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

Sketching as tranquiliser

 by Róisín Curé in Galway

I am in the unfortunate position of visiting our local hospital frequently. I'm not ill, but I accompany someone who is. The waits are long and so I occasionally sketch.

Other than in hospital, I haven't had many chances to sketch of late because I have to use my time productively (you don't get paid to sketch) but luckily there are always gaps in the day when you get the chance. When I sat down to sketch this one of the café in University College Hospital, Galway, I felt a frisson of excitement knowing I had an uninterrupted hour ahead of me. It says a lot about the intensity of my life over the last two months that I had a wonderful feeling of freedom at the prospect of a single hour when no one would need me and I couldn't do any work.

Some farsighted person in the Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust has allowed a very talented young man called Finbar 247 to be let loose with buckets of black and white paint in the main foyer of the hospital. When you have real talent, that's all you need. He has made beautiful graffiti-type art on the walls, with slogans and messages about looking after yourself and making the most of your time. I normally ignore people trying to remedy my laziness but somehow when I read Finbar's words I want to get fitter and stay healthy. I loved sketching his work but I haven't done it any kind of justice. You should check out his website of the same name.

A mix of medical staff, patients and visitors file past at speed. The ground floor of the hospital resembles a very busy train station with a disproportionate number of people in pyjamas or aqua-green uniforms. The ill people move very slowly and the medical staff stride along. Unbuttoned white coats billow past, their wearers like low-key superheroes, which of course a lot of them are.

Two men came to sit at my table. They were chatting in Irish, which I understand for the most part as not only was it drummed into me since I was 4 but my kids attend a Gaelscoil and I get to speak it quite a bit (very badly, usually ending somewhat pathetically in English, having failed to get my point across well enough). Like many well-educated Irish people I speak one or two European languages but Irish isn't my strong suit, despite the decades of enforced learning (we had no choice). I love it now, and I was really hoping the men who sat down would strike up conversation. One was too ill to talk much. His younger companion was really sweet to him, trying to persuade him to eat a sandwich and have sugar in his tea. I practiced my Irish sketching-related phrases in my mind but in the end the younger man just spoke to me in English and when I replied in Irish he acted all confused. This happens a lot. I say my piece in perfect Irish - I am Irish, for crying out loud - and there's an awkward silence, followed by English. As an amateur linguist I do get it, but it's a bit annoying nonetheless.

Here's a bit more detail of my sketch.

And here's a sketch from before our dreams of Rugby World Cup glory were dashed. This young man was wearing a RWC shirt. I got a silly kick out of using Phthalo green undiluted as I never use it like that - nothing is that colour in nature, except maybe the sea in Mauritius, which I know because I painted it lots of times.

This one is just a line drawing but it got me out of my head for a bit. I'm getting quite used to drawing hand-cleanse dispensers. Their angles are a bit funny so I won't master them for a while yet.

Finally, one from a few months back. This time my charge and I had to watch the entire waiting room empty little by little, leaving us the last to be seen just before the clinic closed for the evening. My young companion became very frustrated, and of course the omnipresent phone doesn't serve to calm nerves. Watching the sketch unfolding did seem to soothe somewhat...

I also did one a few days ago of a lady receiving an iron infusion but she was snoozing away in blissful ignorance of the stupid eejit with the paintbox manically scribbling her likeness as she slept. I will allow her her privacy and not post the sketch.

So there you go. Our health system could do with improvement on many fronts and you can get very stressed in our hospitals, what with the waiting, the worry and all.

Hospital + sketching = calmer me.





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