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".
Blog
Flickr

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

Eat, Draw, Weep: The Emotion of Mothers' Day in Galway

[by Róisín Curé in Galway] I've always loved urban sketches of food. A nice sketch of something good to eat that's been presented to us is an illustration of an act of generosity. Even if it's food that's been paid for - as most urban sketches of food seem to be - it's still been prepared with great care and thought. I love to draw food as it's being prepared (as long as someone else is doing the preparing) and after it's all gone, but not as I'm about to eat it, as I prefer not to let my food wait.

It was Mothers' Day on Sunday in Ireland. My younger daughter is eleven, and informed me that she would be bringing me breakfast in bed. She presented me with a menu and instructed me to circle what I'd like, which I did, while listening to someone else being busy for a change - the boys of the family were getting ready to go sailing. The day was already shaping up to be a success. After a while my daughter brought me a tray with my choices on it: chopped kiwi and pears, a glass of juice made to her own recipe, a nice cup of tea and a boiled egg with wholewheat toast soldiers. Everything was perfect. After the lovely breakfast, the house all quiet by now, I sketched the tray and the remains of the breakfast because I wanted to keep this memory forever, and I've taken to illustrated journalism à la Sketchbook Skool.

But her brother was not happy. He is fourteen.
"She's showing us up," he said. "It's not fair."
"You have plenty of time to redeem yourself," his dad told him. "You can make dinner if you like, or clean the kitchen afterwards."
"I'll make a cake," he said.
Trouble was, he is a terrible procrastinator, and by 8pm on Sunday evening he still hadn't started his homework, as usual. But he was determined to make a cake before he began his homework. He found a recipe from his very own cookbook for teenagers and off he went. Then my husband told him to substitute coconut oil for olive oil, as he's fallen in love with it since his newly-discovered health drive. My son said he wouldn't. He's the sort of person who follows a recipe to the letter. They argued back and forth. It got heated. I got fed up with the cake idea. It got more heated, and I told my husband to let the lad do what he liked in the kitchen, for right or wrong, if we ever wanted him to learn, but I was too lazy to get up and intervene (the sofa was comfy and it WAS Mothers' Day). Then the commotion got even louder. My husband had put coconut oil into the bowl with eggs and sugar when my son's back was turned. There were tears of frustration (my son, not my husband) and who could blame him? - and I had to get up from the sofa anyway to calm him down. I told him I could use the mixture with the coconut oil for the breakfast muffins in the morning and to start again. So he did.

By about 11.30pm the cake was done (the homework took until 1.00am) and we all had a piece of cake and a nice cup of tea in front of American Hustle. The cake was lovely, warm and crumbly with a crunchy cinnamon and sugar topping.



I told my friend Lorraine about all the drama. Her son is great friends with my boy, and Mothers' Day had been emotional in her house, too.
"I think Mothers' Day should be banned," she said. "It's too fraught with emotion. Trying to be good, and not fight - it's just too stressful for the kids."
"Like a mini Christmas Day," I said.
"Just like a mini freaking Christmas Day," she agreed. "Now you realise you have to sketch the cake, and put it on Facebook, too, like you did with the breakfast."
I said as much to my son, thinking he would forbid me from so doing.
"Okay!" he said. He seemed enthusiastic.
So I did, and lots of people said some wonderful things, which I read out to my son. He was thrilled with all the lovely comments.

In the end the whole episode was a happy and positive, if somewhat emotional, experience. I'm writing it here because I believe that the small, domestic things that make up our life can be every bit as dramatic - and often very much more dramatic - than those which we encounter outside the home. While raising teenagers can be extremely exhausting and daunting, it can also be very funny, and full of nice surprises.

Fathers' Day soon...

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