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

Segovia, August, 2015. PYSB - Water Marks / Trazos de Agua SEGOVIA WORKSHOP 2015

based at the Colegio de Arquitectos
Isabel Carmona, Mercedes Carmona and Swasky

For the first time we organised a workshop in Spain in the great city of Segovia. The weather was really nice, a bit hot as we were in August in Spain, but something that we were expecting, anyway.  Participants and instructors alike enjoyed the city in summer . Because of the hot weather in the afternoons, for this workshop , we arranged  to run some “sesiones a la fresca” (cool sessions) which were all related to materials  and techniques we use when we are drawing on location (making our own watercolour box, creating quick and cheap watercolour sketchbooks and experimenting with watercolour). These sessions were a great success because we gave plenty of tips and resolved any doubts that arose  in them. We should also remark that we had the opportunity to work one on one and benefit from every minute we spent together. The venue, the “Colegio de Arquitectos”, an old castilian palace, was gorgeous and they welcomed our workshop and the “in progress” exhibition we put up which visitors and tourists enjoyed and commented upon. From the Colegio, we walked everywhere as distances between the drawing locations and our venue were short and reachable on foot.
So from the beginning of the workshop, it was like we were at home, Segovia is a really cosy city.
From the very beginning of the workshop, as mentioned, we enjoyed the city and its people. While we were drawing on the street, both local people, and tourists were interested in what we were doing. Some came to us and asked lots of questions, who we were, what we were doing, it was for a newspaper... What was slightly surprising was that some people  when we said that we were "Urban Sketchers" they nodded, and started telling that they knew the group from the web and they had a friend which practiced urban sketching. Amazing, isn't it? One of the things that apparently was the most surprising for most of them was that we were painting but not in the traditional way, with an easel, canvas and oil painting, no, we were just using watercolor and an sketchbook, they were also curious with our drawings and all our sketching gear, and when they saw the outcomes of our work they got surprised. They felt attracted by the apparent simplicity and the straightforward result.

Each tutor explored elements of their own expertise:

Isabel worked in watercolour
Segovia has strong light and shadow contrasts. Using watercolour as the main medium, we explored the idea of colour and contrast as the starting point of a sketch. We started by deciding where the lightest points of the sketch are, the paper, and where the deepest shadows will be, the strongest colours. The concept of leaving “light as white” was a difficult one to grasp in many colours but when we focused on a single colour (not a realistic coloured picture) the contrast was clearer and the concept easier to follow.
The participants started  to abstract what they saw, using watercolour boldly and with strong contrast. Afterwards, they were  able to draw either with more colour more linear marks or with pen if preferred. This workshop helped them to simplify the complex architecture and allowed them not to  be shy about painting views that in the first instance might appear too difficult - and they tackled amazing views of the aqueduct in this manner with its multitude of arches!

Mercedes looked at silence
The aim of her workshop was to encourage the sketchers to consciously perceive their environment, to look and think of what they wanted to draw.
They synthesized what they saw and differentiated elements on the space in front of them, marking the trajectory of lines, using planes of colour and finding those areas where the drawing wants to pause and be calm. In doing this, she encouraged participants to find their own calligraphy and ways of personal expression.
The main tools of her workshop were marker pens and they experimented with water soluble and waterproof markers.

Swasky focused on drawing people
He provided tips to lose the fear of putting pen to paper, and asked each participant to discover their own calligraphy, forgetting the set up or composition of the whole and just adding little details one beneath each other as letters composing words and words composing the drawn tale of the scene.

As the images show the participants pushed themselves but enjoyed the experience. The impressive exhibition was witness of it and the occupants of the patio and passersby gave it a very positive reception.

From their own comments, participants enjoyed:

Learning new things and doing them immediately
[that it] took me out of my comfort zone, explained and practised techniques new to me, everything explained clearly and enthusiastically
Learning to try new things and being inspired to do so.
Taking knowledge away that I shall definitely use again.
Being definitely pushed!

and we also made an impression on the local press, El Adelantado  and television.

We introduced Urban Sketchers movement around the world with an exhibition, which was afterwards followed by all the drawings done by participants along the workshop’s sessions.

Cool sessions were a really good way to avoid the heat on the street and then, once we finished, we went outside to draw again.

The Exhibition took shape little by little and attendees were meeting each other drawing altogether and having fun.

Experimentation, crossing our boundaries, being reckless, was our goal everyday. Step by step, helping each other, sharing our work and our experience, was our second goal.

One of the things we are worried the most is which is the paper to work with and in Mercedes’ session we found the answer: there is no perfect paper for everything The best thing is to experiment and that way we will be aware of which is the most suitable paper for us, in each occasion. Do not worry, just draw!

Exhausted but happy everybody had filled their bags with lots of drawing experience, sketches and new stuff to work with, now is time to keep working and experimenting.

Thank you to all of you from Mercedes, Swasky and Isabel !!!




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