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

#SeaHomeless: A City Without Homes



[Group post by Urban Sketchers Seattle] Seattle’s homelessness problem is a growing crisis. A count taken in 2016 found 4,505 people without shelter, an increase of 19 percent over the previous year. To raise awareness of this critical issue and work toward finding solutions, more than 30 local news media outlets created a media blitz today, June 28, with the hashtag #SeaHomeless (a national effort is being blitzed today with the hashtag #500kHomeless). Several members of USk Seattle took part by sketching individuals or their makeshift shelters around town.

Steve Reddy (sketch at top of post):
Jackie and I ran the waterfront to train for races and passed by this camp near the school bus parking lot under the Magnolia Bridge. We ran by many times before we decided to bring sketchbooks and draw it. No one was there to ask permission, but Jackie left $10, and I brought a print of the drawing the next time I ran by. Don't know if that was a good idea or not. Who knows how the camper felt about finding a drawing of his camp.

Jackie Helfgott:
The August [2013] Seattle Urban Sketchers sketchcrawl just so happened to be on the same day as the Seattle Hempfest, the same day the Seattle Police Department's Public Affairs Office gave out Doritos with a sticker on the package highlighting the details of the new Washington marijuana legislation I-502. As I walked the waterfront looking for a good sketch subject, I passed these two. Their sign said, "We need Like Seven Dollars." I gave them 10, and asked if they minded if I sat and sketched them. They told me their names were Lucky Charms and Miss Moon Cricket. While I was sketching, two Seattle Park Rangers came by and told them some tourists told them that the two were shouting profanities. Lucky and Miss Moon yelled over to me to ask me to confirm that they hadn't said anything profane. I said, "No, I didn't hear anything," and proceeded to talk for a bit to the Rangers. After they left, Lucky asked me, "Do you know what our sign means?" "No,” I said. "Like Seven Dollars - don't you get it?" "Ah, yes I get it!"

Jackie Helfgott

Michele Abbott:
Here is a small watercolor of the vehicles of the homeless folks who were living under the Ballard Bridge [sketched in February]. They have put up a tall fence around this area under the bridge, forcing the homeless folks to live in the parking lot next to the bridge that is used by the Maritime Academy folks.  

Michele Abbott

Dave Somers:
A homeless gentleman living under an overpass in the SODO area of Seattle. He was the only person in this particular area. He was very reserved so we didn't talk much before he returned to his phone. He did say he was working a series of part time jobs but he was homeless because he couldn't earn enough to afford rent anywhere near, or afford to live further out and commute.

Dave Somers

This person was taking shelter for the night in a storefront in West Seattle. The store had closed for the day and the doorway was recessed and offered some shelter from the modest rain forecast that night. The person had taken the carts that contained all their stuff and had pulled them into a little makeshift shelter. . . . This person was bundled up as if it were freezing out. The height of that hat with the hood over it is not exaggerated, and the jackets worn were thick and heavily layered. The night was typical for this time of year, with a forecast low of about 60 [degrees Fahrenheit], so pretty warm overall.

Dave Somers

 This is under the West Seattle Bridge by the First Avenue off ramp. There are about a dozen or so tents and assorted boxes and bags and belongings scattered about under the bridge, and normally I see at least a few people around. This is a heavily used exit from the bridge for folks wanting to get to the south end of downtown. The exit is a prime area for panhandling with all the traffic coming off the bridge and the lights stopping the cars that gives the panhandlers time to be noticed by drivers.

Dave Somers

Suzanne Shaw:
While joined USk sketching at Fremont last Sunday, saw him in front of PCC market, asked me for a pen to write his sign. I gave a brush pen. He was happy about it, and I was able to sketch him in return.

Suzanne Shaw

Gabi Campanario:
When I approached a group of people at Westlake Park and explained that I was hoping to sketch and talk to someone experiencing homelessness, the first question I got was: “Do we get paid?”

My negative answer elicited some disappointment, but after I explained that I was part of a group of artists with no funding, simply hoping to draw attention to homelessness in Seattle, someone raised his hand.

"I'm very homeless," said Nathaniel Simon, a 37-year-old Seahawks fan who likes to greet people with an elbow bump.

Simon, who has been homeless for 15 years, traced the root of his situation to run-ins with the law when he was growing up in Honolulu. He said he first got in trouble for stealing mopeds. Later in life, adversities piled up. He said he got shot in Las Vegas, suffered from drug addiction and is currently battling throat cancer.

When I asked Simon what could someone have done for him along the way to prevent him from becoming homeless, he shared this memory from his childhood: “I wish my grandfather would have taken me surfing more .... That would have kept me out of trouble.”

Gabi Campanario

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