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

Sketching in Lanzarote: Day 6. Five in One Day!

[by Lynne Chapman, from England, in Lanzarote] If you've been following my previous posts, you will have noticed that, on most days so far, I sneaked time for just one sketch while out and about with John, rather than going out sketching for the day. So, I thought it was about time I did some serious sketching! 

Although this was another chilly day, it was sunnier than usual over our hill so, while John went off for a walk on his own, I sat on my own on the hill and sketched. I decided to break out the big guns and so lugged an A3 sketchbook up there. I took a regular drawing pad, rather than my posh watercolour one, as I thought I might do some drawing instead of painting. I was excited to have a nice long period to work.

For the first sketch, I decided I would try again with Derwent Inktense Blocks, as Derwent sent me another set at Christmas, as a pressie. I've tried them before, but not really got the hang of them. Last time, things got very grubby and muddy, as the blocks carry so much pigment, so this time I tried to use brighter colours and not put too much colour onto the paper in any one spot. I felt the result was a bit too bright, so I dampened it down with some white conte, but I'm still not entirely sure about it. It does look better reduced down like this though.

The gullies and terracing were hard to draw accurately, without getting a bit too fussy for me, so next I tried to be more instinctive, responding to the patterns, textures and flow lines, rather than drawing exactly what was there. I limited myself to 3 colours of Inktense block, in combination with a graphite stick, then painted the sky, for contrast.

The result had interesting elements, but I was just deciding that it didn't have much depth, when a German walker appeared on the path above me, with a massive, 1980's style video camera on his shoulder and asked to film me. Not great timing, though I smiled and pretended I wasn't feeling a bit grumpy.

That was when I decided to allow myself some 'comfort-zone' time and got out a stick of black conte:

I then felt I needed a slight change of scene, so walked a bit further up the hill, to the view point over Playa Famara where John and I were previously. The sweep of the cliffs down to sea level is so dramatic and unusual, I was pleased to get the chance to capture it:

Unfortunately, at that point the light disappeared, on account of a massive, all-encompassing cloud, and it got suddenly quite cold. The one drawback to the beautiful Haria area, was that the big hills regularly attracted cloud, while everywhere else on the island seemed to be sunny. Hey ho.

Though I was still feeling a little grumpy as I stomped back down the hill, I must admit that the work looks much better now. A good lesson - always reserve judgment until another day. When you are on the spot, all you see is the things which aren't working, or which fail to express what's actually there and, when you're a bit grumpy, it's really easy to miss the bigger picture. I regularly find that sketches I'm unhappy with, turn out to be fine the next day.

I didn't want to stop sketching yet, as it was only lunchtime, so we drove a little way north, beyond the cloud of our hill, to where there was a gorgeous volcano, 'La Corona' - The Crown, named because of the jagged edges around the rim. John went off to walk up it, while I sat at the bottom and ate my pack-up, then painted the sketch above.

The little shrubs created a wonderful dotted pattern up the sides and I loved the way the whole thing was so sculptural.

I'd just finished painting when John got back. The cloud was back, but I felt I'd done a good day's work, so we went to get a beer.

If you missed the earlier posts, you can see the rest of my sketches from the trip here.





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