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

Having fun with my New Mop Brush

[Mike Daikubara in Various locations] Influenced by many amazing sketchers in our community, a few months ago I decided to try a different sketching technique from my usual approach of Fountain pen ink line first then adding color. This approach was the exact opposite of adding washes of color first, then going into the details with ink.

For my first sketch ever using this approach, I used tools found in my art closet that I even forgot that I had: a cat's tongue brush I bought many years ago (that I never used) and a small Nalgene container (which I also never used too).

I've been Urban Sketching since 2000 but have only used a Waterbrush on location so the first step was figuring out how to hold all the tools in my hand! With a little bit of fumbling around I was able to hold the color palette, water container and sketchbook in my left hand while I dipped the brush into the water container. The brush width was just about the width of the mouth of the Nalgene making it really hard to dip in, and I also had to be careful not to spill the water too (which I never had to worry about when using a Waterbrush).

Another difficult part (at least for me) was since I was using so much more water in my sketch, I had to wait a long time for the paper to dry before I could start going in with ink. This really did feel like it was forever. The sketchbook shown is my trusty Stillman and Birn Alpha series book I've been using for years but for this technique, the paper must have been too thin. I love the way the thin wash came out though - something I could never achieve with a just a waterbrush.

For my 2nd sketch, I switched to the thicker Beta series sketchbook and  the paint definitely dried much quicker! I also purchased a smaller mop brush which holds lots of water/color and went into the water container mouth really easily too! I also 3D printed out a small plastic sleeve to protect the tip when carrying the brush in my bag - works great!

On a sunny day the wash dried much faster than I originally imagined it would take so that was nice. While I waited for it to dry, I could start to think about how I should approach the inking details too. I also noticed that my fountain pen ink lines didn't go onto dried color washes very well but switching to a Micron felt tip pen worked nicely.

There are times where I couldn't finish though since the paint didn't dry fast enough and it got too dark outside. With the inking approach first, I rarely had this issue since I could at least get the inking done and color later on from memory or a photo.

During this business trip to NYC, I also tried using pencil lines first to block out the rough shapes before going in with the color wash. It definitely gave me much more control of the shape which was really nice.

This is a crazy feeling but I also felt like I was 'cheating' when using a pencil! I think it has to do with the fact that I trained myself for so long to sketch directly with a pen without any underlines.
But in the end I was pretty happy with how this one turned out especially where some details are accented using a white gel pen.

Back home in Boston, I was able to capture this war memorial sculpture just in time before sunset. I love how gravity drips the paint.

For my most recent family trip to LA, my wife let me sketch the famous TCL Chinese theater in Hollywood. She was sitting by my side for most of the time and took pictures of me while I sketched.

Sketchers knows this well in detail but the great thing about sketching is it allows you to control the details/colors of what you see. The sunlight was so strong during this time of the day that when taking a photo the dark/light contrast was too strong and made it an awful photo like shown below.


But when sketching, that could all be changed.
Here's the breakdown of the steps I took.

Pencil: 10 minutes. Once again I felt like I was cheating when using a pencil... I'm quite sure this feeling isn't going to go away for while.

Color Wash: 15 minutes + 5 minutes of drying time.
Inking: 30 minutes

 Additional color: 15 minutes. Adding more dark spots and details using my trusty Waterbrush.

Finishing with White accents: 5 minutes. I used 2 different white gel pens that has different opacities.

Total time: 90 minutes.

Here I'm sitting in the corner with my mini stool trying to take up as little space as possible since there were tons of people and I didn't want to get stepped on! But what's nice about a place like this is that while there are tons of people, they just come, take a few pictures, and then leave making it pretty easy to sketch without being obstructed by people.

This was a fun day and I'm glad I was able to get this sketch thanks to my wife.
Here's my wife that slipped into my sketch-selfie shot!

For me 90 minutes is an awfully long time for 1 sketch, especially when I have someone waiting for me. I don't think I'll be able to use this approach frequently but I found it refreshing to be able to occasionally work on a different approach.





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