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

From India, With Love

[Suhita Shirodkar in Bijapur, Padel and Goa] Writing about India is always difficult. I have so much to say, and then no words to say it all. India is a chaotic, serene, beautiful, crazy, overwhelming, colorful, poor, rich, ancient and fast-paced country. All at once. It will always be home to me, and yet, with I have two homes now, (my other home is in San Jose, in the United States) I am also a bit of an outsider, visiting only every once in a while, dipping my toes back into the pace and color of life I so miss...So here are some random sketches from my time in India, and little comments about them. And a hope that they convey the spirit of the place., and make you want to visit.

Above is the huge dome of the Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur, 44 meters in external diameter, completed in 1656. And that's not even considered 'really old' in India. Even today, it would be an incredible engineering feat. I sketched this amazing sight while sitting under a dilapidated arch, the remains of another ancient but unmarked monument.

Also in Bijapur, this carriage waits to take tourists around  the city. That's a mule standing in the hot sun waiting for the next passengers.

An old home in Goa, with intricate wooden carving on the balconies(above).  And terracotta tiled roofs in the village of Caranzalem,Goa (below). When the average annual rainfall is 120 inches, you need sloping roofs! I love the sounds of the rain on these roofs. 

And this little roadside shrine could be anywhere in India, sitting under a tree, in the middle of nowhere. You'd never imagine someone comes by, prays here, takes care of the tens of thousands of these that dot the country, and yet they are always beautifully whitewashed and freshly decorated with flowers and offerings. 

And markets. I love markets. Everywhere I go, I try to visit the local market. The sketch below is made while I sat at a bench at a sugarcane stall in the tiny village of Padel, Maharastra. The lady opposite me waited for a glass of freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, with a bit of lime and ginger added. And while she sat there, the guy next to her bought most of the bag of drumsticks she carried from her. No, not chicken drumsticks, but drumsticks the vegetable

These colorful stars are sold at a market shop in Panjim, Goa. They're put up on every Goan home at Christmas time, and then they stay up there until they're faded effigies of themselves. The sight of big colorful stars all over town makes me inexplicably happy.

And the people are always a joy to observe, to draw, and to interact with. 
This old lady stopped by a roadside cross to say a little prayer, then she kept going. 
And this loud little brass band appeared out of nowhere at a church in Caranzalem, Goa, played a few short tunes, and then left.

And below, people walking past beautiful old monuments in Bijapur. Sights they pass everyday. The little red automobile is a 3 wheeler called a tempo. Here, it delivers cooking gas, distributed in metal containers commonly called cylinders.

The title of this piece, From India, With Love, I stole from a documentary film about six Americans, whose life are touched by violence, and who decide to travel to India and bring back with them nonviolent activism to unite and heal their communities. The idea of the movie and the sentiment behind it speaks to me today.





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