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

It's a Knockout: Family Harmony on the East Coast of Ireland

by Róisín Curé in Galway

My two younger children and I spent a few days on the east coast of Ireland last week. We were visiting my parents in Wicklow, whom some of you may remember in a typically snoozy-post-lunch pose I posted here in April. The kids and I were were delighted to be going to Bray, and there was much talk of the skateboard park on the Seafront and ice creams and that kind of thing.

We caught a Citylink bus from Galway and it is the most hassle-free and comfortable trip you can imagine, and they really should give me a free ticket for that, even though it's already cheap as chips to cross the country with them. I looked at the two kids as they read their books and Kindle, played games and generally made me proud, and decided to draw them. Here they are, but you can't see much of my daughter. 

They get on like a house on fire 99% of the time. But then after a few minutes the peaceful scene changed. A sudden fight broke out between them and there was a flurry of limbs, bending fingers back, whacking...well, it's all written there. The entire thing took place in silence (thank heavens) and lasted about two minutes. Obviously I tried to break it up but they were temporarily deaf, so I decided to try and draw them instead. Okay, maybe it went on a bit longer than two minutes.

The next day the first trip to the skate park took place. Oh, happy days - after an utterly miserable summer, the sun gods decided to shine on us in Bray and it was perfect weather. The kids skated happily and I drew one of the beautiful striped kiosks along the Victorian esplanade that line Bray Seafront (again, I've posted it here before). My aim is to draw them all - there are about six or so, in lovely seaside colours, and they have the wonderfully garish embellishments of bouncy balls and inflatable Minions.

We had a super couple of hours, and after another lazy lunch in my parents' beautiful garden I grabbed a quick snooze in the sun while my daughter filled jars with pond water and my son tried to improve the performance of his skateboard. This involved sanding down his shoes but they're on the way out so I didn't mind that so much as the sanding noise invading my afternoon nap. Then my father suggested we all go for a swim, so after a while we found ourselves at the far end of Bray Seafront trying to summon the courage to brave the icy water of the Irish Sea. It was torture for the first few seconds but not too bad after that. My parents and I have become a bit soft when it comes to cold water but not so the kids, who are tough as old boots. 

My sketch was enjoyable but it's incomplete, as my father was impatient to leave: he wanted to eat dinner before the sun left the garden. The man wading out on the right of the picture was the colour of a bottle of milk - I don't know what came over me with the yellow ochre paint. I think it's because the lady beside him was covered in the ubiquitous fake tan and there was yellow ochre on my brush. 

Next day we visited Powerscourt Waterfall in the Wicklow Mountains, beside which I grew up. I've always wanted to sketch it but never managed to capture it as I'd like. I think this is because I am very used to drawing the mostly horizontal landscape of Galway, and the busy cityscapes of anywhere, but the thoroughly vertical and sylvian landscape of the Wicklow Mountains is something that I am not used to drawing, despite the fact that they are pretty much in my DNA. Here's a sketch of the Waterfall I did two years ago:

This time I tried again, and I struggled with a sketch of the waterfall using masking fluid and all kinds of things, but failed. Next time I'll try it with tinted paper so that I can hurl on the flowing water to my heart's content. 
If you nip between the two trees on the far left of the above image and scramble down the bank to the river, you're at the spot where we settled down. My mother painted and the kids made a dam (of course). In the sketch below you can see a poor attempt at the waterfall on the top left, where people stand in the spray on giant boulders and shout to be heard over the roar of water. I drew Mum and she drew me and the children. She broke her back last December and while she's fully healed, her artistic mojo has yet to return, but I love what she did. She paints completely differently to me, with a very impressionistic style: in fact, she puts the water into watercolour, splashing everything in sight with every colour of the rainbow.

Here are the two children building their dam. It looks very harmonious and indeed it was, until a sudden fight broke out which I struggled to break up. It was short-lived but involved a lot of water. I'm starting to wonder if sketching my kids puts a curse of disunity upon them. My son looks much younger than he is in this but never mind.

My last sketch of the holiday was this one of a couple relaxing on Bray beach later that afternoon. They were very affectionate, and I was touched to see that they had a little guy in a baseball cap with them. That's his scooter beside the couple. I could have sworn the horizon was drawn straight but I guess not.

I chanced another sketch on the bus on the way home the next morning. This time my daughter was beside me, reading a book of vintage Beano and Dandy comics a friend of my brother's, a comic nut, gave the kids, who are fellow comic nuts.

She doesn't keep still but it's good practice for sketching rapidly.

Back in Galway I had an hour or so to spare in the evening after dropping in a painting to a client in Salthill, close to the Promenade, which is on the far side of Galway from me. I love funfairs but they always seem beyond my ability - too much detail. Drawing this ferris wheel silhouetted against the sun made it a whole lot easier and reminded me that you don't have to always paint detail, something I have to remind myself all the time. See if you can make out the flying elephant roundabout - it was so cute I couldn't resist it, and it was the source of the screams of tiny terrified children that I could hear over the evening air.

Later on that evening my asked me, "When are we going up to Granny and Grandad's again?"





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


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