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

Expeditionary Art: Late Night Adventures in Montreal

[By Marc Taro Holmes in Montreal, CA] Winter is coming in Montreal. That (normally) means the end of painting outdoors for awhile. But - it so happens Maria Coryell-Martin at has sent me one of her Pocket Palettes to review.

Maria is known for using her ultra-light gear on expeditions to the south pole, where the size and weight of gear in your pack are a matter of life and death. (Just ask the Franklin Expedition).

So I figured, if the pocket palette works for her, it should work on an arctic expedition of my own. I'm heading to downtown Montreal on a November night. Forecast says -3 Celsius! I want to try this thing out in the worst conditions possible. Dark, cold and tired - sketching doesn't get more fun than that :)

About the Palette:

It’s a cute little gadget. Essentially a repurposed business card holder and three sizes of ultra-slim tin pans that you can re-arrange on the sheet magnet inside the case.

My take on the various sized trays is this: teeny small rectangles for pigments; squares and big rectangles for mixing areas. I suppose you could use the squares for pigment if there’s one you know you’ll use frequently. My initial worry with these slim pans is they might not hold enough paint for me. But we will see what we see.

I already use a pretty small paint box. It’s not as if my W&N kit could be called chunky. Is this a mid life crisis where we abandon old partners for a younger slimmer version?


I’m always shy about messing with my paint box. It’s time consuming to take apart, messy, and if I don’t like the new pigment, then I have to wash out the half pan and refill the color I *already* wasted! Petty I know. So I suppose there's an advantage to the small pans. Not a big deal to wash one out.

So I’m heading out on a first trial run.

I'm taking along the tiny atomizer Maria sent, as well as some 30ml/1 ounce water bottles and my trusty old DaVinci travel sables - which I haven't used in a while - not since I started carrying brushes in a brush case. That little black wallet is not included in the Pocket Palette kit - she has a much nicer case that I haven't picked up yet.

This is a test of a micro kit! Which means I'm also trying out a little 3.5 x 5.5 Stillman and Birn Beta, (which, by way of disclosure, was also sent to me gratis. More on the sketchbook later when I get part way through it).

I've got a six color setup of fall colors, which I think will work for this night shoot: Neutral Tint, Raw Umber Violet, Turquoise, Quin Gold Deep, Buff Titanium and Grey of Grey. (Yes, this is just a subset of my everyday carry. I’ll try some weirder color choices next time :)

Wish me luck :) That is awfully tiny. I’m not totally sure it’s going to work.

So the kit works great! And the mixing area on the lid works fine. No leaking at the hinge at all.

I've got the 30ml Nalgene bottle stuck to a binder clip, with the assistance of a magnet taped to the bottom of the bottle.

Setup feels good. It's ultra light, easy enough to hold in one hand. And I'm not finding painting with bulky gloves a big deal. Probably because I'm not switching brushes. I can do this whole thing with the #6 Pointed Round, DaVinci Travel Sable. With everything clamped down, I haven't had to adjust anything, or even go into my bag once.

Round Two! Painting the monuments in Place Du Canada. It's about zero Celsius right now, so no worries with freezing paint water. But it's cold enough that I'm keeping this to a 15 min sketch. Walking to a coffee shop to dry paint takes longer than the painting itself.

I'm getting some weird looks from people - street painting is strange enough, never mind late at night. I overhear someone saying "...only in Montreal". If only they knew! This is happening all over the world even as we speak :)

So, next time people say, "I wish I could paint loose like you" - here's the answer. Go out at midnight in the winter and you'll find it quite easy actually :)

Those were three very small sketches, and even though I was painting wet and juicy, you can see I've used between 'almost none' to 1/2 of a tray.

I would say - if you're painting at a size this kit is intended for (under 9x12"?) - these paint trays are plenty large enough. I was worried for no reason.

Ultimately, mixing on the lid worked better than expected, so I removed two of the square trays, giving me four more colors. If it were spring, I could see cutting one more mixing tray to put some greens back on the menu - which would basically make it my full palette again.

Here (swatches above) is what I have in it right now. I'll see how that goes at Urban Sketchers Montreal this fourth Sunday.

In the mean time - the Expeditionary Art Pocket Palette gets five stars from me! Right now, for the holiday season, Maria is offering Urban Sketchers a discount code. Head over to her store and use EXPLORE2016 sometime before the end of December.






USk News$type=blogging$ct=0$au=0$m=0$show=


[Workshops Blog]$type=two$c=12$ct=0$m=0$show=