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

Friday July 28: Bones, Dogs Trees and Fountains

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

Friday's Workshop adventures began by accompanying the always-amazing Lapin on the 15-minute trek to The Field Museum of Natural History, located in the museum campus on the very south edge of the Symposium area. Lapin had arranged for his workshops to have free access to the impressive exhibit of the tyrannosaurus rex bones known simply as "Sue." Once inside, Lapin gave a brief lecture on why this collection of bones is significant and how he wanted this very location for his workshop the moment Chicago was announced as the 2016 Symposium. For the next three hours, students in this workshop would work on quick studies to determine which was the best vantage point for them. Lapin reasoned that you would hate to spend so much time on a finished sketch of a subject only to find that there was a better angle just a few feet away. The fast studies allow you to conduct quick trials to figure this out sooner rather than later. Once the optimal view is found, then students could work on a more detailed portrait of the bones and finally breathing life into the sketch in the final exercise. I will have to admit, even as a Chicago native, this exhibit never ceases to amaze me and is one heck of a sketch subject.

Soon it was time to move on to the next workshop location (which thankfully was only at the base of the steps leading out of the Field Museum). There I joined up with Mike Daikubara's "Sketch Now, Think Later" workshop. Now here is a cruel premise for a workshop: go to the hot dog stand, purchase a hot dog with the works, open it up and sketch it but don't eat it. Mike Daikubara's intent is not to torture his students but to encourage them to sketch quicker without the typical hurdles that we often tell ourselves.

Here are some ideas Mike has for his students:
Sketching with a limited amount of tools allows you to approach sketching situations faster.
Sketching with a limited amount of techniques allows you to capture the moment faster.
Sketching within a limited amount of time allows you to create better-looking work since it allows you to concentrate harder.

Students first sketched the hot dogs because Mike knew it would prompt his students to get to the sketch quicker so that they could eat that early lunch.

My last workshop of the morning was a very long scooter ride (yes, I was pushing myself around from workshop to workshop on a little blue kick scooter) up Lake Shore Drive to The Formal Gardens on Michigan Avenue. Originally this workshop was located in a garden that had since been closed off by the preparations for Lalapalooza. There I met up with Virginia Hein's "The Color of Light in the Garden" workshop. With this being the third workshop, the students were well underway with their final paintings. I had enough time settle in and compose this sketch of Virginia with the gardens in the background, barefoot, looking like she was in her element. If this was a concept sketch, I think I would have added butterflies and birds sitting on her shoulders like a Disney princess. When Virginia and I met for the first time, I explained that I was capturing her workshop as a correspondent and I showed her what I had been working on. She was embarrassed by being barefooted. She explained that there were wet bogs within these gardens and she had already soaked one of her shoes by stepping in one. Thus the bare feet.

After a quiet lunch where I was able to recharge my phone and clean up my notes about the morning's workshops, I met back at Congress Plaza where I followed Shari Blaukopf's group to practically the same location of the one I just left with Virginia Hein an hour earlier. No worries. On such a warm day, the shade of the trees created a nice cooling breeze.

At the risk of repeating myself, the key points of Shari's workshop are contained within the sketch below. And I really cannot fully explain why a sketch capture of a workshop on beautiful green trees was rendered by me in warm grey markers. Very odd.

After an hour hanging out with Shari Blaukopf and the trees, it was time for me to scooter on over to my next location. At the corner of Harrison and Wabash, just one block south of the Goodman Center, this workshop has the easiest journey of all. Here I met with Jason Das for his energetic process for figuring out perspective without all of the complicated math equations and grid lines so often attributed to vanishing lines and one or two-point perspective.

From what I picked up in this workshop, Jason has a very practical and easy-to-remember strategy of using the objects already within the scene. Perspective is determined by how objects relate to each other. Line them up correctly and the perspective will fall into place.

For my final workshop of the day, I weaved on my scooter around cracks and potholes up to Buckingham Fountain where I expected to find Rob Sketcherman's "Urban Sketching on an iPad" workshop. I was unsuccessful but I did happen to stumble across Renato Palmuti's "Watercolor Techniques for Fast Cityscapes" workshop. When the sketch correspondent arrives to a workshop that has already been in progress for a couple of hours, most all of the techniques have been discussed and demonstrated so by the time I arrive I simply try to access what the lessons were and see how they have been applied. In many cases I am able obtain a handout, but in Renato's case, I was able to start sketching out my sketch capture and chat with the instructor later.

I was able to find out that students in this workshop were charged with selecting a scene, and rendering it with layers moving from lights to darks. Final touches, such as the brilliance of water droplets in the Buckingham Fountain were accomplished with white gouache as needed.

Towards the end of the workshop, a couple of curious young men approached our group and started asking about what kind of group we were and what we were working on. Young men have a habit of dressing with a certain attire that could be misinterpreted as a threat, but these guys were very engaged and impressed with what talent they saw from the group. One of the students were informing them about Urban Sketchers and soon they were pulling out their phones and looking up the website and Facebook page. They turned out to be very impressed and respectful young men.

As I was to learn later, scenes like this where onlookers were very interested in the mission of Urban Sketchers were playing out all across the city where sketchers were literally drawing attention.





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