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

Video Review: Marc Holmes’ Demos on Artists Network TV

[By Tina Koyama in Seattle, Washington, USA] Well-known Urban Sketchers instructor and correspondent Marc Taro Holmes has been sharing his drawing and painting techniques in workshops, a book and Craftsy online classes. Now Artists Network TV has produced a series of four video programs of Marc demonstrating his urban sketching methods.

Capturing small vignettes tells the story of a place.
Recorded in Cincinnati, Ohio, the four programs in the Urban Sketching series are Drawing Birds, Travel Sketching, Sketching a Panorama, and Sketching City Life. While students of Marc’s Craftsy courses will find the techniques and approach familiar, the significant difference with the Artist Network TV programs is that the demos are done entirely on location. Seeing Marc sketching from photos in the Craftsy studio is an effective way to learn and practice his techniques. But viewing Marc in the field – whether he’s sketching a turkey vulture at a bird sanctuary or painting a panoramic Cincinnati skyline – feels much more like attending an actual workshop. The light shifts, the birds and people move, the wind blows (at one point, battling the wind as he paints turns into a serious challenge!) – these are all part of the urban sketching experience we know and love. Marc shows us how he turns the ever-changing environment to his advantage and creates a dynamic composition more lively and spontaneous than anything that could be done in a comfy studio.

A pencil is used to roughly indicate the placement of people.
Each video program begins with a brief introduction to Marc’s favorite tools and materials. Then the rest of the program (each runs for about 60 to 80 minutes) is a start-to-finish demo of one or more sketches. In all of them, Marc demonstrates his three-part process: pencil first to rough in the composition and basic elements; fountain pen to complete the drawing; and finally brush – a brush pen with dark ink to create shadows and eventually a paint brush for watercolor.

Each program presents unique features based on the location and subject matter. In Drawing Birds, Marc shows how he starts several views of an owl to keep up with the various changes in position the owl makes. Some views end up as more finished sketches than others, and they all work together as a group on the page.

Marc paints a turkey vulture -- a challenging subject that moves constantly.
In Sketching City Life, a large building and trees form the backdrop to people in a busy park. Marc shows us how he creates composite people made up of the various folks who walk in and out of his view.

 Sketching a Panorama was especially illuminating to me as I watched Marc set up a “post and rail” composition – picking out major visual markers on a 180-degree skyline to create the focus of a landscape that might otherwise be overwhelming to sketch.

The fourth program, Travel Sketching, puts emphasis on sketching quickly and efficiently (when travelers may be pressed to see as much as possible in a short time) and creating the “story” of a place on the sketchbook page. For example, by choosing small but historically significant subjects, you learn a little about the location while creating a montage of memorable sketches.

Three pieces of paper are taped together horizontally to sketch a
180-degree panorama.
These programs are not step-by-step how-to instructions. To learn his techniques and approach and follow specific exercises, beginners may want to start with Marc’s book or Craftsy courses first, then use these video demos as a visual supplement. Intermediate and advanced sketchers, though, may be able to grasp the basics of Marc’s approach simply by viewing these excellent programs. And anyone would enjoy watching a master at work – one who has the impressive ability to speak articulately about what he’s doing even while he’s drawing.

Visit Marc’s blog for more details and links to the Artist Network TV programs.

Opinions expressed by our correspondents and guest contributors don't necessarily represent an official view of




USk News$type=blogging$ct=0$au=0$m=0$show=


[Workshops Blog]$type=two$c=12$ct=0$m=0$show=