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

Spring Sketching on a Saturday in Galway

[by Róisín Curé in Galway] I had a very sketchy Saturday. It's amazing how many sketches you can fit in around your everyday tasks. No one was left unfed, un-driven around, unaccompanied. 
I started with a sketch of the rooftops of Galway. My younger daughter had something on in Galway City and I had and hour and a half of sketching stretching blissfully in front of me. It was a beautiful day so the thought of spending it indoors wasn't appealing, but it was far too cold to sit outside and sketch. Then I remembered I wanted to draw the view from the roof of a car park I'd been at earlier in the week: in summer it's not ideal to sit out on the roof, because the seagulls who nest there take huge exception to the presence of sketchers. So I sat in my car on the deserted roof, indulged in a few random circles to determine the best vantage point and got busy. I like this view particularly because it makes you think Galway is a city of beautiful architecture, when it is anything but. Galway's charms lie primarily in its people, and while it's far prettier than a lot of towns I can think of, most of its beauty is in its location - sitting on the edge on the western edge of Europe on the Atlantic coast, cut by man-made waterways and gushing rivers, and always clean and fresh with lots of bird life to be seen (not least the angry seagulls). I must also concede that its narrow winding streets, its colourful pubs and restaurants and its crowds of good-natured people make it rather pleasant to stroll around.

In the afternoon I took my son to the barbers. Usually I get time for a good sketch there, but we arrived shortly before closing time and there was no queue. Then this guy came in. He reminded me of Jesse Eisenberg a bit, something about the pout. He had nut-brown hair with a big floppy fringe and a scraggly beard - I think he was going for a vaguely hipster look. I started to draw him fast because I knew the barber wouldn't take long with my son. I wasn't sure if he was 100% happy to watch me sketching him in the reflection of the mirror, but pressed ahead heedlessly. Then Dorothy the blonde barber started shaving one side of his head, revealing a greyish bald scalp. Off the other side came - and I drew the lot. When Dorothy finished, she did the thing with the mirror to show him the back, and he had to put on his glasses, so I think I was safe enough in my scrutiny.

The man next to me watched as I sketched. He enjoyed it, took a card and told me he had a job for me. We'll see. It's a funny way to get work but has been my most successful channel - I often feel like a kind of performing artist, lurching from gig to gig. I should definitely put a hat out.

Then one of the younger barbers approached. He'd starred in a previous sketch of the barbers, and isn't Irish, so he had none of the reserve that makes the Irish far too cool to be effusive about anything, and he raved a bit about how happy he was with my sketch, which he said was "still in my phone!"

On Saturday night our local community centre held a concert of traditional musicians. The manager of the community centre invited me down to sketch the action - I was delighted to do so, and to share my work with all involved, as they all do so much on a voluntary basis for the community - it's my pleasure to be involved.
This is Laura and her accompanist, whose name I can't remember at the moment. Funnily enough it's not the first time I've sketched Laura playing the fiddle...with, as it happens, the urban sketcher/ traditional musician, Mary Burke, from Manchester!

Also there on Saturday night were carers and residents from the Brothers of Charity, a religious organisation, whose duties include looking after people born with mental challenges. One of the houses where they stay is opposite me, and I see the residents being taken for walks by their carers whenever it's not pouring rain. One of the residents, who looked profoundly disabled to my untrained eye, was loving the music. She clapped and jigged throughout, and kept perfect time. She was in my line of vision and I really enjoyed watching her: she made all kinds of movements with her body that were unlike any you've ever seen, but her face was the picture of rapture. She held her carer's hand throughout all her gyrations, and her carer, a woman about my age, shared her joy. The sight of the two of them enjoying life so simply and so thoroughly gave me pause for thought about my tendency to fret (and dwell, and bear grudges, and many other bad things).

Here's Máirtín Ó Connor on accordion, Brendan O'Regan on mandolin, Mártín's daughter Ciara on cello and his daughter Sinéad on fiddle and keyboard and the lad on the left is called Tom, but I didn't catch his surname. I recommend you check out the lads on You Tube.
The music was wonderful and every now and then I closed my eyes to listen properly - it's good to take the foot off the sketching pedal at times.

That was my sketching Saturday. And I could have done it all fact, when I woke up on Sunday, I sketched the breakfast my youngest brought me in bed, for it was Mothers' Day, but that's another story.





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