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

Drawing Attention – March 2016

Urban Sketchers News, Events and Workshops

The USk Executive Board sketching with New York City USk.

The USk Executive Board met in New York for our annual face-to-face meetings Feb. 5-8. As always, we are looking at more ways we can teach urban sketching locally and connect our sketchers to each other. The Advisory Board Skyped in with questions and suggestions, which are always appreciated and helpful, and we discussed the feedback we received from our members’ survey that was sent out a few weeks ago. Thank you, everyone, for your input! Stay tuned for an invitation to participate in a Facebook chat with the Executive Board and to learn more about some of the exciting new plans coming in the next year. And get ready — our 10-year anniversary is just around the corner! (In photo above, the USk Executive Board sketches with New York City USk.)

If you registered for the Urban Sketchers Symposium during Early Registration, you'll be able to select workshops and activities beginning March 1, noon GMT. Standard registration opens Saturday, March 5, noon GMT; if you register at that time, you will also be able to select workshops and activities. From March 5 to May 27, all attendees can log into Eventbrite at any time and update their selections or personal information. See more information about registration and programming

Urban Sketchers currently offers seven USk Workshops around the world with more to come! Learn more about them.

Would you like to lead a workshop under the USk flag and support Urban Sketchers? Complete our online form and send it to Workshops Program Coordinator Gail Wong.

A new workshop has just been announced in Brighton, UK: Drawing People on Stage, May 27-29, taught by Isabel Carmona, Rolf Schroeter and Swasky.

The USk Education Committee would like to thank Matthew Brehm, Veronica Lawlor, Orling Dominguez, Melanie Reim and Jim Richards, who are stepping down due to personal and professional commitments. "We can't thank you enough for all your hard work during these last years," Education Director Mário Linhares said. Welcome to new members Jane Blundell and Nina Johansson, who recently joined the team, which also includes Gail Wong, Fred Lynch, Virginia Hein and Swasky.

A big welcome to the newest regional chapters to join Urban Sketchers:
Ilocos, Philippines 
Bristol and South West UK
Taipei, Taiwan
Quito, Ecuador 
Oxford, England 

If you are a new regional chapter, please tell the rest of the USk world about your group! Send a brief news item (a few sentences), a photo and a link to your online sketches to

The American Academy of Art will host USk Chicago's 2016 Chicago Sketch Seminar July 9-10. What will the Chicago Sketch Seminar look like? Find out!

Tacoma, Washington (USA), is hosting the Fourth Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl Aug. 19-21, 2016. 

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

Jon Alsop is pleased to announce that "The Oxford, UK, application for Regional Chapter status has just been approved, and we are very pleased to join the international fraternity of Urban Sketchers." The group has more than 100 members. "Oxford has hosted a couple of USk summer workshops in both 2014 and 2015, run by Isabel Carmona, Miguel Herranz and Swasky," Jon said. "We look forward to hearing and learning from you all and to hosting visitors to our beautiful World Class City."
Stellenbosch Urban Sketchers

Stellenbosch Urban Sketchers (near Cape Town, South Africa) is pleased to announce that it is now official! According to Fawa Conradie, the enthusiastic group has recently sketched at a wine cellar, Blaauwberg Beach and Buffalo Bay. 

Beijing Urban Sketchers

Flora Wang reports that Hone Ban Pang, a sketcher from Singapore, visited Beijing USk during the Lunar Chinese New Year festivities in February. "We sketched at the ancient market place for Chinese painting and calligraphy," she said. 

Sketch by Suely Shiba, USk Sao Paulo, in Little Tokyo

USk São Paulo also helped celebrate Chinese New Year by sketching in Little Tokyo. 

Bristol and South West UK Urban Sketchers

Bristol and South West UK is now an official USk regional chapter. "We’ve only been meeting for nine months, but in that time. . .we’ve signed up over 50 members, and have a very keen regular core of sketchers who meet up in all weathers for our monthly events!" said Jules Woolford.

Urban Sketchers Cambridge

USk Cambridge (UK), which has been meeting since last May, is pleased to announce that it is an official regional chapter. According to Yasemin Gyford, the group now has more than 40 active members. Following a sketchcrawl March 6 at the Museum of Cambridge, the group will exhibit sketches and sketchbooks in the museum as part of the Cambridge History Festival 2016, Yasemin said.

Urban Sketchers Pune

Urban Sketchers Pune was invited to take part in Pune's heritage week celebration by sketching at a heritage structure. "About 100 sketchers enjoyed the Sunday morning sketching at Vishrambagh Wada in Pune," said Sanjeev Joshi.

USk Brazil is excited about the Urban Sketchers Brasil event April 21-24 in the city of Curitiba, the capitol of Paraná state in southern Brazil. 

Urban Sketchers London on the rooftop of the Millennium Mills building in Silvertown.

“A group from Urban Sketchers London recently returned for their second visit to Silvertown, a vast post-industrial wasteland currently under development in East London,” James Hobbs said, “which the group has been invited to draw over the projected 10 years of construction.”

Sketchers in Action

The Feb. 12 edition of the French newspaper La Croix published a sketch by Delphine Priollaud-Stoclet in an article about the exhibition "Le Maris en héritage" at the Musée Carnavalet in Paris.

Suhita Shirodkar has a new online Craftsy class, Figure Sketching Made Simple. "I teach the class from video as a way to teach techniques I use on location, so the class makes the most sense for an urban sketcher, plein air painter or a sketchbook artist," Suhita said. The course is half price if you sign up through Suhita's blog now.

Ken and Roberta Avidor of St. Paul (USA) recently had an opportunity to sketch US Vice President Joe Biden when he visited St. Paul's Union Depot.
Kate Buike's sketches of airplanes featured in aviation newsletter.

Kate Buike, co-coordinator of both USk Seattle and USk Tacoma (USA), was recently featured in American Fighter Aces & Friends Bulletin, which is published by the Museum of Flight for the American Fighter Aces Association. In addition to being an avid urban sketcher, Kate is a volunteer at the Museum of Flight and has sketched many of its planes, some of which are included in the article.

Two urban sketches by Jane Wingfield, co-coordinator of USk Seattle, were selected to cover and decorate traffic boxes in a competition held by the city of Olympia where Jane lives. Jane's sketches were made on the state Capitol grounds. A total of 20 sketches were selected from 100 submittals.

James Hobbs has been invited to be on the judging panel of the inaugural Jackson's Open Art Prize. He was interviewed about his work and the competition on the online art supply store's blog.

Shout it Out in Drawing Attention

Not seeing anything about you or your Urban Sketchers group in Drawing Attention? Then we want to hear from you! Please send your urban sketching news items with links and images to: Or tag me, Tina Koyama, on news you post on the Urban Sketchers Facebook page. Subscribe by e-mail. Happy sketching!





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