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

Benefits of Urban Sketchers

[By Gail Wong, Suhita Shirodkar and Laurie Wigham on the Stanford University Campus, Palo Alto, CA, USA] Urban Sketchers has created an international family of sketching friends.  It is always a great opportunity to meet new people at the symposiums or to touch base with sketcher friends as one visits different parts of the world. While visiting family in the Bay Area of northern California I touched base with sketchers Suhita Shirodkar and Laurie Wigham.  Here is a look at what we did.

Gail Wong:

Last week I had a chance to sketch in California with sketcher friends Suhita Shirodkar and Laurie Wigham. We all met up at the Stanford University Campus and sketched the Memorial Church. Suhita from San Jose, Laurie from San Francisco and me coming across the Bay from Fremont, California. It was the highlight of my week to be able to sketch with them. There is something we gain from sketching with other people, from being able to see and learn from other people’s work.

After seeing my sketch next to Suhita’s and Laurie’s, it really dawned on me how light the value of the arcade was which framed my view of the church.The blue sky seems to have the same value as the arcade and everything looked flat, there was no real sense of depth. What was separating the shapes was not value as much as color.

You can see my little sketch next to the larger ones done by Suhita and Laurie.

Increasing the contrast, as seen in the final version of the sketch  enhanced the separation of space and made the sky and the church appear lighter and brighter.

The other thing that impressed me was the fluidity of Suhita’s and Laurie’s watercolor sketches that day. I was sketching like an architect not like an artist. So my next sketch, which I did with Laurie, went for feeling over representational accuracy. I was inspired by my fellow sketchers on both sketches with out them knowing it!

Here is my sketch of the Rodin Garden at Stanford using a brush pen and water brush with watercolors

Suhita Shirodkar:

One of my favorite things about having a large urban sketching family is that when a sketcher visits town, we try to meet up and do what we love doing: sketch! So when Gail visited from Seattle and Laurie said she’d drive down from San Francisco, we chose a location where you can never tire of sketching: the Stanford Campus, right by the really grand Memorial Church. It was finals week (or close) and the always busy students looked more preoccupied than ever as they scurried across the huge courtyard without glancing up at the church. You can see from my sketches, that more than the superb church, it was those busy, busy people that totally fascinated me.

Wish I’d had more time to stay and sketch longer… still, I’m glad for the quick little sketch meetup. As Gail said, you learn so much from just working alongside another sketcher. And it’s always lovely to see all the really different interpretations of the same subject.

Laurie Wigham:

It takes a visitor from out of town to get me to look in my own backyard. I’ve lived in the Bay Area for 30 years and never explored the heart of the Stanford campus. What better way to discover it than with other sketchers?

We were all so overwhelmed by the complexity of the chapel that, without talking about it, we headed to the far end of the vast courtyard to sit down and sketch. Even so, my attempts to give an impression of the glittering mosaic mural on the chapel ended up dissolving into a blob. And trying to sketch the carved sandstone on the arch made me really appreciate John Singer Sargent’s light and graceful touch on his Italian stonework watercolors. Time to hunt down that book and figure out how he did it.

After all that heavy stone I wanted to do something quick and simple, so I turned around and sketched Suhita.

On the way back to our cars, Gail and I settled down on a bench in the Rodin sculpture garden to do a quick farewell sketch. But as I picked up my brush I saw a falling palm frond out of the corner of my eye and realized that it would be much less intimidating to sketch the gardeners trimming the palm trees behind us while Gail made those shining bronze statues look like living things. I hope we get to do this again so I can look over her shoulder and sketch them in the same lively and graceful way.





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