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

Serendipity in Ireland

[Guest Post by Cristina Curto in Ireland]
This summer I had no plan and no time to make one so I decided to join an organized trip to Ireland. I’m not very fond of these kind of trips, but this one sounded pretty good: the plan was to “talk & walk” guided by an English teacher and a nature guide in the county of Donegal. Exactly what I needed, nothing stressful and I could practice my English.

The thing is, when I said I was an urban sketcher... instead of the typical “urbanwhat?” I got a great “me too!!” In fact there were four of us in the group!

So starting in Dublin we went up to Donegal. We were lodged in Downings Bay and every day we followed the noses of our guides to avoid the rain and stretch our legs through wonderful trails!

Our Air Lingus airplane to Dublin ...

Just landed, we go directly to the Guinness factory... a must-visit in Dublin.

It's a very touristy place. We almost felt like cattle among the malted barley, fermentation and hops... until we reached the last and upper floor. There you can enjoy a pint with Dublin at your feet — that's nice.

The Long room - Trinity College - Dublin

Kilometers and kilometers of shelves, full of ancient books. this is the Long room. These books are classified in a peculiar way, the bigger ones are on the lowest shelves and the smaller ones at the upper. The reason: gravity. This way you minimize the risk of accidents if a book is dropped down.
Botanic Garden - Dublin
Interior of the "Palm Tree House" at the Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden in Dublin is free and it's amazing, the greenhouses are made by the same architect who designed the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London. It's a must-go place, especially on a blue sky day like today!

Downings Hotel by night, Donegal

Next stop was Downings Bay in County Donegal and Karaoke night at the Downings Bay Hotel — here the worst singer is a Sinatra! What talent!

Walking along Ards Heritage Trail. Sean (our guide) recites Robert Frost: "The road not taken".

The Ards Heritage Trail

The sky is a poem. Sun, wind, sand blowing, rain, sun again, more wind... clouds pass by very fast and even a rainbow comes to visit us just to go away and let all the cycle start again: sun, wind, rain...

Downings Bay in front of the hotel (low tide)

Between Guinness and more Guinness we learn Molly Malone song. we never miss live music!

Glenveagh National Park castle

The history of this castle goes back to the 19th century, but among all the heritage and land speculations we were told that Greta Garbo swam in this very pool beside the lake. Ain't that cool?

A lonely boat at Downings Pier

Sean told us that there was a time when you could go from the pier to the other side of the bay without touching the water, jumping from boat to boat. It was during the golden ages of the fishing industry.

Guinness, whisky, cider, music and dancing... 100% Irish

Fanad Head

The Fanad lighthouse was the last Irish light seen by those leaving Ireland in search of fortune; they say that if you see a boat from here you must wave goodbye because there is surely an Irishman inside saying goodbye to his land and telling himself "one day I'll see the light" wishing to come back.

Malin Head

There are no boats today. But we can see Malin head, the most northern point of Ireland.

Pub sketching

Today it's raining more than usual so we practice indoor sketching, first in a museum and after in a pub detailing some sea treasures.

River dancing - impossible to draw! They are so quick, so powerful!

And that's all folks!! Vacations are great, but short. The best feature of the trip: the warm welcoming and kindness of Irish people.

Cristina Curto is an illustrator based in Barcelona (Spain). She is a member of Urban Sketchers Spain. Visit her blog here or visit to see more of her work.





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