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

Busy, Busy, Bangkok

busy_chinatown_corner_bangkok_total Bangkok is one BUSY city. I don't really know what I expected, I guess my biggest image of Bangkok was informed by the movie The King and I. There were definitely many opulent temples and palaces to admire (more on that in another post) but the thing that struck me the most about this city was its D-E-N-S-I-T-Y. The drawing above was made sitting on a corner in Chinatown, just adding all of the pedestrians, tuk-tuks, bicyclists, cart-pushers, cars, and buses as they went by in an hour. Did I leave out mopeds and motorcycles? I did, but they were there too. And the back drop of all of this mishegas is a layered city of old structures, older temples, and electrical wires everywhere. See drawing above as a case in point. The various configurations of electrical wires are almost as lyrical as the Thai alphabet - amazing. And dangerous too, I would think? I was rather obsessed with them while I was there.
 I made the Chinatown corner drawing on my way to meet a few Bangkok (and other) Urban Sketchers at Wat Trimitr, one of the temples of Bangkok that happens to be in the middle of Chinatown. Again, some super density, with gold leaf hammered on top! The street level of the temple was an awesome display of monks, vendors, and local people milling about, mixing with the tourists and generally trying to make a living, through praying, cooking, or selling. All were present at the steps of the temple, and the top of the steps was crowned by a picture of the King of Thailand. No one in Bangkok passes his photo without stopping to give a motion of thanks, known as the wai. It's hands together, as in prayer, accompanied by a slight bow. I found it a beautiful gesture, although in the crush of people it was sometimes hard to accomplish, ha ha. wat_trimitr_children_full

Next door to the temple was a school. The children were having some kind of a play, and I laughed to see how the little boys in the audience were mimicking and making fun of the little girls dancing on stage. Culture may be different the world over, but some things stay the same. I had to draw these kids, they were so cute! Check out the boys wrestling in the top right corner of this drawing. The monks were having a hard time keeping everyone in line! My Thai friend Pramote told me that the principal was making an announcement (in Thai, of course) over the loudspeaker that the children should be respectful, and leave the artist from New York alone to do her work. (They were having a little trouble listening!) After we spent the morning at the temple, Pramote took us to a wonderful corner stand to have lunch. There are outdoor cooks working like this all over Bangkok. We had the most delicious stir-fry I've ever had - flat noodles with shrimp, pork, and mixed vegetables in a small personal frying pan. So good, and so fast, and so many people around eating it. Again - dense!  I enjoyed watching the chef, and making the drawing below while we ate. street_lunch_bangkok

After lunch, we all walked over to the main Chinatown gate to draw. Pramote and the other Bangkok Urban Sketchers were so nice and full of hospitality. They seemed to think that I was a little nutty when I wanted to sit right on the edge of the street with all the activity, but politeness won the day and they all sat there with me. Such wonderful people, and what a nice time! Plus, the Chinatown Gate was also sufficiently dense, and busy, to allow me to continue my drawing theme of the day, which was, WOW, and I thought New York was a busy city! I love Bangkok! chinatown_gate_bangkok_full
It's amazing how all the people on bicycles, in cars, in tuk-tuks (an open air kind of bus, very precarious looking to me), on foot, and on motorcycles all manage to co-exist and race around this corner at a breakneck pace without any collisions. Even the dog (lower left) was in tune with the vibe. Bangkok dancing machine. I definitely enjoyed Bangkok, and the people I met there. But honestly, I was always happy to have a little quiet time back in my room at night. What a place! Hope to be back soon. ;)





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