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

Sketching Interiors or; Breaking the Tyranny of Perspective

[By Marc Taro Holmes in Montreal, CA] Note: We should be arriving in Manchester for the USK Symposium today! I wrote this before we left home. I was just finishing these drawings, which I did as part of my research for this years workshop. Wish me luck - once again I'm trying out a new class on the eager sketchers here in Manchester! ~m

As a person who travels and sketches, something I'm frequently bumping up against is my lack of interest in perspective drawing.

I know this is the one big innovation from Western Art, and is the key to convincing realism. These fancy-schmansy images that emulate the behavior of the human eye.

But - as we've heard a few weeks ago from Georges Braque, perhaps correctness isn't the only thing that matters?

Typically, inside a venerable old church, or a fusty museum, (the kinds of places I find myself drawing interiors), there are amazing things all around you. I just want to get it all in! And as fast as possible! There's an entire castle to draw today! (Or whatever it might be).

Proper perspectives can get in the way of a suitable speed of execution.

I feel that even an experienced artist needs to take their time planning one of these. Setting up the vanishing points and guidelines. Measuring things to see where they fall in the structure. Learning the underlying grid the architects have built.

I would say, most artists that do these well spend at least an hour setting up the drawing. And of course, it shows! They get great results. But it's hard for me to delay gratification like that.

Plus, when I have a wealth of detail around me, it's always frustrating to leave anything out.

When something is drawn correctly to scale - most of the time that means you can't really see it! Unless, like many draftsmen, you're making huge drawings. In a sketcbook sized perspective, once you're past the second pillar in the row - I bet you can't really see the carving any more.

Not to mention, if your viewpoint is fixed, that fancy carved candlestick that you're dying to draw? It might be just outside a doorway, only a few degrees beyond reach.

Wouldn't it be great if you could somehow see around corners?

So here's a few things I find myself doing, right or wrong, to make sketches that are high on 'sense of place', if a bit low on realism.

I have this principle I call 'Roof Line/ Ground Line' - which I talk about in the Painless Perspective chapter of my online drawing class. (Or you can read about it in this post).

Essentially, the idea is to sketch the 'mountain range' of a building or block, and then the grounding line, where everything touches the earth.

See those two lines above ? The Roof Line and the Ground Line. I sketch those first, and then everything falls in place.

So how does that help us when we're drawing an architectural interior?

We can apply the basic principles, but instead of a roof/ground, we have a ceiling/floor line.

You know you're inside of a box, so you can count on this X shape to be your guide. Ok, yes the X is a bit of an odd shaped X. It's cut off because the vanishing point is way back there somewhere.

You might start by actually sketching the generic X shape, or just by visualizing it. (Or do a Dot Plot). Then proceed to hang the drawing of the room from that ceiling/floor framework.

This is a small room. A study/library in the Chateau Dufresne in Montreal. It has these great built-in bookshelves framing the room. I mostly wanted to capture all that gothic looking carved woodwork, but also touch on the ornamental clutter on the shelves and desk. And not miss those iron dragons in the fireplace.

Here's another example - this one gets tricky.

This is a long corridor inside the Victorian style Redpath Museum on McGill Campus.

Now, what I will often do, in a situation like this, is cheat a bit.

This long hallway was of course much narrower than the study from the Dufresne above. But I wanted to get the various skeletons hanging on the walls, and some of the display cases - so what I did is widen out the view - spreading out the wings of the X - so that I'm looking at both walls more flat-on than in reality.

I stand with my back to the right hand wall, to draw the left side with the turtle skeletons - then put my back to the left hand wall, to draw the right side with the office door. So I'm getting a wider viewing angle than is available from one point perspective.

Plus, I'm compressing the distance down the hall - leaving out a lot of hallway between myself and the front entrance. I've skipped some closed doors, flattened a foyer kind of space out of existence - a lot of renovations to reality - in order fit what I want to see large enough in the drawing.

I started the drawing from the very back of the hallway, because of the skeletons, but moved to around the middle point so that I could see into the office door. There was a lot of clutter and dusty old academic papers that I wanted to sketch. This museum always gives me a Professor Indiana Jones vibe. There's no way to actually see into that door from down the hallway - so I had to edge forward to get it in. Whatever! It works for what I want to show. Take that, Rules of Perspective!

Ok, third example on an interior - this one even more un-likely.

What I wanted most out of this little stairwell landing in the Chateau Dufresne was the statue of the frolicking couple combined with the pillars and stairwell - but at the same time I was interested in the yoke-arched doorways and ankh shaped windows that are quite distinctive of the house. And I was able to get in some candlesticks while I was at it.

So, to get this ultra wide view in, once again, I've moved from one side of the hall to the other - sort of drawing cross-eyed. In one half the drawing I can see into the next room, and in the other half I can't! Perspective is shattered! But still - it's a fun little drawing with a unique point of view.

Finally, lets forgo perspective drawing entirely!

In this sketch, I started at the fireplace on the far side of the room - and just kept on drawing around the room in a kind of continuous panoramic drawing.

Imagine you are standing in the center of the room, and just pivoting. Just drawing each important landmark on the walls as you come to it. I sketched each of exits to the room, and kind of back-filled the furnishings and connected the paneled walls in between.

You might want to try this with an accordion book, so you won't run out of space. Or, you can do as I did and just draw over the edge of the page, onto a new sheet, adding sheets as required.

As I drew left to right, going from the fireplace, across each of the three entrances, I was shifting my viewpoint slightly so I could get a good sight-line into the rooms beyond. Similar to what I had attemted in the stairwell.

I've decided to call these kind of sketches Panopticons. For the ancient Greeks, a Panopticon was a particular type of building, usually a prison or a library, in which every room could be seen from the a central point.

I guess their enemies and their books were the two things they most wanted to keep an eye on. Makes sense to me!

I had a great deal of fun with this one. Just drawing, and making it up as I went along. I plan to see what else I can do with these kind of interior panoramic sketches - and I'd be interested to hear if anyone else is playing around with similar ideas. Why not drop me a note or a comment!






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