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

Jury Duty

Guest Post by Margo Rivera-Weiss in Oakland, California

I was recently called for jury duty service. In most U.S. states lists of registered voters and people with a state driver's license or identification card are merged and prospective jurors are selected from those lists. In the past if you were called for service you always had to go in and just sit around to see if you were needed. The updated system allows one to call in or look online and about half of the time you are just excused and don't even need to go in. You can be called for service once each year.

Security Screening at the Courtroom

The Courtroom

I had served on two previous juries. I decided to bring my sketchbooks along this time because I knew there would be quite a bit of waiting around. The first wait was to get through the security checkpoint which was not unlike the security areas in airports. I removed my backpack and my belt and put those through the scanner.

Jury Waiting Room

Once in the juror waiting room we had plenty of time to sit around and I drew people as they asked us to watch a film on jury service that I had seen at least three or four times in past years. Some of the people watched the film as others looked away in boredom or impatience. You can tell by people's postures how much they didn't want to be there.

Waiting for the Jury Selection process to begin

People used their smart phones and laptops as the court building offered free wi-fi. Other people listened to music on their headphones. A few people read. One big group of people was called to a courtroom. We were told to take a break so people flocked to restrooms and to the snack vendor and came back with steaming hot dogs swathed in mustard and relish or with candy bars.

Prospective Jurors

Finally, we were called into the courtroom and I sat in the back and pulled out a smaller less conspicuous sketchbook. The sign said no eating, talking, reading or using phones. It didn't say "no drawing" but I didn't want to call attention to what I was doing. They told us a bit about the case - and it was a murder trial. There was a collective gasp/sigh in the room. They said they had called a double jury room of people because of the trial content and because it would likely last 3 weeks.

Defense Attorney

Prosecuting Attorney

I drew the jurors in the jury box, the attorneys, the judge, the accused, the bailiff. I drew through my nervousness. They handed out a 13-page questionnaire for us to fill out so that the attorneys would know something about us that would be helpful for the jury selection process. We were asked everything from our hobbies to our history with violent crimes, police, attorneys, and much more.

When I returned to the court there were approximately 80 people there and they needed twelve jurors and three alternates in case one of those needed to drop out. One by one the seats were filled and people were questioned. The two attorneys took turns thanking and dismissing people who had relatives in jail or who were victims of violent crime. They selected the 15 people and I was very relieved not to be among them. I did have a great time drawing though and it would have been even nicer had I know that I wouldn't need to be part of this jury.

Margo Rivera-Weiss has been drawing daily for the past year and a half and coordinates wellness programs and teaches sketchbook and printmaking classes in Oakland. Margo is the co-founder of East Bay Sketchers on Facebook. You can see more of Margo's work here.





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