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

Three Correspondents to Cover Chicago Symposium

The 8th annual International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago will be an exciting event, but if you won’t be able to participate yourself, you can still watch it unfold through the sketchbooks and stories of three busy correspondents! The USk Editorial Team and Executive Board are pleased to announce that out of more than 30 applicants, Vincent Desplanche (France), Beliza Mendes (Luxembourg) and Wes Douglas (USA) will have the challenging but very rewarding responsibility of reporting on the symposium on the global USk blog.
Vincent Desplanche

Vincent Desplanche’s
enthusiasm for urban sketching captured the attention of the Editorial Team (his sketch is shown above). An USk France correspondent for many years, Vincent attended the Barcelona symposium and gave presentations last year in Manchester. The Rabastens, France, resident has a unique idea for covering the symposium. In his application, Vincent said, “I never set foot on the US soil and feel very excited to discover this fabulous city. As a freshly landed European sketcher among the huge skyscrapers of downtown Chicago, I will seek the analogies between these unfamiliar concrete masses and my ordinary mountains; the busy crowded city of North America and my tiny village of South-France. Actually, I consider this ‘virginity’ is a real advantage and I would love to work with the local artists and show them a new look on their place. This gave me an original idea: I want to be an anthropologist-correspondent at this symposium. Like a scientist, studying a very strange under-species of humans, the ‘Urbanus Sketcherum,’ I will produce as many drawings as possible depicting what it looks like and take notes describing its habits.”
Sketch by Beliza Mendes
Beliza Mendes

Beliza Mendes is an administrator of her regional USk chapter in Luxembourg and a global USk blog correspondent. A symposium participant in Barcelona and Paraty, she is looking forward to experiencing the Chicago symposium in a different way and contributing with her unique perspective. As a member of the Editorial Team, Beliza’s editorial experience gives her insights on the significant role of the USk blog in telling stories through both sketches and words. (As an applicant herself, Beliza was excluded from the selection process.) Interested in reportage sketching, Beliza said, “Besides documenting the participant’s experience, I would also like to focus on the behind the scenes, particularly during the last days leading to the symposium and the team who organizes the symposium: who they are, maybe a few pointers from the locals on Chicago, like activities and traditions not to miss (is there a type of hot dog that it typical from Chicago, for example?).”
Wes Douglas
Wes Douglas, a Chicago-area resident for more than 50 years, can certainly answer Beliza’s last question! An active member and co-administrator for USk Chicago since 2013 and local blog correspondent, Wes was selected as the Chicago correspondent through a competitive process within his regional group. In addition to reporting on symposium events, he has the unique and invaluable role of acting as a guide to the city for the correspondents team. “I know Chicago intimately,” Wes said. “I love to sketch people on location; I am a seasoned artist and illustrator; and I love sketching people on public transportation. I am also agile in capturing a story quickly and concisely. I imbue a personal and often humorous take on my reportage.”
Sketch by Wes Douglas

The Symposium Correspondents program, which covers travel and lodging for international correspondents, was launched in 2011 in Lisbon. Past correspondents include: João Pinheiro (São Paulo), Suhita Shirodkar (San Jose, Calif.), Lapin (Barcelona), Nelson Paciencia (Lisbon), Maria Regina Tuazon (Singapore), Murray Dewhurst (Auckland, New Zealand), Tina Koyama (Seattle), Kumi Matsukawa (Tokyo), Liz Ackerley (Manchester, UK) and Javier de Blas (Logroño, Spain).
The program's goal is to bring attention to the storytelling possibilities of urban sketching, especially in covering an event.

The Editorial Team would like to thank the candidates who applied for the correspondent positions. “We received so many excellent applications that making our choices was very difficult,” said editor Tina Koyama. “We appreciate the time spent and enthusiasm expressed by all who applied.”




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