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

Painting NYC with Rosemary and Co Travel Brushes

[By Marc Taro Holmes in NYC, NY] Getting to be a ways back now, Rosemary & Co sent me a set of their travel brushes, saying, give them a go and tell us what you think!

It was winter at the time, so today's the day I finally get down to a review.

And I'm happy to say, I like'em a lot!

They're a nice sharp sable brush, just a good as any I've tried. But - these are the reversible/pocket brush models, where the brush slips back into the hollow handle. So they're extra convenient for packing along on a holiday.

Just what the Urban Sketcher ordered.

You can throw them into any old bag or pocket, and they'll always be protected.

They come in natural Sable (my preference for watercolor) and, quite unusually, Rosemary offers them in a wide range of brush types, including Flats (one stroke), Riggers, Filberts, a Comber (rake), Mops and even a Dagger (in a mixed Sable/Nylon blend). As well, there's a few sizes of Squirrel mops, if you like the softer hair.

Now, I personally like to do everything with a pointed round, so that's all I used on these sketches. But for those who want more variety, this is a nice option I haven't seen in competing travel brushes.

You know, I haven't really done a lot of street-sketching in NYC. It seems like every time we go, it's for a museum exhibition. So it's great to get out on the street at last!

We took the train in, starting from Grand Central Station, and just started walking with no particular itinerary.

We were there with our painter-friend Shari Blaukopf. She knows the town well - so she made sure we found some great spots - like this cafe in Bryant Park, behind the public library.

I won't go on any further about the brushes - but suffice to say, I painted this whole sketch with a #3 Rosemary Sable pocket brush - so it does everything I'd ever need. At least for a 9x12" sketch. They don't quite come large enough for bigger paintings.

But for what I'm doing here, one brush handles both broad passages, ultra fine lines, and can be splayed for dragging or raking leaves and branches.

I like to get a lot of mark making out of the one brush - it's too much trouble to be switching back and forth while sketching on location.

After Bryant Park , we did some shopping at Muji (Shari needed a hat).

And we ended up at the Flatiron. (There she is with her new hat).

There were huge crowds at the nearby NYC BBQ Festival. I saw squads of photographers standing in the street to get the classic Flatiron shot. Somehow. people didn't seem to know about this cafe at the base of the building.

Incredibly, they have a sign front and center, declaring "You don't have to buy anything to sit here." You can bet I took them up on that.

What a deal! It left me with a much better feeling about NYC than our time in Venice Italy. I'll tell you. Every square inch of shade, every single chair in Venice - locked down and guarded!

I mean, I don't mind buying a coffee for the chance for some comfy sketching. But hey - free is free. Thanks NYC! What a great day :)



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