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

Adding people: breaking my pattern on a trip to Spain

[By Soroshi Michelle in Catalonia, Spain]
 My summer this year was spent well, traveling and sketching in a new country: Catalonia, Spain.

As is my habit, I rule out drawing people in my sketches but I made an exception on this trip breaking my pattern for the first time. For a few of my drawings, it's been interesting combining my favourite part in urban sketching (building facades) with a person in the foreground. More about that further along in this post. Allow me to start at the beginning.

Left: airplane in waiting. Right: Labels of beer bottles at the airport (I didn't try any).

En route to Barcelona was a five-hour transit in Zurich which did not allow me to leave the airport and so I passed the time sketching.

I didn’t spend more than one day in the city of Barcelona on arrival and headed instead to Esterri d’Aneu in the Pyrenees. I expected it to be much cooler up in the mountains (it was 37 degrees Celsius when I arrived!) and unfortunately, was the same there. However, the view from my hotel window and the picturesque town pretty much made up for the weather.

I spent the next couple of days exploring the area though it didn’t include much time for sketching. I have got to learn to make quick sketches! The town Arros is characteristic with lanes in traditional houses and sloping roofs. You can see the mountains at the vanishing point. It seemed like a sleepy town, probably due to people hiding indoors because of the hot weather.

Heading back to Barcelona, I felt obliged to catch my first view of Casa Batllo. I have been a fan of Gaudi’s work, and to me, it felt quite surreal. Sitting amongst the tourists at the façade, I spent an hour drawing this fascia.

Park Guell, another marvel of Gaudi's work, is framed by a stone arch. This is one of the two gingerbread houses on the grounds.

Pau: ¡Kataclak mola! [Tr: I like Kataclak!]                              Marc: ¡Mola mucho! [Tr: Really like it!] 
Forgive my Spanish, it's very, very basic!

I love the lifestyle in the city sprawled with numerous cafes and bars. For me it's something special since the super hot weather in Dubai doesn't allow one to stay outdoors for too long. More drawings with people–not my usual habit.

I have to include the little town of Cervello I called home in Catalonia. The Pyrenees are visible behind and the level differences allow for lovely viewing angles. I am charmed by this town that the people living here call a "village". In India, villages may not have electricity, running water or their own cars and as such, Cervello is a "developed town"!

I was lucky to be around during one of the festivities, Sant Joan. There were many gatherings and plenty of fireworks during this time. On the eve of the celebration, Revetlla, I drew this streetscape at Carrer de la Marina. 

My last day was spent at Rupit, back in the mountains. Another quiet town hidden behind green forests.

I imagined myself making many more urban sketches since there was so much to capture. This is a reason I have to go back on a longer holiday to do justice to Barcelona!

Soroshi Michelle is an urban sketcher living in Dubai. You can see more of her works on her blog





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