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

Drawing Attention November 2016

USk Medellin, Colombia

Bring a Workshop to your Chapter


In 2016 Urban Sketchers organized 16 workshops around the world in collaboration with USk chapters from Malaga to Orlando to Galway. These workshops were taught by our top instructors: great teachers such as Lynne Chapman, 莊 嘉強 Ch'ng Kiah Kiean, Don Low and more! If you would like to bring an official USk workshop to your chapter, email our Education Director, Mario Linhares at



USk Leadership

by Mark Leibowitz


You might be thinking about starting an Urban Sketching chapter. You might be thinking about taking a more active role in your existing chapter. You might already be a leader of your chapter. What does it take to be a good leader of an Urban Sketchers Regional Chapter?

Our reason for existence is to encourage people to enjoy capturing the world we live in through sketching. The chapter leader is the critical person who sets a welcoming, supportive tone. A good leader's enthusiasm for urban sketching is contagious. As the group’s leader, you are creating a community.

Being consistent and reliable is fundamental. To do that a good leader has to be organized. Being fair is another fundamental. The group leader should never be critical and should encourage others to be supportive. We all start with different skills. Everyone has a gift to be shared. A good leader creates an atmosphere that encourages everyone to share their gifts. There can be no favoritism. Leaders need to bring their higher selves to the task and practice the “Golden Rule”, that is, treat others the way you would like to be treated.

Each chapter has three leaders, it’s a requirement. The work should be shared. Each group finds better solutions when their leaders respect each other and multiply their creativity. Leaders need to understand social media, so they can help members to post their work and so they can spread the word about their group’s activities. A good leader stays informed about Urban Sketchers, reaches out to other groups and is the conduit for information about USk world-wide activities.

Good leadership is the source of our success and our growth. It’s a hard but rewarding job.


Manchester Symposium Video

Wynter Productions @ Easter Jones
By Wynter Productions @ Easter Jones

Videographer Hilary Easter Jones captures all the excitement of the Manchester Symposium with this exciting video.


Symposium Lectures

Richard Briggs
Some of the videos of presenter lectures from the 2016 Symposium are now available on our website. Click here to view lectures by Richard Briggs, Ed Harker, Alvin Wong and more.


Jane Blundell’s Watercolour Mixing Workshop

by Ann Schwartzwald

“Many people find colour mixing difficult because they haven't analysed which pigments are necessary to create the colours they see, or want to create” Jane Blundell, from Sydney, Australia explains. Jane is a colour expert and recently taught a workshop called “Watercolor Your World One Mix at a Time” at the Manchester Urban Sketchers Symposium.

“Some [people] just use whatever is in the set they have bought. Some use whatever someone else uses. I have analysed the colours required to be able to mix pretty much any colour you wish, with just two pigments. That makes adding accurate colour to sketches much simpler.”

Jane Blundell
Jane has travelled and sketched all over the world, including visits with USk chapters in Hong Kong, Singapore, San Francisco, Paris, Seattle, New York, Manchester and Montreal.

In the workshop Jane taught the fundamentals of what an urban sketcher needs to enliven and refine their effective use of color and still be able to carry their gear.

“My workshop covered how to choose a set of watercolours for sketching; how to work with limited palettes to create harmony in sketches and how to mix a massive range of colours with relatively few. It also included tips for choosing the right pigment characteristics for sketching and special effects, and which pigments to use for creating building materials whether marble, stone, brick or whatever.”

Jane’s passion for creative expression in watercolor has led her to delve deeply into the medium.

“Watercolor is the most pure form of painting there is. Unlike other mediums where the pigment characteristics are hidden in the oil or acrylic binder, with watercolour the full beauty of the pigment is visible. Consequently one can play with the granulation or staining or opacity of the pigments rather than just the hue and that is exciting”.

Click HERE to read the notes from Jane’s Watercolour Mixing Workshop.


What Makes a Great Workshop Proposal?

by Lauren Peterson

Ever wonder what makes a great workshop proposal? Gail Wong is a member of the Education Committee that reviews proposals for the symposium. Last year they reviewed 72 proposals and the Symposium Team accepted 26 for workshops. Some of the proposals that were not accepted as workshops became activities or demonstrations.

Gail Wong
A lot of work goes into preparing a great line up of workshops. But Gail says she enjoys getting to know instructors from around the world while helping them navigate the process giving them the best chance to get approved as a USk workshop.

“Being part of the Education Committee has been wonderful,” Gail said. “It has been great working with the other educators on the committee and getting to know them.”

The Education Committee reviews the contents of the workshop proposals, then provides comments and makes recommendations. The proposals then go on to the Symposium Team which makes the final selections on which workshops will run.

To help instructors increase their chances of having their proposal accepted Gail presented a lecture called How to Prepare a Successful Workshop Proposal at the Manchester Symposium.The lecture covered the selection process highlighting both the common weaknesses as well as the strengths of workshop proposals. This is the same information that should be included in any USk workshop proposal, whether it is for the symposium or for one of our global workshops held throughout the year. For more information about how to prepare a successful workshop proposal click HERE.

Welcome to New USk Chapters

The following 15 new USk chapters have been approved by the Board. Welcome new chapters!
Urban Sketchers Karlsruhe, Germany 
Urban Sketchers Norrköping, Sweden
Bermuda Hamilton Urban Sketchers
Urban Sketchers Saint Petersburg, Russia 
Edinburgh, Urban Sketchers 
Urban Sketchers Alberobello (Italy)
Urban Sketchers Middletown, CT
Urban Sketchers Liguria (Italy)
Urban Sketchers Dallas/Fort Worth
Urban Sketchers Launceston (Australia)
Urban Sketchers San Miguel de Allende (Mexico)
Urban Sketchers Curitiba (Brazil)
Urban Sketchers Moscow (Russia)
Urban Sketchers Lawrence, Kansas
Urban Sketchers Las Vegas, Nevada

USk Waterloo Region Celebrates Oktoberfest

Urban Sketchers of Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
by Jane Wingfield

Urban Sketchers of Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada, kicked off the city’s Oktoberfest with the opening of an exhibition in the prestigious Berlin Tower ARTSPACE inside Kitchener City Hall. The opening night reception had a great turnout with friends, family and festival attendees.

The Waterloo Region sketchers submitted their exhibition proposal to the City a year in advance and were thrilled when it was accepted. This was their second exhibition in that space.

USk Waterloo Region put out a call for submissions to their members and the first 15 works were accepted. The sketches had to be completed in the City of Kitchener with the group or on their own. Each piece was done on 11”x14” watercolor paper and framed and matted similarly. The works are on sale for $150 each or as determined by the artist and the buyer.

The show will hang throughout the month of October. Congratulations sketchers!


 Upcoming USk Workshop

USk is pleased to announce a new upcoming workshop called From Simplicity to Complexity to be held December 23-24 in Dubai. The workshop will be taught by instructor Behzad Bagheri. For more information click HERE.


Luís Simões Living the Sketcher’s Dream

by Lauren McVittie

Traveling the world and capturing it through sketching seems like a daydream, but for Luís Simões, it’s a dream come true. Simões has been traveling the world since March 2012 and has no plans of ending his travels any time soon.

Simões (37) is from Lisbon, Portugal and worked as a 3D motion designer. After ten years, he decided he needed a change. During a trip to Croatia in 2011, he realized he wanted to improve his drawing skills and got the idea for his World Sketching Tour.

Simões sold his apartment and his belongings, and finances his travels with his savings and through freelancing and workshops.

Luís Simões
Simões has travelled to over 30 countries in his four years of sketching and is currently in Bali. He has sketched Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, but can’t pick a favourite place. He is particularly looking forward to sketching the colours and stories of South America and Africa in the coming years.

“Traveling pushes me to discover more about the world and myself,” Simões said.

Simões joined Urban Sketchers in 2007 while living in Portugal and has sketched with various chapters around the world as he travels. For Simões, sketching is about having fun while telling a story and about capturing a moment in his trip. He says he’s always happy to see the reaction of people receiving a sketch.

“Once I was waiting for my flight and killing time by sketching some people. When I got on the plane, I saw that they were going on the same flight. In that moment, I decided to give them the sketch. It was fun to hear them talking about it and see their happy faces,” he said.

The World Sketching Tour has been a life changing experience, and has particularly changed how Simões views obstacles. “The biggest obstacle we have in life is our mind,” Simões said, “other than that, everything is possible.”

You can follow Simões’ sketching journey on his newly designed website, or on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Flickr.


Exhibition Marks First Anniversary of USk Pune (India)

By Joann Sondy

Memories were made as fifty urban sketchers showcased more than 150 amazing sketches for the art lovers of Pune. A grand success, the exhibition marked the first anniversary of the USk chapter.

Sketch by Deepa Sarawate

The individual sketching styles and a broad range of subject matter were highlights of the exhibition of the USk Pune diverse membership. Urban sketchers that include architects, doctors, IT professionals, engineers, students, and homemakers participated; each depicting the historically and culturally-rich city of Pune.

Sketch by Lakshman M
The architecture of Pune’s grand buildings is something that the urban sketchers could not resist capturing in their sketchbooks. The array of architecture included traditional Hindu temples and grand buildings constructed during British rule.

Partnering with a local art gallery, it was an extremely motivating effort by the Urban Sketchers Pune group with grand results. The community of Pune enjoyed the glimpses of the old city through the sketches of iconic buildings and old traditional residences called 'wadas.'

The USk Pune exhibition was a great success, an inspiration for many sketching enthusiasts to join in the urban sketching movement.


 Introducing USk Medellin, Colombia

Lo que hace que Medellin un attractive unico / a dibujantes urbanos?
Lo que hace a Medellín única/atractiva para los "urban sketchers" es que es una ciudad con amplia diversidad en su arquitectura y sus espacios. El estar en medio de un valle, donde se extiende además sobre las montañas, hace que sus construcciones sean muy variadas entre sí, según el sitio en el que se encuentran; del mismo modo las dinámicas sociales y sus actores. La ciudad conserva construcciones que por su importancia arquitectónica e histórica resaltan en la ciudad y que se han convertido en referentes locales, las cuales además causan atractivo por el contraste que se crea con las construcciones contemporáneas que están ubicadas a su alrededor, como ejemplo los edificios Vásquez y Carré, y enfrente de la Plaza de las Luces y la Biblioteca EPM.

¿Como su grupo de empezar?
En octubre de 2013 motivados por la visita a Medellín del ilustrador Catalán y urban sketcher Lluïsot (, dimos inicio a los primeros encuentros y salidas a dibujar la ciudad, pero aún éramos muy tímidos en el asunto. Solo hasta Septiembre de 2015 retomamos las actividades con más frecuencia gracias al impulso y la experiencia de un ilustrador de Medellín, llamado Nel Correa quien compartió durante dos años con las comunidades de Urban Sketchers de Barcelona y París.

¿Cuánto tiempo ha habido reunión?
Hace tres años surgió la idea de formar el grupo “Urban Sketchers Medellín” pero sólo llegó a consolidarse desde hace un año. Desde entonces hemos venido reuniéndonos cada sábado, cada encuentro con 35 dibujantes y buenos amigos.

¿Cuándo se convierte en un capítulo oficial USK?
El 28 de junio de 2016.

¿Cuántos miembros presentan a los rastreos de dibujo?
Depende de cada encuentro. Para algunas ocasiones los encuentros han sido bastante concurridos, hasta 40 dibujantes. También han habido ocasiones en que la asistencia ha sido menor, llegando a ser tan pocos como 15 personas.

¿Cómo se describiría el espíritu de su grupo?
Desde hace un tiempo para acá el grupo se ha convertido en algo más que un encuentro para dibujar, en cada sesión compartimos con los otros nuestras experiencias y aprendemos de las historias del otro, muchas veces contadas en un dibujo. Más que un grupo de dibujo, somos un grupo de amigos con la misma pasión en común, dibujar.

¿Dónde te gusta dibujar? (ubicaciones favoritas)
Es muy variado. A veces dibujamos iglesias, edificios gubernamentales, universidades, edificios patrimoniales, e incluso cabe decir que, al estar en el lugar, las personas no sólo dibujan la arquitectura, también se enfocan en las personas, en la vegetación, en los animales. Situados en el centro de la ciudad, en suburbios, la periferia, los corregimientos… dibujamos en cuanto lugar pueda haber para dibujar.

¿Cuál es la mayor dificultad o hacen difícil compaginar el grupo juntos?
El horario. Es a veces muy complicado reunir a las personas porque son muy distintas entre sí: unos son abogados, otros ingenieros, otros diseñadores; unos estudian, otros trabajan, otros son amos y amas de casa… y por ello, cada persona tiene horarios que no siempre concuerdan con el horario que se establece para los encuentros oficiales.

¿Hay algo más que le gustaría compartir acerca de su grupo?
Aunque nuestros encuentros no son clases (courses) siempre aprendemos en cada una de ellas, y nos hemos convertido, más que un simple grupo de dibujo, en un espacio en el que las personas se conocen y comparten entre ellas, creando lazos y relaciones que convierten a Urban Sketchers Medellín en un grupo de amigos.


Kip Bradley, Community Builder

by Brenda Murray

In addition to being an active USk sketcher, Kip Bradley is the USk Flickr Coordinator and the Studio Programs Manager at the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Georgia.

Kip Bradley

Kip has taught community-based watercolor sketching classes in the Savannah area for the past five years. He managed a program that taught sketching to all 3,000 Chatham county 4th grade students and led quarterly Savannah sketchcrawls with as many as 40 regular teen/adult participants.

“Although my roots as an artist were in community efforts, I found myself working for several years in my studio producing and selling work that had grown stale to me. I wanted to get back to something less about sales and more about the joy of making and community,” Kip explains. “I was looking for a way to rejuvenate my work. Initially, it was about the intimacy of a sketchbook and observation as a means to find new questions I could ask in my work, and eventually it became about a community.”

Kip compares urban sketching and sketch crawls to craft communities that support the efforts of each individual based on their desire to create as opposed to their skill level.

“Urban sketching is a way of involving people in making art and learning to observe the world around them within their comfort range, and most importantly in a book with a cover that closes. On a greater international scale it is a supportive and strong social community.”

Launched in 2007, USk Flickr has 9,000+ members and 265,000 sketches.

USk Flickr
“I really like that you can look back at the history of sketches [on Flickr] for both the group and the individuals who participate. In this way you can see how both elements have grown and changed.”

Kip and his team (Debora Grosse, Kate Buike, and Richard Johnson) manage the Flickr group, and work to maintain USk goals and keep participants engaged with themes and discussion as well by participating in the group with comments and favorites.

Click HERE to join the USk Flickr community.


Andrew Banks, One Tweet at a Time Adds Up

by Brenda Murray

To date, USk Twitter has 10,000 followers. That’s up by about 3000 followers in the last year! Credit for this success goes to Andrew Banks of USk Chicago.

Andrew Banks
Andrew became an urban sketcher in 2008 when he had the opportunity to study architecture in Europe for a couple of months. His studies focused on maintaining a sketchbook filled with architectural sketches and observations of urban life and city planning throughout several countries.“I’m inspired by all of the incredible work that urban sketchers share to the group on a daily basis,” Andrew said. “I’m constantly learning from the wide range of artistic styles and techniques that come across my newsfeeds every day.”

In addition to volunteering on the USk Communications team as Coordinator of our Urban Sketchers Twitter account (@urbansketchers), Andrew is also one of the five administrators of USk Chicago. He moderates the chapter’s Twitter (@usk_chicago) and Instagram (@uskchicago) accounts, he’s on their planning team, and he contributes to their blog. Andrew also organizes sponsorship for their annual regional seminars.

“When I look back at my very first sketchbook and compare it to my most recent ones, I realize that being active in the group has helped me improve my techniques, and has helped me find and develop my own sketching style. Being involved in our Chicago chapter has also challenged me to step outside of some of my comfort zones and gave me the opportunity to step into some teaching roles, leading workshops at our last two regional seminars.”

Andrew has enjoyed getting to know many Chicago sketchers as well as sketchers from around the world. “It’s really fun to see sketches show up in my news feed and to be able to recognize who the artist is even before seeing the name,” he said. Andrew is looking forward to the 2017 Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago (#uskchicago2017) and being able to meet the sketchers he has gotten to know through social media.

You can join the fun by signing up for a Twitter account and begin tweeting your sketches and re-tweeting other’s sketches, USk announcements and blog posts. Sign up your chapter for an account and begin announcing your group’s sketch crawls, workshops and events, and share you group photos.

You can support Urban Sketchers by following @urbansketchers and let Andrew know you are there so that he can share what you and your chapter are up to. Tag @urbansketchers in your posts for an opportunity to be re-tweeted and to share your group’s activity with the rest of the world. And finally, use the hash tags #urbansketchers, #urbansketch and #usk.


Volunteer Writers and Editor

USk is seeking the following volunteers for Drawing Attention: a managing editor, writers, copy editors, proofreaders, social media assistant. These volunteer positions reports to the Communication Director. Interested candidates please contact


Parka Reviews

Teoh Yi Chie
by Teoh Yi Chie
Teoh Yi Chie is an infographics journalist who joined Urban Sketchers Singapore in 2009. He's probably better known as Parka from a website that reviews art books and art products.

 This month Parka reviews Daniel Smith Watercolor Sticks. Check it out! 


See your sketch on the USk Blog Flag and USk Facebook Page

If you’re interested in submitting a sketch to be considered for the USk blog flag and USk Facebook Page cover photo, check the submittal guidelines HERE (scroll to the bottom of the page) and send your flag to


Shout It Out in Drawing Attention!

Not seeing anything about your Urban Sketchers group in Drawing Attention? Then we want to hear from you! Please send your urban sketching news items with links and images to:

To receive Drawing Attention via email, subscribe to our mailing list.

Happy sketching! 


Drawing Attention, the official monthly newsletter of the Urban Sketchers organization, communicates and promotes official USk workshops, symposiums, sketchcrawls, news and events; shares news about USk chapters; and educates readers about the practice of on-location sketching.


Urban Sketchers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the art of on-location drawing. Consider making a donation today. Go to to make your tax-deductible contribution via Paypal.





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