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

Galway - History and Music on the West Coast of Ireland

[by Róisín Curé] The first place you come to after you leave the bus and train station in Galway City is Eyre Square. It's quite the introduction to west of Ireland life, and you'll see a cross-section of society that might confirm your most Oirish of notions. Because Eyre Square is off limits to traffic, it's a relatively calm way to arrive in a city, and you have to cross it to get to the main street that runs through Galway City. Eyre Square is populated by a motley crew. There will be drunks, and Travellers - Irish gypsies - and people from the country up for the day, and lots of backpackers, and tourists from all over Europe, the US and further afield. In fact visitors make up a sizeable proportion of the population in Galway from late March until the end of September. As a sketcher I actually watch the visitors, and they always look happy to me, which makes me happy.

These days, I'm thinking a lot about the workshop I'm giving in July with Marc Taro Holmes and Shari Blaukopf. No one has ever given a watercolour sketching workshop in Galway City before, so I feel like my town will be on show to the world for the first time. This is utterly absurd for a town that has always attracted visitors from afar, but until now it wasn't ME who was the host. So, when I look around me in Galway now, I imagine what a visitor might think. They'd notice how so many people have red hair. They'd see a lot of freckled faces. They'd hear the buskers on the street, singing Irish songs, playing banjo or drums, and if they're lucky they might see the little fella I saw yesterday playing bagpipes all on his own, or the group of young trad musicians in a little row, their expressions serious with concentration. They looked to be from the one family. I'm very proud of my beautiful, pocket-sized city and I thank the day Marc suggested the workshop to me.

Here's the fountain in Eyre Square, painted yesterday. I tried to remember what Felix Scheinberger says: not to put too many layers of paint on or you risk losing the transparency of the watercolour. Instead, I threw down lots of paint in just two layers. That's how the rust looks so rusty, and it was no effort whatsoever.

I added a couple of ideas of my own, too. I figured that if you're sketching a monument then don't try to add lots of other stuff in the composition, but let the monument hog the whole page. It worked pretty well for me, better than other times when I've tried to put in the context of trees and so on. My reasoning was that if someone is looking at a monument, then they're not looking around at the same time - not drinking in the scene, so to speak, as they often are with other cityscapes.

I hope to expand my repertoire of sketches of Galway, as I'm producing a series of postcards for Dúchas, or Galway Heritage. Dúchas has a disproportionate influence in Galway, as there are so many old buildings in such a small town - Galway is essentially medieval. The revenue they make from my postcards will go towards continuing to protect Galway's heritage, which I'm pretty proud of, or will be once people start to buy them.

The King's Head is on Shop Street. I think the guy who executed King Charles I lived there once. There's a connection with Cromwell too, the most hated historical figure in Ireland. I was really shocked when I lived in London and saw a statue of Cromwell outside the Houses of Parliament. Now the King's Head is a gorgeous pub with two very special fireplaces in it, which have "marriage stones" in the mantels.

These two girls were having a great old chat by the fire. I asked them if they minded me sketching them, explaining that I needed a figure in my sketch. They didn't seem to mind - much - but I think I may have cramped their style a little, as they moved after an hour or so. Or maybe the fire was too hot.

Next: the Spanish Arch...





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