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

Dodgy Types on the Quay in Kinvara

[by Róisín Curé in Galway] What a beautiful evening - I had to get out and enjoy it. The family was doing other stuff and I wasn't needed - hurrah! - so I hopped into the teeny red car and set off for the Burren Hills. I love Abbey Hill and Reuben the hairy terrier needed a walk but it was too windy there to sketch - and a bit lonely - so I decided to head back to Kinvara village. Back in the shelter of the little dock of the harbour in Kinvara, I took out my sketching kit and basked in the warm evening sun.


I sat on a bench on the quay and started to draw. Mast, keep it vertical. Tie on the lines. Draw what I see. Watch those shapes. Two girls settled down on the next bench a few feet away. One had a Madrid accent, and over the course of an hour, I learned all about her life, her living arrangements and her job-hunting woes. Her English was excellent, despite the strong accent. The other girl barely said a word. I wondered idly if that's what it's like to sit beside me, and I wished they'd run out of steam. Then I was joined by two little girls with long dark hair and English accents. The bigger one carried a toy lamb, which she fed to Reuben. "This is my lucky Irish sheep," she said. "Your dog is sooo cute carrying it in his mouth! I'm a seven-year-old and she's a five-year-old. We're allowed to go and explore." I thought about the deep, open water everywhere, the cars passing through and the weirdos sketching, and wondered about the judgment of whomever sent them out on the quay. The little girls played with Reuben, who was tied to the bench, and he did his best to evade their little hands. Amid cries of "he's sooo cute!" they tried to pat the dog, who tried in turn not to be patted, tangling himself and my ankles in his lead. The older one trotted off for some ice cream and chocolate sauce, and while she was gone the younger one finally hit the jackpot when she gave Reuben a rock - he loves biting rocks. "He's soooo cute biting the wock!" she said. The patting attempts continued, as did Reuben's attempts to hide, but the lead meant it was futile. How he must have regretted leaving the nice lonely hill. Eventually he must have snapped at her, as I saw her pull her hand back quickly - being five, she didn't understand that dogs aren't allowed to do that, and she didn't wail or complain. "Don't try to pat him any more," I said, "he'll bite." He has never bitten anyone, but there was no harm in letting the little girl know that dogs have their limits. Then she told me about how bad cigarettes are and how she was going to get her hands on some candy ones when she went to America. "Candy cigawettes! Not weal cigawettes!" This made her very excited - even at five, she was conscious of the power of a taboo. Over the course of an hour, the little girls knocked the bench I was sitting on ("Don't touch the bench," I said, "I'll do a wobbly line"), fiddled with my brushes and paints and ooohed and aaaahed over my sketch, their long hair obscuring my page. "That's sooo good," said the older one. "I bet the next time I see it it'll be in a museum." Yeah, sure. The innocence.

Finally a lady came out of the restaurant to get them. She was American and appeared to be their mother. I had the strong impression she was only just in charge, imploring them not to get onto people's boats, telling them to stay away from me. I'm wearing my judgy pants right now but I don't really have a right to - my kids have mostly run rings around me. She didn't acknowledge me in any way, in sharp contrast to the little girls' easy, friendly manner.

An older Dutch couple stood behind me and discussed my sketch, without acknowledging my presence. The woman made lots of observations in Dutch, pointing at bits of the page. Her finger hovered millimetres from the surface of the page. Lucky for her she didn't touch the paper. Oh yes, she would have got quite the stern "please don't touch" from me. Finally the man said "Photorealistic!" to which I answered "Not really" because I did not take it as a compliment. I hate photorealism in art - you may as well cut to the chase and take a photo. But at least he was saying hello, in his way.

I always say one of the nicest things about urban sketching is interacting with passers-by. I still feel that way.
And despite having his walk cut short, Reuben conked out when he got home. Little girls can be very tiring.

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