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

How to Make a Mini-Concertina Book, with Detachable Water-Pots

[by Lynne Chapman, in England) I am starting a mini artist-in-residence job next week, working with academics again on Dementia research. My first day of sketching is on Monday, so I needed new sketchbooks to draw in.

All the concertinas I made for the Morgan Centre residency got used up, so I made new ones. Also a new cover, as the residency one was used almost to destruction. The 2m long concertinas had to be created from a big roll, and that was a bit of a performance. I won't need so many books this time, so I decided to make shorter ones, using regular sheets of watercolour paper. I thought you might like to know the details, in case you fancy making some for yourself.

I bought full imperial sheets of Bockingford, which are 30 x 22inches. I started with the 300gm, but it felt like overkill for the shorter length books, so I started using the 190gm instead, which is much easier to fold.

I got 3 books out of each sheet. From the 22 inch, short side of the sheet, I measured for three strips (3 x 7.4 inches), for the height of each concertina. Then I measured down the longer edge, for the folds. Allowing for each facet to be 5 inches, you get 6 facets per book.

The trick is to score and fold the whole sheet at once, before cutting it into strips. This saves a lot of time. You only score every other fold by the way, because the folds are going to go in opposite directions. You can easily hand-fold the ones going the other way, once you've folded the scored ones. Make sense?

Then you flatten out the sheet again and use a long ruler to cut it into the 3 strips. They are only short, but will still work fine.

I made my cover the same way as before, but with the little embellishment of a decorative fabric strip you can see in the top picture, plus another more important modification: I extended the back cover by 1.5 inches, so that I could clip on a water container. It's actually designed for oil painting, for oil and turps, but the two little tubs will be perfect for dirty and clean water and mean I can paint more easily in awkward places where I need to stand.

They have a clip on the back which fits just right on the board - good and tight.

While I was in sketchbook-making mode, I played with some different sizes. I cut the paper differently and got different shaped books. Out of the same imperial sheet, I got two books of 6 inches x 9 inches, plus one diddy, landscape-format book from the waste, which measures 4 inches x 6 inches.

I had to make covers to fit them too. I did the water-extension for the big one, but decided to keep the little one more compact, for slipping in a rucksack when we go out walking.

The great thing about this system is that you can use the cover over and over - you just pop in a new strip of paper. You can use an elastic band to hold the book shut when you're not using it. I did away with the fancy Velcro tab I used before: I quickly lost the tab.

You are supposed to use book board to make the covers, but I ran out, so I used regular mount board, which worked fine except for a very slight warping, from the PVA glue, which I put right by clipping the cover shut while it was drying (using a couple of bits of scrap card to protect it from getting dints from the clip):

The other thing I didn't bother with was the card insert on the back cover, for sliding the concertina paper into. I found that I generally wanted to fold the paper in different ways as I was working, so I could paint on more than 2 facets at once, which meant I stopped using the insert. It works perfectly well just tucked in loose.

I took it out on a test run on Saturday, with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire. It worked a treat, though the water pots are quite tiny, so you have to be pretty careful if you are using them indoors, as I was when I did this painting, in an antiques shop:

Much better for working on the street, in situations where you need to stand and paint and don't have a handy wall for your water.




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