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

Chile not Chili

[By Erika Brandner in Santiago de Chile] 

I am Erika Brandner, from Santiago de Chile and this is my first post as an Urban Sketchers Correspondent. Many thanks to the Urban Sketchers Editorial Team for giving me this opportunity.

Many sketches from this post has been made on a Sketchbook Leutchtturm 1917. Leuchtturm was a 2016 Manchester Urban Sketchers Symposium sponsor and they had a contest during the event. I took the challenge and made some pen sketches and also some with a bit of watercolor (the sketchbook is designed for drawing only but with care you can apply some light wash) Symposium ended and I had no clue about what had happen with the contest. A few days after I received a message from Leuchtturm asking for the name I wanted to have printed in my own 2017 agenda. I received a package with several sketchbooks in different sizes and gorgeous colors and the promised agenda! So what a best opportunity to begin using them as for this, my first post. Thanks Leuchtturm and Urban Sketchers.

One of my sketches for the contest - the prize kit with the different Leuchtturm sketchbooks and the agenda

So, a few lines about me: I am Erika Brandner, half Chilean and half Austrian. Graphic designer, I worked in the graphic and advertising industry for many years and in Sales and Marketing at 3M Company in Chile. Since 2007 I am an independent illustrator and artist. In order to have enough time and stability to continue creating (in latin american countries living from art is an utopie),  during spring-summer season I work as a tour guide for German-speaking tourists in Chile. Tourists that travel to Chile are retired and include during their trip Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru. My beloved illustration subject is heritage and tradition and it combines wonderfully with tourism because it forces me to learn and study about our history, geography, architecture and culture and gives me the opportunity to draw on site during the travels and nurture my line of illustrated souvenirs and books from Chile.

In this, my first post, I will give a brief introduction of Chile: Chile is the longest and narrowest country in the world with 4300 km's long and a wide average of 177 km. It is common that people believe that the name Chile comes from “Chili” because its shape resembles a pepper. So funny and logical it might sound I have to say that this idea is wrong. It has nothing to do with the chili pepper although Chilean people love pepper and we eat it in our tasty Pebre, a ubiquitous Chilean condiment sauce prepared with cilantro, garlic, onion, olive oil, tomato and aji or chilipeppers.

The real origin of the Name for Chile: it has nothing to do with the Chilipepper although Chilean people eat a lot of chili

There are different theories for the name of Chile:
1) the Mapuche word for the TRILE bird
2) The name of an indian chief 
3) The Quechua description for this cold and snowy territory (Quechua was the Inca language so for them this southern territory was very cold). 

4) My favorite explanation due to its poetry and profound observation of our "Isle" identity:
"Chile, the end of the world or the remotest and deepest place of earth"
The length of Chile means that we have almost all climates and geography. Some tourists choose to go to the North with the driest desert in the worlds: Atacama. They like to visit the geysers, the astronomical observatories, the Moon Valley and the appealing village of San Pedro of Atacama. Other tourists travel to the South to visit Patagonia with its lakes and native forest and southerly the glacially fed lakes and Torres del Paine National Park. Other groups combine it with a visit to Easter Island with its Polynesian cultura and the extant monumental Moais. 

But everyone have to pass through Santiago either to enter the country or to make internal connections. And there is were I live and work as a tour guide: the Central Region, where the capital Santiago is located and where 40% of the total population lives. In this simple map I have placed the most important places or better said, the more visited places from Santiago de Chile, mainly the historical center and the San Cristobal Hill. The squares show the images that illustrate this post.
Turistic Routes in Santiago de Chile with featured spots in this post

Access to the Funicular at the Santiago Metropolitan Park or San Cristobal Hill
My first tour of the 2016-2017 season was with an older couple. The man was a retired German engineer interested in Transportation so he traveled around the world taking pictures and visiting all ancient transportation systems.

With them we took the lifts and Trolleybuses in the port of Valparaiso, Unesco heritage site (but this city deserves its own future post). So, in Santiago we took the funicular of the Santiago Metropolitan Park, best known as the San Cristobal Hill.  It carries people to the 14m-high statue of the Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción atop the summit and to sightseeing terraces like the one below: Bellavista Terrace.

View of Santiago de Chile and the Andes Mountains from top of the San Cristobal Hill where the Funicular ends

The couple departed from the Central Railway Station direction south. After leaving them I began this sketch. Opened in the 19th century, the station was only a barn and urban railway consisted of trucks of blood (a horse). Chile in the 19th century was totally influenced by France so the large metal structure we can wonder until today was made by the company "Schneider Co Creusot”. It has 16 frames or arches that form the vault and a top decorative front arch that holds at its peak a clock flanked of two taps. This station is Chilean historical monument. 

Santiago de Chile Central Railway Station: 0.1 Unipin fine line on paper on Leuchtturm 1917 Sketchbook

A few years ago they installed this gorgeous carousel brought over from Italy. I began this sketches on site at the station, but I finished the detailed hatching during my countless hours in the subway traveling between my home and airport and hotels.
Carrusel at the Santiago Central Railway Station: 0.1 Unipin fine line on paper on Leuchtturm 1917 Sketchbook

To be a guide is funny, you have a lot of freedom and sometimes you spend your day at a beach with a coffee or a beer having fun with the tourists while everybody else is working in a closed office…. But it has also its not so funny side: the early wake ups, the time we spend bored at the airport waiting for our tourists and the long long time spend on public transport. I made these sketches at the airport. The first one show the tourguides with their raised arms and signs and the second one made very quick early in the morngin. This day I had waken up at 4AM and at 6AM I had already helped tourists with their hotel check out, transferred them to the airport, helped them at the counter and said them good bye…. it shows the bus that connects the airport with the center of the city and behind the Andes Mountains while it dawns. 

Santiago Airport: Tour guides with welcome signs and bus to the city while dawning with the Andes Mountains behind.

Erika Brandner is a graphic designer and illustrator from Santiago de Chile and founding member of Urban Sketchers Chile You can see her sketches and illustrations on her webpage: Erika Brandner Art





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