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

Meet the Manchester Symposium Correspondents

[By Tina Koyama] The 7th International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester will be the biggest USk symposium yet, with 26 workshops, eight activities, four demos and 11 lectures scheduled over the course of three days. Wow – that’s a lot! A team of four sketch correspondents will cover as many symposium events as possible, sketching furiously by day and blogging by night, to report on their impressions of this much-anticipated gathering.

This year’s correspondents were selected by the Editorial Board for their regular participation on the global USk blog or their regional sketch-sharing site during the past year. In addition, their posts demonstrate that they have an interest in sketching human activity.

Who are these fearless correspondents? Meet them now!

Kumi Matsukawa, Tokyo, Japan

Kumi Matsukawa

A global USk blog correspondent since 2009, Kumi also posts frequently on the USk Japan blog.

“I can be a participant of the symposium, or can be an instructor if I’m capable to provide good workshop,” Kumi said. “But to be a symposium correspondent, I think this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and this time I thought I should give it a try. As is always the case when meeting so many artists, I’m looking forward to getting influenced by the people both local as well as ones from around the world during this event, and love to absorb something new like a sponge. With the Urban Sketchers community, you can feel that you are always encouraged by so many people regardless you are in the city or in the remote spot.” (Kumis sketch, made during the 2014 USk Symposium in Paraty, Brazil, is shown at the top of this post.)

Javier de Blas, Logroño, Spain

Sketch by Javier de Blas
Javier de Blas

Javier became a global USk correspondent in 2015, when he began posting a weekly series about his experiences in Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria. He also posts regularly on Urban Sketchers Spain’s blog.

“For me it is always exciting to make a fast work that overcomes your forecasts, when you can’t even think of what you do,” Javier said. “It is risky but you always get things you didn't expect (for good or bad. . . J).” What is the most exciting thing about urban sketching for Javier? “Sharing experiences with many different people.”

Liz Ackerley, Manchester, UK

Sketch by Liz Ackerley
Liz Ackerley

In addition to being part of the correspondents’ team, Liz will play an equally important role as a symposium host city resident: She’ll be the team’s much-needed local guide. Liz sketches with Urban Sketchers Manchester and has guest-posted on the global USk blog.

“I am thrilled to have been asked to be a symposium correspondent because it gives me such an amazing opportunity to capture this great event and its members in the context of our wonderful city,” Liz said. “The more I sketch Manchester, the more I love it, and to be able to capture it as reportage of the annual symposium means that I can combine the place and the people which in essence is what I love so much about urban sketching. Of course by being a correspondent I am immediately thrown together with all the urban sketching friends I have met online and am so looking forward to meeting and welcoming to Manchester!”

Tina Koyama, Seattle, USA

Sketch by Tina Koyama
Tina Koyama

An enthusiastic member of Urban Sketchers Seattle since 2012, Tina joined the Editorial Board and became a global correspondent last year.

“The first USk symposium I attended was in 2013 in Barcelona,” Tina said. “Although I was dazzled and awed by everything I experienced during those three days, nothing impressed me more than the work of Suhita Shirodkar and Lapin, who had served as symposium correspondents that year. Running from workshop to workshop, sketching every activity and then reporting back to the USk community, Lapin and Suhita made the symposium come alive as only sketchers can. ‘One day . . . someday,’ I said to myself then, ‘I want to be a symposium correspondent.’ You can imagine how excited I am to have my Urban Sketchers dream come true!”





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