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

A backpacker sketching Nepal

[Guest post by Bernat Moreno in Nepal]
  Back in 2016, from January to March, I was travelling around Nepal. It was my second time in the country, the first one was in 2008, but in this journey I discovered much more. The purpose of the most recent journey was making an art book about Nepal. Here are a few of my drawings that are in the book.

Durbar Square (above) in Kathmandu is one of the highlights in Nepal. It was really damaged by the 2015 earthquakes but it is still beautiful.

Two weeks later I came back to Durbar Square for the Holi, a Hindu spring festival (above left). I have to say: it is the BEST PARTY EVER.

This is the view from the rooftop of my second hotel in Kathmandu: Potala Guest House. Rooftops are one of the best places to chill out: less noise, pollution, crowds. In this picture you can see some solar panels, this is because Nepal has a serious problem with power cuts (at least 12 hours a day while I was there). I'm very optimistic and I think it could be a good opportunity for it to be an energy sustainable country in the long term.

One of the things I remember the most is how good I ate in Nepal. If I'm not wrong, there are two main traditional Nepali foods:
  • Dal Bath (kind of a national dish): Nepali people eat this recipe based on rice and lentils almost every day, it is very simple but absolutely delicious in part because they have very good rice.
  • Momos: There are two kinds of people, those who prefer steamed momos and those who prefer fried momos. I prefer the second ones.
Stomachaches are not uncommon for travellers but I ate almost everything without too much care during almost two months and I just had one or two days that I had to stay in bed (close to the toilet). Water is the most important thing: always drink bottled or disinfected.

Many Nepalese people are vegetarians but you can find meat very easily in almost every place, even beef (cows are sacred for Hindus--80% of the population). In this picture you can see a typical butcher shop. Almost sure, this is the same meat you'll eat at that fancy and expensive restaurant you want to go for dinner.

The signs of the earthquake are appreciable in many places but, please, don't believe the mass media too much, they really love to show the worst. The country is still a very good option for backpackers, trekkers and travellers of every condition (ok, not every condition but almost). At the left, you can see the typical broom used in Nepal. Lovely, right?

This barbershop was located on a street in Ilam (in eastern Nepal), famous for its tea gardens. I tried this barbershop and I have to say: If this is the average quality of barbers in Nepal, they are really good! I had the best shave ever, and super cheap.

I did some trekking in the Annapurna mountains and I found some funny contradictions for a European traveller. There are some villages where the only way to transport things like gas, Coca-Cola, rice, or cereals is by donkey (drones are still not there). Everything is very austere BUT many villagers seem to have a good smartphone connected to the Internet. It is some kind of globalization.

This is one of my favourite drawings. If you look well you see a string from the shovel to the old man. Why? The old man pulls the string to guide the man with the shovel to dig the trench straight.

And as a last sketch I've chosen this one, it is Sauhara, next to Chitwan National Park.

In this small village I had the pleasure of:
  • Being surprised by a rhino while having a beer at a river bar.
  • Being scared by a wild elephant while riding in a boat on the river.
  • Finding a plantation of wild marihuana next to my hostel.
  • Paying less than 4€ night for two people in a hostel.
  • Enjoying some of the best moments in the country: sitting on a rooftop bar at sunset while taking a Red Star (Red Bull fake), listening to good music and drawing in my sketchbook.

Thank you very much for reading this post, I've enjoyed a lot writing it. I've remembered many good times spent in the country. But if there is something that travelers often avoid when telling their experiences is this: bad moments. Bad moments are also a part of travel. Embrace them, remember them and stay with them.

You can download the full ebook I made about Nepal for free:

Greetings from Valencia, Spain.

Bernat is an illustrator who lives in Oliva Beach, Valencia, Spain. See more of his work on his website or on Facebook.





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