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

USK Chicago Workshop Video and Downloadable Notes

[By Marc Taro Holmes in Montreal, Canada]



  I've just gotten together a little demo for my workshop at the 2017 USK Symposium in Chicago.

The goal for this workshop is Direct Sketching - that is, drawing with brush and watercolor, directly to the page, without any under drawing.



I get asked all the time how I get such fresh, spontaneous sketches. And I have to say, avoiding perfectionism is a constant challenge.



I think it's natural to worry how things turn out.

Are they going to be any good? But of course, we decided for ourselves what good is.

To me, a drawing needs to be full of energy, and show the handwriting of the artist. Without that feeling, what's the point? If we eradicate all the mistakes, we might as well take a photo. Besides I don't feel there are any mistakes - only the subconscious editing the scene. A 'talented' artist is just good at ignoring what they find boring :)

And besides - the more I try to make a great painting, the worse they turn out. But when I'm just painting for fun - I get things that frankly seem impossible, looking back at them. How did I ever paint that? And in the rain no less?

At the end of the day, the best teacher is personal experience. Of course, we can get you off on the right foot - (like, get you the right tools). But ultimately, you need to experience it for yourself.

So, to that end, I have have a three simple exercises planned for Chicago. I hope we can paint very quickly, and make a LOT of small sketches. To maximize our chances to learn from each other.





First up, is this project - simply sketching small drawings of isolated objects - working with the brush, right onto dry white paper. I hope we can do five of these in quick succession, in 30 minutes. (The repeat and do a crit).



After that, we'll flip our way of interpreting, and sketch negative space versions of objects - by painting the background around the subject, then filling in the shadow shapes.



This can be a very satisfying way to paint. The subjects just pop off the page! It feels great when one of these turns out. Though I admit, Direct Painting is a high-risk activity. I'm happy if I get one in three. So we'll try to do three rapid drawings in a half hour.

I want people to feel for themselves what it's like to draw with wet paint. If you go too slowly you won't experience the natural blending of wet-into-wet - combined with the sharp-edged drawing of wet-on-dry.

And, if you never push yourself for speed - you'll never be able to make larger paintings on location. Time is you're biggest challenge when working in the field.



We'll take this further and make some simplified street views - by making silhouettes of a city block, or down-the-street view. And then hopefully at the end we'll have time for a big masterpiece. Maybe we'll try out painting a section of the Chicago skyline in watercolor silhouettes.



Of course it's much easier to SHOW than TELL - so here's a video demonstration.



Also, a downloadable PDF of notes about the workshop.

If you can't make it to Chicago, feel free to print copies and share the exercise with your sketching group at home. Or anybody with art classes, or local workshops, - this is OK to freely distribute, just don't charge for it, and send some credit back my way :)

Have fun! and/or See you in Chicago!

~marc~marc

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