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

Election Night 2016, NYC

[Melanie Reim & Veronica Lawlor] On Election Day in the USA, urban sketchers Melanie Reim and Veronica (Ronnie) Lawlor decided to document together at the Javits Center, NYC, where Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton planned an election night event for her supporters. Here is their conversational account of the day, and some of their drawings:

Ronnie, the thrill that I experienced at the voting booth as I ticked off Hillary's name for President yesterday came as a bit of a surprise for me. I was completely convinced that she was the right choice, but all along, her gender was not the biggest reason for my vote. But, there it was. A woman for President of the United States on the ballot. I smiled as the chill and thrill of excitement ran through me, hope soaring, and enjoyed the moment.

 And I was so looking forward to our big plans for the day- on the way to the Javits Center, the proverbial glass ceiling, to reportage, where, of course, we were bound to celebrate. 

I had the same reaction Melanie: the tears welling up in my eyes in the voting booth surprised me. And yes, I was so excited and full of hope when we met each other, both beaming, and made our way over to the Javits center together.  That excitement did not dull when we found ourselves in the middle of a long line already, even at mid-day. (I couldn't resist drawing you in the middle of the crowd.) I felt, as we started to draw, a feeling of sisterhood - two women who grew up in a time when girls were still urged to learn to type in high school - a "just in case" skill to "fall back on" - drawing and documenting the election (we felt sure) of the first woman president of the United States.  

As we all know now, it was not to be. But the hours leading up to the result were filled with anticipation, and drawings of those around us, peppered with snippets of conversation and our own observations. 
I loved that we landed next to, and were witness to a small group, by chance, of young, involved voters who seemed aware of history and current events. The references that they made to their birthdates were more about identifying their place in time and the memories of what seemed to inform their support and vote on the day.

It is interesting to me that you also not only drew the man waiting on line near us - he had so much to say - but also that we both jotted down one particular thing he said: "I have been afraid of Trump for so long." This man was so sensitive, so tenuous in his glimmer of hope that the fear gnawing at the edge of his gut might subside. As we know now, that fear later grew instead. Many people who voted for Trump are not necessarily bigoted (although surely, some of them are) but I don't know if they realize on a personal level the impact that his hateful words during the campaign have had on people who had those comments directed at them. 

But while we were making these drawings, we did not know what was to come. And we were thrilled when the line moved into the hangar next to the Javits Center - we were inside! And looking forward to one major were so many other people...lots of hopeful faces to draw...

We surely covered the day- from waiting on line to vote, to waiting to get into Javits Center, to being ushered out to the "block party."

Ha ha, yes, the block party - still, had Hillary won I think even getting herded into the cheap seats would have been a thrill...

YES! I totally agree- at least that's what we thought in that moment. It was serendipitous that, when we decided to leave, and waited for a few minutes for the bus to come, a little reluctant to split up, I think- though we did not really speak of it then- that we were across from Clyde Frazier's Bar, where we decided to hunker down for the results. It turned out that the whole place was pro-Hillary, but the scene of all hope lost.

I know, the night was such it was such a roller coast of emotions. At first it looked like Hillary would get the landslide we all were hoping - maybe even expecting - would come. Early returns from Florida looked to be in her favor.
And then, one by one, all those blue states turned red for Trump. The intense emotions of everyone who supported Hillary amplified, and a sinking feeling was felt throughout the restaurant as the returns from state after state were called.

There were plenty of pantsuits, a strong sign of sisterhood. There are bound to be many moments in the coming years that are worthy of fighting for and against - and to document. 
Oh yes, I agree. This little girl that I drew (below) at the Javits center is worthy of fighting for. And also, with her hopeful pride, she is the antidote to the divisiveness that's taken hold of our country. Whatever outcome anyone might have desired, Donald Trump is now the president. I hope somehow we can come together and make this thing work, for everyone's sake. 

That surely is the message that our elegant President is taking. 
His grace can serve as a model for us all. 

Amen to that!

You can see more of Veronica's drawings HERE  and more of Melanie's HERE .





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