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".
Blog
Flickr

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

New York: a trip of a lifetime

[Guest post by Anna Cottone in New York City]
  April and May are the best to visit New York. This year, at the age of 70, I have realized, along with my two daughters, the dream that I have caressed for so long. Before starting a trip I read books and stories, study a bit of history, look at maps. Before I left my home in Palermo, Sicily, I studied the location of the neighborhoods: Chelsea, Tribeca, Greenwich Village, Upper West Side, Upper East Side.


When I got there, I immediately fell in love with the skyscrapers. From the Empire State Building (see at the beginning), the skyscrapers next to it hypnotizes my look that seeks to distinguish places that have already been visited. From there, one perceives the size of Manhattan, where the bridges link it to the other districts. From there, flying like Batman or Superman, flowered terraces of buildings with shiny surfaces mirror sunlight at sunset.


But as there is a city exploding above, there is another that is sinking into the subsoil. It is the one from the subway lines that we took every day, an underground city full of humanity and stories. Underground finds its completeness and its reason in Ground Zero, the area of ​​the great tragedy that struck the city in 2001. It was the first stop of our tribute to the city.

In silence we approached the two large tanks and read the incised names, visited the memorial, and heard the voices of witnesses, of relatives and of friends. And like 16 years ago (while I was watching, helpless and in dismay at the scenes that flowed into an unreal silence on television), I fully relived the tragedy of this city, which the two great wounds in the ground testify.


The Statue of Liberty guards the city from small Liberty Island. It welcomes us on a windy day among thousands of tourists who are photographed under the big statue with the fist of the raised hand. It represents the American dream that has welcomed emigrants from all over the world even Sicilians, like us. On the boat, the scenery south of Manhattan is breathtaking.


It is not possible to go to New York and not to visit Central Park. How many movies have I seen in the park, how many images come back to memory? It seems to me as if I had always lived in this city.


We would live for seven days on Manhattan Avenue, in the Harlem district, north of Central Park.


We walk from Harlem to the Guggenheim. I feel welcome. The Guggenheim envelops me with its elegant spirals and projects me into the art of avant-garde, Kandinsky, Chagall, Klee, Picasso, Brancusi.


On the third day a torrential rain moves us into museums. The Natural History and the Met both face the central area of ​​Central Park. The giant dinosaur skeletons of the Museum of Natural History teach me about our evolutionary history.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the richest museums I have ever visited. Of course it is impossible to see it in a few hours, but two or three halls, I was able to taste it. I stopped to draw The Temple of Dendur and the temporary exhibit of Japanese designer Almet Rei Kawakubo.


We dedicated one day to Brooklyn and its bridge. That long walk in the May sun, with the blue river, the skyscrapers in the background, I will not forget. The iron architecture of this bridge allows an elevated pedestrian crossing and car crossings below. A crowd of tourists travel across it on foot and on bicycle. Everyone, I think, has a happy look. They are living a myth. And perhaps visiting New York generally gives the same feeling to happiness, because here is the myth of modernity.

Anna Cottone is an architect, industrial designer, writer and illustrator from Palermo, Italy. Learn more about her work on this website and her Facebook page.

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