenting the events in sketches, photos, videos and words on the Urban Sketchers blog.

The New Paper, a Singapore online newspaper, covered the Symposium in its July 27 edition with an article, "Sketching Singapore in its Actual State - Artists from Around the World Draw Inspiration from S'Pore's Streets at the First Urban Sketchers Symposium Here."

Missed the symposium? It's not too late for the fun and inspiration of an Urban Sketchers workshop! Here are more coming your way:

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 three instructors 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.

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

USk Germany will gather in Darmstadt Sept. 4 - 6 for sketchcrawls around the art déco area of Mathildenhöhe, a former artists' colony which is being considered a Unesco World Heritage site. The program will include demos and mini-workshops in German and English, a portrait party and drink-and-draw fun in the evenings. "Everyone is welcome to participate! We have already 50 participants registered, both from Germany and abroad," said Jenny Adam.

Marie-Judith Jean-Louis reports that USk Toronto (Canada) spent a day sketching at Niagara Falls in July. A video/slide show on the group's blog shows the action.

Many Urban Sketchers groups took part in the 48th quarterly World Wide SketchCrawl, including New York (USA), Rome (Italy), Lyon (France), Strasbourg (France), London (England), Seattle (USA), Birmingham (England), Seoul (Korea) and Portland (USA).

As part of the International Festival Còmic Nostrum of Mallorca, Spain, urban sketchers Rolf Schroeter and Swasky, along with local members Catalina Rigo and Feliu Renom, will lead drawing meetings Oct. 10 - 11. Open to all, the event is free, but spots are limited and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Catalina and Feliu led the same event last year. This year, Rolf and Swasky will join them. Stay tuned for updates on the event on Facebook.

Shari Blaukopf reported on USk Montreal's participation in Picnic Vernissage, an event organized by the Stewart Hall Cultural Centre and Art Gallery in Pointe Claire. More than 80 sketchers, including some from Toronto, Vermont and Quebec City, participated on the sunny Sunday afternoon. Sketches from the day were hung in the gallery, where they will remain on exhibit for the summer.

Sketchers in Action

Tony Underhill published
an article about Urban Sketching
in the summer edition of
Leisure Painter magazine.
Tony Underhill (UK) published an excellent article in the summer 2015 edition of Leisure Painter (print and online). Based on a recent visit to Canada when he had the opportunity to sketch with USk Montreal, the article is an introduction to the Urban Sketchers organization. In addition, Tony discusses the techniques and expertise of Shari Blaukopf and Marc Taro Holmes, who led the Montreal sketchcrawl he attended.

Jacek Krenz of USk Poland taught a watercolor sketching workshop in June at the International Watercolor Exhibition and Workshops in the picturesque historic town Kazimierz Dolny (Poland). "Members of The Polish Watercolorist Association and other workshop participants were happy to receive new fresh, more spontaneous approach to their painting technique," said Jacek.

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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