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

Birds of a Feather

by Róisín Curé in Galway

You meet a lot of people on the internet, and we in the online sketching community are lucky enough to meet gazillions of like-minded people, a lot of whom share our general outlook on life. We're birds of a feather. Every now and then you get to meet these people in real life. It doesn't happen much for me, as I have three small-ish (but still very needy) children, and I live on the far western edge of Europe...on an island.

So when I had the chance to meet two sketchers last Friday, I leapt at the chance. Myself, Vicki Fenlon Holdwick and Shevaun Doherty arranged to meet in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin, and spent a most pleasant afternoon getting to know each other and sketching. After wandering around the museum for a while we settled down in the Ancient Egypt room. The collection is small - nothing like something you'd find in London or (obviously) Cairo - but there were many objects of exquisite beauty there. Shevaun drew a tiny sarcophagus and I drew some canopic jars. I didn't know until about ten minutes ago that that's what they're called - and were it not for urban sketching, I would still be blissfully ignorant of the fact.


Here's Shevaun's little sarcophagus -

Here's my Canopic jars -

Vicki is a recent immigrant to Ireland and she spoke to her eight-year-old granddaughter back in the US on her phone, right there in the Ancient Egypt room. I don't care if it's a cliché - the wonders of technology.
There was a comment on Facebook about our use of water right there in the museum. I explained to the person who commented that in Ireland we know that people aren't going to get up to anything stupid or behave disrespectfully in a museum. It's partly that, and partly that our population is less than a tenth of that of Britain - and the museum-going public is probably even smaller. But really, we do genuinely trust people to behave, and it seems to work. Long may it last.

Here are me, Shevaun and Vicki in front of the Tara Brooch. In real life it's about six inches long.

I know it's very hard to tell but I messed around with the photo a bit. The Tara Brooch didn't come out in the photo so I gave it a little help.

We looked for the exhibit that gives you the origin of Irish surnames, and asked a security guard.
"Over there, past the bit where it says "no entry", and it's just around the corner," he said.
Everyone was to-ing and fro-ing through the "no entry" section, and no one seemed to mind, despite the large cardboard cut-out of a viking brandishing a big sword with the message written in front of him.

Eventually a burly security guard came to throw us out, as the museum was closing for the day. It was Friday and the guard wanted to knock off. We maybe could have been a bit quicker.
"What if we stay here all night?" said Shevaun.
"Then I'd have to introduce you to the dogs," said the big guard. He said they were Belgian-somethings. I know he was messing, because they just don't have dogs roaming around the National Museum at night (for one thing they'd make a hames of all the bones in the display cases) but he was deadpan so I couldn't be sure.

We had one of those days where you just don't want to say goodbye. Vicki had to catch a bus back to Wexford in early evening but I was footloose and fancy-free, so instead of saying goodbye, Shevaun and I went for a bite to eat. Walking up Grafton Street in the dark, the air fresh and cold, I remembered how much I love Dublin, my old stomping ground...

Next day I hopped on a Citylink bus back to Galway. The drivers are invariably jolly, laid-back types. This one welcomed everyone on board and told them the password to the wifi. He clearly wasn't 100% sure of it and glossed over it, twice. His very much younger and slicker colleague (the one who stays behind at the depot) slagged him for not knowing it.
"Lookit, would you get off, would ye?!" said the driver in mock-exasperation.
"Are you sure ye know the way west?!" said the young fella.

I was going to have a snooze on the bus but then I noticed the man in the seat opposite me was in a pretty deep sleep, his profile bathed in light. So I thought I'd give it a go.

Someday someone is going to draw me drooling in my sleep, minding my own business on a bus, and it will serve me right. I would never draw someone looking undignified, though (and when girls ask me to drop a few pounds off them, or lose the wrinkles, I'm always happy to oblige).

This trip to Dublin was not the first solo trip I've made to Dublin for a whimsical reason, but it wouldn't be too far off - time has a way of running away from you, especially when you have daily responsibilities. But the kids are getting older and I plan to catch the Citylink bus to Dublin more often.

There's a whole city to draw, and I know a couple of really cool sketchers who'll come and draw it with me...





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