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

Drawing People on the Move - Pushing Your Sketching Boundaries Berlin 2017

Berlin is a destination for visitors from all over the world - not only for holidays but also for living here a longer amount of time. It is not obviously its picturesque beauty that attracts visitors - compared with other European metropolis it has few - it is build on flat lands which did not force unique solutions but allowed a quick and quite monotonous growth in the second half of the 19th century and due to its following history the city is full of breaks and scars.
Anyway Berlin attracted and attracts migrants and visitors. If it is not hardship, that pulls people here, it might be certain kinds of freedoms, absurdly even during the times of the division, and now obviously after its end, where extra space has opened for cultural experiments. The layered mix of people of multiple origins and cultures and with varying aims and expectations shape the spirit of the city, more than its ‘hardware’ of buildings and infrastructure.
We are going to draw the people, and explore the city by depicting its inhabitants, its people, who are in a way its creators.
Our ‘base’ will be situated at the river Spree, that at this part separated The West-Berlin District of Kreuzberg and the East Berlin district Friedrichshain -  from 1948 to 1990 (with the unpassable wall from 1961). So we will have pedestrian access to Friedrichshain, workers and industrial district in GDR-times, whose industrial buildings gave space to a lot of subcultural enterprises after the fall of the wall and that became home to international migrants, that mix (and compete) with its long-time-locals - and Kreuzberg, one of the focus areas of West-Berlin subculture, that did persist and develop.

After a short introduction at our ‘baseroom’ at the ‘Spreefeld’ in the mornings we will walk, or sometimes maybe even use public transport, to get to our sketching spots, that will be Heinrichplatz and Oranienstraße (one of Kreuzbergs Pub and Restaurant Areas), Markthalle Neun (a covered food market in a historical hall), markets at Boxhagener Platz and Maybachufer, a flea market at Leopoldplatz, U-train-stations at Warschauer Strasse and Schlesisches Tor. In case of rain some of the outdoor locations might be substituted by libraries or other indoor facilities.

We will find and sketch locals and visitors using the cities places for joy, transport, work, leisure etc., following different approaches.

People in Context (Isabel)
When drawing and sketching people to me there are two things - one the person in its own right - the character and personality, what they do/what they are… and then the context - the room/street/square, the action they are doing - selling/playing/talking.
As we are going to be in busy places, we will need to attain some degree of sensation of mass of people and individuals we want to focus on and depict more carefully.  
We will practice painting people in watercolour at speed and defining the space by the placement of the people on it first.PEOPLE.jpg
When drawing larger groups of people - the bar/ the market/the beach/people around a table, the context brings them together creating the scene. It is this setting the scene that tells us the story of what is going on, we need to decide how and how much we will include or if an element will stand out in colour.
Borough Market_London_square.jpg

We will try exercises where the people are drawn and then their context - or viceversa, set up the context and then focus on the the people in more detail. Colour will help us to abstract the context.

We will experiment with diverse treatments for the scene (setting) and the action (people) - watercolour wash and line and diversifying the marks for foreground and background, trying out what happens when you draw the background first or the people first or together.  

Among the People (Rolf)
When we draw a lively place we normally do it driven by our own curiosity. The impulse to report follows an interest and enjoyment, that we share with our fellow people on the spot. So we should take care that the process of sketching does not block our source impulse to perceive, enjoy, and participate.
We want to find a way to integrate our sketching into our normal moves, so we can spontaneously sketch, whenever we spot something we like to record.
We will work with some essential tools only and try out strategies and exercises, that enable us to quickly and spontaneously ink down our social experience. We want to automate our sketching, so we can deal with our double occupation as visitor and reporting sketcher.
We want to deal with this challenge by trying and exercising different strategies:
- quick drawings of figures, in order to loosen our marks and to automate the pens movement
- experiment with degrees of abstraction - what does it need, to make a shape on paper a living thing?
- separate our drawing of a figure in batches, in order to deal with unpredictable vanishing models.
- understand the role of own viewpoint in relation to create an impression of space with depth and impact
- use all the prior to sketch our individual experience of a lively spot
170504_Danckelmann copy.jpg
above: drawing walking by people quickly with loose, long and partly ‘blind’ lines, in order to loosen and automate the drawing process
below: incomplete, but finished (for good or for bad, musician has left the train)
U9_191215 copy.jpg
sketchbatches_300516 copy.jpg             augenhoehe.png

above left: drawing a figure in batches (sequence may vary), in order to have a ‘finished’ incomplete figure on paper, when model walks away
above right:  the role of own viewpoint and eye-level, when positioning figures in space

170401_leopold_1 copy.jpg
170401_leopold_2 copy.jpg

above: 2 Sketches of people and stuff from inside the flea market on Berlin Leopoldplatz

media: Every participant may use the tools, he is most comfortable with (since they are quick at hand), I suggest soft pencil, all kind of markers, fountain - and brush pen. ‘Casual’ sketchbook or loose papers - there will be a lot of quick and scrawly results …
Let’s tell people’s stories (Swasky)
People moving, people going around, back and forth,... We do not have time, we need to capture them we want to depict them in our sketchbook. Using a loose and unpredictable technique like watercolour instead of a fountain pen or a ballpoint pen lowers our likeness standards, details become less important and our goal is to capture gestures, expressions, moods and feelings. Brush and watercolour markers (or watercolour pencils) will be our drawing tools. Nevertheless the most important thing is to tell a story.

Some themes we will explore:
  1. Expression. We are going to pay attention to people’s face features and we will try to communicate what they are expressing with them. Just using a pencil and a simple line as our drawing tool, we are going to draw people faces, paying attention to eyebrows, expression wrinkles, mouth, eyes,...

  1. Depicting interaction. What people do and how we interact with each other is the moment when we start telling a story. Now we are going to start drawing the way people interact with each other. Even not interacting is a way of interacting, we are sharing a same space and we are occupying it with our presence. After working faces we are going to draw hands, which are the second part more communicative part of our body.

  1. Context. Now we will observe also context as part of the human being as I have mentioned before here will notice the link between someone and his or her context. We will be among stalls, benches, customers,... people and space and we will tell their stories.

This session will help attendees to successfully deal the fear of drawing people. Because drawing people is less scary than drawing skyscrapers, too many windows.
Learning goals
  • Pushing participants out of their comfort zone, at their own level. From beginners starting to sketch to more confident participants, we aim to teach you something new and push you outside your boundaries, helping you experiment.

  • Experiment with different techniques and ways of approaching a live sketching people situation, helping you find your own self expression.
  • Using and trying different approaches to drawing people - line drawing with brushes,  marker pens and watercolour pencils, painting with watercolours, light and shade,
  • Develop your own way of representing what you see in colour with confidence
  • Improving mark making ability - with pen, with brush,
  • Losing the fear to draw people
  • Sketching people and their stories as they move.
Workshop Schedule

Wednesday 27th Sep

Welcome at our base in ‘Spreefeld’
Thursday 28th Sep

9am -10am
Welcome and get together at our base in ‘Spreefeld’
Morning worskhops with Swasky, Rolf and Isabel
1.30pm - 2.30pm
2.30 - 5.30pm    
Afternoon workshops with Swasky, Rolf  and Isabel
Return to Spreefeld - review and share work of the day on line
Friday 29th Sep

9am -10am
Welcome and get together at our base in ‘Spreefeld’
Morning worskhops with Swasky, Rolf and Isabel
1.30pm - 2.30pm
2.30 - 5.30pm    
Afternoon workshops with Swasky, Rolf  and Isabel
Return to Spreefeld - review and share work of the day on line
Saturday 30th Sep

9am -10am
Welcome and get together at our base in ‘Spreefeld’
Morning worskhops with Swasky, Rolf and Isabel
1.30pm - 2.30pm
2.30 - 5.30pm    
Afternoon workshops with Swasky, Rolf  and Isabel
Return to Spreefeld - review and share work of the day on line
Sunday 1st Oct

10.00am to 3pm
Meet at Spreefeld  for coffee and start sketchcrawl

30 attendees maximum, 18 minimum. Any level of drawing experience is welcome

You need to arrange your own accommodation.
Check the map of the workshop here - the nearest stations to Spreefeld are Berlin OstBanhof  (S and U bahn) or Heinrinch Heine Strasse (U-bahn).

Supply list
A list will be provided for participants - generally bring what you normally draw with.

Registration fee

£ 225 - (£180 concessions - 20% discount for students or unwaged (with proof of concession status)). or if paying in Euros 275 (220 Euros concessions)
To book, email Isabel - for registration form.

Cancellation policy: All fees are refundable if cancelled prior to 29th August 2017. Bank charges will be deducted from the refund in the case of an attendee cancellaction. If cancelled after 29th August, a £25 cancellation fee (30 Euros) will be retained. In the event of too few registrants, all mo nies will be refunded.

Workshop map

About the instructors

Isabel is Spanish but studied in UK where she practices as an architect and artist in Newbury, Berkshire. Her passion is watercolour, easy to carry around and sketch on the go and likes experimenting and mixing media to get interesting effects. Isabel started sketching in 1993 as part of her architecture training and continues to this day. She joined Urban Sketchers Spain in 2011 and USK London in 2014 where she runs the Facebook group and organises some of their Let's Draw events.

As an artist she is part of West Berkshire and North Hampshire Open Studios scheme and joined the Oxford Printmakers Cooperative in 2013.

Rolf lives in Berlin and is sketching from observation as a passion since his youth, while currently drawing for stone-design, architecture and occasional bits of illustration for the living. After an apprenticeship as stonemason he achieved an architecture degree at the RWTH Aachen. While studying there he was teaching observational drawing as a student assistant at the architecture department. He joined USk in 2009 and co-founded the berlin.USk-blog in 2011. Since this time sketching more and more became the grout, that fills most gaps in his everyday live.

Swasky born and raised in Barcelona, Swasky has been drawing most of his lifetime, but when he finished his BFA he left drawing because he tried to start working. Then he decided to start again a degree in Audiovisual Communication. Once he fulfill his second degree he worked in an advertising production company, RCR, disappointed with a job so stressful and invidious he left his job and run a shop. With a new life he started drawing again.  




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