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

Field Testing a Steel Brush in Quebec City

By Marc Taro Holmes in Quebec, QC
The other day we finally made it to Quebec City. We’ve been living in Montreal for about five years now, but for whatever reason, it took us this long to visit.
For our first trip, I wanted to hit the obvious highlights - the old town around the Château Frontenac. A lot of people feel they should go out of their way to find unique, undiscovered views in any town. Me, I tend to go right for the postcard view. I feel that given a limited amount of time, I want to start with the most recognizable spot, and move outward from there. I don’t know I’m that committed to this as a strategy, but it’s how I’m doing it for now.
15Sep06_Quebec_City_Post OFfice
We had arranged to meet up with a friend of ours - inveterate sketcher, Larry D. Marshall who knows the city from the pages of his own sketchbooks.  He walked us over to this perfect view of the cupola on the old post office. Larry’s a loyal reader of my blog, so I think he knows I’ll sketch any dome I can lay my eyes on :)
15Sep06_Quebec_City_Post Office Pano
This is actually a double-page spread – here’s the sketch combined with its other half making the panorama across the square.
These drawings are in a big 15x20” pad of Canson Montval. I made sure to bring large format paper, as I wanted to play with a 3/8” size Steel Brush. Which, as you can probably tell from the sketch, is a big huge nib. I mean - this drawing looks normal in proportion – but it’s 30” across.
NibShotThe steel brush is a rectangular sandwich of thin sheets of metal, each layer with a pattern of slots. When dipped, ink clings between the sheets of flexible metal, making a juicy reservoir of color.
I’ve had a few of these nibs in the back of a drawer for 20 years. I think I inherited them from an uncle. Unless I picked them up when I worked in an art supply store back in college. In any case – I’ve had them for a long, long time, and never had the nerve to draw with them. I had a 3/4” with me as well, but amusingly, it was too wide to fit down the neck of the 5ml ink bottles I carry.
So – these are only my first few drawings with this nib – I have to say – I really like it! The nib holds a lot of ink and can make broad and juicy strokes - as if you’re working with a watercolor flat – but somehow it’s a scratchy, springy, metallic flat. And, just like a watercolor flat, you can draw with the corners and the front edge, instead of the broad width. You get these weird wedgy cuneiform shapes, as well as some jagged slender-line work.
Occasionally the leaves of the nib will catch on the paper and fling a spray of ink drops. I like this. I’m a huge fan of tools that put you on the edge of control. It’s more fun to draw with them. I get bored if my materials are too predictable. The drawing should be an interaction between you and the media.
15Sep06_Quebec_City_Place Royale
This last one from Place Royale – a scenic little square in the heart of the old town – has some fun effects. I wonder if anyone can guess how I got these effects?
15Sep06_Place Royale_Detail
I know we'll be back to Quebec city sometime. There's plenty more to draw. And I'm sure i'll be playing with this pen some more - I'll have to keep you updated. It might be interesting to try it with watercolor for instance. I'll see what kind of fun and games I can get up to next time I have a day off to play with it.





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