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

Singapore, at last...

by Stephanie Bower, Seattle

Things are crazy busy these past weeks!

Craftsy class "Perspective for Sketchers" is launching October 12, together with a deadline for the Urban Sketching Handbook "Understanding Perspective" on Monday... my life is filled with vanishing points and horizon lines, with little time left to scan these images from the summer...but all such really good things!!! 

My first USk symposium was Barcelona, and it was such a fabulous experience.  I went knowing really only one person, Gail Wong, and I was clinging to her like toddler to her mom.  But by the end of the symposium, I knew more people, as sketchers are a really friendly lot.

Next symposium was Paraty, where I had the opportunity to teach a workshop called "180 Degrees" on wide-angle the end of this one, I knew even more people, slowly getting more and more comfortable. But it was really after the workshop when a group turned up in Rio to sketch that I got to know so many more people.  It was a revelation that there were other people as motivated as I, to pretty much sketch from early in the morning till late at night...the synergy was amazing, I feel like we all bonded for life!

This past summer, was symposium #3 in Singapore where I gave a lecture on perspective (detecting the theme?) twice, and got to TAKE workshops, which was GREAT.  By now, I knew so many people, but still, traveling alone to the other side of the world was daunting.  Luckily, as soon as you see someone with a sketchbook, you are connected.

Here are a few of the pre-symposium sketches.  It was so hot, we all met  up nearly pre-dawn and headed out to the streets.

Please click on images to see them larger, as the long ones get a little lost...
Bussorah street was probably the most sketched spot in Singapore that week!  Thanks to Don Low for entertaining the school kids watching us work while I finished this sketch.  

Before the workshop, you can literally head out your hotel door and wander, and you'll come across sketchers you can join.  They wander off, then another group rolls in, and you're sketching with a different group.  I felt like a sketching nomad, and it was such great fun! 

I was eventually adopted by a roving group of Aussies who were so warm and welcoming and soooo talented too--I love you all!  Thank you to Angela, Rooi, and all that group as we wandered and sketched and ate together!  Also Marc and Laurel Holmes, Suhita Shirodkar, and Liz Steel...I was so inspired and influenced by sketching with you all...

Iconic images of the buildings, trees and skywalk at Gardens by the Bay, sweating and chatting with Marc Holmes and/or Liz Steel all the while. It's the good company that really makes these 
experiences so memorable.  Sketch below was literally sketched and painted in the complete dark, could see no color, just knew where to look in my palette!  Funny, but these are my mom's favorite.

One of my favorite sketches, the dancing Baobab trees at Gardens by the Bay, and an early morning sketch of the Chinese Calligraphy Society on Waterloo Street near the symposium home base.

Morning breakfast and sketching with the Aussies at famous ZamZam, behind the Mosque. Delicious, really a highlight of the trip were the breakfast koppi ice and paratha.   This was sketched with a migraine, and it shows.

Below that is Haji Street shophouses, midday heat, again with Liz and Suhita...

Next are posts of the workshops I took with Suhita Shirodkar, Nina Johansson, and Shari Blaukopf. My gosh, I admire them so much!





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