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

Discovering the bones of a drawing from the side of the road

[By Marcia Milner-Brage, Down East Maine, late summer]

 It was the derelict, dry-docked boat next to the ill-tended house that attracted me. I wanted it in a drawing. But every time I walked past on the gravel road in the days after we arrived in Jonesport, a tied-up, snarling German shepherd lunged at me. It bared its canines. I quickened my step. I found other, more hospitable places to sketch. Then, I chanced upon an intriguing sightline—at a distance, down the road, on the other side of a low, marshy, tidal creek, well out of range of the doggie’s ire. I set up my easel on the side of the road, planning on the 2-3 hours it takes to get a Neocolor drawing done.

S-curve with HB pencil and brush pen with blue acrylic ink

I’ve taken to skipping the preliminary sketch in my pocket-size Moleskin and laying down a composition right on the page. I call this discovering the bones. Often I’ll spend half my time on-site with the “bones” underdrawing.

I first spotted this buoy shed on a previous trip to Jonesport (this was our 5th trip to this NE coast of Maine in 10 years). This time, we just happened to be staying nearby.

Unsure where the side of the road and private land met, I asked permission to set up my easel from the couple who lived on the property. They were thrilled to share what they look out on everyday. Again, I launched into defining the bones of the drawing.

Buoy shed with water soluble graphite underdrawing
The couple kept their distance while I sketched. When finished, I went to thank them. He required little prompting to tell stories about their house (not seen in my picture). His grandmother had been born and had died in the house. The house had been ferried over from Beals Island before the Bridge. It was the first house on Hopkins Point. It was built with no nails—just tongue-and-groove and pegs. “It’s still a great place to sit out a nor-easter. Shakes a bit, the windows rattle, but it’s snug. There weren’t roads connecting places on the coast then. If you needed something you’d go by boat to the general store down in Addison. It’s still faster to get to Addison by boat than by car. The store’s not there anymore. I spent eleven summers here as a boy, working on my grandfather’s lobster boat. They had to drag me away kicking and screaming when it was time to go back to school in New York,” the now 60-something-year-old retiree reminisced.

I asked him what the small shed in front of the buoy shed was. “Oh, that’s the old outhouse. It used to be at the end of the dock with a hole in the floor. Everybody had them out there. Then the government said you couldn’t do that. You had to get septic. After I rebuilt the dock, I thought I’d put it back at the end, just show what it was like. But I didn’t. I just left it where it is.”

That’s when I decided that I had to come back the next day and draw the outhouse, too.

Outhouse and canoe with watercolor pencil sketch underdrawing

In 1958, Beals Island was connected to Jonesport by the Beals Bridge. It’s a narrow, 2-lane expanse that arches high above Moosabec Reach.

Like Jonesport, Beals is a lobster fishing community. Right at the turn going onto the Bridge, on the Beals side, there’s a dry-docked lobster boat that I couldn’t resist. Again, from the side of the road, I set up my easel and laid in my composition. Having the Beals Bridge in my sightline was a bonus.

Beals Bridge and dry-docked boat with HB pencil and brush pen with blue acrylic ink

I did 30 drawings during my two weeks in Down East. These were the ones that I documented finding the bones of the drawing from the side of the road. If you’d like to see more of Maine from this and two previous trips, go HERE.





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