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 – January 2016

Happy 2016, sketchers!

Urban Sketchers News, Events and Workshops

Symposium updates: Early-bird registration for the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester, England, begins Jan. 30, 2016! The main symposium venue will be the Manchester School of Art. A dedicated hotel-booking website is planned to go live by mid-January. To stay up to date on symposium news, visit the group Facebook page and join the mailing list.

Urban Sketchers is pleased to announce publication of the new Regional Chapter Guidelines. A year in the making and with input from our Advisory Board and Regional Administrators, the Regional Chapter Guidelines answer your questions about how to be recognized as an official Urban Sketchers Chapter, our expectations of Regional Chapter Administrators, use of the USk logo and brand and more. The guidelines are available now in English, Spanish and traditional Chinese, with more languages to come.

The USk Editorial Team welcomes Tina Koyama as its newest member. "You already know Tina as editor of Drawing Attention the past couple years," said Gabi Campanario. "She brings 30 years of experience in communications and editing to the Editorial Team, as well her enormous enthusiasm for urban sketching." He also announced that Marc Taro Holmes, who has served on the Editorial Team since it was formed in May 2014, is stepping down. "We appreciate Marc’s contributions and unique perspective," Gabi said, "and we'll stay tuned for his posts from Montreal and his workshops." Gabi is excited about the team’s accomplishments in 2015. For example, 75 guest posts curated by the team were published by contributors worldwide. "In 2016, the team is looking forward to adding new correspondents, especially from parts of the world currently under-represented," he said.

Mark Leibowitz of the USk Membership Team has announced a record-breaking number of new Regional Chapters: 25! "We are very excited to have these new sketchers joining us," Mark said. Welcome the sketchers from the following areas:

1. Milan, Italy
2. Charleston, SC, USA
3. Charkiw,  Ukraine
4. Brisbane, Australia
5. Bhutan
6. Budapest, Hungary
7. Duesseldorf/Cologne Germany NRW
8. Ramallah, Palestine
9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
10. Luxembourg
11. Pune, India
12. Stockholm, Sweden
13. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
14. Fredericksburg, Virginia
15. Beijing, China
16. Malmö, Sweden
17. Kuala Lumpur   
18. Victoria, BC, Canada
19. Stellenbosch, South Africa 
20. Gulfport, Florida, USA 
21. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK 
22. Odessa, Ukraine
23. Sydney, Australia
24. Canberra, Australia
25. Liverpool, UK 

If you are a new regional chapter, please introduce yourself to the rest of the sketching world by sending a brief news item, link to your group blog and a photo to

Treasurer needed: Are you good with Google Spreadsheets and love Urban Sketchers? Perhaps you are already an accountant by day? A retired accountant? Or just really good with numbers? We need you! Urban Sketchers is looking for a strategic-thinking yet detail-oriented Treasurer to join the Executive Board. See the full details of this volunteer position.

Fundraising Director needed: The USk Executive Board is also seeking a candidate experienced in fundraising to take on the role of Fundraising Director. The Fundraising Director creates and implements a plan to solicit donors and identify funding sources, based on preliminary work already completed by the Executive Board. The Fundraising Director will be a part of the Executive Board, which is composed of officers and directors and oversees the day-to-day management of the non-profit organization, and will work closely with the Sponsorship Coordinator (Omar Jaramillo), who is already in place, to develop sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested, please send a letter of interest and description of qualifications for this volunteer position to Elizabeth Alley at

Shari Blaukopf, Róisin Curé and Marc Taro Holmes are offering an Urban Sketchers workshop, "Sketching in Pen, Ink and Watercolor," in scenic Galway, Ireland, July 14-16, 2016. 

Tacoma, Washington (USA), is proud to host the Fourth Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl Aug. 19-21, 2016. The second-largest urban area in Washington state, Tacoma offers an historically and architecturally rich downtown area. San Francisco, Portland and San Diego were hosts of this annual event in previous years. See the blog for details.

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

Urban Sketchers Chicago at their exhibit in Lincoln Park.
Snow and rain couldn't keep enthusiastic Urban Sketchers Chicago (USA) from the opening of the group's exhibit in November and December, hosted by Blick Art Materials in Lincoln Park. See USk Chicago's blog for the story. 

Urban Sketchers Hong Kong had a jazzy evening last month when the group was invited to sketch during a jazz concert. Fourteen sketchers "arrayed ourselves around the theatre, some sitting right behind the musicians, some in the front row, some flanking the band, some higher up for a different vantage point," according to the USk Hong Kong blog.

Urban Sketchers Birmingham and the group's exhibition were featured in the January edition of The Artist magazine.

Sziastok! Urban Sketchers Budapest is pleased to announce that it is now part of the global Urban Sketchers community. According to Rebecca Khan, USk Budapest has been active as a sketching group since 2014, meeting twice a month to sketch Budapest -- a city vibrant with history, character, and glorious architecture. To conclude a year that has seen encouraging growth in membership and participation, USk-Budapest recently met at the Szechenyi Thermal Baths, the largest spa bath complex in Europe. Check out the group's blog and Facebook page.
Urban Sketchers Budapest

Urban Sketchers Paris is excited to be part of the exhibit Le Marais en héritage(s), 50 ans de sauvegarde depuis la loi Malraux, Nov. 4, 2015, through Feb. 28, 2016, in the Musée Carnavalet in Paris. "The museum wanted contemporary drawings of the famous Marais quarter," said Marion Rivolier, "so a few months ago we organised two sketch meetings. At the end, 25 sketchbooks and drawings were selected for the exhibit." 

Urban Sketchers Paris at their exhibit at Musée Carnavalet. 

Sketchers in Action

Montreal urban sketcher Shari Blaukopf has launched a new course on Craftsy: "Sketching the City." Simplify any cityscape to capture the character of your favorite urban scenes. Learn how to sketch building facades, textures, windows and more, in pen, ink and watercolor. Visit Shari's blog for a discount link to the course.

Author of a book about Ibiza, Bernat Moreno is working on a Kickstarter
campaign to fund a book on Nepal.
Bernat Moreno has a Kickstarter campaign to fund a trip to Nepal that would result in a published book of sketches. In addition, Bernat would produce a free e-book to promote tourism in Nepal, which was devastated by an earthquake in April 2015. In 2013, Bernat published a book of sketches of Ibiza.

One hundred drawings by Mário Linhares and the writing of Portuguese poet and writer Fernando Pessoa have been published in a new book, Lisbon, What the Tourist Should See. The text was originally published in English in 1925. A video shows Mário at work on a limited edition of screen prints from some drawings in the book.

Issue 16 of MCR Magazine, a publication of the Manchester (England) tourist board, features Simone Ridyard's article about Urban Sketchers and the upcoming USk Symposium in Manchester.

Murray Dewhurst's sketches of Akaroa, New Zealand, were featured in the December/January edition of DestinAsian magazine. 

Luís Ançã has published a book of 75 sketches of Angola. With text by Luis Gaivão, the book is called Angola: Muxima, desenho e texto (Angola: Heart, drawing and text).

Luís Ançã's new book on Angola

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-mailHappy sketching!





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