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

Rediscovering Singapore through Urban Sketching

By Sanjukta Sen in Singapore

The things that I missed when I moved from Singapore to the UK for university included the sunny weather and the incredible food. However, this December when I returned home for the winter break, I discovered a new side of Singapore with some help from my mother.

My mother has been an artist for about 20 years now, and I started sketching 10 months ago. When I returned home, I brought two Japanese Moleskine sketchbooks with me – one for my mom and one for myself. The format is ideal to draw panoramas on, and the layout is nice to look back on as one long memory.

We sat at One Fullerton and sketched this.
It took ages for me to get all the details in and even then I’ve omitted many buildings!

Our sketching journey started at One Fullerton, where my mother took me to sketch the classic Singapore skyline, complete with the Marina Bay Sands and the Merlion. I think the sheer size of this drawing meant that towards the end I lost focus, and it turned out a little sloppier than I had hoped for.

Our next stop was the Tiong Ghee temple. We walked five minutes from our house to sketch this temple. I had never appreciated how complicated the structure was, and how different and difficult it was to draw compared to the glass high-rise buildings in our previous sketch-pedition. I got bitten by a hundred mosquitoes, but the experience was worth it.

Tiong Ghee temple – the Chinese temple behind my condominium.
Once again, we set off in fairly gloomy and cloudy weather (which, actually, is the best weather to sketch in Singapore because when it is hot, it is impossible to be outdoors). We took shelter under a shop house and, perched on our little stools, set about drawing this scene. We finished it surprisingly fast, and because the weather had not tired us out, we walked a little further to draw the Sri Marimman temple.

This was the hardest thing I’ve probably drawn in this sketchbook. The temple is made up of hundreds of carved statues that are stacked on top of each other to create this formidable structure. That, and the fact that the sun had come out and was beating down quite mercilessly on us, made for a very challenging drawing. My mother and I laughed every five minutes at how futile it felt trying to draw the statues, and we soon figured out that capturing the “mood” of the temple was a good attempt enough. We went home absolutely exhausted.

Sri Marimann Temple – ridiculously hard, ridiculously fun.
Once again, the weather favored us and we roamed around Arab Street for a while, trying to find a good spot to sketch this famous mosque. There was an old man who kept returning to check our progress on our drawing, and at one point he started calling out to other pedestrians to see our sketches! It was very cute.

Sultan Mosque, Arab Street – a Singaporean architecture landmark.
Our final stop was Emerald Hill, where my mom has sketched many times with her friend. The weather was blisteringly hot. Despite sitting in the shade, the sun beat down on us, and within five minutes both of us were sweating insanely. However, this scene was the most fun I’ve had to draw, as I loved playing with the architecture and exaggerating the perspective to capture the mood. This was the perfect end to a very fun vacation of sketching.

Emerald Hill – a good way to finish off an amazing sketching vacation.
I learnt a lot from both watching my mom’s approach to sketching and exposing myself to such an incredible variety of architecture. Nowhere else in the world is there such a range of buildings to draw – each one was so different and so challenging. Rediscovering Singapore through urban sketching with my mother’s help has made me fall in love with this country more than ever.   

Sanjukta Sen, a compulsive sketcher from Singapore, is currently studying Politics and International Relations at the University of Cambridge in England. You can see more of her work on Instagram. 





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