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: Day3 Variety is the spice of Life

[By Liz Ackerley, Symposium Correspondent in Manchester, UK] Today was like yesterday in weather terms (some rain, then some more rain!) but unlike it in that I covered a variety of events, from workshops to activities and sketch crawls and a preview of Urban Sketcher Lynne Chapman's Exhibition.
My day kicked off by attending part of a session by Ch'ng Kiah Kiern entitled Sketching with dry twig and chinese ink. I was really excited to attend this workshop as a correspondent as it is definitely one I would have selected if I had been a delegate. KK started off by sharing a background to his techniques, talking about the tools (twigs and brushes with ink) and their use as well as sharing some of his fantastic drawings using this approach. He then went on to demonstrate the tools and sharpening the twigs before guiding participants to sharpen their own tools and take some decanted ink (gauze for the wet approach and a sponge for the dry approach).

We then gathered our materials and went outside where we found a sheltered spot with views towards Oxford Road. KK demonstrated the use of the tools and allowed participants time to practice them before going on to show us the development of one of his drawings. Participants were then allowed to develop a drawing of their own using these techniques.

Next up I went along Oxford Road to join the Whitworth Sketch crawl (The Whitworth Art Gallery) which seemed to encourage the rain! Approaching the gallery, I spotted a group of sketchers so sat on the low wall to capture the scene, but then the rains came! You can see how the colour has been effected by the rain. One of the most amazing aspects of this Gallery is its connection with the surrounding landscape and park.  The cafe is literally sitting amongst the trees.  In some of the sketches below, you can see how the sketchers are sitting looking out of huge windows to the surrounding park.  Most of the sketchers who were outside did move into the galleries. Inside the gallery, sketchers were dotted around the place. At the end of the morning a video and camera were used to capture everyone's artwork and not forgetting Hakym's selfie stick! A good turnout for this one, despite the rain.

After lunch things became less hectic with the workshops finished for the day. I took the opportunity to attend 'The Big crit'. `This is where you can get some great tips from the experts on how to improve upon your drawings. These are just snapshots from my very very fast sketching! From the body language I observed and the snippets of conversations, this was a very useful exercise for sketchers.  I hope you can recognise some of the workshop leaders here!

The final activity I attended is our very own Hakym Ahmed (who recently graduated from MMU) leading an activity in the School of Art called SketchMob: Togetherness in Sketching. Hakym's assertion is that urban sketching is more than just an artistic endeavour but also a form of social connection and knowledge exchange. The activity involves a series of activities including drawing each others faces; drawing Hakym's face and storytelling through drawing. Sketches are shared and sketchers engage with each other and learn from each other, trying different styles and techniques as well as getting feedback from the public (if it were to take place outside in a public setting). The highlight of the exhibition is the share the works (shown here as strings and clips, laundry-style). This was then followed by a photo session to promote it on line through a series of hashtags#

My last event of the day was attending the Preview of Lynne Chapman's amazing exhibition: Unfolding Stories: Sketching the Everyday at the Z-Arts Centre. This was a stunning display of Lynne's year-long residency at the Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives in Manchester where Lynne has been capturing, through drawing, the research and study that the Centre undertake which is an exploration of the everyday and the mundane, aspects of life that can often go unnoticed. All of Lynne's work is displayed in (and was produced in) her own concertina sketchbooks and the results are both fascinating and beautiful and through her work she has enabled the researchers to see, through her eyes, what they do! From research into menthol production to dementia and its impacts to the things that we hoard and keep in our homes, this is a fascinating insight into the work of the Morgan Centre and a really exciting way that drawing and sketching can work hand-in-hand with research and science. Congratulations Lynne!  The room was full with urban sketchers and I tried to capture some of this business in my final sketch of the day.

There is now one more day of the Urban Sketchers Symposium here in Manchester and I look forward to sharing my experiences of that in one last post this weekend. Stay tuned!





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