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

On Board HMS Bulwark with the Royal Navy

Guest Post by Dan Peterson.
This is a follow-up to Dan's previous post - Rescuing migrants at sea on board HMS Bulwark.

I joined the crew of HMS Bulwark during her mission known as Op Weald, the UK's contribution to SOLAS (Saving Of Life At Sea) Operations in the Mediterranean under a bilateral agreement with the Italian Navy. The lives they were saving were those of the thousands of migrants trying to make the hazardous journey from North Africa to Europe by sea.

HMS Bulwark is a Landing Platform Dock - a command and assault vessel carrying four large LCUs (Landing Craft Utility) and four smaller LCVPs (Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel), two Merlin Helicopters and a detachment of 45 Royal Marine Commando.

One of the first drawings I made was of the Captain and the Maltese Pilot directing the ship out of the dock.

I spent the first few days on board taking various tours and then trying, and often failing, to find my way around the seemingly endless and often identical looking corridors that run through the vast innards of the ship. Making your way round a large vessel, especially a military one where all the pipework, cabling and machine parts are bare, is like entering an alien world. With no landmarks to aid navigation I often found myself wandering around in circles looking for a familiar piece of machinery, junction, stairway or airlock or, more often than not, gratefully hearing the words, “Where are you trying to get to sir?”, from one of the nearly 500 sailors and marines on board.

The crew themselves were friendly and keen to know what I was doing. Each officer was keen to show me their part of the ship and explain what they do there. I spent time on the Flight Deck and in the Flight Control Room that overlooked it, sketching the Merlins and the people controlling their every move. This drawing of the Merlins of 814 Squadron developed over a number of days in the Flight Control Room. It started as a pencil sketch and soon turned into a fully blown inked and coloured illustration as I got more and more carried away with having access to the view of the Merlins taking off and landing from the comfort of the room above.

I sketched the everyday work of the sailors, mopping and cleaning the labyrinth corridors, the airlocks and outer decks - stripping, cleaning and re-greasing every part. This drawing features Marines from 45 Commando who were reluctant to have their photographs taken as it would mean they’d have to buy a crate of beer if it ever got published. They weren’t overly keen to be drawn cleaning the airlocks either!

The Chaplain, known on board ship as “The Bish”, showed me his tiny chapel and even tinier classroom where he explained sailors could study and be examined for their GCSEs.

The crew are constantly busy. Cleaning and maintenance; fire and emergency drills; physical fitness and weapons training. One morning I was introduced to the imposing Chief Cload who allowed me to watch the small arms training he was controlling. A group of Officer Cadets were firing a GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun) and a Minigun from the stern.

The task of feeding 500 hungry sailors and marines is an impressive sight. I spent time in the galley watching huge quantities of food being prepared and served up.

At one point it was necessary to refuel. The operation is known as Refuelling at Sea, or RAS. A huge fuel tanker pulls up alongside, and is dwarfed by, the Bulwark. I drew a number of images during the operation which took hours. One shows the part of the operation where a soft nose projectile is fired from the ship across to the tanker to enable a line to be passed from one to the other. Once this has been achieved (it can take a number of attempts – as it did in this case allowing me to capture the scene!) a large pipe can be hoisted between the two ships and the refuelling can commence. The others show the tanker coming alongside and the crew member with one of the most important jobs – holding on to an emergency lifebuoy and watching out for anyone falling in the sea.

Five days into my time on-board and migrant vessels were spotted some 40 miles off the coast of Libya. You can read about, and see the drawings I made, during the days that followed in my previous post - Rescuing migrants at sea on board HMS Bulwark.

Read more about my time on board HMS Bulwark on my blog or Twitter at @DanSPeterson.





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