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 6: Watercolour Your World, One Mix at a Time

Instructor: Jane Blundell

Workshop description 

In this workshop we will explore artist quality watercolour to understand how to use it when sketching. It will cover pigment characteristics, colour choices and colour mixing, to enable the participants to set up the best possible palette of colours for their individual purposes, and learn to mix them to create the exact colours they see when sketching the urban environment.

Learning goals 

  • To understand watercolour characteristics – opacity, staining, granulating, transparency - and how and why to use certain pigments
  • To understand the importance of warm and cool colours in mixing
  • To understand ‘primary’ colours in watercolour – their uses and limitations
  • To be able to mix realistic greens, oranges, purples, browns and greys from a limited split primary palette and understand which may be helpful to have as premixed colours in a sketching palette
  • To understand the importance of special mixing colours such as Burnt Sienna and Phthalo Green
  • To understand how to neutralize colours.
  • To be able to set up a personalized palette that allows you to mix the colours that you need, preferably by only mixing two colours at a time.

Workshop Schedule
First hour

  • We will explore the different characteristics of pigments and show how and why certain pigments might be used when sketching.
  • We will learn how to fill palettes from tubes, including possible additives, and how to care for brushes when sketching. 
  • We will discuss different palette setups including how create a palette and to travel light with watercolour
  • We will explore limited palette setups - advantages and disadvantages e.g. a CYMK or only 6-colours.
  • We will discuss warm and cool colours and have each sketcher identify what they have and perhaps what they might like to add or remove. 
  • We will chart current palette, looking for gaps in mixing possibilities, identifying characteristic of each pigment - includes demonstration of how to mix watercolour to various strengths (tea, coffee, milk and cream)
  • Personal palette consultation with each sketcher.

Second Hour (or more)

  • We will create triad colour wheels and explore how limited palettes can be used for colour harmony.
  • We will paint a quick thumbnail sketch study in each triad to see how they look in a painting. Experienced sketchers may choose to work larger. Beginners may wish to spend more time on the wheels and do this as homework. Triad sketches may be classroom based or en plein air depending on time and weather.

Third Hour (or less)

  • We will create additional mixing charts of numerous greens, purples, oranges but especially neutrals in a sketchbook for ongoing reference. 

Final half hour (or less)

  • Sketchers look at each other’s charts, wheels and sketches 
  • Pigment and colour Q&A session 

Supply list 

  • A ‘dot card’ of my palette with 19 colours to try will be supplied
  • Watercolours – bring all you have, as well as your usual palette colours. 
  • Note – if buying colours, here is an excellent palette of 10 - 12 colours. All are Daniel Smith, though other brands of artist quality watercolours are fine. They are very versatile for sketching and perfect for this workshop. (See also my website tutorials and resources here for alternatives in other brands)

  1. Hansa Yellow light or Hansa Yellow medium or other mid or ‘greenish’ (cool) yellow
  2. Hansa Yellow deep or New Gamboge or Quinacridone Gold or other orange-yellow (warm) 
  3. Pyrrol Scarlet or other orange-red (warm) 
  4. Pyrrol Crimson or Permanent Alizarin or other crimson red (optional but useful. Remove for just 10 colours)
  5. Quinacridone Rose or Quinacridone Red or other pink-red preferably made with the pigment PV19
  6. Ultramarine or French Ultramarine
  7. Cerulean Chromium
  8. Phthalo Blue (green shade) (optional – remove for just 10 colours)
  9. Phthalo green (blue shade)
  10. Goethite or Raw Sienna or Yellow Ochre or Mont Amiata Natural Sienna
  11. Burnt Sienna or Burnt Sienna Light or Transparent Red Oxide
  12. Indian Red

  • Brushes: Usual brushes plus a ¼” flat or ¼” dagger brush is VERY helpful. If you are looking for good travel brushes consider Da Vinci (e.g. Maestro size 8), Rosemary and Co (e.g. R9 squirrel mop or R2 sable #8 or R12 dagger) or Escoda (e.g. Sable #8) in particular. A size 8 with a good point will be all you really need for most sketching, perhaps with a water brush or smaller sized brush if desired.
  • Ruler
  • Sketchbook
  • Pencil 
  • Pen for notes
  • Waterproof black pen




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


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