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

Inside Space Center Houston

[Guest post by Jedidiah Dore at Space Center Houston, USA] I grew up by NASA Ames at Moffett Field naval air station in California. I remember wanting to be an astronaut, drawing all the different spacecraft I imagined I would pilot on wondrous missions. That's pretty much how I started learning to draw. Today, reportage drawing at a place once called "Space City" brings back that feeling of wonder.

I heard so much about Space Center Houston before I finally visited over several days in the spring. Years ago I began an ongoing art project called Stellar Science Series with much of the initial drawing concepts and ideas sketched on location. Inspired by my love for science, STEM-related subjects and space exploration, the project has taken me on great adventures to places such as Mars Yard for Curiosity Rover, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Deep Space Network, Kennedy Space Center and create space art for Jacob Technologies, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

Shuttle astronaut Ejection Escape Suit and communications helmet

Space Center is a unique place to learn about astronaut flight training, exploration, scientific research and mission operations for both U.S. and international operations. For an illustrator, it's a brilliant place to work on drawing studies. The immensity of spacecraft, magnitude of scientific achievement, and technological complexity makes for extreme sensory overload. Every sightline becomes a visual puzzle, asking for a graphic solution through reportage drawing.

The Saturn V rocket, for example, stands about 40 storeys high and the one I've drawn above is one of only three still existing. It's unbelievable to see an Apollo mission spacecraft in person. If astronauts ever needed a ride back to the moon, Saturn V would be the spacecraft to take them. It housed the Lunar Module and small Command Module, which is the only remaining part of the entire spacecraft to safely return back to Earth after a trip to the moon.

Skylab was America's first space station orbiting Earth and it paved the way for International Space Station operations. It was launched and operated from 1973 to 1979. The more I learn about Skylab missions, the more I appreciate how important the project was. Numerous assignments were performed by astronauts including Earth observation, gravity research, solar and stellar astronomy, biomedical and technological research were just some of the many experiments carried out on Skylab. It was a forerunner for future space station missions by allowing the study of effects of living and working for extended cycles in space.

This is the actual Lunar Rover Apollo mission astronauts used to train in preparing for lunar landing missions. It was electric powered, had a top speed of 10mph, a range of 55 miles and was steered entirely with an individual controller.

The first drawing I made on-site (outside the entrance plaza) was of the immense Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) with Shuttle Independence. The NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft is a modified Boeing 747, built to carry space shuttle orbiters back to launch sites from their landing sites. Orbiters were placed on top of the SCA using gigantic hoists called Mate-Demate Devices (top image).

I began to capture it from various locations including the unique perspective of the SCA, looking down from a viewing platform adjoining Shuttle Independence. NASA's Space Shuttle Missions turned the mystical idea of what is beyond the familiar realm into innovation, technological advancement, and scientific discovery. Shuttle orbiters flew more than 130 missions, totaling more than half a billion travel miles, and carrying more than 300 explorers into space.

The Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM) was the first manned observatory operating above Earth's atmosphere and used as a solar observatory. An interesting fact about ATM is that it was manually operated to yield data by way of photographic film. The containing film magazines would be replaced by the crew during spacewalks known as Extravehicular Activity (EVA).

Space Shuttle Main Engine technology bridges past missions to the coming age of spaceflight. This RS-25 engine, which has been so reliable for boosting Space Shuttle launches for 30 years, will be modified to boost the Space Launch System during future exploratory missions to Mars. Currently, ORION spacecraft and the SLS rocket are being developed to embark on the most significant space expedition since Mars rover landings and Apollo Lunar Missions. The SLS program is a new launch system that will have a thrust capability of rocketing up to 130 metric tons into space, allowing future astronauts to travel further.

The reason we embark on such missions is that exploration seems inherent in us. We are the only species on this planet, perhaps our universe, that venture to the intangible geography of space while carrying along our dreams in finding what drives our curiosity. An interesting fact about space exploration is the deeper into space humans travel, the deeper we peer into our universe's infinite past. In order to learn something of our selves, we look to where we came from, voyaging into an immeasurable distance, bound to our future.

Jedidiah Dore is an illustrator, reportage artist and drawing instructor based in Austin, Texas and NYC. See more of his urban sketching and reportage drawing on Instagram at @jedidore and his website at





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