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".
Blog
Flickr

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

The Miracle of Unconditional Love: A Wedding in Kent

[by Róisín Curé] I spent a few days in the south of England in July. I went there with my husband Marcel and three children to celebrate the wedding of Marcel's sister, Monique, to her boyfriend of nearly twenty years and fiancé for twelve, Mark.

This is page 1 of my brand-new sketchbook, a Handbook Journal, which I was inspired to buy after seeing Marc Holmes' and Shari Blaukopf's beautiful work during our workshop in Galway a fortnight earlier. Each to his own, as they say - while it's a beautiful product, I found the paint a bit slippery on the paper. In the above sketch, you can see how the paint doesn't change from the initial stroke, doesn't settle and become absorbed, in the way I like. But the sketch certainly took the edge off my in-flight nerves. You can see my younger daughter beside me, stuck into her book. She, like me, was in the "zone". 
"We're the Zone Sisters," she said.

Here's Marcel waiting for his bags. Blue ink for the background, grey for the foreground. With this kind of sketch, I always remember the advice of Quentin Blake: try to show which leg the weight is on.

Once on our long drive south to Kent, I was desperate to sketch, but didn't really fancy the hire car as a subject. Marcel hates to be drawn, but suffered me to draw his shirt. That did the trick nicely - soon I was happily focusing on checks and lines and all sorts of patterns.
 We arrived into Rye, East Sussex, in the evening and, delighted with our lodgings, headed across the road to find something to eat. We are a very volatile family (well, two people are, but that's all you need to make the whole thing volatile), so I'm happy to report that we had a very peaceful meal in The Ship, in Rye. Very nice food, too but nothing beats Galway mussels. The rude man on the wall is a poster of Johnny Cash. Very bad manners towards innocent holidaymakers.


 Here are our lodgings, the Old Borough Arms in Rye. I was bent on getting some urban sketches in, and so I left the family snoozing and went off to sit in the street. Many people passed me, particularly people walking their dogs, but no one addressed me at all. This is very unusual, but my husband says it's down to overcrowding in Britain - that everyone is conscious of everyone else's space.
The bedroom windows of all of my family can be seen here, in a row above the name of the hotel. I started with the name - "Old Borough Arms" - and worked my way in a spiral around it, with no planning or rough pencil work. It results in a wobbly sketch but it's much more fun to do. Both the street adjacent to the hotel, Mermaid Street, and the area at the bottom of the steps of the hotel are cobbled with very rounded flint cobbles, for all the world like hard boiled eggs made of stone. Very tricky to walk on!

 It's hard to get our volatile family together in peace for long enough to eat breakfast. We managed to sit together nicely in the Mermaid Street Café, to the side of the hotel..for a while. Soon my teenage daughter started the usual stuff and I found that sketching was the perfect way to keep things calm. I had no desire to make a sharp retort, and had no need to suppress the urge to give her a good spanking - I just focused in on the sketch.

The wedding was the next day. As we set off in the morning, my teenage daughter (16), looking stunning in very high pale green suede shoes, was in a pickle.
"Mum! I need to take your arm!" she said as we reached the bottom of the steps. "I can't handle this terrain!" The flinty cobbles had her hobbled. I must look into getting some of those cobbles to pave the area around my house - that'll keep her at home. But although I wanted to laugh at her plight, I kept quiet and kept her calm, and helped her to walk in her absurd shoes. Who needs a Bridezilla? My daughter was Guestzilla.
(Now, if only I could get my hands on those cobbles, and market them...think of the fortune I'd make.)

Here's Ross, a guest at Monique and Mark's wedding. He was a charming young man and he and his mother were absolutely enchanted with the concept of sketching anything on the spot. Needless to say, I offered to draw him...


Remembering that I was driving, I managed to not overdo it on drink in the wedding, and the next morning I was up with the larks (the lazy ones, at any rate) to sketch on the impossibly steep, hazardously-cobbled Mermaid Street. I sat on some steps of a house called The House With Two Front Doors, correctly deducing which steps looked the less used. A man came out of the other door and offered me a cup of tea, which I accepted gratefully, as I was very thirsty.
"The cup says "Eleanor"," he said. "You look like an Eleanor."
So my husband was right - people aren't unfriendly at all, they just don't want to intrude on your space. My husband happens to be British but I have lived in the UK and I have always found Brits to be incredibly kind and warm, and very generous. Still, I wish they'd stop and look at my sketches, but that's just because I'm needy.
Another house was called The Old Hospital - that's it on the left - and you can see The House Opposite on the right. Many houses had "Rebuilt in 1420" written on them, so that you were under no illusion as to the vintage of the building you were looking at. The Telegraph has voted Mermaid Street one of Britain's five most beautiful streets....in a country of beautiful streets. I was very lucky to sketch there, and to have it all to myself in the early hours.

Another breakfast, but this time my teenage daughter had to stay at home and nurse her nerves. The wedding was over and her adrenaline had sapped away. Lovely vibe in this place, like an ancient apothecary.

All too soon it was over. My teenage daughter and I travelled home alone, as my husband and the other two children were collecting a car. My daughter wasn't talking to me - I had slighted her in some way - and the flight was delayed by hours, so that left a lot of room for sketching. Here's one, of Gatwick Airport.


Once more on a plane, once more trying to calm my nerves. I was very cramped so I drew what I could see...


 But it was a great holiday.


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