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

Heddon Street London W1, the Ziggy Stardust Street

By Dan Peterson

On January 10th 2016, David (Jones) Bowie died in Manhattan, New York, USA. He was born on January 8th 1947 in Brixton London. There are many many websites and books covering his life and times, as well as the extraordinary contribution he made to music and art, so I won't write much more here.

In 1972 he released the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, the hugely successful concept album featuring tracks such as Starman, Suffragette City and Rock 'n' Roll Suicide. It brought him worldwide fame and with his chameleon like ability to re-invent himself and create original experimental music with, almost, continuous commercial appeal, has kept him at the top of the rock and pop music world ever since.

I was just a young boy in 1972 so it wasn't until the late 70s that I discovered Bowie and his music. I've been a big fan ever since. I saw him live three times, one of which was as part of the band Tin Machine. I really liked Tin Machine but the critics didn't agree which meant this concert was one of only 12 ever performed. Being a big fan of albums such as Station to Station and Low I've been thoroughly enjoying Bowies musical output over the last few years and was excited to hear of the release of Black Star on his birthday. It was therefore, as for many others, quite a shock to hear of his death, from liver cancer, only a couple of days later.

My need to produce something for Urban Sketchers gave me an idea. I made a pilgrimage to London where, rather than visit the mural on the wall in Brixton, where many have laid flowers and memories, I walked from Leicester Square tube station on a bitterly cold Sunday morning to find Heddon Street – the location of the photo shoot that produced the photo for the cover of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. It was early and the streets were quite empty as I made my way through Piccadilly Circus and up Regent Street to Heddon Street. Trying to match the picture form the album cover to the street I was in proved quite tricky at first. It meant that with my head in the air looking at the rooftops and windows I completely missed the floral tributes and messages laid on the street and stuck to the wall outside number 23 the first time I walked past. The street is a type of crescent in that it leads off Regent Street and then after two ninety degree turns returns to Regent Street. I think originally it was two streets and a lane.

To get the angle as right as I could to match the album cover picture I found myself stood on a step outside a café bar called Momo or MoCafé. As I stood drawing the staff began setting up for the mid morning opening time of 11am. This meant manoeuvring around various chairs, tables and other café furniture as it was placed in front of the restaurant within the outdoor seating area designated by a metal curved ironwork fence and a selection of pot plants and bamboo. It also introduced the sketchers problem of what to do when there's a large structure, in this case a wall mounted outdoor heater, between you and your subject. In this instance I decided that it was too large to ignore so just drew it in. I forgave the intrusion into my sketch when the heater was turned on to provide me with some much needed warmth. The street itself is now a pleasant pedestrianised café area which I should imagine is a great place to eat when all the cafés and restaurants are open of an evening. Very different from the image on the album cover.

As I drew the picture people came and went. Some lay more tributes and others had their photographs taken by friends beneath the circular plaque on the wall that reads "This marks the location of the cover photograph for the iconic David Bowie album 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' – Ziggy Stardust 1972". I listened to the album via headphones from my phone as I drew. I heard David singing that we had "Five Years" nearly three times before I was finished. It was quite a cathartic experience. I hope you enjoy the result.





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