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

Beaches and forts of Alibag, India

[Guest post by Abishek D.S. in Alibag, India]

 I recently travelled to Alibag, a small coastal town 120 kilometres from Mumbai. On this two-day trip with my friends I documented impressions and recorded memories in monochrome sketches using silver and gold coloured markers. Mostly they were completed within 10 minutes.

Like the one pictured at the top, Alibag has many street carts selling snow ice. This is one of the major attractions for tourists to enjoy varied Indian flavours of snow ice. My favourite flavour is kalakatta which is tangy in taste and most popular among other flavours like lime, watermelon, or strawberry. You also get to eat a multi-flavoured gola snow ice which is popular.

Being a coastal area, Alibag serves fresh seafood delicacies. These are hot, out-of-the-pan, usually deep fried and served with some onion rings. This will give you an experience to taste Indian seafood from a street cart. The pricing is worth the serving for budget tourists.

This is the hotel where we checked in. Most of the constructions in town have slanting roofs as it rains cats and god's during monsoons.

Kolaba Fort is one of the main tourist attractions in Alibag. Built in the 17th century, it is situated in the sea at the distance of 1-2 km from the shore of Alibag Beach. It therefore can be visited only during low tides, either on foot or on a horse cart. The fort acted as a naval station for the great king of Maharastra, Shri. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. We could not visit the fort due to high tide, so I sketched the fort exterior from the beach. The beach is crowded with tourists, lots of horse carts and a few dogs.

Kashid Beach is around 50 km from Alibag. It is a white sand beach with scenic beauty. It has many water sports including paragliding, banana boat rides, speedboat rides and sand biking.

Nagaon Beach, 15km away from Alibag, is a black sand beach famous for adventure sports like speed boating. It is relatively cleaner than the main Alibag beach and has many Australian pine trees. The sketch here shows the horse cart seen with a shelter on Nagaon Beach. You can also see several boats heading into the sea. Usually, a bigger boat is connected to smaller boats which tow them in the sea.

This is the century-old Hindu Balaji temple which is in the city centre. It has two domes, one is round and other is a tier shaped which is mostly inspired from ancient temple domes from southern India.

Flavoured pani-puri is one of the most savoured street food. A puff-pastry stuffed with potato, it is a speciality of Alibag, sold at very few other places. Each plate of pani-puri consists of six flavours, like pudina (mint), sweet, sour, spicy, regular flavour, garlic, or lemon. My favourite is mint. Go try for yourself to experience the Indian roadside serving for an evening snack. A regular flavour pani-puri is made of tamarind mixed with spices. 

A horse cart ride is the most sought-after activity at the Alibag beach front. Horses are short, resembling ponies. Each horse cart is crafted with a different design. Each one can carry up to six customers. The cart drivers are locals whose primary income is to make money through tourism. So, take a memory home, enjoy the ride.

A balloon seller on the beach is set up next to the watch tower. One can walk on the beach with a heart-shaped balloon!

On our last day in Alibag, our final spot was Murud-Janjira, the fort situated in the middle of the sea. It is considered to be one of the strongest marine forts in India. Boats seen in the sketch are boats which carry 35 passengers. These boats are managed by three drivers who manually shift the mast based on the wind direction, which is a tedious task. The ride would last for a good 20 minutes before you see the magnificent fort.

It was a memorable trip as I could record my entire travel through sketches on the spot, using minimal drawing tools.

Abishek D.S. describes himself as a daylight banker and a passionate urban sketcher and illustrator from Mumbai, India. He is part of USk Mumbai. See more of his work on Instagram: @Inkswamy





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