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

Light & Shade, Málaga, SPAIN, August 25-28

Contact: e-mail Isabel: for information and a registration form

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If there is something that truly defines the ancient port city of Málaga it would be its vitality. Life bristles among classic examples of architecture like the cathedral or the islamic fortress and the mismatched facades that face the Mediterranean. The gentle weather makes is a meeting point for tourists from all over the world and makes it possible that in its luxuriant gardens and parks grow subtropical plants from the five continents that bloom every time of the year.
Málaga is also the city where Pablo Picasso was born. It is precisely the master’s birthplace where the venue for the workshop will be, at the Fundación Picasso Málaga I Casa Natal


Plaza de la Merced. The building in the left background is Picasso’s birthplace.

We have organised six different locations for the 3 day workshop and you would be experiencing them all. As the weather will be hot, we have adapted our timetable to the climate and will have a longer break at lunchtime and time in the afternoon to be in the shade, we have organised some 'cool' making activities (practice on drawing trees, watercolour mark-making and lines and letters experiments)

It will be fun but hard work, as you will be enjoying learning and experimenting all the time, trying out different ways of drawing and mark making, sketching in watercolour and using colour in all forms without fear, sharing the work we do and discussing our findings intensely.

Each of the instructors will explore different themes of depicting Light and Shade in the context of urban sketching.

Light and Shade in Watercolour (Isabel)

We will explore Malaga as a city in the sun, with strong light and shadow contrasts.
Using watercolour as the main medium, we'll explore the idea of colour and contrast as the starting point of a sketch. We will start by deciding where the lightest points of the sketch are, the paper, and where the deepest shadows will be, the strongest colours.

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Light and shadow (left) with white paper indicating strongest light

We will learn to abstract what we see, using colour boldly and with strong contrast. Drawing can take place later either with more colour more linear marks or with pen if preferred.

This workshop will help people to simplify the complex architecture but not be shy about painting views that in the first instance might appear too difficult.

Starting with only with watercolour drawing with light and colour we will look for those elements of the view that interest us.


Abstracting building shapes and forms quickly with colour

And slowly building up the watercolour layers to add complexity and depth to our work, adding a variety of marks to the sketch to increase its richness.

Building up layers of color - sketching a complex view

Light and Shade in line work (Miguel)

The aim of my workshop is to encourage the sketchers on working with line in order to find their personal handwriting to “write” their own tale of the environment or scene before them.

On the first instance we will observe and experiment on how our hand is used to move and work on the paper to realise if its natural stroke is long or short, curved or straight, pushed or pulled. Once we discover how our hand works when left alone, we will try to use its natural way to influence our drawing.

Secondly, we will focus on the elements that catch our attention and allow them to start our “tale” using them as a headline seed to let our drawing grow up as natural, free and personal as we want to. We will experiment with textures and colors to underline the actors of the scene, to separate planes on the stage or to add fun or drama to our story.
The main tools of the workshop will be fiberpoint, ball or fountain pens for the line work and watercolors or color pencils for coloring.

Into the deep (Luis)

The southern sun of Málaga summer produces sharp shadows that can provide an effective and dramatic setting for the urban scene; alternating layers of light and shadow produce the required depth that usually envelopes human action, and let the spot be put on the place of our desire. The goal of the workshop will be building an adequate scenery and filling it with life.


Constructing the scene: the power of different layers of shadows

A successful sketch invites you in; it introduces elements that act as a ‘bridge’ between the observer and the drawing. As actors do, these elements enter once the scene is already set, thus it is important to follow some order while drawing and leave a chance for the magic to play a part once you have started. Because lots of things are going to happen after you start, things that can not be anticipated and that surely will enrich the result. Things that will tell us more about a place and a time, not a single instant, but a whole series of events that follow each other while you are drawing and that can all be put together in the same sheet of paper.

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Inviting you in: Making the observer part of the action portrayed and placing the focus on a desired place..


Capture the music of the city and let the energy flow...

In addition, the shadows of different architectural elements makes buildings ‘sing’, it is just a matter of capturing the rhythm and putting it on the paper. It is much better than getting lost in the detail, keep it simple! Let the pen flow… feel the energy, who said that line is only useful for outlining?

The tools required will be pen or fountain pen and a limited watercolour palette to enhance effects.

Learning goals
  • Pushing participants out of their comfort zone, at their own level. From beginners starting to sketch to more confident participants, we aim to teach you something new and push you outside your boundaries, helping you experiment.
  • Experiment with different water mark and drawing techniques and ways of approaching a live sketch situation, helping you find your own self expression.
  • Using and trying different watercolour approaches - line drawing with brushes, marker pens and watercolour pencils, painting with watercolours, using textures, light and shade, understanding colour.
  • Using more colour and texture and making you think about how do you represent what you see and to develop your own way of representing what you see in colour with confidence
  • Improving brushstrokes and brushmark making abilities
  • Losing the fear to draw people
  • Sketching the city, its buildings, the people and their stories.

Workshop Schedule

Thursday 25 August
Welcome at the Fundación Picasso Málaga, Museo Casa Natal, Málaga, in our meeting space, in the evening at 6pm.

Friday 26 August
9.30am -10.30am Welcome at the Fundación Picasso Málaga, Museo Casa Natal, Málaga
10.30am-1.30pm Isa, Miguel and Luis morning workshops

1.30pm- 3.00pm Lunch
3.00 -5.00pm Afternoon”cool” making activities - at the Fundación Picasso Málaga, Museo Casa Natal, Málaga,

5.00pm - 8.00pm Isa, Miguel and Luis evening workshops

Saturday 27 August
9.30am -10.30am Welcome at the Fundación Picasso Málaga, Museo Casa Natal, Málaga.
Review and Exhibition pin up of previous day work

10.30am-1.30pm Isa, Miguel and Luis morning workshops

1.30pm- 3.00pm Lunch
3.00 -5.00pm Afternoon”cool” making activities at the at the Fundación Picasso Málaga, Museo Casa Natal, Málaga

5.00pm - 8.00pm Isa, Miguel and Luis evening workshops

Sunday 28th August
9.30am -10.30am Welcome at the Fundación Picasso Málaga, Museo Casa Natal, Málaga,
Review and Exhibition pin up of previous day work

10.30am-1.30pm Isa, Miguel and Luis morning workshops

1.30pm- 3.00pm Lunch
3.00 -5.00pm Afternoon”cool” making activities at the Fundación Picasso Málaga, Museo Casa Natal, Málaga
5.00pm - 8.00pm Isa, Miguel and Luis evening workshops

Monday 29th August
9.30am -10.30am Final Exhibition pin up
Time tbc Exhibition opening at the Fundación Picasso Málaga, Museo Casa Natal, Málaga (with Malaga USK) followed by Drawing Meet-up (Open Activity for everybody)


30 attendees maximum, 20 minimum. Any level of experience is welcome.


We recommend the Tourist information as a first point of call
Link here: Visit Málaga Accommodation

Supply list

A list will be provided for participants - we will be working with various drawing media, pencils, pens, watercolours and marker pens.

Registration fee

£ 225 - (£180 concessions - 20% discount for students or unwaged -with proof of concession status)
To book - e-mail Isabel: for a registration form.
(Payment can be via cheque, internet bank transfer or paypal)

Cancellation policy: All fees are fully refundable if cancelled prior to 25 July 2016. If cancelled after 25 July a £25 cancellation fee will be retained. In the event of too few registrants, all monies will be refunded.


We are grateful to the Fundación Picasso Málaga, Museo Casa Natal of the Ayuntamiento de Málaga for their support and provision of the venue for this workshop.


About the instructors

Isabel is Spanish but studied in UK where she practices as an architect and artist. Her passion is watercolour, easy to carry around and sketch on the go and likes experimenting and mixing media to get interesting effects. Isabel started sketching in 1993 as part of her architecture training and continues to this day. She joined Urban Sketchers Spain in 2011. As an artist she is part of West Berkshire and North Hampshire Open Studios scheme and joined the Oxford Printmakers Cooperative in 2013.

After a long career as advertising creative in Spain and Italy, Miguel becomes a freelance illustrator a few years ago. Working all day with digital media drove him back towards the live touch of the sketchbook that had finally grown to become his main medium of expression.

Luis, as an architect, learnt to draw on location in his since the first year of his studies and has always found drawing the best tool to understand spatial relationships in his work. On the other hand, he has always carried a sketchbook during his travels as a more efficient way to record than photography.
After finding Urban Sketchers, Luis discovered the pleasure of drawing outside with no preconceived objective and reading the USk manifesto, he feels specially sensitive to it, to the point of recording time and place, and he is transforming his sketching practice from single architectural sketches to understanding the city as a great stage where human activity takes place.




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