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

Urban Sketching With Kids at Atwater Market

[Guest post by Julie Prescesky in Montreal, Canada] It’s a very empowering thing to let go of your notions of perfection and, with a few key basic steps, be able to produce a snippet of your experience of any given place. Urban sketching is about more than drawing what you are looking at. It’s about immersing yourself in the place where you are and drinking in all of the things you might never have noticed had you not stopped to look at it with a sketcher’s eye. It’s about connecting with your community and the passers-by who often have some interesting tidbit to share of their own experience of the place.

Urban sketching is for everyone, no matter the age or skill level. It’s an amazing thing for youth to get involved in, for all of the reasons I just mentioned, and for the incalculable emotional benefits that finding an avenue of expression can provide. Urban sketching allows the sketcher to take ownership (and control) of where they are in the world, in their own small, but significant way. And it makes me think, in this sometimes dizzying digital world we live in, it’s a profound thing to actually step outside and be a part of the world, to slow down and see – I mean really see – something. And then to record your interpretation of it in a way that is uniquely you.

To this end, I teamed up with the Workshops Program of to offer a one day sketching workshop for kids and teens. As these things go, they are hard to get off the ground sometimes, and in the summer, even harder, so the teen class was shelved due to under-enrollment. For any of you hoping to plan something like this in summer in your community, note that advertising for workshops is more effective if done in late winter/early spring when parents are looking to book summertime activities to keep their kids busy.

The kids’ class went ahead. We had four kids and four parents. I had offered the class free to parents if they wanted to stay with their children ( but it was optional). The thinking behind this was that, 1) it would help me to be able to solely focus on teaching and not have to worry about wrangling possibly wayward kids and the legalities of the adult to child ratio, and 2) sometimes kids need a little extra over-the-shoulder encouragement. These were only really a concern if I had filled the class to 15 children, in which case, I may have struggled to meet the needs of all of them on my own. Granted, I would have brought my 16 year old daughter along as my helper, but I decided to experiment with the free parent thing. Aside from my more selfish reasons, it was really sweet to see parents and children learning together. As it was, we were a nice sized group.

We focused on the basics of perspective. It made for a sort-of dry-ish first hour, I’ll need to tweak that, but I think it helped the kids (and parents) to feel more confident when diving into their sketches. In the future I think the 3hr-one-day time block is maybe not ideal for kids (tweens). Even though it went quickly, I think they would benefit more from a more drawn out approach. A regular weekly meeting may be a good way to go, or a week long daily class. Perhaps in the future I will offer a family class for a reduced rate instead of the free offer to parents, in order to have the option of all family members to take part. I’m also looking at other class models, like day camps for professional days off school (we call them PED days here).

If you have any feedback on art related classes you or your children have taken, or tips and tricks that you have used for rallying and teaching your own creative kids classes, please share in the comments.

For more of Julie's work see





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