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

Oporto through the eyes of a sketcher

[by a collection of Portuguese Sketchers] On the 17th and 18th September the national Urban Sketchers Portugal gathering took place in Oporto, the second largest city in Portugal.

It is a city that keeps alive its original architecture, its inhabitants and its ancestral habits, which turns it into one of the most visited destinations in Europe today.

It is a city full of contrasts, from its modern architecture in the new areas, to the traditional architecture of the Portuguese downtown area, and maintains a constant link to the Douro river.

About fifty participants gathered from all over the country with the objective of capturing the city through sketches which will be compiled into an edition on this beautiful city.

Here are a few sketches from different authors, a small selection made among many more, which you can find on the blog of Urban Sketchers Portugal.

"On the Cais da Ribeira, in Oporto, amidst a multitude of people and a lot of movement, I made this sketch of the D. Luís bridge, made of two metallic platforms linking Oporto to Vila Nova de Gaia above the Douro river."
- Ana Crispim (Ana's sketch above)

“The Douro river, filled with history, calm and impassive to the passing of time. This whole region converges towards it and it is from here, from Oporto and its two colourful margins, with brushstrokes the colour of wine, that it will forever perpetuate the name of this city.”
- Ana Luís Frazão

"This sketch showed me different ways to see my surroundings, which enriched me."
- António Procópio

"In the morning we sat on a small terrace near São Bento station. The Sé cathedral rose in front of us and on top of the buildings a typical skylight of the city was peeking on us. Watercolours and pens were ready to start sketching..."
- Cláudia Salgueiro

"Clérigos, upon arrival. It was no easy task finding an unobstructed viewpoint between me and this fantastic model of 18th century architecture by Nicolau Nasoni. After wandering around a bit I managed to find this view. I quickly sketched, standing, this tower in its baroque style."
- Dilar Pereira

“The stairs, between old buildings, some uninhabited others degraded, seemed neverending. It gave access to the upper platform of the D. Luís bridge, from where there was a wonderful view over Oporto. I stopped to rest and took the opportunity to sketch.”
- Eduardo Salavisa

“Porto is a city full of charisma. In these charming old houses of downtown, facing the Douro river, one can still see white linen drying in the sun, or an old lady in the balcony... They surely have many hidden stories to tell...”
- Fernanda Lamelas

"Rabelo, the boats that have always and still do, bring life to and from Oporto."
- José Barreiros

"Oporto, the Douro river and the rabelo boats as seen from Gaia quay."
- Luís Frasco

“This sketch was made in the courtyard of the Igreja dos Grilos, after descending the stairs below the Sé. It was a beautiful view, but I never turned around and opted for sketching the houses behind the tourists.”
- Marcelo de Deus

"Going to Oporto was very gratifying. I had never seen it through the eyes of a sketcher. I particularly liked this sketch, not only because it was the first I made, right after exiting the train, but also for its composition."
- Mário Crispim

"I love to draw buildings as if they were people. As if they were dancing, communicating and talking to me. I love to write the stories within the sketch, to report the dialogues, to give life to a piece of paper, which will one day show others how much fun I had sketching it."
- Nelson Paciência

"Going down Arnaldo Gama street, in the heart of the city’s historic centre, I stumbled upon this scenery. I was enchanted! I couldn’t resist registering this moment. The houses leading down to the river accompanied by unending small stairways, the clothes drying on the Fernandina Wall and, in the background, the imposing metallic construction that is the D. Luís I bridge, make it an emblematic place."
- Paula Brito

"Late, tired and a work’s week on the shoulders – yet our arrival in Porto had to be celebrated! With a fino! Dare ask for an imperial in the north, and you’ll get sent packing across the Arrábida bridge, with a warm northern smile, of course!"
- Pedro Loureiro

"The strong colours of Ribeira near the Douro river in Oporto."
- Rosário Félix

"A sketch made almost at nightfall, when the cold azulejos and granite enhance the mysterious beauty of this city."
- Teresa Ruivo

See more sketches from Urban Sketchers Portugal on their blog.





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