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

The Pulse Shooting Vigil in Orlando.

[By Thomas Thorspecken]

After finishing my first sketch at the Orlando Pulse Shooting Vigil, I wandered through the crowd. People were crying and hugging for support. I wanted to get a sketch closer to the stage. I made my way to the perimeter to get back stage.  Equality Florida set up a GoFundMe page to help victims of the Pulse shooting and it has reached over $3 million since it was opened on Sunday. There has been an incredible outpouring of support all across the country for families affected by this terrorist attack. This page for the victims of the Pulse shooting is one of the biggest record breaking pages in the fundraising site's history.

I leaned up against a pylon and started sketching the stage. I wanted to catch some of the police presence. All the news trucks were lined up to my right down the street. Pulse workers took the stage and vowed to come back, bigger than ever. "We will not be defeated! We are here to stay!" The owners then led the audience in a chant of "Peace Love Pulse!", "Peace Love Pulse!" We chanted louder until it became a unified shout. There was defiance and love as that chant filling downtown.

Most politicians who spoke seemed to be telling the crowd what they wanted to hear. It all sounded so shallow. The words were meant to instill civic pride and bring cheers. At Pulse two nights before, cell phones buzzed in shooting victim's pockets from loved ones hoping they had survived. The coroner worked tirelessly to identify bodies. One politician who spoke from the heart was Patty Sheehan. She is the first openly gay woman to be elected as an Orlando City Commissioner. I've met her multiple times at various events, and she is always open and gregarious. She is also an artist who paints what she calls equality kittens. Often sales of these paintings go to help the LGBT community. Patty spoke about how she had been at ground zero for the past 48 hours. She had seen blood on the sidewalks and desperate mothers wanting to know if their sons were alive. Her voice broke as she described these scenes. She ran out of words, paused, and then said that she had also seen an incredible amount of love and an outpouring of support. "All of you are a shining example of that love." Everyone shouted their approval and once again I got choked up and had to stop the sketch. She said, "Murderers will not destroy our spirit. I love you, Orlando."

Candles were handed out to everyone in the crowd, one small flame became thousands. The Methodist Church across the street, tolled a bell for every life lost. The reverberating sound went on and on.  Every new strike became sadder. It rang 49 times. I cry just thinking about that sound. There was sadness and silence through the whole crowd. Vigils like this are happening all across the country. Orlando is not alone. But everyone has to live with their grief alone. Tears sting but don't heal. Only time and positive change can do that. When Gov. Rick Scott was asked if gun control or restricting access to the assault rifle used by shooter Omar Mateen would have helped, the Republican governor said that radical Islam killed the victims of the nightclub, not guns. That attitude is why the Gunshine State is now internationally known as the world's most violent tourist destination. As the vigil ended, former State Representative Joe Saunders reminded everyone that there are still people in hospitals and he asked us all to take care of one another. The streets of downtown Orlando were then flooded with mourners, many still carrying their candles as they made their way home to loved ones. I went home to write an article before midnight and then I lay on the floor listened to Tibetan healing bowls. I curled up drained.




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