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

Drawing Attention – September 2015

Urban Sketchers Events and Workshops

Even if you didn't attend the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore, you can still share in the learning. These Symposium instructors have generously offered handouts from their workshops for free download!

Richard Alomar
Behzad Bagheri
Shari Blaukopf
Matthew Brehm
Simo Capecchi
Marina Grechanik and Ea Ejersbo
Virginia Hein
Miguel Herranz and Inma Serrano
Marc Holmes
Nina Johansson
Sanjeev Joshi
Ch'ng Kiah Kiean
Jim Richards
Liz Steel
Suhita Shirodkar

Be inspired by these Urban Sketchers workshops scheduled for October:

Suhita Shirodkar is offering Capturing Chaos: Drawing a Crowd, Oct. 10, in San Francisco.

Painting in Ischia Island around Aragonese Castle, Oct. 8 - 11, will be offered in Naples, Italy, by Simo Capecchi, Caroline Peyron and Kelly Medford.

Reportage sketching of the "Farm to Plate" process in Chatham County, North Carolina, is the subject of a workshop with Stacye Leanza Oct. 22 - 25.

More than a hundred sketchers gathered in San Diego for the third annual
West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl. Shown here, Balboa Park was the site of
the all-day Saturday sketch crawl.
The third annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl in San Diego was a huge success, according to Jim Bumgarner. "We had a total of 108 sketchers who enjoyed beautiful skies and perfect temps at all three events: Friday's 'Meet N Greet,' Saturday's all-day sketch crawl in Balboa Park and Sunday's sketching in Old Town," Jim said. "Lydia Velarde and her local team of planners put together a spectacular event."

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

Sketchers of all ages took part in a sketch crawl and workshop with USk Switzerland.
Urban Sketchers Switzerland took part in a sketch crawl and led sketching workshops at Foundation Beyeler in August. Andre Sandmann said that the family-focused event attracted many kids to participate.

Urban Sketchers Texas exhibited their sketchbooks at the Montgomery County Library-South County branch in August. According to Judith Dollar's blog post, the display also included popular books about urban sketching.

Sao Paolo USk is high on sketching -- from the rooftop of the Museum Catavento.
USk São Paulo was invited to sketch from the rooftop of the Museum Catavento in downtown São Paulo, an area normally closed to the public, according to Ronaldo Kurita. Reproductions of the sketches were displayed at the museum in July and August. In addition, Carlos Medeiros and Ronaldo held weekly 30-minute workshops for children to learn about urban sketching last month.

Omar Jaramillo reports that Urban Sketchers Germany will meet for the first time Sept. 4 - 6 in Darmstadt. "This Art Deco city in the center of Germany will host around 60 sketchers from Germany, Switzerland, Austria and other neighboring countries," Omar said. An exhibition of sketchbooks will take place after the sketch crawl.

USk Ukraine sketching in Chernihiv
Urban Sketchers Ukraine ventured out for its first sketch outing to another part of the country in August -- to the ancient city of Chernihiv in the north. "Chernihiv is abundant with history, religion, and most hospitable people," said Natalia Litvinenko. "With churches seen everywhere peeping out of the enveloping greenery, it was a pleasure to walk and sketch while still hiding in the shade from the summer heat."

After USk San Diego went on a trolley-sketching tour in April, Plein Air magazine's online edition, Outdoor Painter, asked Lydia Velarde to contribute an article about the group's event. The article talks about how the sketchers faced all the usual on-location challenges of plein air work compounded by a more unusual one: sketching each trolley only while it was stopped at each station for 10 minutes!

Swasky and Rolf Schroeter are offering a free workshop and drawing meeting in Mallorca as part of the Festival Còmic Nostrum Oct. 10 - 11. For details, see the Facebook event.

Beliza Mendes is excited to announce that Urban Sketchers Luxembourg has just started up! The new blog will be up soon. See the group's Flickr pool.

Sketchers in Action

Mark Payton exhibited his sketches from riding the bus in Rochester, NY.
Mark Payton's first solo art exhibition was at the Rochester, NY, Transit Center last month. Called "Snap Shots by Hand," the exhibit consisted of five years' worth of sketches Mark made while riding the bus.

Ken and Roberta Avidor of St. Paul (USA) bicycled a hundred miles from Bemidji to Brainerd and sketched their adventures along the way.

Dan Peterson of Cardiff, Wales, posted his excellent sketch reportage of a rescue mission of more than 900 migrants in the Mediterranean.

Liz Steel of Urban Sketchers Sydney (Australia) is offering a new online sketch course called Edges beginning Sept. 2. The four-week course will explain how to discern different types of edges, to represent them in different media and to incorporate this understanding into our work.

Montreal (Canada) urban sketcher Marc Taro Holmes has a new Craftsy class: "Travel Sketching in Mixed Media." The seven-part video lesson covers drawing in pen and ink and tinting with watercolor as well as sketching directly with watercolor. Urban sketchers visiting Marc's blog will receive a $20 discount. Marc's first Craftsy course, "People in Motion," is currently discounted, too.

Shout it Out in Drawing Attention

Not seeing anything about you or your Urban Sketchers group in Drawing Attention? Then we want to hear from you! Please send your urban sketching news items with links and images to: Or tag me, Tina Koyama, on news you post on the Urban Sketchers Facebook page. Subscribe by e-mail. Happy sketching!





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