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".
Blog
Flickr

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

Things Hot Up with the Cool Cats: Jazz Sketching in Galway

[By Róisín Curê in Galway] The last day of January didn't start out great. Us Galwegians are besieged by the never-ending, howling wind, its low moan our constant companion. It gets you down after a while. A few of us decided to get together for an oul' sketch in Busker Brownes pub in Galway City, because I'd heard that the Galway Bay Jazz Band do a Sunday morning session that seemed like a great opportunity to sketch. But at the last minute lots of people couldn't make it and I began to wonder if I'd be on my own. Then I remembered that I wanted to draw scenes of the fun to be had in Galway pubs for a project I'm working on, and that I sketch on my own most of the time anyway, and off I set.


When I arrived the band was just setting up and I got a ringside seat without difficulty. A gentleman sat just behind me, soon to be joined by his beautifully-dressed lady wife in shocking pink and horn-rimmed glasses, her blonde hair immaculately coiffed.
"You were lucky to get a seat," said the lady. "It's very popular here, you know. We've come every single week for years, all year round."
I told her I was there to sketch.
"You won't be able to see much in a minute," she replied. "The floor will be full of dancers."
"Dancers?" I asked. "I didn't know there was dancing too. What kind?"
"Swing dancing," she said. I realised things were going to get rather hotter than I had imagined. I wasn't too worried about my view being blocked - dancers move, and all I needed was a glimpse at a time.
The room filled up and I began to sketch, remembering the rule to draw whatever I could whenever I saw it, as you never know when it will be gone. Men got up to dance, pulling their lady friends onto the floor. These people were not in the first flush of youth, but they could have given most of the youths I've seen lately a lesson in loving life. They could really move. The band played jazz standards from the fifties and sixties, including from one of my all-time favourites, Ray Charles, the Genius. Not for a second was the dance floor anything other than hopping with terrific dancers.

A brand new Urban Sketcher called Neasa (pronounced Nasa) joined us. "I haven't drawn for about three years," she said. I expected the sort of rusty drawing I make when I haven't drawn for a long time, but Neasa turned out a delicate pencil drawing of two of the musicians.

I was just thinking that maybe I should be dancing too...when an older man in a red jumper, jeans and a navy baseball cap read my mind, grabbed my hand and whirled me onto the dance floor. Just as well I wanted to dance, as there was no taking no for an answer. After whirling me around for a Bossa Nova number he let me go and got Neasa up for a dance. His regular dance partner was a most stunning teenager - the sort of beauty it does your heart good just to look upon. She wore a white dress covered in red poppies which swirled as she danced, clearly in her element. Afterwards the man chatted to us.
"I go to Prague to dance the tango," he said. "A fellow drew me once while I danced. It was so beautiful."
"Next time I'll sketch the dancers," I said to him.
"Next time YOU will dance," he said. "Now you must excuse me, ladies. I have to escort my niece home."
Off he went with the vision in poppies (in a huge coat against the horrible January weather) at his side.

The elegantly-dressed lady behind me called the band over to see the sketch.
"A photo is great," said Gerry on the piano. "But you've caught an eternal moment."
"Music is always an eternal moment," I said. It felt true at the time.
But isn't that the thing about urban sketching? That we catch eternal moments, such as they exist?

I can't imagine a better way to see out January.


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