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 – July 2016

Urban Sketchers Batu Pahat sketching at night!

Urban Sketchers News

Regional Chapter News from Mark

We are very excited to welcome 14 new chapters to our growing family of sketchers. Please wish our new friends a warm welcome:
USk Mumbai, one of 14 new USk chapters

Plattsburgh, NY USA
Mumbai, India
Jerusalem, Israel
Mexico City, Mexico
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
Accra, Ghana
Volgograd, Russian Federation
Huelva, Spain
Raleigh, N.C. USA
Perth, Australia
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Medellin, Colombia
Miami, Florida USA

Why isn’t there an Urban Sketchers group near me?

If you’re asking that question, I can relate. It was the question I was asking five years ago. The answer, I realized, was that there was no group near me because no one had taken the initiative to start one. It was then that I understood that if I wanted to experience the pleasure of being around interesting, talented people who share my passion for drawing the world, it would be up to me to get things started.

The good news is that it turned out to be easier than I thought. I found talented people who were interested in helping. That was unexpected. Most exciting – it turned out to be much more rewarding than I could have imagined.

We want to help. If you would like to explore this idea send me an e-mail at, and we'll see you get the information you need.

Tribute to Florian

Sketch by Florian Afflerbach
Please join us in creating a tribute to sketcher Florian Afflerbach, who passed away suddenly in May. See the PDF that has been made to show some of Florian's tips on how to sketch cars, and then share your results. If you are attending the Symposium, bring your sketch with you or create it in Manchester. If you're not joining us there, mail your sketch (copies only; originals cannot be returned) to this address:

USk Tribute Drawing
C/O Holdens’
39-45 Edge Street
Northern Quarter
M4 1HW

We will create a wall of car sketches as a tribute to our friend, teacher and fellow sketcher.


Sign up for these exciting USk workshops:

Light and Shade, Aug. 25 - 28, Malaga
Nature/Sculpture, Sept. 1 – 5, Tuscany


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.

Tina Koyama says farewell as editor.
Farewell from Tina

This edition of Drawing Attention is my last as your editor. What I have enjoyed most about being editor the past three years is “meeting” regional administrators through e-mail and getting to know all the sketching groups through news and photos. Thank you for making this job so much fun! The regional groups are the heart and soul of Urban Sketchers, and it has been an honor to serve you.

Beginning with the August edition, I leave Drawing Attention in the very capable hands of Sue Pownall, who will bring a new design, fresh ideas and fresh energy to the publication. Please send her news at

Sue Pownell is the new editor of Drawing Attention.
Greetings from Sue

Urban Sketchers would like to welcome our new Drawing Attention editor, Sue Pownall, who is an artist and illustrator living in Colchester, UK. Sue is looking forward to introducing a team of new writers, new columns and a new layout to the newsletter.

“Tina has done a fabulous job with Drawing Attention, and I am looking forward to contributing to this exciting part of Urban Sketchers,” Sue said. “I’m especially interested in getting news from our new chapters and also reports from the amazing USk workshops taught worldwide, not just teachers but also participants."

News from Urban Sketchers Communities


Ruud Otten is pleased to introduce the new USk Dutch chapter, which is most active on Facebook. The group also has a blog and can be followed on Twitter. USk Netherlands held a National Sketchcrawl in May, attended by more than 50 sketchers. See the video about the event.

USk Netherlands

Urban Sketchers Penang celebrated its sixth anniversary in June with a group exhibition at Gudang Café in Penang.

USk Penang celebrated six years of sketching together.


Eva De Urioste reports that USk Lanzarote was invited by La Rosa del Taro (a beautiful ecological plot for rent in Fuerteventura, one of the other Canary Islands) to give a brief workshop, explain what urban sketching is and sketch together. “A few of us took a ferry and spent an amazing weekend in [Silverio, the owner’s] house located in a quiet valley near Triquivijate,” Eva said. “The whole weekend flashed past visiting and sketching Betancuria, Tindaya, and Pto del Rosario.” The group sketch photos show the sketchers’ feet, “a tradition we started a year ago,” Eva explained. “We usually show our feet next to some of our sketches since we walk, sketch and share what we find.”

USk Lanzarote members "walk, sketch and share what we find."

Ciudad de Mexico

Alejandro Nuñez Alfaro said that newly formed USk Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City) made a trip to Malinalco, about two hours outside the city. “This is a place that we consider important because of its cultural heritage,” Alejandro said. “There we met with a sketching group from another state called Cuernavaca. We sketch together first at an ancient pyramid site and then in downtown.” The group sketched at the cloister of the 16th century Augustinian convent known for walls painted with plants and wildlife of that era mixed with religious symbols.

USk Mexico City

São Paulo

Ronaldo Kurita reports that in May Urban Sketchers São Paulo sketched at
Cinemateca Brasileira, a Brazilian movie archive located in a former city slaughterhouse back in the 1920s. In June visiting sketchers Xavier Krauel from USk Barcelona and Simon Taylor from USk Curitiba joined São Paulo at Ibirapuera Park, “our version of New York City’s Central Park,” Ronaldo said. “We also met at Mirante, an indoor bridge that was closed for more than 50 years and now holds a cultural center, a café and outdoor movie nights.”

USk São Paulo

Batu Pahat

Joey Kher reports that more than 30 sketchers got together in June to sketch Batu Pahat landmarks in Dataran Penggaram at Jalan Rahmat, which was recently renovated. “This is also our first attempt to do night sketching and it was challenging and fun,” Joey said (see photo at top of page). “We started to sketch from 7 p.m., when the surrounding architecture are still clear and visible. The challenging part is that we need to start imaging the colors and tones while the sky turned darker.”


Scott Renk reports that USk CAM Raleigh is “thrilled to be officially recognized as a regional chapter of the urban sketching community!” Starting the group after returning from the USk symposium in Santo Domingo, “I partnered with the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM), and we began to have urban sketching sessions on the second Saturday of each month,” Scott said. Unlike most sketching groups that meet at varying locations, “we meet and stay in the same warehouse district which, in the long run, has made it a stronger group. We have tremendous change going on with warehouses being turned into train stations, walls from the civil war being torn down, and lots of other development. It has been a truly amazing journey and experience sketching and documenting the change.” The diverse group has grown from one to more than 25. USk CAM Raleigh was recently featured in Walter Magazine. See the group’s sketches on Facebook.

USk Raleigh


“June started with a washout rather than a sketchout,” said JJ Bell of USk Brisbane. “After the monsoon let up, the group was able to continue the month with a series of excellent sketchouts.” Locations included Queens Park, Fort Lytton’s History Alive annual historical re-enactment festival, The Old Museum at Bowen Hills, Mowbray Park, the Barracks Precinct, Davies Park market at West End, Brisbane Powerhouse and Newfarm Park.

USk Brisbane


“The cold weather could not end any sooner for Urban Sketchers Poland,” said Mateusz Hajnysz. “For the past months we've been drawing in shopping malls, coffee shops and other confined spaces. But finally spring and summer have come, and we started to make good use of it.” Since the weather has improved, the group has sketched in Rogalin near Poznan, Gdańsk, Warsaw, in Koszuty near Poznan, in Gdansk-Oliwa, and in a castle in Szamotuly. In July USk Poland looks forward to celebrating its first birthday as well as its third national sketchcrawl in Gdańsk. “Come and join us to celebrate our birthday and have a chance to draw this beautiful port city with an old town and lots of other interesting places,” Mateusz said.

USk Poland

Kuala Lumpur

USk Kuala Lumpur sketched at the Valley of Hope last month, according to Sheanne Lee. The Valley of Hope used to be the second-largest leprosarium in the world. “We believe that this kind of sketchcrawl activity not only brings sketchers together, creating conversation among each other, but also is a platform for everyone to get involved with the current issues happening around us and to show care and love to the remaining leprosy-recovered patients,” Sheanne said. More than 100 sketchers participated, including art students from local universities interested in sketching historical place with stories. KLUSk founder, Mr. KC Lee, spent 20 hours sketching a panoramic view, resulting in an 8-meter-long piece, which he plans to donate to the Leprosy Gallery.

USk Kuala Lumpur


Stellenbosch USk had another sketch day in the center of town around the historic old church in June. “Cold and miserable weather could not dampen our spirits,” said Fawa Conradie.

USk Stellenbosch


USk Mumbai (photo near top of page), which has been sketching together for a couple of years, recently became an official chapter, said Kishan Dev. See the group’s sketches on Facebook.


Rapidly growing Urban Sketchers Tacoma celebrated its third anniversary in June at Tacoma’s Glass Museum, reports Kate Buike. During its first year, there was “only” one outing a month, Kate said, on the first Saturday. By 2015, a second outing was added on the third Wednesday. “This year the outings doubled by adding two regular outings per month in the greater Gig Harbor area. More co-administrators were added to help coordinate these additional outings.” USk Tacoma is hosting the fourth annual West Coast Sketch Crawl in August.

USk Tacoma celebrates its third anniversary.


USk Seattle, Tacoma’s neighbor to the north, also celebrated an anniversary last month – its seventh. Started by international Urban Sketchers founder Gabi Campanario, USk Seattle was one of the first regional chapters to form. The group met at Fishermen’s Terminal, the site of its very first sketch outing in 2009.

USk Seattle, celebrating its seventh anniversary, is one of the longest-standing Urban Sketchers chapters.

Sketchers in Action

Mike Daikubara Publishes Puerto Rico Sketches

Boston sketcher Mike Daikubara has a new book, Urban Sketching Old San Juan - Puerto Rico, now available on Amazon.

Mike Daikubara's new book

Cathy Johnson Publishes 36th Book

Longtime urban sketcher and former USk board member Cathy Johnson has just published her 36th book, The Artist's Sketchbook: Exercises and Techniques for Sketching on the Spot (North Light). The book features the works of a number of other international urban sketchers, including Don Low, Pat Southern-Pearce, Don Gore, Warren Ludwig, Vicky Williamson, Laura Murphy Frankstone, Roz Stendahl, Shari Blaukopf, Marc Taro Holmes, Nina Khashchina, Nik Ira, Steve Penberthy, Allisa Duke, Roisin Cure, Nina Johansson, Liz Steel, Danny Gregory, and Jennifer Lawson, as well as some of the finest naturalist artists around, Cathy said.

Cathy Johnson's 36th book

In-Flight Magazine Features TIA

TIA, founder of USk Singapore, was featured in the May-June edition of in-flight magazine TIGERAIR. The article is about how Urban Sketchers Singapore began and about the Urban Sketchers community in general.

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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