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

James Oses goes to Electric Avenue

[Interview with James Oses, by Murray Dewhurst]

James Oses' Brixton sketches jumped out at me one day while scrolling through Facebook. A one-time Brixton resident myself back in the early 90’s, I was instantly attracted to the landmarks depicted in the sketches for their energetic reportage style that captures that Brixton energy really well.
The Railway Hotel, Atlantic Road

What is it that drew you to Brixton, James?
I think Brixton has a very distinct character that makes it a really unique part of London. From an artistic perspective it's very appealing as there's a real mixture of subject matter - the markets, architecture, just the general atmosphere. It always feels bustling, as well, which is perfect for sketching on site. I'm pretty interested in South London's history too, particularly Brixton. is a great resource if you're into old photos of the area! I think having an interest to begin with helps, as you feel a bit more engaged with what you're drawing.

Electric Avenue – London's first electrified street and of course inspiration for the Eddy Grant hit

Your sketch of Electric Avenue beautifully captures the feeling and energy of the market. Where are you sketching from?
From the overground platform at Brixton train station. It was really cold when I did that picture and I had to stand to see over a wall while I was painting and drawing. That one is a little under A2 in size so slightly awkward to hold a drawing board for a few hours! I should probably get an easel but that would be common sense…

Ramzey Greengrocer, Market Row

Tell us about your technique and materials.
I like to use a traditional style dip pen. I gravitated to these after admiring Ronald Searle’s work as a student. What I really like about them is that, depending on the nib, you can go from a really thin to really thick line by varying hand pressure. This makes them very expressive to work with. Watercolours go great with ink and I really like their transparency and brightness as well. They can also be used in a quick way to describe colour which is very important for working on location.

Reliance Arcade, Electric Lane

What makes a subject stand out to you and make you sketch them?
I think I’m drawn to movement a lot of the time. Though I love drawing architecture, I think often what makes a picture interesting is the human activity going on around a particular environment. People also help to give a sense of scale of what is the main focus of your picture.

The Ritzy Cinema, Brixton on its 100th birthday

Music is never far away in Brixton. Either songs about the place or the musicians who have lived there, from legendary Jamaican Ska trombonist Rico Rodriguez to reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, Paul Simonon of The Clash, and of course the late David Bowie was born in Brixton. Describe the scene of your David Bowie mural sketch.
I’ve been a big fan of David Bowie for a long time so it was sad to hear he had passed away. I play guitar as well, and Mick Ronson - his lead guitarist during the 70s - is easily one of my all time favourite players.

I was a little hesitant to draw the mural – by the artist Jimmy C – as I wasn’t sure whether it was the right thing to do. I didn’t want to promote myself off the back of a rather sombre event if that makes sense. I wasn’t going to draw the memorial but a friend convinced me as they thought it was something that would be good to record, being a moment in time. It was shortly after Bowie died, and fans really congregated around the area, laying flowers and candles, and writing lyrics and messages. I wanted to try and capture this while the focus was still on the mural itself. If the sketch is sold the proceeds will be for charity.

Tell us a bit about yourself. You're an illustrator with a reportage focus -- is that right?
Yes. I tend to think of drawing places on site to sell as original art or prints as a separate part of it though. For illustration, I don’t always have the opportunity to do the whole end product on site, or it’s simply not right for the job. With my Borough Market illustration for example, all the reference is sketched on site in a Moleskine first, which I think helps keep final illustrations feel reportage based. I do this as much as possible with any illustration though, as I think it does really help. I tend to use brush pens when I’m sketching like this as they give flexible line but in a much more portable, quick to use way.

Reliance Arcade, Brixton Road

To see more of James' art, visit his website or Facebook.





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