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

Plaça Catalunya, Sketchcrawl, Barcelona

[by Swasky in Barcelona, Catalonia]  Now it is a few years ago that I go to the Sketchcrawl and my experience has been changing. We started being 3 or 5 people and we have ended up being normally about 60 or 70 people. The most that we have met was about 500 people on the Sketchcrawl which coincided with the symposium in Barcelona, three years ago, but it is not the standard amount of people, fortunately. For me many people are too much, few people are good, although 60 or 70 people who came latter Sketchcrawl was fine. In the end, always, everything is a matter of organization, and people was around, coming and leaving, all day long.

Santi Sallés proposed to do this in Plaza Catalunya to draw a landmark. We know this could be the worst place for a "Barceloner", all full of tourists, pigeons and balloon sellers. But in the end it was not that bad. At first we got started and we were about 30 people and increasing till lunch.

For me Plaça Catalunya is a place linked to my childhood, when I was a little kid my parents brought me and took a picture of me feeding the pigeons, I think all "Barceloners" has got a picture like this one. It is a good memory, and even today is still done. Now I see pigeons otherwise, like little beggars. Now people take pictures with "selfie" sticks and the Plaza has become a place where street vendors sell goods, usually CD's or fake luxury bags. The vendors are known as "top manta" because they display their goods on top of a rug ("manta" in Spanish.) Many of them are from Pakistan. Everything has changed, but nothing has changed. Same context, different characters.

Balloons are a children trap, do not miss those of TV characters as "Pocoyo" (only known in Spain, but you can imagine that he is like Dora "the explorer") or Disney princesses, of course "SpongeBob" and other essential animals like lions or elephants. Again pigeons going around, everywhere, begging for food.


On the left, parish of Santa Anna from Sta. Anna's Street. Right, sculpture in Barcelona Frederic Mares.

Once we drew along the early hours in Plaza Catalunya we headed to the parish of Sta. Ana, hidden but not anymore. About 3 years ago they began to charge admission to visit the Romanesque cloister. Since then I have not re-entered. I do not want to enter into the eternal and sterile debate if Barcelona is for tourists or for locals, it is clear that long ago Barcelona doesn't belong anymore to its inhabitants, as all major European cities, Barcelona, London or Paris, they have fallen into the tour operators hands.

Parish of Sta. Anna. Detail of the facade partially illuminated. Some clueless tourists overlook.

After lunch an entire group, with new people and people who have long participated into the Sketchcrawl, returned to the Plaza de Catalunya to continue drawing. I wanted to draw some of the sculptures that are around the square. The one which captures my attention is one done by Frederic Marès. Life is strange, days before I learned that the sculptor was born in the town of Portbou, where I will run a workshop with Santi.

The sculpture represents a young woman, Barcelona, on a horse with her arms raised and holding a ship, representing the past and present of maritime trade of the city. This commercial aspect is reinforced with the figure of Mercury "god of Roman mythology, who was the messenger of the gods, [1] protector of trade, son of Jupiter and Maia Maiestas. He was a god important business, profits and trade. Its name is related to Merx-rcis, merchandise, article, gender. " (Source Wikipedia).





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