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 20: What to Leave Out, What to Leave In - Capturing a Sense of Place

Instructor: Richard Briggs

The aim of the workshop is to capture a sense of place through observation, analysis and filtering those findings to produce sketches that in one way are abstract forms, but in another talk coherently about context.

Place is made up of many components, and understanding some of these in isolation can help better understand place as a whole. When establishing what to draw in an urban context, certain clues can be found which start to weave the elements together which makes a place interesting; such as how people use public space, and what are the main components of how a city works. This could be as something as simple be the door details, the chosen method of transportation, the historical aspect of the buildings, what’s important about the city, and how can we capture that in one drawing. Richard will encourage each workshop participant to focus on what can be left out, with the aim to make the sketch stronger, more grounded and connected to the place.

Each participant will be guided through this process, with an emphasis on the why, what, where and how.

Learning goals 

  • Learn how to observe and capture a sense of place
  • Learn how to filter these findings and establish what to leave out and what to draw
  • Learn basic principles of sketching in the street; looking for key lines, shapes and angles of what we see

Workshop Schedule 
The base location for each workshop is yet to be determined, but there will be 2 sites (close to each other) in one workshop session.

Part 1:
After walking to the specified site, the workshop will begin with an introduction to the aims and a group discussion on the observation and analysis of place (architecture, street, people, transport). This will be followed by a short sketch demonstration by Richard Briggs, focusing on quick responses to ideas generated by what you see and how this can be filtered to produce a focused sketch.

Part 2:
The participants will undertake small and quick sketches mocking up ideas and approaches taken from part 1 in their sketch books or notebooks. This will also loosen up the hand and sharpen the eye and the mind.

Group discussion and one on one guidance with all participants 30 - 40 minutes

Part 3:
After choosing one of the subjects explored and sketched out in part two, each participant will complete a drawing at a larger scale. Various approaches to this part will be discussed throughout the workshop. During this part of the workshop Richard will share tips for drawing in the urban context and offer guidance on the rules of thumb such as scale, perspective, and technique.

One on one guidance with all participants approx 1 hour

Repeat the process in a second location. This will be nearby, but will offer a contrasting urban context.

Before finishing the group will hold an analysis, feedback and assessment of work session. (15 minutes)

Workshop output:
At least 2 finished drawings, numerous study sketches, and a good understanding of place.

Supply list 
Each participant can consider the following two options in terms of what to draw on:

Option 1: locally sourced paper sourced paper with text that connects the place to the drawing, such as a flyer information booklet about the city or the history, anything that has enough residual space for drawing.


Option 2: medium sized sketch book (no smaller than A4)

In addition to the above please bring along a small supporting sketch book for roughing out your ideas in part 2 of the workshop. Bring pens (such as Artline 0.4, 0.5 or 0.6), and pencils to use as guides. Other medias are welcome too (such as watercolours etc). Also bring something you can sit on and is easy to carry (such as a milk crate or fold away stool), a solid base to lean on when drawing, and bulldog clips to secure paper if required.




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