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

Temuka, Timaru and Oamaru - sketches from the edge of the world

Guest Post by Peter Rush

I often fly to New Zealand for short visits to see my dad, who lives in Temuka on the east coast of the South Island.

All my trips begin with a quick reconnaissance of Christchurch to see how the demolition / reconstruction is going following the terrible earthquake of 2011. I have only brought myself to sketch the devastation on one occasion. That was the Catholic Basilica, which was enough for me. So many long loved buildings are now gone. Maybe once the reconstruction really kicks in, I might start sketching the new streets that will emerge.

The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch

Temuka is a small town, 150km south of Christchurch with a population of just over 4,000. It has a good main street, though I think the local shops struggle. The larger town of Timaru, population around 31,000, is close by, with the bigger supermarkets and big box retail. Between family time, I either head off to Peel Forest for a bush walk or to the main streets of Temuka and Timaru to sketch.

I really do like these Victorian retail strips. Temuka and Timaru are similar to my local streets in Sydney with their ornate parapets, signs and large awnings. They consist of continuous rows of often small buildings and built in an infinite variation of a similar form. It makes the streets very dynamic and lively.

King Street, Temuka

Stafford Street, Timaru

Here are three sketches of the same building, it's the busiest shop in Temuka and has a very distinctive parapet.

King Street, Temuka

Back of King Street, Temuka
King Street, Temuka
While I was sketching this last, more careful shop portrait, a man came out of the shop and crossed the road to see what I was doing. He was the manager and looked down on me very suspiciously, he thought I was from the council. We had a chat about the earthquake strengthening requirements, post the 2010 & 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, "Particularly that parapet, it would be a lot easier and cheaper to make the building safer if it was demolished!" The costs to strengthen are considerable and are a burden to the property owner. It was a nice surprise that when I showed the shop manager the finished sketch, he offered to buy it! It now hangs inside the shop.

I managed to drive further south to sketch Oamaru, once a very busy port that rode a commodity boom in the 19th century. When the economy busted, the town was described as the best built but most mortgaged in Australasia. Oamaru quickly declined to a normal town (population 13,650) but has some remarkable streets of confident buildings, all built in the local limestone.

Harbour Street, Oamaru

I had the whole day. I spent the morning doing small sketches but I was on the lookout to do a larger drawing on my Skippy Cornflakes box. By lunchtime I finally chose a long street view; it seemed important to draw these buildings as being part of a small town. Only one block away rising on a steep hill is a normal suburb of houses and quiet streets.

When sketching I always look for the spatial qualities of a place, never just the object. Trying to understand an urban environment that I pass is stimulating, and sketching allows me to feel and express what I have observed. I do see it as a continuing form of architectural training.
Tyne Street, Oamaru
The final drawing of the day was to also show Oamaru by the turquoise sea of the South Island east coast. The bridge does have a purpose, it crosses a railway line and leads to the beach but it adds a mysterious vibe. That late afternoon the place did feel isolated and empty - edge of the world.

Pacific Ocean, Oamaru

Peter Rush is an architect based in Sydney Australia. For more sketches, visit Peter at Flickr.





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


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