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

Airship treasures of Hangar B

[Guest post by Thomas Kerr in Rockaway Beach at Floyd Bennett Field, New York]
  I'm a guy who likes to draw. I've been doing so for 40 years, focused on where I happen to be. Until recently, I figured that such work was just for me, not knowing about the Urban Sketchers. Then someone pointed me to the New York chapter and I met Mark Leibowitz who introduced me to what it was they were doing in New York City.

I noticed that your blog focuses on locations and there is a favorite I like to draw near to where I live in Rockaway Beach…namely Hangar B at Floyd Bennett Field. A historic location and the site of many world speed and distance records for flight, it is now largely abandoned. Hangar B sits off of Rockaway Inlet and is home to many old aircraft. In 2012 it was closed as the roof was ripped off due to Hurricane Sandy. In 2015/16 it reopened and though the hours to visit are very limited I made my way to document the interior space featuring all the historic airships found there. 

My first drawing (at the top) was made prior to the Hangar’s reopening in 2015. I’d be back a month later to go inside, until then I had to make do by drawing this Stratotanker parked outside the facility. I’d later learn it had no affiliation with the hangar.

Occasionally, schools visit and veterans who volunteer lead them through the space showing them various aircraft and even letting them into a few. The technical challenge of the space is significant, but I find it meditative and invigorating. A hand built replica of the Winne Mae, Willie Post’s record setting monoplane. Innovative for its day, it is the first stop on the tour of Hangar B.

A Coast Guard Pelican Helicopter. I’d later go in and draw from the cabin.

This is the interior of the rescue helicopter. In the distance, the Neptune sits at the hangar doors.

This is a watercolor sketch of the side of a WWII bomber. This part is simply salvage, but I found it interesting. Below are a number of engines and parts for the aircraft.

A Neptune sub hunter. In front, one of the veterans recounts his experience working on-board these planes.

The front of the Neptune. I had thought about squeezing into the bombardier’s space, but it occurred that the view was simply of the wall currently at my back. 

Marked Quantico, this twin engine Beachcraft is in beautiful shape.

The smallest plane in the hangar seats one and apparently still flies. It seems out of place amongst the behemoths surrounding it. I thought it made for an interesting subject.

An A7 fighter, very similar to the one that Senator John McCain was shot down in. A marvel of engineering but when you look carefully at it, it becomes apparent how built for speed this rascal is. Big engines, very aerodynamic with a tiny cockpit.

Between the tail of a flying boat and the DC 7 is a two-pilot trainer dating back to WWII. To the right a vet affects repairs as a visitor looks on.

A biplane nestled under the wing of a flying boat.

In the foreground a missile behind a NYC flying boat. Nice challenge to draw.

A stripped down flying boat, awaiting a paint job and replacement parts.

This sketch has a bit of a story to it. It is the interior of the Stratotanker at the start. It is not part of the Hangar B with New York Parks, but rather is privately owned. I approached a fellow who was working on it and introduced myself, followed by showing him the sketches I made of the exterior of his plane while waiting for the Hangar to reopen. Enthused, he asked if I’d like the chance to draw the cockpit. “Would I!” He gave me 45 minutes in the jump seat up there. Yes I did do some of the dialog from Airplane—the movie—while I was up there, but managed to get this down.

I drew this one at the start of the summer. The Stratotanker was about to leave. Glenn, the mechanic who let me into the cockpit, asked if I’d like to attend its lift off. It would be a historic one at that, being the last fixed-wing takeoff from Floyd Bennet Field ever…wow I thought. I was allowed onto the runway and got this sketch in. Unfortunately as she revved her engines one caught fire and the whole runway was covered in billowing white smoke. Fire suppressors cut in and the NYFD doused the flames. Back to square one, as it was towed back to Hangar B to see what could be done. The Stratotanker still sits, with hopes being that it’ll take to the air and to its permanent home in New Jersey later this year. 

I’ll return to this location, and recommend it to any urban sketcher who likes drawing aircraft in an unhurried, though complicated space.

Thomas Kerr is a professional illustrator at work in the New York area for 30 years. He has been published widely in the United States new media with his editorial illustration featured in The New York Times, Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, amongst many others. He is a tenured professor at St. John’s University, teaching Illustration. See more of his work on his website.





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