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 13: Paint like nobody's watching!

Instructor: Marion Rivolier

When I began drawing, I worried about painting well. The feeling was so strong it paralyzed my hand and my brain! The day I learned to forget about it, I passed that hurdle. In this workshop, we will not worry about making “pretty” or “ugly” paintings!

What is a good painting? What does it mean to say that a painting succeeds?
I believe a good drawing is one that effectively communicates the artist's point of view, one in which the observer can feel  the artist's choices. It is a drawing that reveals, rather than describes, the space; that interests the observer because it tells a story.

In this workshop, we are going to work on a large panorama, and we will deconstruct the space we see into several parts. We will focus on values, colors and light.
We will set out in search of the honest drawing!  Perhaps it will be poorly drawn, poorly painted, or ugly. Maybe it will lack detail. But these will not be our problem!
To achieve our goal, our tools will be watercolor, brushes, space, and our bodies. We will not make preliminary pencil drawings.

Workshop Schedule 

The workshop will be divided into three parts, with an introduction and a conclusion.

We will begin by mixing and creating colors together : each participant will prepare their own palette using basic colors. Then, we will observe the space and we will try to understand its components: structures, plants, people – as well as its different parts (foreground, middle-ground, background).

Next, through a series of quick exercises we will work with large masses to define the areas we see before us. We will play with warm and cool colors, the light and the darks. We will make several small, quick sketches with a brush to loosen up and free our minds!

In the next step, from the same point of view, we will continue to work with large brushstrokes – this time creating a larger drawing and concentrating on values. These values studies will be done using color mixes that will begin to take on warm or cool hues. We will discover the delights of purple shadows or orange lights!

In the third exercise, we will work on adding more color. We will remember that space is dynamic and moving, and we will try to translate those forces. This will be a large drawing that uses values, color contrasts, masses and lines.

At the end of the workshop, we will meet to review, comment and share our impressions of everyone's work.

Learning goals

  • Learn to work with large masses of value and color.
  • Sort through what we see: don't draw everything, don't express everything, make choices.
  • Find a focal point that will form the basis of the composition.
  • Observe well then paint quickly, because we have understood the space before us. 
  • Feel the joy of color.
  • Feel the freedom of gesture – learn to be sure of your marks, and to not be afraid of making a mistake.
  • Learn to not worry about making a “pretty picture”

Supply list

  • Watercolor sketchbook (Bring two if possible to save waiting for things to dry. A4 (8 1/2" x 11”) or larger are recommended for beginners.)
  • Watercolors: limited palette (primary yellow, Naples yellow, orange, vermilion, cadmium red, cerulean blue, ultramarine, Prussian blue or Indigo, green, ochre… No black)
  • Three watercolor brushes (small, medium and large)





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