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

Line Expression with a Charcoal Pencil

[By Don Low in Singapore]
  "Painting is damned difficult - you always think you got it, but you haven't." - Paul Cezanne 

  What Paul Cezanne has said is so true, even for an artist like him who painted relentlessly and unceasingly. I gave up almost every time a problem crapped up. Probably that's why Paul was a great artist and I am not. He worked like a machine, usually in recluse. It gets too lonely to paint alone. That's why I turned to sketching. I could sketch alone because it could be done much faster than painting. A friend of mine agreed with me. Sketching yields a faster result, but it done in pen or pencil.

Recently I have returned to using pencils and preferred charcoal pencil over graphite pencils. Both are good, and they are different. I find graphite pencils too reflective on paper and it becomes difficult to judge the tones as a result. After trying out several types, I nailed down to 2 that I like a lot.

The first is Pierre Noire of Conte a Paris. It comes in different grades: B, 2B and 3B. Depending on the paper you use, it gets too sticky on some cartridge papers, but all work very well on newsprints and doesn't flake. I love it because it is not that "smudegable", if there is a word for it.

The second type of charcoal pencil that I like to use is Nero of Cretacolor. The available grades are shown below. Nero Extra Soft works like a charm, smooth on paper and smudge proof as it is a type of oil charcoal pencil. It works well on all paper types.

I carry these pencils with me these days when I go out sketching. To hold them together, I use a Derwent cloth or canvas pouch which folds nicely into a nifty package that can be snugged into any small space in a bag. I bring along a sander too just in case I need a point for details. The Nero used up pretty fast so I would recommend someone to purchase a bunch if he or she is a hard worker. Strangely the local supplies actually sell out the Nero pencils all the time. That makes me wonder whether the art schools are also recommending the, to the students. I would but I thought pencil drawing is not popular among the schools anymore.

This is a sketch/ drawing I did at Little India, Singapore with a Pierre Noire 2B on an Ingres charcoal/ pastel pad. The pencil did not run very smoothly but in terms of making dark marks, it is packing a punch. I started the sketch with light lines and then heavier ones later. The wide tonal range of the pencil never disappoint.

The other pencil that I brought along this time was Cretacolor's Sepia Dark Oil Pencil. it works pretty well too on the paper I brought. Smooth and doesn't flake. Here's the result. I have touched up with Instagram filter to make it look nicer with the contrast and crop.

Cretacolor's Sepia Dark Oil Pencil
Clive Street, Little India with a Cretacolor Nero Pencil
Clive Street, Little India with a Cretacolor Nero Pencil





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