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

Saturday: Final Workshops and the World Sketch walk

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

Today was the final day for workshops, sketch walks and the 2017 World Sketch Walk. The above sketch was my attempt to give readers a sense of the Goodman Center Central Meeting Hall (internally known as "The Hub.") What started out as my comprehensive sketch of The Hub (inspired by Paul Heaston), I found an opportunity to pay tribute to the 20-30 volunteers from USk Chicago who performed countless number of assistance to workshop instructors, provide guidance to attendees, and all in all ensure that the Symposium ran smoothly and like clockwork. Oftentimes the City of Chicago would surprise our team and instructors with unexpected changes and the volunteers would have to quickly communicate the change to hundreds of affected people. Perhaps the biggest derail was the change in location for our World Sketch Crawl but we still filled the hill underneath General Logan with a large impressive crowd of artists. Thank you to all of the red-shirted Chicago volunteers.

My assignment duties began by assisting Steven Reddy by corralling his students in a collective group within the Congress Plaza North--the meeting area for workshops throughout the week. Once we had what looked like a quorum, our group marched to the North Gardens of the Art Institute of Chicago (the area north of the Lion known as "On The Prowl).

Steve Reddy gave a brief introduction to his lesson plan, his typical art supplies travel kit, his published books and his online Craftsy courses. Then he proceeded to demonstrate his process of thumbnails to select a scene, mixing of watercolors, quick warm-up exercises, filling up the whole page and his motto of "sketch only those objects that you can feel." It is certainly a process that this cross-hatching artist is most accustomed and yet still learned much from my short time observing him. But the sketch correspondent must move on.

The next workshop lead me to the Printer's Row area beneath the shadow of the familiar Dearborn Station clocktower. Here, students of William Cordero's "Textures in Urban Settings" learned to look for textures, organic shapes, patterns and reflections within architectural details. They began by filling small squares on their page with patterns which they noticed and tiled them on each page. Textures tend to blend into the background and go relatively unnoticed until trained to look for them. Then the patterns reveal themselves like fireworks on Independence Day.

By coincidence, a group of urban sketchers on their sketch walk also decended on this same area and filled up the sidewalks with their gaze focused on The Dearborn Station clock tower. Finally, something different and, perhaps, as challenging to sketch as The Bean. It was the final leg of their sketch walk and weighted to spend a little more time here than the previous destinations.

But soon, my hour allotment of an hour per workshop was coming to an end and it was time to move on to my final workshop of the Symposium.

My search ended at the Gallery of the American Academy of Art. The workshop was well into their instruction from the lovely Pat Southern Pearce. By the time I had arrived, they had already learned about conforming letterforms into tight and narrow spaces by condensing and stretching them to fill the space. This exercise would come in handy since Pat next challenged her students to look out the windows of the third floor room and select an architectural scene to sketch.

Once the architecture had been sketched, then the next step, as Ms. Pearce would instruct, is to fit the type into the sketch, not to fit the architecture around the type. The sketch below captures some of the students sketching their building scene, and then, as directed, I fit the type into the open area of the layout.

I ended up joining a small group of sketchers with Pat Southern Pearce for lunch and caught up with the Sketch Crawl late. There was still plenty of time to sketch in the southern part of Grant Park. I partnered with one of my fellow Chicagoans, Brian Wright and we headed over to the local skate park specifically designed for skateboards, scooters and trick bikes. It provided a much-needed opportunity for me to let loose and just capture motion and body language from skaters on the edge of balance and peril, all with the intent of defying gravity.
Initially I began sketching these studies with a fine point Uniball but quickly switched to a medium point brush tip marker to achieve a more expressive line.





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