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

Remembering Florian Afflerbach

German architect Florian Afflerbach, a member of the Urban Sketchers community since its early days on Flickr and a correspondent of the USk Blog since its launch in 2008, died suddenly on May 5, 2016. According to news reports, Florian was riding his classic motorcycle when he was fatally struck by a car in Siegen, Germany.

Florian was only 35 but his talent inspired many near and far. He made beautiful pencil and watercolor sketches of buildings and vehicles that were a lesson in perspective and style. Also known as Flaf on Flickr, Florian was a member of USk Germany, taught workshops at several USk Symposiums and authored several books on architectural drawing.

Those who met Florian in person also remember him for his kindness and gentle demeanor. Just a few days ago he had been teaching a workshop in Malaga, Spain.

Flaf's passing leaves a big hole in our global but closely-knit community. Sketchers all over are mourning his loss and expressing condolences to his wife, Tina, and extended family and friends.

We'll miss you and your amazing sketches, dear Flaf. Rest in peace.

(If you'd like to add a tribute to Florian in this page, please email it to and we'll update the post to include it.)

Rest in Peace

"Florian, no te vas del todo porque te quedas dentro de tus dibujos. Y con ellos seguiremos aprendiendo durante años y años."

"Thanks to Florian I enjoyed drawing a car, at Malagráfica, just a few days ago..."
Inma Lazo

"The beauty of Florian's drawings, the elegance of his lines and the subtlety of his colors have been an inspiration for me ever since I joined him on Facebook and started keeping track of his blog. Though we never met personally, the tragic news of his untimely death struck me as another of life's many absurdities. And as I read the tributes paid by friends, personal and virtual alike, I also learned of a good, kind and generous person. Such a waste of talent, of promise, of life! May his art continue to inspire us all.
(My humble tribute is a sketch of what used to be my family's car, a Volvo Amazon my father bought in 1960 and eventually sold in the late 80s for a pittance.)"
"Although I never met Florian, I followed him on Flickr for several years.
He was an inspiration to all of us.
O Ricard in Toronto

"I heard the news of Florian having passed away on 5th of May when he didn’t appear to TU Dortmund University this Monday, May the 9th.
I myself am not an Urban Sketcher but I got to know him in person at the Architecture Faculty in Dortmund where he taught us sketching, drawing techniques and all this crazy stuff he was so talented with. Frankly, one year ago I got to know him better on an excursion to a monastery, went out sketching with him and other Urban Sketchers and was so bummed by his skill and talent and his personallity. It always makes a huge difference if you have to do with someone on a Student-Teacher-Base or on a personal base….therefore his death affected me more then I would have guessed because I got to know the heart warming personality aside from him just being a teacher.
I remembered a sketch I did of him last year on the excursion and would love to share it in remembrance of this man who left way to young…
In greatest admiration, Leonie B., Germany.
Reast in Peace, Florian…"

Flaf: Disculpa que a mi dibujo lo acompañe la nostalgia desnuda. No encuentro palabras que la arropen.
Adolfo Tovar

"We were at a USK gathering in Liège, Belgium, organized by Gerard Michel.
At midnight in the hostel, our group of Urban sketchers was fed up playing table soccer.
And Florian asked: “I feel like drawing a car. Who wants to join?”.
Six of us went out into the warm night to find a car, and we found this old Renault 4 under a bright orange neon light.
And started drawing. A curious woman asked what we were doing, and after we explained she even brought us tea and cookies.
In the drawing you see Lapin on the left, and Florian on the right.
It’s one of those memories about Florian that I really cherish."
Rene Fijten, the Netherlands

Vous savez combien j'étais attaché à Florian.
Sa disparition brutale m'a profondément touché.
C'était le premier en date de mes amis urban sketchers.

Je l'ai rencontré à l'occasion d'une expo de ses dessins à Stuttgart, en septembre 2009.
Depuis lors, je l'ai revu un certain nombre de fois…
J'ai fait le compte des dessins que nous avons faits ensemble : plus d'une centaine.

Il apparaît dans 13 de mes carnets de croquis, et nous avons dessiné plus de trente jours ensemble…

Nous devions bientôt nous revoir : il nous avait invités à le retrouver a Möllenbeck, comme l'an dernier, avec Arno et leurs étudiants.
Et je comptais bien sûr dessiner avec lui à Manchester !

J'ai eu le grand bonheur de le rencontrer, de partager avec lui ma passion du dessin, et d'en faire l'un de mes plus chers amis.
Merci Florian !!!

Liège, Belgium

"I know Florian since several years. We spend some times sketching together, while he was living in Stuttgart, working as an architect. And I did this photo of him, while we were sketching at the harbor in Fellbach. We also gave a drawing to each other. His is right now visible in front of me and we were still in contact with each other, sending catalogs and things around.
I am so sad. I just cannot believe, that this wonderful, friendly and talented friend died all of a sudden. It doesn’t make sense at all!!!!!!!"
Carola Dewor

Still deeply affected after this sad notice. Every time I draw a car I will remember his teaching.
My sympathy for Tina and his family.
Madrid , Spain

"It's hard to lose a friend, but way harder when you were speaking to him a few days before. Drawing cars from now on will always feel a little bit sadder. Godspeed, Florian."
Cristina Urdiales

"Hace justo una semana dábamos por concluida la segunda edición de Malagráfica. Todo un éxito. Pero la inesperada muerte de Florian Afflerbach ha venido a empañar el recuerdo de los malagráficos y de los urban sketchers en general.
Car Guy, como se autodenominó en su presentación era un maestro del dibujo de coches, y así quedó patente en el Museo del automóvil de Málaga.
Quiero sumarme a su recuerdo con los dibujos y fotos de aquel día .
Descanse en paz."
Victoria Iturriaga

"As I learned of the sad news of Florian Afflerbach's tragic passing, I also recalled his friendliness when I participated in his workshop at Urban Sketchers Symposium in Barcelona, and appreciate his patience with me, a non-architect, struggling to get a perfect perspective drawing of iconic Mies van der Rohe Pavilion. In his memory, I searched for a classic car on the street and sketched it today, just like he loved to do. I will continue to learn from wonderful sketches he left behind on Flickr. My deepest condolences goes out to his loved ones."
Shiho Nakaza
Los Angeles

"Flo an I became friends during one of the annual drawing weeks with students and alumni in Möllenbeck monastery in the early 2000s. In groups of three or four, we explored the old walls and the surrounding cities of the Weser mountains with our pencils and watercolor sets, always together drawing side by side. Even then it was clear that the rest of us would never reach the level that Florian was elaborating with his talent, his joy of drawing and his diligence. When we were browsing through each other’s sketchbook in the evenings, we were often surprised and amazed of what Florian had created at the same time, and without any envy we were inspired by his great watercolors, pencil and marker drawings. To not completely discourage the beginners among the students in attendance, Professor Jonak declared: "The Flo is no benchmark, don’t let his level frustrate you.
Most Urban Sketchers will know Florian Afflerbach either personally from the symposiums in Lisbon and Barcelona, ​​the various events and workshops in which he was involved or from his posts on Facebook and Flickr. In 2013, we ran the workshop "Barcelona Perspectives" at the famous Mies van der Rohe Pavilion together. His girlfriend Tina an my girlfriend were with us and we had a great and enriching time together. Last week, Florian was a workshop presenter at the "Malagrafica - Sketching Point" event in Malaga, running a car drawing course. All those who have seen him in his workshops and events can tell his joy of teaching and appreciate its expertise and humor. We all admired his skills and the ease with which he passed them.

For this year's USk Symposium in Manchester in July, Flo wanted to present a workshop on car drawing, along with Lapin Barcelona. We had been really looking forward to fly to Manchester together, to meet all the friends there and to draw together. Monday before last he said to me: "This will be a very intense time!"
Florian Afflerbach was just 35 when he was torn out of life. Our deepest sympathy goes to his partner Tina and his family."

Arno Hartmann
(Full post in German, here. In English, here.)

"Algo ocurre con aquellos que nos enseñan, que nos retan, que nos estimulan en aquellas cosas que nos interesan, y es que los apreciamos de manera especial: un aprecio que nace de la admiración y el deseo de imitación. Así nos ha ocurrido a todos los que hemos conocido, de manera fugaz, a Florian. Quedamos admirados de su pasión por el dibujo, de su amor por los coches, de la minuciosidad de orfebre en la ejecución de sus sketches.
El domingo, en el museo automovilístico, cuando revisaba nuestros dibujos de coches, siguiendo las instrucciones de su workshop en Malagráfica, nos dijo: "I'm proud of you". Estaba contento de ver el resultado de su trabajo, la manera en que nos había retado y estimulado.
Hoy la comunidad de los Urban Sketchers internacional está triste por la perdida de este compañero, amigo, maestro, artista. Tristes por su ausencia, por su familia. Tristes porque su sillita de tijera remendada ha quedado vacía para siempre.
El domingo, mientras dibujaba quizás su último coche en Málaga, yo traté de dibujarle en este sketch que dejo como homenaje:" A FLAF, the car's guy". Durante mucho tiempo, cuando dibujemos algún coche en nuestros cuadernos, pensaremos en tí, Maestro."
Francisco Gómez

"And then he was gone. It was a terrible shock to read that Florian Afflerbach (Flaf) had died yesterday. I never actually met him, but for many years we've left encouraging comments on each other's posts online and occasionally bought each other's Advent sketches. I always enjoyed seeing his latest drawings - especially of the less glamorous classic cars that he found in the street - and I always thought that one day we'd meet up and do some sketching together. Sadly that can't happen now - I spent the morning sketching with him in my thoughts instead. Much love to his family and all those friends who must also be missing this talented young artist."
Stefan Marjoram
"I never met Flaf, I am not an urban sketcher and I'm not an architect. But I followed him on Flickr and I bought one of his drawings. His art was remarkable not just for its perfect mastery of perspective and control of medium but for the beauty of the lines he made and for the sensitivity with which he rendered commonplace objects. He enhanced my life and he must have enhanced the life of many other people whom he scarcely knew existed. To be missed by strangers is a great achievement."
Ros Ridley

"Todos los participantes de Malagrafica estamos conmocionados. A mi me gusta mucho dibujar coches y aprendí mucho con sus explicaciones sobre la perspectiva idónea para hacer un buen dibujo. Además me pareció su estilo muy elegante.
Ha sido una gran pérdida.
Un abrazo a su familia y pareja."
Marina Arias

"I felt so devasted when I heard the sad news about your loss. You were a great and inspiring sketcher but even a greater person. I had the chance to enjoy your company in Málaga a few days ago. Descansa en paz my friend Florian"
(Full tribute, in Spanish, here.)
Jaume Jane
Barcelona, Spain

"I'm in shock still at today's news. Utter disbelief. I was looking forward to seeing him again this year at Manchester, I always enjoyed spending time with Florian. In the early years of USk he was a big influence on me, gave me a lot of help with perspective, and was a good online friend too. I had some nice conversations with him when we finally met in Lisbon, and we laughed in Barcelona when we both showed up wearing white shirt, black hat, glasses, red hair... I told him I must have been sub-consciously copying him! I have a couple of pictures, attached. Damn, what horrible news. He will be greatly missed."
Pete Scully
Davis, Calif.

"He tenido el privilegio de disfrutar mucho en su compañía durante la última semana, pues le invité a Málaga a impartir un taller sobre dibujo de coches en el Museo Automovilístico de Málaga, durante el cual él habló en inglés y yo le traduje al castellano. Antes dio una charla que ahora resulta especialmente conmovedora, pues contó sus inicios en el dibujo y mostró dibujos de coches realizados en su infancia. Habló de su trayectoria vital y de sus planes de futuro. Nos relató que su apodo Flaf, que como se sabe es la abreviatura de su nombre y apellido, es realmente una marca de automóviles imaginaria que inventó cuando niño, y de la cual diseñó numerosos modelos.
Vino a Málaga acompañado de su pareja Tina, para la que siempre tenía muestras de cariño, y hablamos mucho sobre dibujo, sobre catedrales, sobre ciudades... Prometió volver pues tenía mucho interés en conocer el interior de la catedral, y en esta visita no le dio tiempo a hacerlo.
Intercambiamos regalos, yo le dí un ejemplar de mi libro de Málaga y él me regaló un dibujo original: un coche clásico, como no podía ser de otro modo.
Nos despedimos en la estación de trenes este lunes pasado por la tarde. No puedo creer lo que ha pasado.
Estaba muy ilusionado con su taller de Manchester.
Era un amigo muy querido. Admiro mucho su trabajo y voy a echarlo mucho de menos.
Luis Ruiz
Malaga, Spain

"Estoy impactada por la terrible pérdida de nuestro amigo Florian... Este fin de semana compartí con él y Tina varios ratos y conversaciones en Malagráfica, y me parecieron unas personas excepcionalmente amables, cercanas y amigables. De hecho es curioso que no me hice muchas fotos porque disfruté mucho del tiempo que estuve con los amigos de malagráfica, sin embargo tengo una foto preciosa que me hice con Florian cuando íbamos a hacer El Caminito del Rey en el cual compartimos varios momentos y aquellas maravillosas vistas. Aquí la mando para hacerle homenaje a este gran muchacho. No tengo me parte el corazón :( "
Anais García Burgos
Cuenca, Spain

"Florian... we all, will miss much..."
Corinne Raes

"I have been fortunate to sketch alongside some truly amazing people over the past few years — that is, once motherhood allowed me: Liz Steel, Paul Heaston, Stephen Gardner, Lapin, Danny Gregory, Amanda Kavanagh, Jason Das… Florian is one of the people whom I always thought I would meet somewhere down the road too. It was just a matter of time. I am so dumbfounded and sad today, and I think like so many of us, I am going to have a hard time processing the passing of Flaf.
Flaf and I “met” on Flickr about ten years ago, me because of my compulsive drawings of cars at the time and him because of his architectural perfection. And one day somewhere in 2007, he posted this drawing (, and I remembered thinking “Son of a bitch. He can draw cars, too.” But I was super flattered that he mentioned I had been a car inspiration. That made my day. That “Berge Bau” drawing might have been a bit of a departure for him — so here is my little response tonight."
France Belleville
New York City

"At a loss. Worked with him so many times, just a few months ago with Gerard Michel, on the Liege rooftops. Condolences to his family and girlfriend Tina."
Rene Fijten
"I just heard the news that urban sketcher Florian Afflerbach died suddenly. I did not know him personally, but I followed his sketches on Flickr every day, marveling at his work. As others have expressed recently upon hearing the news of the deaths of celebrities, I am thinking about how creative people touch many lives in ways they might not even know. I regret that I never had the opportunity to tell him in person how much he inspired me (clicking “like” regularly and occasionally commenting don’t count), and now I never will. He just posted his last sketch yesterday, and now there will be no more."
Tina Koyama

Sketch of Florian by Jason Das
New York City

"Last weekend I had the privilege to share a few days of drawing with an artist who I admired very much. The major reference for me when drawing cars. The illusion of meet him and the enjoyed beside him on those days now turns to tears when knowing his death. These drawings I made of FLAF is my little tribute to someone who has given me a lot."
Rafael Comino Matas

"Flaf was one of my friends on Flickr in the very early days of Urban Sketchers.
Today, after spending a little time on Facebook, I had to rush out the door to make it to our monthly USK Sydney event. I grabbed my copy of Florian’s Card Playing Cards to take with me. At the end of the meet we took this group photo everyone holding one of Florian’s cards. We support each other and draw together.
I feel truly blessed to have met Florian, but his work will live on, inspiring many Urban Sketchers in years to come."
Liz Steel

"Tube la inmensa suerte de conocer a nuestro "car guy" en Malagráfica. Aprendí muchísimo en su taller, era uno de los mayores reclamos para mí este año.
No sabes lo consternada que estoy con su pérdida.
Envío una foto de la realización de uno de sus últimos dibujos, en el Museo Automovilístico de Málaga, durante su taller."
Descanse en Paz.
Fe Pesquero

"Estuvo con nosotros en Málaga y se nos fue. Parece increible.
Descanse en paz!
Mi pequeña aportación al homenaje propuesto en el blog de urbansketchers"
Rosina Baena

"Estoy sobrecogida por el accidente de Florian, y en estado de choc: no hace ni una semana que Flaf estuvo en Málaga dentro de unas jornadas de dibujo que organizamos junto a Luis Ruiz y Javier Rico, Malagráfica. Asistieron también Inma Serrano, Melanie Reim y Omar Jaramillo como instructores. Creo que Luis te va a escribir sobre ello.
Yo quería compartir contigo la emoción que supuso descubrir que yo también podía dibujar un coche medianamente "digno", un tema hasta ahora absolutamente falto de interés para mí. Pero el enfoque que le dio Florian en el taller, buscar un ángulo de visión diferente, muy cercano, y en perspectiva ("resulta aburrido dibujar los coches siempre de perfil", dijo en su charla) hizo que todos los participantes lograran unos dibujos muy interesantes, tal como pudimos comprobar en la puesta en común de los cuadernos en el suelo."
Patrizia Torres
"This afternoon, for the 2º Encontro Internacional de Desenho de Rua (a big urban sketching event) in Torres Vedras, Portugal, Flávio Ricardo came purposely from Brasil.
Under his orientation we have been sketching cars in the Firemen Museum, where Florian was praised and remembered for all of us who had the opportunity to have known him and for all the others who new his beautiful work."
RIP Florian.
Pedro Cabral, Lisbon

"Less than one week ago, I had the honor of being a workshop instructor at Malagraphica, the sketching point, along with Florian Afflerbach affectionately known as "Flaf", the car guy. Indeed, a master of drawing the most exquisite cars. But, his gift was much greater than cars and perspective. Even as I learned from his lessons this time, I thought in those moments how much I enjoyed knowing him better, laughing with him and Tina. How lucky I feel, to have known him. We all are lucky that he touched us. RIP, Florian."
Melanie Reim
New York City

Sketch of Florian by Olga Prudnikova

"Here's some photos Laurel has from Florian and Gerard teaching perspective in Lisbon. One of my first workshops. I couldn't have had a better introduction to the spirit of USk. He was clearly such an accomplished artist. It was great to see him just working with everyone trying to help us get better. Shocking to hear this news."
Marc Holmes

"Desolado por la partida de nuestro amigo."
Omar Jaramillo





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