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

Workshop 10: Urban Sketching on Assignment: Planning & Executing Team-Based Sketching Reportage

Instructor: Marc Taro Holmes

Workshop Description
One of the great things about USK is the group dynamic of online sharing, our regional chapters, and our sketchcrawls. In this workshop we will tap into this magical feeling of sketching together, while simultaneously learning about reportage sketching.

Our goal is to plan and execute a complete sketchbook documentary of a specific site in only 3.5 hours, by working as a team! At the end of our drawing session weíll have a complete visual analysis ñ a group sketchbook made by everyone working together.

I like to define reportage sketching as a documentary film made by drawing. As urban sketchers, we often use drawing to spontaneously record an event in our own visual language. But a sketcher cannot draw everything ñ not in the way a film maker can instantly capture the entire visual field. Even the fastest sketcher is slower than the camera. Thatís the trade off for our individual style.

Therefore, to be successful we must select specific topics. We need to choose the right set of compositions to tell the story. By planning a shot selection list in advance, we can be more free to concentrate on drawing, without fear of missing part of the story, or wasted effort wandering in search of subjects.

In this workshop we'll review the organization of a general purpose shot list, designed for maximum coverage and we'll discuss/demo some speed drawing techniques to go along with it. Then we'll head out on location and actually do the whole shot list together in a series of timed drawing sprints.

This workshop is an intensive learning-by-doing experience. We should approach it with a sense of fun and an open mind for experimentation. I hope you'll be excited to work together!

Workshop Schedule
The Exercises:
  • Weíll open with a 60 minute crash course in speed sketching. We can do this outside the chosen location on the street, or in a side spot at the symposium main venue before we go on location.
  • Gesture Drawing: Sketching in continuous pen motion with a single, or limited number of lines. Establishing poses, structures, and spaces in slender line, restating in bold line. Also - eyeball-estimating perspective.
  • Iterative Drawing: Sketching the same object or view quickly three times to improve a capture. Donít make thumbnails, but treat each drawing as an experimental sketch.
  • Annotated Drawing: Taking color and value notes, and texture swatches, recording data for painting from memory assisted by notes in the immediate aftermath of sketching.

The Group Reportage:
  • Students will choose sketching assignments by pulling from a pre-planned deck of drawing subject cards. 
  • I will make these cards in advance, theyíll be customized to the location weíll be drawing ñ In this way Iíll be a kind of ëart directorí of the documentary. 
  • Students may execute their assignments in any media they prefer. 
  • The distribution of drawing subject cards will ensure as-total-as-possible coverage of the site. People will not be drawing the same things. The work will be divided among the group.
  • Weíll do two 30 minute rounds of documentary sketching - fulfilling our assignments.
  • And one 45 minute free drawing round where students may choose from the assignment list, or draw their own sketches (to defray any feeling of lack of control of the project).
  • Between each round weíll do a mini-crit. 
  • Student will get a hand out at the end of class about how to plan subject cards in case they wish to take this project back to their own sketching groups. 

Learning Goals
  • Students will experience:
  • How to build a shot list and capture an entire location
  • How to focus on sketching action, and documenting a process, rather than making scenic views
  • How to sketch as quickly as possible, using Gesture Drawing, Iterative Drawing, and Annotated Drawing

This kind of project is best executed with whatever drawing supplies you're most comfortable with. Youíll be drawing very quickly, and should know your own gear, and not have too much stuff to juggle around. Keep it simple.

MOST IMPORTANT: Have plenty of paper you are willing to burn through! We will want to make many rapid drawings in this exercise. I would like you to experience how quickly you can work, and how to interate through many rapid drawings in order to get the capture you want.
Other suggestions:
  • At least one EXTRA FINE pen or mechanical pencil for initial gesture drawing (Lamy EF, Platinum Carbon Pen). 
  • At least one heavier line pen for building overtop of gestures (I like Flex nibs for this).
  • One EXTRA BOLD for darks. Possibly a brush pen (my favorite) or a chisel nib (Lamy Joy calligraphy nib, or parallel pen).
  • I suggest a pad of paper - or a ring bound book ñ so you can flip pages fast enough to keep working. Perfect bound books can be a bit fussy when drawing at high speed. 
  • Loose paper is also great for this kind of speed sketching. You can leave wet pages on the ground, draw on the front and back, and shuffle the order of your final drawings into the best presentation (Papers I like: Canson Montval, Canson Mix Media, Strathmore Bristol).
  • I use a portable watercolor set (24 half pan box) for embellishing my drawings after the rush of sketching. This won't be a major part of the workshop but will be nice for a wrapup or for yourself later on.
  • A full list of my own drawing supplies is available here:




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