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

Drawing Attention – June 2016

Regional Chapter News

A report from Regional Chapters Coordinator Mark Leibowitz

Urban Sketchers is delighted to welcome three new Regional Chapters to our growing family:

Albany, NY, USA
Kharkiv, Ukraine (shown above after sketching at a train depot)
Brussels, Belgium

We are working on 16 new group applications, from exciting new locations.

I want to go on record saying I'd be more than willing to volunteer for the Urban Sketchers job of visiting each of the more than 150 Regional Chapters around the world.

The thing that binds us is our love of drawing the world around us. We don't use photographs. We don't charge money to join the group or charge money when we sketch together. We try to be supportive and encourage all people at all skill levels to share our passion.

Keeping all these wonderful goals in mind, the need to declare what is really an urban sketch feels somewhat less important. I’m suggesting we should be gentle and kind offering guidance to our fellow sketchers.

More USk News

Remembering Florian

Sketchers around the globe have been expressing condolences and sharing memories of Florian Afflerbach, the German architect and avid urban sketcher who died suddenly May 5. He is deeply missed by the entire Urban Sketchers community.

Chat with the Board

Mark your calendars for a chat with the USk Board on our Facebook group page June 5 at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. CDT. Elizabeth Alley, Mario Linhares, Brenda L. Murray and Suma CM will be there live and are looking forward to answering your questions and chatting about Urban Sketchers.

Thank You!

Thanks to Heather Horsey of Urban Sketchers Waterloo Region, who has been helping to keep our Facebook page up to date. Thanks also to Lydia Velarde of Urban Sketchers San Diego, the new USk YouTube Channel Coordinator.

Contribute Videos to USk’s YouTube Channel

Urban Sketchers now has an official YouTube channel. The channel broadcasts videos about USk-official workshops, symposiums, sketchcrawls, news and events; shares videos of official USk chapters; and educates viewers about the practice of on-location sketching. If you have created videos that meet these criteria and would like to contribute content, please contact Lydia Velarde at


Our apologies to Urban Sketchers Ipoh in Malaysia, which was incorrectly identified as being part of the Philippines in the last Drawing Attention.
Urban Sketchers Ipoh

Symposium Registration

To give more people an opportunity to purchase the last few Workshops Passes, we are extending registration through June 15! At midnight GMT, June 16, registration for the 2016 Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester will close for good. Don't miss out! Register now for a Workshops Pass! See programming information.

2017 Symposium Call For Hosts

Interested in hosting the 8th International Urban Sketchers Symposium in your city? See more information here, and the selection criteria here. Submission deadline is July 1, and we'll announce the selected city at the 2016 Symposium in Manchester!


These fantastic USk workshops still have space for you!

Sketchiton Paris, July 20 – 23
Nature/Sculpture, Sept. 1 – 5


The third annual Chicago Sketch Seminar is now open for registration for the July 9 - 10 event. Visit the event blog to register and for all event information, including pricing information.

Join us in Tacoma, Washington (USA), Aug. 19 - 21 for the 4th Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

News from Urban Sketchers Communities


"We were so busy drawing we haven't thought of going official!” Sonia Vande Velde said of new Regional Chapter USk Belgium. “It was about time, though – we grew pretty comfortable and count more than 560 followers on our Facebook page,” including Gérard Michel and Jeroen Janssen. Last year the group’s first USk weekend was organized, where “we all ended it up with smiles on our faces and our heads full of memories,” Sonia said.

USk Belgium


Chin Kok Yan reports that Urban Sketchers Ipoh sketched at the Poi Lam School in May. Built in 1955, the school had to be demolished due to development in the area. Sketches and paintings from the event will be donated to the Society of the School for Charity Day to help raise funds for rebuilding.

Costa Rica

William Cordero reports that Urban Sketchers Costa Rica was “reborn” after he and Julia Stefan met by chance at the Santo Domingo USk Symposium of 2012. “After three days of sketching madness it was clear that it was the right moment to bring back all of the good experiences and knowledge to our country.” The group made its first blog post in October 2012.

“We are a small but constant group of up to eight regular participants, doing a sketchwalk once every two months on average in San Jose, the capital city,” William said. “We cover a lot of our capital corners, including museums, historic buildings, surrounding neighborhoods, public squares and markets.” If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica, William invites you to contact the group, which might be able to schedule a Saturday outing while you are there. (Article submitted by Jane Wingfield)

USk Costa Rica


By invitation of the Malaysian Ministry of Youth and Sports, Urban Sketchers Kuching hosted an “Introduction to Urban Sketching” workshop April 23 at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak's campus carnival, said Peggy Wong. About 30 participants, made up of current and prospective university students, tried sketching on location for the first time. “We were glad that they all had fun, enough to want to join our sketch outings soon,” Peggy said.
USk Kuching


Jaro Jakovlev, administrator of USk Kharkiv (Ukraine), says that the new group has 70 followers and about seven active sketchers, “who run crawling sketch weekends, mostly architectural because we all have architectural diplomas.” With a population of 1.5 million, Kharkiv has industry, science and commerce with a rich palette of cultures. “We also have many landmarks in architecture, UNESCO monuments, so called ‘linear city,’ which is unique.” He adds, “With all this now we are very close to the war zone on the east, but thanks God it's peaceful here and chestnuts are in blossom.” (USk Kharkiv is shown at the top of the post after sketching at a railway depot.)


Four USk Paris members were invited to talk about Urban Sketchers by Radio Libertaire, an anarchist radio station on May 17. “They shared their passion for location drawing, discovering their own city or the world and meeting people through sketching for an hour,” said Marion Rivolier. “They kind of made Shlomo, the radio host, crazy as they wouldn't stop sketching during the whole show. It was a very funny experience for us!”
Members of USk Paris sketch while they are interviewed by Radio Libertaire!

San Diego

Lydia Velarde reports that San Diego Urban Sketchers celebrated three years of sketching together with a birthday party at Old Poway Park. A video of the event can be seen on YouTube.

USk San Diego celebrates its third anniversary.

Batu Pahat and Kuala Lumpur

Joey Kher reports that USk Batu Pahat and USk Kuala Lumpur had a combined sketchcrawl weekend in May. “Kuala Lumpur sketchers traveled 300 kilometers to meet us and had a two-day, one-night sketchcrawl in this small town,” Joey said. It was the first official sketchcrawl for USK Batu Pahat. “We received warm welcome by Mr. KC Lee, founder of USk Kuala Lumpur, and his team of eight artists. Our USK Batu Pahat learnt a lot of insight after the sharing by our KL guests.” The sketch event received national and local newspaper coverage.

In April USk Batu Pahat sketched in the late afternoon at the old street commercial center “to capture the golden shade of the building and to bring different sketching experience to the sketchers,” Joey said. “We are taking baby steps to revive the art atmosphere for Batu Pahat and make it a cultural oasis, after being called ‘cultural desert’ for years.”
USk Batu Pahat sketching in the commercial center at dusk.


Flora Wang said Beijing Urban Sketchers, established last December, held its first workshop in May with 13 sketchers. The average age of participants was 26.
USk Beijing held its first workshop.


Barbara Wolff has this to say about USk Albuquerque: “Our group grew out of a group that was established in December 2012. After a dormant period the group was re-energized in April 2014. At that first meeting we had nine sketchers.  Now, two years later, the group has grown to 15 to 20 regulars that show up every three weeks to sketch at venues in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico.”

Hong Kong

Alvin Wong announces that Urban Sketchers Hong Kong has an exhibition from May 25 to June 10 in Hong Kong.


Ronaldo Kurita reports that USk São Paulo held its 75th sketch meeting at the Latin America Memorial designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer. Meanwhile, USk Brasília, Brazil's capital, has created a new logo incorporating Brasília’s Cathedral. Formed a year and a half ago, USk Brasília meets every three weeks.
USk São Paolo

Sketchers in Action

Hobbs’ Book in Three Languages

James Hobbs, author of Sketch Your World, has a new book. Pen and Ink (published by Frances Lincoln) is now available in English. French and German editions are already in the shops. The book features the work of about 30 artists, including some urban sketchers.

Pedro Cabral's new book
Cabral’s Book Now on Amazon

Pedro MB Cabral's new book, Via Algarviana, is now available on Amazon (US, UK, France, Spain). The collection of sketches is from his 300-kilometer walk across Algarve.

Bower on Perspective Now Available 

The fourth book in the Urban Sketching Handbook series is Understanding Perspective by Stephanie Bower. Available for pre-order now, the book will be in stores June 15. “Understanding Perspective uses sketches from almost 50 artists and architects around the world to teach perspective sketching,” Stephanie said. “It bridges the abstract and conceptual world of studio perspective with the real-world skills of what-the-heck-do-you-do when sketching on location.”

Mike Daikubara’s Hotel Sketches

Mike Daikubara recently exhibited his ongoing series of hotel room sketches at L’Aroma Café and Bakery in West Newton, Massachusetts, last month. Mike recently finished his 100th sketch in the series.
Mike Daikubara at his exhibit of hotel room sketches.

Jason Das Sells Zine of Sketches

Jason Das has a new online store to sell his zine, “If You See Something, Sketch Something,” containing 10 years of his urban sketches and other observational drawings.

Tina Koyama on 'the Sketchbook Lifestyle'

The UK stationery blog Pens! Paper! Pencils! invited Tina Koyama to write about Urban Sketchers and her "sketchbook lifestyle" last month.

Shout it Out in Drawing Attention

Not seeing anything about you or your Urban Sketchers group in Drawing Attention? Then we want to hear from you! Please send your urban sketching news items with links and images to: Subscribe by e-mail. Happy sketching!




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