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

What to Know Before You Arrive in Chicago

All set and ready for the 8th International Urban Sketchers Symposium? Some things to know to get you up to speed about the Symposium schedule and travel in Chicago. For more information, here are quick links to Travel Tips and Frequently Asked Questions . See you soon!

Where to go:
  • On Wednesday, July 26, check in at Roosevelt Goodman Arts Center between 12:30 and 17:30 (we are using 24-hour time for the schedule. So, 17:30 = 5:30 PM, etc.)
  • Chicago Urban Sketchers is hosting a Welcome Sketchwalk from 14:30 onward. More information will be available at the event.
  • After the Sketchwalk, join us for an Opening Reception + Keynote by Gabi Campanario, celebrating 10 years of Urban Sketching at 18:00 at Roosevelt Goodman Center. Symposium registrants attend for free.
  • Schedule information for Thursday, Friday and Saturday can be found here on our site. The Closing Reception on Saturday is free to Symposium attendees. More information about receptions will be available at the event.
  • The Final and Open Sketchcrawl will take place on Saturday, July 29, 14:30 - 17:30 at the Sir Georg Solti Garden.
  • More information about meeting locations will be available to you when you check in at the Symposium.
What to bring:
  • Print your schedule from Eventbrite or use their app! Log into your Eventbrite account (use the same email you purchased your ticket with), click on the link for 8th Urban Sketchers Symposium - Chicago 2017 under Upcoming Events, click Print Tickets on the left menu to download a PDF of your schedule.
  • An umbrella is handy, but don’t forget the sunscreen, hat and drinking water, too. A large portion of events take place outside, so be prepared for the elements. 
  • Bring your favorite sketchbook and sketching materials. A few sponsors will also be selling materials onsite.
  • Some sketchers like to bring small, portable stools.
  • Remember to leave some space in your luggage for the materials you will receive at the Symposium.
  • Consider bringing pre-printed cards with your contact information to trade with other sketchers.
  • Chicago weather in July is sunny, hot and humid.
  • Temperature ranges from 81 - 87 °F (27 - 31 °C). 95 °F (35°C) during the day (or may or may not) fall to 61 - 66 °F (16 - 19 °C) at night. 
  • From O’Hare Airport, 24-hour rapid trains to the city generally run in intervals of 10 minutes into Lasalle station via the CTA Blue Line. Slow hours at 15-min and peak hours at 5-min intervals. The average travel time is about 45 minutes.
Your Registration:
  • You can view your registration at any time by visiting
  • Print your schedule from Eventbrite or use their app
  • To ensure a quality experience for all, we expect you to follow your workshop schedule during the Symposium.
Symposium Blog and Social Media:
  • Visit the Symposium blog for information from instructors and updates about the event. 
  • Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and join the Facebook group to meet other attendees.
  • Use the hashtag #USkChicago2017 to connect on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook tohare your experience.
More questions?
  • Contact
  • You’ll also get a leaflet at check-in with information about everything happening at the event.
See you in Chicago!





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