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

What is my style?

July 2014 South of France

[Guest Post by Sunil Shinde] While going through my travel sketchbooks of the last three years, I realize that every one of my sketches is a sum of every other sketch I have seen. Here is a little trip down sketchbook lane.

July 2014, I am in the south of France (image above) and I am clearly copying objects that fascinate me into the sketchbook like a first-time photographer would go snap-snap-snap with a new camera. Well, it was the first time I was using a sketchbook as my principle apparatus documenti de voyage, having ditched my well-used DSLR.

Also if the teacups and pastries on every other page do not give me away already, I am clearly influenced by Liz Steel’s style.

April 2015, Jerusalem. We have been allowed to the Temple Mount on our third attempt in as many days. Rhea (age 13, then) has just been reprimanded at the entrance by a burly security guard for leaving her petite forearms uncovered. I find a cool spot in the portico of the Gate of Chains and have been sketching for a few minutes when a group of pilgrims start shouting slogans and advance towards the Dome of the Rock. Elite Israeli commandoes, armed to the teeth and silent as the shadows, take strategic positions. The atmosphere is high-strung. Even the unshakeable Rhea is shaken.

By now I have evolved from sketching objects to capturing the story – at least a good part of the story, I think. I have started including outlines of human figures in my compositions after realizing that travel sketches without people make sad-looking travel sketches.

Sunil Shinde Sketches April 2015 Petra Jordan

April 2015, Petra, Jordan. I have been studying David Roberts for weeks in anticipation of painting in locations he painted almost 200 years ago. I am shamelessly copying the style of the 19th-century artist and traveler – a lightly washed background, local people in colorful garb in the foreground.

Sunil Shinde Sketches August 2015 Serengeti, Tanzania

August 2015, Tanzania. On one hand, the huge A4-sized spread is daunting. On the other, I cannot control where we stop and for how long we stay as Paul, our Masai driver, follows the game. Sitting on the roof of the open safari Jeep, I switch to “sketch-notating”, a technique Gabi Campanario uses very effectively. As a storytelling apparatus, it works very well.

I must admit this is one of my favorite travel sketches ever. It manages to capture the passage of time on that lovely sultry afternoon on the Serengeti plains like a time-lapse photograph.

Sunil Shinde Sketches Ot 2015 Helsinki Harbor

October 2015, Helsinki Harbor. I paint this scene sitting on the deck a ferry on a crisp bright afternoon. When it comes to style, it is diametrically opposite to the minimalist style I had adopted in Tanzania. I have recently attended a Michael Reardon workshop and am still under the spell of his hauntingly beautiful brushwork, wet paint melding into wet paint creating attractive results.

SUnil Shinde Sketches Oct 2015 Badami Cave Temples, India

October 2015 and I am in cave temples of Badami in Southern India. I have been enamored by the sketches made by Frederick Catherwood in the Yucatan in the 1840s. I have been longing to sketch like him – sepia tones, intricate details side by side loose studies.

I am leaving my watercolors in the hotel room by the time I am in Cartagena, Colombia in December 2015. Not having to paint leaves me with twice as much time with my lines. I am finally able to add recognizable human figures to the two point perspective that Stephanie Bower patiently taught me.

On a cool spring day in April 2016, Rhea and I switched 12 trains to get from Mt. Koya to Mt. Takayama in Japan. A comic-style illustration page of that saga was a wonderful exercise in composition. My Japan sketchbook is mostly black and white – UniPin Fineliner pen and paper.

I continued with the monochrome experiment until I could not figure out a way to describe the vivid warmth of the yellow saffron robes of the monks in Chiang Mai in July 2016. So, back in the hotel, I dabbed a little paint on the composition that is rendered in James Richards’ unmistakable style.

Now here I am sitting on 400-year-old steps near the iconic Charminar in Hyderabad, November 2016. I have ditched my watercolor pans altogether in favor of Derwent watercolor pencils. The pencils are easy to carry and easy to use. I like this setup.

This is my style, I decide.
That is until the next time I go to Instagram …

Sunil Shinde lives in Seattle with wife, two daughters and his dog. When he is not traveling, he manages a technology business. You can see his sketches here.





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