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

Urban Sketching in Galway, Ireland with Róisín Curé, Shari Blaukopf, and Marc Taro Holmes (Sold Out)

Pen & Ink and Watercolour on Location: A workshop with Róisín Curé, Shari Blaukopf, and Marc Taro Holmes
July 14-16, 2016

Join Urban Sketchers correspondents Róisín Curé, Shari Blaukopf, and Marc Taro Holmes for three days of sketching and painting in Galway, Ireland. This harbor city on Ireland’s west coast, is often referred to as the 'most Irish' of Ireland's cities. The 18th-century core is surrounded by shops and traditional, brightly painted pubs offering live Irish folk music. Stone-clad cafes, boutiques and art galleries line the winding lanes of the Latin Quarter, which retains portions of the medieval city walls.

Our workshop will be an introduction to capturing this extraordinary environment in drawing and watercolour.

We emphasize working quickly, and making well designed compositions. Our demonstrations will show you how to reduce a complex scene to its essence. And how to use unified shapes to create a center of interest with composition, contrast and colour, while preserving the whites of the paper and mixing lively washes of rich colour. Learn about traveling with a sketchbook and finding compositions in the field. See how these three artist/educators quickly plan and execute a sketch on location. You’ll enjoy two demos per day – everything from basic drawing, tinting sketches with colour, and sketching directly with brush and paint.

You’ll spend one full day with each of our experienced plein air watercolourists. We’ll visit a different sketching location for each morning and afternoon demo. Every demo will be followed by a chance to apply what you’ve seen to your own sketches, with plenty of feedback from the instructors. Join Róisín, Shari, and Marc for a meet-and-greet Wednesday evening before classes begin, then again each evening for a sketchbook party sharing everyone’s work from the day.

Sketching in Galway

The city of Galway is full of quirks and idiosyncrasies, making it one of the most popular and sought-after holiday destinations for visitors from within Ireland and all over the world. Everyone who visits Galway in the summer months is enchanted by its lively atmosphere and legendary charm.

Galway is a very small city cross-cut by a network of waterways, from quiet canals to the River Corrib, which varies from a tranquil river of crystal-clear water to a churning torrent, depending on rainfall in distant Connemara. It passes right through the heart of the city, meaning you’ll spend a lot of time on bridges! Galway’s main thoroughfare is one long narrow, twisting street wending its way from Eyre Square at the top to the mouth of the River Corrib at the Spanish Arch, passing buskers and street entertainers of every description along the way.

Luckily for everyone it’s pedestrianised and closed to traffic throughout the day, but the crowds disappear the minute you leave the main drag. The quieter streets which lead off the main street are full of hidden surprises and a sketcher’s paradise. The River Walk with canal on one side, river on the other, provides splendid views and sketching opportunities, and wildlife is never far away, from the large colony of swans that live on the River Corrib to the seabirds that fly over the city – and the salmon that leap the river!

Galway has a large choice of restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. Some of the best cuisine Ireland can offer is found in Galway, and the area is famous for its oysters, fresh seafood and top-quality grass-fed beef and lamb, although being a student town those who don’t eat meat are well catered for too.

The nightlife is electric but does require a certain level of stamina! Traditional Irish music sessions can be found in some of the many hostelries across the centre of town, and anyone who can play an instrument is welcome to join in.

Learning goals

Composition: Analyzing the view, selecting and framing a composition, responding to the site
Demonstration of a basic drawing technique: planning and executing the sketch. Each instructor has different methods for making the initial drawing – ranging from sketching thumbnails to sight measuring, to approximating perspective with gesture drawing.
Demonstration of rendering techniques: Each artist will advance the drawing in different ways. Some planning in pencil, leading up to a final ink drawing, which is then tinted in colour. Others working spontaneously in ink or watercolour, or even going directly to colour shapes without line.
Colour and Paint: Each artist has a different approach to colour and paint, and will demonstrate their own unique brush handling. We will demonstrate colour mixing, making flat and graded washes, and working both wet-in-wet and wet-on-dry technique.

Daily schedule

09:00 – 12:30 (3.5hrs): Demo, sketching, critique

12:30 – 13:30: Lunch break

14:00 – 17:00: (3 hrs) Demo, sketching, critique

18:30 – 22:00: Supper and sketchbook party

About the instructors

Róisín Curé is a long-time resident of Galway. She came across the world of urban sketching by chance in 2012, co-founding Urban Sketchers Galway in 2014. She was invited to become an Urban Sketchers Correspondent in the same year. She blogs about life in the west of Ireland on her website, She currently teaches art to adults and children. In 2016 she plans to teach sketching to long-stay patients in hospital, and finish her first solo book, a guide to sketching on location.

Róisín will concentrate on good observation: looking well in order to draw well, and move on to getting to grips with values. She'll also show you how adding animals and humans breathes life into your sketch.

Marc Taro Holmes has been an Urban Sketchers correspondent since 2009. He is the author of The Urban Sketcher:Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location, and the instructor of two online courses: Sketching People in Motion and Travel Sketching in Mixed Media. He blogs at, where you can find a ever growing journal of his reportage art and free drawing lessons.

In the Galway workshop Marc will demonstrate the speed-sketching technique single line sketching, as well as how to paint more directly in watercolor. You can find information about Marc's sketching tools over here: drawing kit | watercolor materials.

Shari Blaukopf is a Montreal-based teacher, illustrator, sketch blogger and has been a correspondent for Urban Sketchers since 2012. Her online courses Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink and Watercolor and Sketching the City in Pen, Ink and Watercolor are on You can find her watercolours at and her blog at

In Galway, Shari's demos and workshops will focus on composition and design, as well as using expressive colour in sketching.

Registration Fee

$350 USD per student

Refundable up to 60 days in advance, non-refundable after that
Non-artist partners may attend at no extra cost
Not included: Transportation to and from Galway, accommodation, meals

We need 35 students minimum to go ahead. If the class fails to reach the minimum by March 15, 2016 the workshop will be cancelled and all fees will be refunded.

For more info or to register:
Email your name and address to Laurel Anne Holmes at LAHolmes(dot)photography(at)gmail(dot)com

Workshops typically sell out quickly, so register early!




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