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".
Blog
Flickr

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 and walking around Trivandrum

[Guest post by Bella Ullas in Trivandrum, India]

Trivandrum, or Thiruvananthapuram, is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala. It is located on the extreme south of the west coast of India, sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and Western Ghats, giving it a unique tropical climatic condition.

The old fort town of Trivandrum stands amidst a vivid landscape. It was ruled by the Travancore Dynasty before the independence and was a trading post for spices, sandalwood and ivory. The city has historically been a cultural hub in South India due to the active interest of the rulers in the development of arts, architecture and liberal customs. Many of these Kerala traditional architectural marvels still remain amidst the urbanizing town.

The most iconic structure of the old city is the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, laid out along the central axis of the fort. Its entrance is marked by the towering gopuram (gateway), a mix of Kerala architecture style and Dravidian style imbibed from the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. It is an important festival route and religious destination for the people of Trivandrum and the main axial street is always vibrant with pilgrims and religious activity.

On the south-eastern side of the Padmanabhaswamy temple lies the Kuthira Malika (Mansion of Horses). Built in the 1840s, Kuthira Malika is an example of traditional Kerala architecture, with its typical sloping roofs, overhanging eaves, pillared verandahs and enclosed courtyards.


The palace gets its name from the 122 horses that are carved into the wooden wall brackets that support the southern roof. Now it is used as a museum of Travancore Heritage and a venue to host many musical festivals.


The Methan Mani (Clock Tower) is also a part of the Kuthira Malika, which served as an important landmark for the city. Above the dial is the face of a bearded man with two rams on the side of his cheeks. When the clock strikes, the rams hit the cheeks of the man.


Around the fort complex lie the agraharams or the residences of the Brahmins, who were brought by the Travancore from the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu to serve as priests in the temple.

A typical agraharam consists of row houses with sloping roofs and common walls lining a street. The planning of an agraharam is dictated by the temple which forms the focal point of the colony. The streets are aligned east-west with the row houses clustered along either side. The backyards of the houses are linked by narrow lanes. The streets in front of the houses transform into an active community space serving as a commercial space for vendors, a play area for children, a meeting place for elders, and venues for religious processions and meetings. However, over the years, the heritage buildings have become the victims of urbanisation and modern architectural trends.


Another important landmark is the Napier Museum, which is a cultural place for art and crafts occupying a large scenic landscape in the heart of the city. It was built in the 1840s by the Travancore king. It is an example of Indo-Saracenic architecture started by the British, featured through its gothic roofs and minarets. It also serves as a major open space for the city, always active with visitors, joggers, history buffs, students, art and craft lovers, etc. 


Palayam is one of the busiest places in Trivandrum and one of the oldest camp grounds of the Nair Pattalam, the royal army of Travancore kings. At Palayam, one can witness a rare site of religious integration, with the Palayam Juma Mosque, St. Joseph’s Cathedral or Palayam Palli and a temple situated close to each other.


Trivandrum is also famous for the architectural works of Laurie Baker, renowned for his initiatives in cost-effective sustainable architecture and designs that maximized space, ventilation and light. The Loyola Chapel reflects Baker’s mastery over light.


The last one is a fishing harbor from the neighbouring town of Kollam. It was a part of the old port. It is a very active fish market with a fishing community living beside it. The beach is made colourful with the fishing boats which dock there after the trips to the sea.


Bella Ullas is an architect and urban design student from Kochi, Kerala. She is a part of the Sketch and Walk group from Trivandrum.

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