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

A Marathon of Miniatures in Montreal

[By Marc Taro Holmes in Montreal, CA] A few weeks back, I had the urge to do a major painting expedition. I was in the middle of an illustration deadline, and all that picky computer work was making me crave some watercolor. I wanted very badly to take a week off and just paint every day. Sadly, there wasn't time for anything like that.

So what's the solution?

See how many miniatures you can do in a day!

These little paintings are from a huge walk all the way across Montreal's old port, then hopping the subway up to my old neighborhood on the Plateau. The sketches are approximately 5 x 6.5" painted two-to-a-page on 9x12" Canson Montval watercolor paper taped onto coroplast backing boards.

I'm in the process of using up all the cellulose paper I have in stock. I like this stuff for pen-and-wash drawings, and it's sort of 'easy on my nerves' to use it up on sketches. (Cheap enough, you don't mind wasting it :)) But I probably won't go back to it for any serious watercolors. It's fine for this kind of speed-sketching, but doesn't take wet-in-wet as well, and in some ways, the washes get a bit too 'edgy', due to the sizing.

The great thing about working small is: you have to focus on what interests you. Eliminate any unnecessary clutter. There's just not enough room to get everything in.

Often I'll walk around gazing up at roof lines, looking for the cupolas and chimneys I enjoy. Just below this frame is a mess of real estate signage and boarded up shop windows. Stuff I'd just as soon leave out.
This one is all about those back lit church steeples. I do this all the time. Just crop out the parking lot that's in front of me. Looking up gets you out of the everyday, the mundane.

As well, at this size it's easier to see a silhouette shape. I find if I'm *able* to add detail - it's very hard to stop myself. My brain just wants to keep focusing, keep overdoing it. So working small, and working fast, are two ways to short circuit that obsessiveness that comes with drawing. These buildings are four blocks away from me, and on the other side of a park. They were tiny in my view - and thus tiny on the page.
I also find miniatures make it easier to experiment with color. This was the first day trying DS Olive Green and Windsor Sepia. This shop house is of course more colorful than this - but doesn't it look great with a limited palette? I'm more willing to try things out on a 'throw away' piece like this. I went into it meaning to test the color and throw this one away - but it ends up being one of my favorites.

Here's a trick a sketcher in Ireland showed me. Just sit anywhere, on a bench, or some steps, and clamp your drawing board between your knees. It makes a make-shift drafting table!

Can't be done with a large board. This one's 14x18" - just big enough for my sketches and my paint kit. I was travelling super light that day - if you bring an easel and chair, you probably won't want to be walking from sun up to sun down.

Of course, out of any set of paintings, some will be more successful than others. In these ones up on the Plateau, I feel I fell prey to over doing it. Trying to put too much in.

It's always better with a more impressive building. Something where there's a natural focus. I'm a sucker for a big old dome or a peaked roof. It's such a natural way to make a focal point.

Finally, closing out the day with the last gasps of light. My feet were ready to go home at this point! I'd actually given up and was heading to the metro - but I caught the light on the Mont Royal angel, and who can resist just one more?





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