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

Fishermen's clothes: Made in Britain

[Guest Post by Julie Bolus, Great Yarmouth, UK]
 One evening while cooking, a comment on the television's 'Inside Out' programme caught my attention.  A film had been made about a factory in Great Yarmouth once known for making traditional fishermen's clothing becoming popular in the fashion world of Japan! The short film by documentary filmmaker Frances Harper was really inspiring. I thought it would be a fascinating  subject for my 'People and Place' project in which I hope to reveal hidden narratives through reportage illustration. I think it important to promote and celebrate British industry, but also to draw attention to the lives of ordinary people, without whom nothing would be made.

I contacted the factory and they were happy for me to come along. Yarmouth Stores Ltd originally started making fisherman's oilies and sou’westers in 1898 (yellow raincoats). For centuries, Great Yarmouth was a major fishing port, dependent mainly on herring fishing. When this went into decline in the 1960s, the stores started making industrial workwear such as boiler suits, aprons, railway jackets, smocks, and continues to do so alongside the latest addition of leisurewear for the Japanese market which fits in well with their love of utilitarian clothing.

The factory itself is steeped in history, hidden among the bleak, looming industrial docklands of the historical South Quay of Great Yarmouth, which is a small coastal town in the eastern corner of Britain. The factory floorboards still have signs of oil stains where the oilies were once waxed to make them waterproof.

What really struck me when I came to draw at the factory for the first time was the number of stages that a piece of fabric passes through before becoming a finished garment. The fabric goes through the hands of many people who have a deep family history and have grown up working in the same factories.

The assortment of old school machines that make marks across the fabric breathing life into the clothes is remarkable. The elastic machine is over 100 years old.  

In the cutting room the fabric is laid out onto long tables in great swathes of rippled folds ready to be cut. Sometimes over 100 layers are cut at one go and can consist of over 20 pieces of all shapes and sizes.  

Every week as I walk through the door I am greeted with perfectly sculpted formations of fabric portions all lined up and displayed on a long table. The stacks are carefully divided up and tied into beautifully wrapped bundles of 10, ready to be taken upstairs to the machine room.

The cutting room is very peaceful apart from the occasional vibrations of rhythmic clunks produced by the stud machine in action, which reverberates throughout the whole building.

The machine room is in complete contrast, full of energy like a stormy sea. The delicate threads spin and dance ferociously. The rhythmic sounds of machines whirling are comforting, like rain on a window.

Sue (above) specializes in offshore protective clothing like ‘Slumber jay boiler suits’. She has worked here for 20 years. She says, “its like one enormous jigsaw puzzle, you unwrap the bundle and you can tell with experience what goes where.” Her father Geoffrey Owen Taylor (right), 93-years-old, is the last of the great trawler and herring fisherman left alive that sailed the seas of Great Yarmouth. 

Mimi (left) has also worked here for numerous years and is a flat machinist, stitching on the trimmings like collars, cuffs and pockets. She moved to Yarmouth when she married in 1975. Mimi is originally from Vietnam and first learnt to sew at the age of eight, taught by her mother who ran a small business making made-to-measure clothing. She helped her with buttonholes, embroidery and sewing on pockets. She says she still remembers clearly what she learnt 40 years ago. “Hand sewn is stronger and looks nicer”.

This is Pauline (above and below) at work on the buttonhole machine. She is in charge of finishings. This area is a feast for the eyes. It's like an old sweet shop, housing numerous jars of colored buttons, bobbins and threads.

The varieties of machines are great to draw. The eyelet machine is the oldest in the factory.

Pauline’s first job, straight from school, was at Johnston’s and Sons Ltd. She started working on the line making boiler suits and then moved on to work in a lingerie factory before coming to Yarmouth Stores. When she came here about 20 years ago, she already knew a few of the ladies from previous factories.

I started drawing at the Yarmouth Stores factory three months ago. It’s been an amazing experience. Everyone is so enthusiastic and accommodating. I am currently in the process of designing and illustrating a self-initiated book highlighting the story behind the factory.

I would like to finish with a quote from a book called The History of Johnson & Sons Ltd, Great Yarmouth by Ann Green (Holm Publishing)

       "Old skills, old ways, old values shouldn’t be thrown out too casually, often enough the need for them returns more quickly than imagined". 

Julie Bolus is an illustrator and A-level Graphics and Illustration tutor who lives in Norwich in the East of England. She is currently undertaking a Masters at the University of Arts, Norwich in Communication Design and is a correspondent for the London Urban Sketchers. You can see more of her work on her website, blog, or Flickr.







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