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

#USkManchester2016 Day 2: Let the workshops begin....

[By Liz Ackerley, Symposium correspondent in Manchester, UK] Day 1 kicked off rather splendidly without rain and with a lot of excitement about the start of the programme.  In true Manchester style, the rain came well and truly today, but of course it didn't stop any of us hardened Urban Sketchers!  I thought I would make an early start and got to Peveril of The Peak before the sessions to do a quick loose sketch.  On heading to the school of Art it was wonderful to see so many sketchers out and about capturing Manchester.  I ran across this group too.  I am in ore of their portable kits and organisation!  Then on with the start of the day and announcements, before setting off for the workshops.

My first workshop was Paul Wang's Shape Shifters on the canal adjacent to Rain Bar.  The workshop uses a shape drawing approach to establish ways of simplifying complex scenes on location.  I stayed for the first half, before the weather really came in.  The participants were guided through a shape qualities and relationships approach and were provided with a limited colour pallette to practice their approaches.  In the first instance they were exploring shapes and their qualities before moving on to create thumbnails of the rain bar and surroundings ready for a single drawing piece.    

I then had difficulty finding several of my workshops because of the weather but I did run into Paul Heaston's workshop: The Big Picture and the tiny details .  This workshop was well and truly underway in the arches of the Town Hall extension.   They provide great views of some wonderful buildings across from the Town Hall extension and shelter from the rain.  I dipped into it during the last part of the morning when the first two sections: Establishing a wide angle perspective and refining and tightening the drawing prior to the last part, putting in the details.  By this time the rain was coming down even harder.  

  Back at the school of art at lunchtime, the place was buzzing with sketchers: meeting, eating, shopping, scanning and using the cafe.  It is really exciting seeing the group producing work that reflects Manchester in their own styles.  For me, it was a good chance to find out about workshop locations for the afternoon.  First up was Lapin's Cars in the City workshop which took place in a carpark and surroundings under the Manchunian Way, on Oxford Road.  The noise was quite something but it was a great place to draw cars and shelter from the weather.  I stayed for the first half of the session where participants were first of all asked to draw car portraits first from a distance of 3+ meters and one from very close (a meter) firstly as a quick sketch and then spending time doing a fisheye in much more detail .  The last part of the workshop was to create multi-faceted sketches whereby the cars were drawn in the context of the city/urban environment.   
My final workshop of the day was Suhita Shirodkar's People and Places: Life in contrast   which is just up my street!  I missed the first part which covered gestural figure sketching and sketching people, capturing different actions and activities but joined for the second part where the combination of styles and media was discussed with the idea of capturing people and architecture using different approache!.  Participants were asked to develop a final third piece that combines moving people and architectural sketching whilst Suhita demonstrated the development of one of her pieces.  A number of key tips were shared including the idea that in order to develop believable scenes, figures need to be placed in the foreground, middle ground and background but not too uniformly.  The idea of heads being approximately at the same level but diminishing in size the further away you get and this is paralleled by the level of detail of the figures.  In addition, the level of detail is relative rather than absolute.  As a rule, Suhita puts her figures in the scene first before adding the architecture into the background, this is because the figures are an important focus and it can make you too worried to make a mistake with your figures once the building detail has gone in!  But there are no rules.  I had an inspiring and interesting day despite the rain!

Please watch out for my day 3 instalment tomorrow, hopefully with some good news about the weather!





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