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

Sketching report from Algarve Portugal

[By Marc Taro Holmes in Algarve, Portugal]

Hey everyone! We're recently back from a USK workshop in Algarve. I wanted to share some of the urban sketches from the 11 day painting tour!

I liked this alley because of the boats parked in back. That seemed like a slice of life we don't see at home.

This spot is kitty-corner from the city hall in Portimao. I thought this fallen roof was more interesting than the official looking edifice. That, and I wanted to capture the irony of this run down block covered in old political campaign posters.

Painting these two sketches made me think back to the town of Paraty Brazil. We'd seen the Portuguese marble mosaic sidewalks show up in Macau, and now made the connection with the colorful plaster houses in Brazil. Real evidence the Portuguese once sailed the whole world.

When it came to the city hall itself, I still avoided the issue - finding the parking entrance more interesting than the building itself. Ran out of time too after a false start, so that ended up being a 15 min single line sketch to wind up that day.

Just an ordinary block of buildings in Portimau. This kind of typical shop feels a bit like Italy, but with the little white balustrade along the roofline, it has it's own Portugese style. These were up behind a freeway on-ramp, and I liked the natural ground line it made by leaving that ugly-but-practical modernization out.

This square in Lagos features the Igreja de Santa Maria. This is supposed to be the site of an old slave market. I originally intended to make something grim and moody to convey a sense of the history here - but when we arrived, the place has been so completely changed - all white and sparkling in the sun - it's hard to imagine that dark side history ever happened.

The Mercado Municipal in Lagos. This was one just for fun at the very end of the day. Immediately to our left is a taxi stand, which was our ticket home. If you go the other way, reverse to where we're looking, you'll get out to the Ponta da Piedade in about 30 minutes of scenic walking, or of course a short drive.

Inside the medieval castle at Silvas. Coincidentally while we were there USK Algarve was having an exhibition in the art gallery on site. Great motivation for our class of sketchers!

This final page starts at Fóia - the highest point of the Algarve, just above Monchique, then back down to Silves, where we got off the bus at this old bridge - then raced up to the cathedral to sketch it before we had to be back on the bus. Not the best way to be a sketch tourist - but this is the reality of travel - sometimes you have to draw fast, or not a all.

I didn't expect this, but Fóia is of course capped with radio antennas, cell towers and this space station looking dome that might be radar? I don't know.  It was so cloudy when we arrived, we only stayed a few minutes - this was the only thing to see from here. So that's the oddest sketch - but it's neat to be surprised sometimes.

A big Hello! and Thanks! to all sketchers we met in Portugal :)





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