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

Life is good on the Côte d’Azur

[Guest post by Brenda Malley in and around Le Cannet, France] It’s good to be back in Le Cannet, our little corner of the Côte d’Azur which had been our home for the past two years. It’s early Spring, bright sunshine and cool breeze, and I’ve returned with a group of Irish artists to spend a few days sketching in and around this historic village with its quiet, intimate character and charm.

Scents of orange blossom waft on the air, but it’s the aroma of coffee and freshly baked croissants which draws us to Francine and Pierre’s lovely Artisan Patissier Chocolatier on the historic Rue Saint Sauveur. A shady spot under a tree beside an ancient water fountain, I sketch the scene – dappled shade on the narrow street, bright flowers in a raised planter, wonderful old doorways and shutters, the quiet of a late Saturday morning.

Our afternoon is spent in the Musée Bonnard, sketching the beautiful paintings and drawings of Pierre Bonnard, an artist who shone a transcendent light onto the intimate and ordinary passage of daily life. Almond trees in Spring, gardens, windows and breakfast tables, and tender studies of his beloved Marthe through the years.

The simplicity and fluid ease of his drawings gives us a glimpse of how natural and effortless it could be. In his notebook he wrote about his morning sketch walks – “Mais çela fait vivre” – “it brings you alive”. An art critic wrote of Bonnard’s paintings “the artist transposes Mediterranean light into a sensual poem suffused and rippling with a radiant joy”. It was a joy to be there.

In the evening we wander up through the old town to Place Bellevue to watch the sun go down – sketchbook in one hand, glass of Provence Rosé in the other and the Mediterranean stretching blue to the horizon. Life is good!

The next day we take a short boat ride from Cannes to Île Saint Honorat, the smaller and less visited of the Lérins islands, and a monastic retreat since the fifth century where a community of monks continues to cultivate vineyards and olive groves. A place of quiet contemplation, Saint Honorat is a world apart from the noise and rush of Cannes, yet just a short distance across the water.

The island is a haven of peace and a sketcher’s paradise – forest trails, vineyards and olive groves all surrounded by breathtaking blue sea. The sun has come out and we sit on warm rocks to sketch the view and enjoy our picnic from the market.

On Friday we take the local bus through a verdant Spring countryside to Valbonne, a lovely authentic village with a lively and colourful Friday market. A sunny café in the Place des Arcades is our perfect spot to sketch the scene over coffee and croissants before exploring the quiet alleys of the old town.

We find a sunny bench in the park to sketch – an archway, shuttered windows, dappled light through a veil of Spring green foliage, and pass a pleasant hour drawing the scene as people come and go. There is nothing like sketching to draw you fully into the moment, absorbing the warm sun and dancing light on grass and stone.

It’s been a full week of sunshine, relaxation, and beautiful and interesting places to discover, deeply enriched by the practice of sketching. With sketchbook in hand, we soak it all in and take home a rich visual record of our travels – markets and museums, vineyards and villages, olive groves, courtyards and cafés – an unforgettable glimpse of the essence of this special corner of the Côte d’Azur.

Brenda Malley is a professional artist and art tutor based in Greystones, on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland. She has been sketching since her student travels in the 1970s and conducts classes and workshops around Ireland and in France. Her blog and website may be viewed on





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