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

What I Learned at Urban Sketchers Symposium Workshops

[by Shiho Nakaza in Manchester, UK]

This is my recollection of Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester this summer - the daily life took over as soon as I came back home, so I'm glad I finally collected my sketches and wonderful memories of the Symposium!

Besides specific subject matters at each workshop, I learned how to be a better urban sketcher by responding to my environment better through my drawing.
Be ready for the changing elements: for sun (hat, sunglasses), wind (binder clips to hold down paper, windproof jacket, and especially rain (umbrella, parka/hoodie).
Experiment with different materials: while I mainly use watercolor, at some point I switched from my usual Uni-Ball Signo gel pen with sepia ink to 4-color Bic ballpoint pen because the gel pen ink was not flowing over the watercolor washes that never seem to dry.
Try different approaches: line, value, color. Mixing them up helped describe many types of buildings in Manchester: red bricks, Gothic details, and modern glass buildings towering between them.

First morning of the workshops was rainy and gloomy. I'm learning that the weather changes quickly. At LK Bing's workshop, our group sheltered under the arches of Manchester Town Hall corridors. It is challenging to sketch in the rain, but it is a refreshing change for someone like me who live in a dry climate. I had fun combining pastels, water-soluble marker, waterproof pen, colored pencils and watercolors. I did small thumbnails on mat board, and a slightly larger piece in my trusty Stallman & Birn Beta sketchbook. I think the sketches convey the appropriate moodiness.

As luck would have it, my afternoon workshop on color mixing with Jane Blundell was indoors in Manchester School of Art. The soft, even light from overcast sky filtering through the window was ideal for doing color work. A few days later, when the sun came up and people were gathered for drinks at jazz festival happening in Albert Square, I tried one of the triads I learned (warm yellow/warm red/cool blue) using using only quinacridone gold, pyrrol scarlet, and pthalo blue green shade watercolors from Daniel Smith. But the air is so damp that color wheel I painted a few days before on the opposite page transferred to the facing page, creating the yellow circle on the upper right. I like the happy accident, though: it looks like the sun :-)

The next day I take another workshop on drawing soaring spaces from Stephanie Bower. I was back at Manchester Town Hall, and was looking at grand hallways inside the neo-Gothic building. In my effort to get better at drawing buildings, I try to understand how arches are constructed by drawing a bunch of lines.

That afternoon was drizzly, but I still enjoyed sitting under the bridge to watch Daniel Green's demo on painting reflections. This was in Castlefield, which is a fascinating area of Manchester full of bridge underpasses, arches and canals. I only got to do a note-taking sketch here but would love to explore it more next time.

I continue to take more workshop on architecture the following day at John Rylands Library, this time from Liz Steel. She really explained how buildings have volumes and edges, and her passion about architecture makes me appreciate them and be fascinated by interesting buildings all around me.

I am learning a lot about sketching buildings on this trip. I continue sketching....





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