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

Drawing Attention – December 2015

Urban Sketchers Events and Workshops

Manchester Symposium Update: We have the location (Manchester, England) and the dates (July 27 - 30, 2016), and now we need programming! Please see the Call for Programming for more information. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 21.

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

Welcome, Urban Sketchers Charleston! 
Urban Sketchers Charleston (USA) is excited to announce its recent acceptance as part of the Urban Sketchers community. "We had a recent sketch outing on a brisk and breezy Sunday," said Anne Weld. "Eight folks took a break from Thanksgiving prep and braved the chilly wind to sketch the downtown streets." The group has a blog and is on Facebook.

USk Munich (Germany) was featured on German television in November in a five-minute video program. The Bavarian channel BR came along with sketchers to their November meetup for the coverage.

Sergio Garzon sketches a glass art studio with USk Oahu.
At the invitation of Glass Arts Association of Hawai'i, Urban Sketchers O'ahu (USA) attended the glass artists' open house. "Sketchers captured live glass shaping and blowing while keeping a safe distance from the blazing furnaces and red-hot globs of glass," said Sebastian Sievert.

The October edition of Lisboa magazine featured an article about Urban Sketchers, including a cover sketch by Pedro Alves.

USk Chile held its second annual Urban Sketchers Chile meeting at Casa de la ciudadanía Montecarmelo. Three workshops were offered by Sergio Barquin, Ricardo Martinez and Rosario Muñoz. The event concluded with an exhibition at the cultural center, Rosario said. "Also we uploaded some sketches (those about the neighborhood) to our Facebook page. The one that got the most likes won a bag with art materials, courtesy of our sponsor Color Animal." Drawings of the cultural center's building remained on exhibit for several days.

Urban Sketchers Chile at its second annual meeting.

Urban Sketchers Toronto (Canada) will have its first show in collaboration with Areej Art Gallery Dec. 5 - 19. An opening reception is planned for Dec. 5.

Urban Sketchers London has a show by more than 20 artists in the newly opened Timberyard Soho cafe through April 2016. During the cafe's launch month, USk London is also organizing a sketchcrawl and book event. A drawing by James Hobbs is featured on 50,000 of the cafe's coffee cups.

Sketchers in Action

Mario Linhares (Portugal) has an exhibition of 50 sketches of Lisbon made for a new book by Fernando Pessoa. In a Google translation of Mario's announcement, he said, "It took me a year to do all the drawings; I have many curious stories to tell about them." A show opening was held Nov. 27.

Cathy McAuliffe's sketch of a Veteran's Day parade
Cathy McAuliffe of the San Francisco Bay Area (USA) sketched at an annual parade honoring veterans Nov. 11 in Petaluma. The parade includes "veterans both young and old, high school marching band, horses, vintage vehicles, fly overs and lots of community support," Cathy said. "It all takes place under beautiful fall trees lining the streets."

Fort Worth (USA) professor, designer and urban sketcher James Richards’ new Craftsy class, “Essential Techniques for Sketching the Energy of Places,” has been released.  The two-hour online course delves into Jim’s techniques for capturing the buzz of lively streets and plazas on-location.  “We cover techniques for quickly capturing people, buildings and street life in ways that go beyond rendering to capture the spirit of the place.” Urban sketchers will receive a $10 discount by registering through Jim’s website.

Jim Richards leads a sketch outing and workshop in Nairobi.
In other news, Jim recently gave a keynote address and drawing workshop and led an on-location urban sketching outing in Nairobi, Kenya, at a conference of the International Federation of Landscape Architects. The events were attended by design students and faculty from Jomo Kenyetta University, as well as conference attendees from across Africa, most of whom had never experienced group sketching on-location before. Busy Jim also recently gave workshops at Mississippi State University and Kansas State University, and a “Sketch Chicago” outing and exhibition at the national conference of the American Society of Landscape Architects in Chicago, which he led with longtime collaborator and urban sketcher Richard Alomar.

Hugo Costa (Spain) will be teaching at the Parsons New School in New York City (USA) as a researcher and visiting scholar, lecturing on urban sketching and architectural representation. "Although I teach in Spain," Hugo said, "I earned a four-month grant for researching on graphic expression/urban sketching and also will be producing a graphic diary of NYC's urban atmosphere."

Shout it Out in Drawing Attention

Not seeing anything about you or your Urban Sketchers group in Drawing Attention? Then we want to hear from you! Please send your urban sketching news items with links and images to: Or tag me, Tina Koyama, on news you post on the Urban Sketchers Facebook page. Subscribe by e-mail.  Happy sketching!




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