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

My journey to Machu Picchu

By Mike Daikubara

Machu Picchu, Peru - a place my wife and I have been wanting to go desperately for the past 8 years. Yet every year we kept on postponing it due to the fear of getting sick from the high altitudes, especially when all our friends that went came back telling us how sick they got.

This spring Tony, a good friend of ours was planning a trip to Patagonia and offered after his trip to meet us in Peru and guide us to Machu Picchu. He's not only been to Central America numerous times but has been to Machu Picchu 4 times. We knew we were in good hands with him so we jumped on this opportunity right away.

The journey to Machu Picchu was a long one.
A full day travel from Boston to Panama City then a night in Lima.
Next early morning a flight from Lima to Cusco.
Then from Cusco a long bus, car or train ride to the village of Machu Picchu.
Being able to climb to the top of Machu Picchu finally took place on the 4th day from departure!
I guess the difficulty in getting there is also what makes this trip so memorable too.

9 days in total - I was able to fill up an entire Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook.
Here are some from during the trip to Machu Picchu.

There were numerous places to see during our trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu.
Moray was an enormous site with circular depressions created at different heights. It is said that the the Inca's created this site as an agricultural experimentation site to see what crops grow better at which altitudes.

Here we walked down to the site and back up and I started getting a huge headache.
It was 3,500M at this location and the first time in my life that I experienced a slight altitude sickness.
I'm so glad it wasn't too bad though.
It's said that coca tea helps with altitude sickness so I drank a lot of this. Real tasty too.

Awana Kancha
At a place called Awana Kancha, they had a number of naturally made color pigments on display. These colors were used mostly to color their hand woven textiles but for me it was a great opportunity to try painting on the Alpaca's that I had just drawn at the same place.


Later at Piscac, a neighboring town, a street vendor was selling powdered colors and demonstrating on how its used. This was the only souvenir I regretted later on in not purchasing!

On our 4th day after leaving home, we finally made it to the Machu Picchu mountain top.
It's early in the morning and there were already lots of people patiently waiting for the fog to clear up.

The fog then started to clear up and Bam!! The world famous view finally appeared!!

A IIlama even sat in front of me just just long to capture her before she got up and walked away.

Later we climbed the taller mountain seen in the background called the Huayna Picchu Mountain.
After over 2 hours of climbing, I was completely Exhausted! but was well worth the hard work.

The number call outs shows areas that I wanted to remember later on. #4 is the location where I sketched the previous scene and #10 is Me.

Here I'm totally exhausted from climbing and excited from sketching at the same time.
What an amazing place!





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