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

St Louis

[ by Peter Rush in Sydney, Australia ]

Here's my third instalment of my road trip exploring the Midwest of the United States.  This came about because I was invited by the College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana to exhibit my mostly urban drawings of Sydney. The invitation to exhibit was a great surprise and it gave me the opportunity for a three week architectural and sketching tour of the Midwest. 

My sketches are recordings of urban spaces to feel and understand the place I am experiencing. It is a great way to observe and enjoy architecture. 

Arriving in St Louis, I parked my rental car on Washington Ave with the first objective to find the famous Wainwright building by Louis Sullivan. (I didn't draw it) Finding it confirmed every perception I had of this beautiful building.  What I did not anticipate was that St Louis is a city of great streets and wonderful buildings.

With the Wainwright Building out of the way I backtracked to places I had spotted to start some  sketching. I couldn’t resist this break in the buildings along Washington Ave, I love these buildings, I’m always a sucker for big urbanity. I often sketch on the inside face of opened cereal boxes, color goes on well. I like the character it gives a finished drawing and the mechanical form of the box cut out working together with the urban spaces. 

There are a thousand drawings you could do from Washington Ave. This one is two blocks up from my previous sketch. The street here looked so serene and dignified it called for a soft pencil drawing with plenty of deep shadows to show the spatial depth. I don’t do this type of drawing very often, even though most of the time I feel more satisfied with the result. The main reason is that you have to be so damn careful to avoid smudging them during and after. 

With this sketch I stood there for some minutes completely in wonder at these great buildings. But how can I draw them? The scale, the quiet of the street, that gap, the glowing light above the deep shadows. To complete the drawing, these two men slowly walked by, very intriguing, homeless clearly but independent and passing through. A question came to me, how possibly can such significant buildings sit empty?

The light on the wedding cake like Southwestern Bell Building was beautiful and fading quickly. Too interesting not to sketch, so this drawing had to be a quick one. 

Washington Ave, I am back at the car and one last drawing to finish a busy day. What a great street!

( please don't think I completed so many drawings on the street, I cheated, I would spend the evening at my hotel room finishing them with the basketball on the television, mostly getting stuck in to finish the toning.....oh the boring things you do when you're travelling alone .....)

The next morning on the way back to my car after taking a look at the magnificent vaulted ceiling at St Louis Union Station, I spotted this very simple building with a great sign.  I really liked the strength and economy of this building, built like a fortified tower. 

Here is Benton Place, so beautiful. When I sketch I want to express the spatial qualities of a place. With Benton Place, it was the lovely space between the trees and the houses that got my attention. 

It would be great to come back to St Louis and get to know the city better. I hope my these sketches show to a some small extent the rich architectural heritage that captivated me the moment I arrived.

Next instalment, north to Iowa.





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