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

Overcoming My Fear of Heights for Gaudí

[Stephanie Bower, Seattle] When I was in this amazing city for the symposium in 2013, I actually missed seeing a lot of really famous buildings.  So when I went back to Barcelona this past July, I made a point of visiting some of the city's iconic architecture.

This sketch is one of my favorites from the entire summer. After making my way through the rooms of La Pedrera, or Casa Milà, I emerged into the bright sun and blazing midday heat on the roof, which is literally a hardscape, architectural garden.

I must tell you, I am VERY afraid of heights (ear issues), so I gingerly made my way around the rooftop, terrified, mostly walking in the center away from the edges. The walls along the edges are very low, they would never meet codes here!  But I found a spot on a step, in the shade of one of the sculptural chimneys, and did this wide-angle sketch looking down a bit into an atrium and beyond to the city and sky, punctuated by those amazing, sculptural chimneys. Major triumph for me to have confronted my fears and sketched this view, but it was worth it, as I LOVE this sketch!

I kept the sky and the background blue and cool, and painted the warm colors and the sense of sun on the rooftop, trying to reserve as much white as possible. It's in my 5" x 8" Pentalic sketchbook. And I saw Gabi's Urban Sketching Handbooks translated into Spanish in their bookstore!!

Sketch day one..
I also made the pilgrimage to Gaudí's Casa Batlló, another incredible building in the center of Barcelona.

Before going inside, I sat outside to sketch the exterior while the opposite side of the street was still in shade. Only problem was, my view was constantly blocked by huge buses, and I was sitting only about 18" from the curb...a little too up close and personal with those enormous tires!!!

I did this sketch the first day, then really regretted painting in the trees as they block too much (honestly, I need to learn what NOT to paint a little better...), so I went back a second day and tried again from a slightly different angle (less of a bus issue too!)

Which do you think works better???

Sketch day two...

Also high on my to-see list was an iconic building we studied in architecture school, the famous Barcelona Pavilion by Mies van der Rohe.  It was wonderful to meet a fellow sketcher, whose work I just LOVE, Norberto Dorantes there to sketch one afternoon. 

Here is my only decent sketch of the favorite part of the drawing is the flag!

Finally, I also got to meet someone whose work I have admired, the amazing Lapin. I dedicate an entire spread in the final chapter of my book to his sketches, as I love how he stretches perspective and adds so much humor. 

We met in Poblenou and sat on the rambla enjoying an horchata drink from the famous horchateria nearby, and I got to look through his gosh, but what an amazing talent!!!

And then, he bestowed a HUGE honor on me -- he pulls out his pen and looks at me very seriously, and... 

Looks entirely too realistic... but what an honor to occupy one of the pages in one of his incredible sketchbooks. Gracias, Lapin!! 





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