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

Everywhere You Look, Urban Sketchers: USk Symposium 2017

[by Wes Douglas, Symposium Correspondent in Chicago, USA]

Signs that Urban Sketchers are really making an impression in Chicago.

Thursday July 27th was Day One for Workshops, Demonstrations and Lectures. In an effort to match up the different participants with their respective instructors, attendees were asked to meet at the Congress Plaza North (a wide section of hardscaping across the street from Roosevelt University) and signs were held up to help people identify their workshop group. Anyone not familiar with this system would've passed by what looked like a very strange protest rally with signs that simply had workshop names on them.

As correspondents (and there were just three of us), we were each assigned three workshops to cover in the morning and three more to cover in the afternoon each day. There were as many as 36 workshops over the course of three days and each of the correspondents would divide and conquer their share of them. Pretty good least on paper.

My first assignment was to capture LK Bing's workshop "Spontaneous Creation of Dramatic Atmosphere." Our group traversed the 15-minute walk to the financial district of Chicago and then settle into a spot on the sidewalk just north of The Rookery Building on LaSalle Street, facing the Chicago Board of Trade. It was important to be on this street but somewhere where we would not upset the security guards charged with clearing the entrance ways. LK Bing handed out printed copies of his process, some small cards for thumbnail sketching and felt tip Snowman drawing pens. Then he described his process while buses, trucks and pedestrians whizzed by on a very busy street.

Then after a brief lecture, LK moved to set up his easel and demonstrate his simple process of selecting a scene, roughing out the layout and then building up color from light to dark. His handout was meant to be a clear description of his process since he admitted that his English was not very strong, but once he put pen or brush to paper, one only needed to watch how he worked to understand how effective his process is.

As a correspondent, the most amount of time you can generally spend with any workshop is about an hour before heading off to the next one. Thankfully Beliza Mendes had mapped out our assignments beforehand so that all three workshops were generally in the same geographic area of the city.

My next stop on the workshop tour was "Scaling Tall Buildings with A Single" with Paul Heaston. Paul's workshop was at the Chase Bank Plaza, where he explained his technique for sighting and fitting Chicago's skyscrapers onto the typical sketchbook format. Without a proper understanding of Paul's methodology for tackling the very tall buildings of Chicago, one might assume that Paul simply works from a fish-eye reference photograph (or his super-power is some kind of wide-angle vision). Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, Paul walks his students through a selection process of picking out the right subject matter and framing it in such a way that works best with the format and style that best suits your drawing preference. One point, two point and the ultra-cool "umbrella perspective" are all discussed and practiced by the group so that they might never have to be intimidated by anything over 15 stories tall.

In my own sketch correspondenct way, I decided that I would execute my capture of Paul's principles by employing a similar technique. When Paul made his rounds and checked in on how I was reporting on his workshop, he was tickled by this warped rendering and exclaimed "Alright, even the sketch correspondent is using my process!" It was a funny moment.

Now, if you are keeping score, you would expect that a third workshop report would appear here. Sadly, when I searched for the third workshop, they were not at the location that was indicated on our special correspondents' map. Ultimately, I was not able to register a proper report on the third workshop of the morning.

After the lunch break, I returned to the Financial district next to the Federal Plaza. This is the location where Calder's Flamingo is framed by three Mies van der Rohe buildings. The demonstration of Capturing the Rhythm and Energy of Chicago with Michigan artist Lisa Flahive focused on where cars, buses and pedestrians danced across the busy intersection and created a menu of motion, movement, color and sound. Way to go Lisa, and as her students definitely witnessed, she has a lot of rhythm and energy of her own.

I had a really proud Urban Sketchers moment when I was capturing Lisa Flahive's demonstration and the Sketchcrawl both happening at the Federal Plaza. I started to hear comments between curious pedestrians as they passed by the backdrop of artists sitting, standing, and squatting in every nook and cranny of the plaza. I knew the impact of what the Symposium was having on Chicago when I heard such comments as:
  • "Holy %#&@ there are a lot of artists sketching here" [at the Federal Building Plaza]
  • "Hey, you all must've been given a difficult homework assignment."
  • "There are sketchers everywhere we look for crying out loud!"
  • "You guys in some kind of art group or what?"
  • "Remember when we saw all those artists sketching by the Bean? I think this is the same group and now they're all here."
Go #urbansketchers nation, go.




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