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

Out of my Comfort Zone in Singapore

Stephanie Bower, Seattle

As I look ahead to Manchester 2016, I find I'm also looking back to Singapore 2015!

The USk Symposium is great on so many levels--to meet other sketchers from around the world (who are also willing to get up before dawn to sketch the streets, to draw while walking-talking-drinking-eating, to sit on the ground to get just the right angle, to sketch until you are about to drop--are we a little obsessive?  YES, and it's so great!!), to be inspired by new people and new places, and at its core, to get to learn from and sketch next to people whose work I so admire.

In Singapore, I gave a lecture on perspective (my thanks to all who attended) and got to take three workshops.  It was really hard to decide which ones, as so many looked great, but in the end I settled on what I felt I most needed to learn.  So I steeled myself for what was certain to be an OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE experience--which is actually a huge benefit of these be gently pushed into unfamiliar sketching territory by a really good teacher.

1-- First Singapore workshop was Nina Johansson's "Light in the Spaces in Between:  A Watercolor Workshop"In addition to her beautiful linework, I love the glow that Nina gets in her sketches using really saturated and luminous colors.  

We started with a pencil stone study, then a color study--I had to work hard to leave a key portion white and build up contrasts in other parts of the sketch.  

And in the final sketch of our subject, I tried to let the yellow-green paint vary in color and sink to the bottom, as if pulled down by's harder than it looks!

2-- The next Singapore workshop was Shari Blaukopf's "Big Brush Colour: Capturing that First Impression".
There are no words for how much I admire Shari's sketching...her sense of 2-d composition is exquisite, and I love how she applies paint--the watercolor feels wet in the sketch--by tilting her paper, the colors pool and sink and feel like a real water media, mixing and blending in all kids of brilliant happy accidents (or are they???) And together, with great composition and beautiful painting, she can make the most mundane subject look like fine art.

We took a little sliver of a view of downtown framed by trees, and first did value studies. This is a step I usually skip out of impatience, so it was good to do. I liked trying two variations on composition to see which held the most promise.

Then color, doing my best to emulate Shari...

3-- And in my third and final workshop, I was REALLY out of my comfort zone...drawing people in Suhita Shirodkar's "Capturing Chaos: Drawing a Crowd".

Suhita is amazing...she doesn't stand back and draw people from afar, she gets right up in front of them and so quickly captures a sense of their body in motion, midst the chaos, which in this case is a flower market in front of a temple.  This was really hard for me, and I struggled with sketching can tell I cheated and relied heavily on the architectural backdrop to pull this sketch together!

Alas, I will never be able to sketch like Nina, Shari, or Suhita, but it was great fun to try for a few hours.  I figure, if you can get one good take-away out of a workshop, you're doing well. You likely won't produce a masterpiece (I can't quite believe I'm actually posting these sketches), but you'll get a great experience...and I did!





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