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

Impromptu spin around the city


[Guest post by Harshad Arole in Pune, India] It was just five days to the first exhibition of the USk Pune group and I was leafing through my sketches, deciding which ones to put up on display. There were some good ones in my sketchbook but I was not keen on cutting out pages, some were two-page panoramas and some pages had sketches drawn on both sides.

Making a choice was getting tough and I thought if could go out, spend the afternoon and evening sketching, I could get some brand new ones done.

I decided to drive towards the old city, park the car somewhere near to the Omkareshwar temple (which I was definitely going to sketch) and then continue roaming about. But before that I couldn't resist drawing the bustling traffic and the people against the backdrop of the statue of Rani of Jhanshi, who was one of the leaders of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (image at the top of the page). The chowk or the square also houses Balgandharva Rangamandir, a famous theatre for Marathi drama (the yellow building).

I moved to the Omkareshwar Temple next. Afternoons are quiet and peaceful in the courtyard of the temple. I found a comfortable seat on one the many empty benches. The structure of the temple is such that I couldn't sketch the entrance archway as well as the temple in one view, so I drew a small inset sketch in the main one showing the arches and the Nandi temple seen through it.


The temple is located at a lower level than the road. I had parked my car on the bridge road above. Sitting in the car, only the peaks of the temple domes were seen, which made an interesting sketch.


I strolled through the area near the temple, called Shaniwar Peth. There are many such peths or localities in Pune which have been established as long back as the 1600s. These areas are now a mix of old wadas (old traditional residences) and new concrete buildings. The paths through the peths are very narrow alleyways. A huge tree right in the middle of the path, a couple of small shrines at its base, balconies of the old wadas, a small street food stall, busy shops in the background and an array of parked vehicles made my day.


It was around 5 pm when I took the route back home, but this time over the Shivaji Bridge or Nava Pool, one of the oldest bridges in Pune constructed around 120 years back. I was able to park my car just for a while near the bridge while I quickly sketched the beautiful old lamp posts, a kulfi (a frozen milk dessert) vendor and not to forget the Pune Municipal Corporation building towering from above the dense foliage at the end of the bridge.


Light had faded and I headed home; however, not before a nice dinner. The restaurant was less crowded, which gave me a chance to sketch the lovely interiors over a relaxed dinner.


A fine day that was! The exhibition of Urban Sketchers Pune was a great success and I ended up displaying all the sketches that I made on my impromptu spin around the city.



Harshad Arole is the founder of a PC/mobile game development studio based in Pune, India. He is a member of Urban Sketchers Pune. You can see more of Harshad’s sketches here.

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