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 9: Sketching Architecture in Edges, Shapes & Volumes

 Instructor: Liz Steel

Workshop Description
There are a lot of different approaches to sketching architecture and over the last two symposiums I have been sharing some of the standard ways in which I work. This year I want to bring some of those ideas together and demonstrate how I currently sketch buildings in an experimental way. Behind my (sometimes crazy) architecture sketching there is a structured foundation which includes switching between different ways of seeing - ways of thinking visually.

So in this workshop I want to share my three ways of visual thinking and how they apply to sketching complex buildings in a fun and exploratory way. I believe that the ability to mix it up gives you the confidence to combine play with accuracy.

Learning Goals
  • To see and simplify a complex building into edges, to think about lengths, angles and relationships and as a result, gain a better understanding of building depths and thicknesses.
  • To see and simplify a complex building and its surrounding into shapes and how the effect of light merges elements and reveals form.
  • To see and simplify a complex building into volumes with additive or subtractive elements and then to work in a structural way starting with these volumes.
  • To have fun combining these three ways of seeing by experimenting with lines and watercolour washes.


 Workshop Schedule
The workshop will be broken into two parts, the first being three short 20 minute exercises to explain these three ways of visual thinking and then in the second half we will put them together.

1. Feeling Edges
We will start by focusing in on one small part of the building, determining a starting point, positioning that on the page and then exploring one edge after the other in a spontaneous way, spreading out from the start either horizontally or vertically. The goal is to have a tactile experience with the details of the building and to introduce a few important concepts when sketching buildings. These include thinking about thickness, depths, looking for leading edges and drawing every angle as we see it without the need to think about the rules of perspective.

2. Abstracting shapes
We will then zoom back and look at the building as a whole and how it sits in its context. This will require quite a different way of visual thinking - to abstract the shapes of the building and its surroundings, looking at how light and shadow can merge different elements into big shapes.  We will be relying on the skills that we picked up in the first exercise in regard to drawing the angles we see, but we'll have to make sure that we don't get caught up in the complexity of the building.

3. Constructing Volumes
The third exercise involves seeing the building as a series of simple volumes (or boxes) and thinking about how those volumes sit in space. We will then consider how elements are either added to or subtracted from these basic volumes and how the first exercise helps us see the thickness of these elements.  We will do a quick sketch working in a structured way from overall volumes - to major components - to details.

In the second half of the workshop I will do a demo showing how I switch between these three ways of visual thinking as I work spontaneously in line and watercolour. It will then be time for all the participants to have a go for the remainder of the workshop – to mix it up and have fun!

This workshop is all about experimentation and learning from other sketchers’ personal interpretations. So we will spend time discussing each other’s work and exploring how everyone responds to different parts of a complex building. Along the way I will share with you lots of tricks and tips for drawing buildings more convincingly but without any mention of perspective or any attempt to draw every brick or detail.

  Supply List
  • Permanent ink pen
  • Pencils - bring a general collection of watercolour pencils or coloured pencils
  • Coloured media: Watercolour is the preferred medium but coloured pencils, watercolour pencils, markers could be used instead. Bring your normal watercolour kit- there are no special requirements for specific colours.
  • Waterbrush or sable brush and water container 
  • Any other materials you have in your bag!
  • Small portable stool (optional)




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


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