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

Drawing Attention October 2017

President’s Message

Dear Urban Sketchers:

As we approach our 10th Anniversary on November 11, I would like to talk about our organization’s future. At the Symposium in Chicago, the Executive Board met with the Advisory Board and later held a strategic visioning session to discuss how to better promote on-location sketching, education, and outreach to our ever-growing global community. The session addressed a wide variety of issues from day-to-day operations to brainstorming on the future of events, workshops, and communications; all with the purpose of providing sound governance practices and a clear set of priorities for the immediate future of our organization and members. I would like to share some of the outcomes.

We are very fortunate to be part of a grassroots community of sketchers, instructors, and volunteers that is so dedicated to sketching, organizing events, teaching, and sharing. Our priority is to continue to focus and support education and group sketching. This year we will provide additional resources for chapters and instructors to organize events and workshops that include a variety of formats, new groups, and new locations. We realize that our annual symposium is wonderful, but to promote the values of urban sketching, we need to work closer with you all to support new educational events and activities and improve communication and sharing of information among all members. The Education and Event Directors, working with their volunteer committees and regional administrators, will lead this initiative. I will provide updates as things develop and I am sure there will be an exciting set of new events and activities in 2018.

There are also Board priorities to improve governance, record keeping, accounting, and fundraising to be more effective. More importantly, the session was crucial to direct our priorities for the coming year, and I hope this is a good beginning for the next 10 years.


Volunteer Opportunities

Urban Sketchers is currently seeking volunteers to fill the following positions.

  • Volunteer Treasurer
  • Volunteer Finance Committee Members
  • Volunteer Fundraising Team Members
  • Volunteer Grant Writer
  • Volunteer Writer for Drawing Attention
  • Volunteer Social Media Coordinator
  • Volunteer Events Director
For more information click HERE.


Upcoming Workshops

Reportage from Ischia Island with Gabriel Campanario, Simo Capecchi and Caroline Peyron on Ischia Island, Italy

October 4-8, 2017
Click HERE for more information.

Puzzling Out the Picture with Veronica Lawlor in New York

October 20-22, 2017
Click HERE for more information.

Meet William Cordero

Urban Sketchers organizes workshops taught by our top instructors in collaboration with USk chapters around the world. If you would like to bring an official USk workshop to your chapter, start the conversation with our Education Director, Mario Linhares at


A Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher

“A Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher” celebrates the lives of sketchers around the world and how they share work online. This monthly social media event will feature nine sketchers from six continents who will be sharing a day in their life in a USk Instagram and Twitter takeover. The featured sketcher will show their world, one drawing at a time by sharing approximately 6-10 posts on Instagram and Twitter during their day. Watch Drawing Attention and social media for an introduction to each sketcher. Sketches will be archived HERE.

This month Urban Sketcher Fernanda Vas de Campos from Brazil will share her Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher on October 8.

You can follow the “A Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher” @urbansketchers on Instagram and Twitter and check out the hashtag #uskdayinthelife.

Not on Instagram or Twitter? You can see the sketches on our website by clicking HERE.

2017 Symposium Lectures

Meet Mark Leibowitz

Click HERE to view Mark Leibowitz’s lecture at the 2017 Chicago Symposium called “What’s in Your Pocket?”

New USk Chapters 

USk is pleased to announce five new Regional Chapters. The newest groups to join the family are:

USk Devon & Cornwall
USk Brisbane
USk Pirineus
USk Riga
USk Delhi
Welcome to the Urban Sketchers family!


USk Pune Celebrates Second Annual Exhibition at Darpan Art Gallery

Urban Sketchers Pune held their second annual exhibition, called USP02, on Sept. 13 at Darpan Art Gallery. A group of 60 urban sketchers showcased over 180 pieces. The exhibition included demo sketching sessions for kids and adults new to urban sketching, as well as sketchbooks on display. The city of Pune provides a broad array of subject matter for sketchers, with its old traditional residences or ‘wadas,’ many temples, a labyrinth of alleys, charming streetscapes, and iconic structures. The exhibit also featured interesting vistas from Bhutan where the USk Pune members had recently travelled.

Each visitor to the exhibit was presented with a small card with a sketch by one of the members of USk Pune, which was very well received. This year’s exhibit saw a greater turnout of sketching enthusiasts and art collectors and more than 5000 followers on social media. USk Pune is looking forward to continued success in the coming years.

Sketching Hurricane Irma with James Richards

By Meagan Burns

Many of you are probably familiar with Urban Sketchers’ instructor and savant James Richards, who recently relocated with his wife Patti from Texas to Florida, just in time for this season’s hurricane season, which has been a doozy. Soon after they arrived to their coastal gulf home, they were told to make evacuation plans, as Hurricane Irma was headed straight for Florida, and much of the state appeared to be in jeopardy. They evacuated to the inland town of Lakeland, Florida and hunkered down as Irma made landfall, but thankfully she was quelled to a Category 1 by the time she reached their location.

Still, the winds were vicious and rains pounding, when James found a safe place within the hotel exterior that allowed him to experience the wind and rain without being completely exposed to flying debris. He began to draw.

“It was remarkable how sketching the storm robbed it of its power to terrify me -- I had a job to do, and the hurricane became an opportunity rather than a bogeyman.”

In the hours leading to and during the hurricane, Jim thought about the work of Ronnie Lawlor during the 9/11 attacks in New York, Simo Cappechi’s reportage of an Italian earthquakes, and Samantha Zaza’s sketches of Turkish unrest. Jim’s situation presented an opportunity to contribute something unique to the media coverage of the story.

When you show up, things happen. Be sure to have your sketchbook handy.

A local news crew was in the area to cover storm damage when they came upon Jim and interviewed him for their nightly report, which gave him an opportunity to talk about his urban sketching.

“I don’t recommend putting one’s self in harm’s way unnecessarily. But any of us may find ourselves in a dangerous situation not of our choosing. When that happens, draw!”

Learn more about Jim:

Symposium Behind the Scenes

By Maria Regina Tuazon

Want to know what goes on behind the scenes to set up an Urban Sketchers International Symposium? It’s definitely not easy, especially if done single-handedly. Good thing we have teams of volunteers working together. Different areas of expertise and fields of experience come together from all corners of the planet to make this special event a must-sketch! There may be challenges but the rewards are sweeter and even more fulfilling!

A big round of applause to the volunteers behind the making of #USkChicago2017. The Symposium team was tirelessly coordinated by Fernanda Vaz de Campos, who brought with her 4 years of invaluable symposium team experience. Fervently working on this year's team was also Alvin Wong, Wiltfried Pathuis, Maria Regina Tuazon, and Chicago's very own, Alexandra Zonis, Barbara Weeks & Joel Berman.

As the Symposium was center stage in her life for the last four years, Fernanda will be taking a break to pursue some personal and career goals including sketching on the top of her list. Big thanks to Fernanda for all her contributions to Urban Sketchers. Wishing her success and fulfilment in her future endeavours.

Get a full round-up of our amazing unsung heroes this year here. To everyone who made the Symposium possible, THANK YOU! To everyone who attended this year and followed the event online, THANK YOU for joining the 8th Urban Sketchers International Symposium. Very soon, it will be time to meet again in Porto for the 9th USk Symposium 2018!


Pat Southern-Pearce: Ongoing Experimentation and Exquisite Handwriting

By Pedro Loureiro

Two things stand out in Pat Southern-Pearce’s art and make it unique: her ongoing experimentation of different kinds of paper and media; and her exquisite handwriting, which balances, or better yet, completes her marvelously detailed sketches.

The Chicago Symposium benefited from the latter skill. Pat lead a workshop there named “Adding Lettering to Sketches” that, in its three instances, attracted a crowd of 15-plus participants to the Gallery of the American Academy of Art, close to the Symposium venue. As she recalls, “they were held in an upstairs room with big tables--perfect for our purpose, even though the views weren’t amazing”.

As a lifelong artist and painter, Pat strove for getting a “free expressive line” from the participants, focusing, quite relevantly, on “not drawing and colouring in – but working all over the sketch at the same time, rather like a painting” as she points out. She condensed all this into two short exercises, where participants had to sketch the skyline from the windows, focusing on design and layout.

But the main focus, of course, was how drawing and color should be laid out harmoniously with lettering.

“I love to play about with letters to fill spaces and to balance the whole feel of a page and give it unity,” Pat explains.

In the workshop handout, participants practiced conforming type to narrow spaces on tester pages. After that, it was down to adding interesting lettering to the previously done sketches, complementing lettering to the existing linework and color.

Lettering hasn’t always been present in Pat’s art. “I kept an A3 sketchbook during my 5 years of art School but it wasn’t a memory book as mine are now,” she explains.

The story of how Pat came to write more often is a beautiful one, and a testament to her sensibility and storytelling power: On the eve of flying to New Orleans in the 90’s, Pat confides, “a special friend gave me an A6 hardbound sketchbook saying ‘I’d love to come with you but I can’t. Take this with you and draw for me – be my eyes and ears. Just draw and write down your feelings.’” Lucky for all of us urban sketchers, she kept doing it long after her trip.

To view Pat’s handout from the 2017 Symposium click HERE.


Umberto Torricelli’s Postcards from Chicago

By Susan Rogers

At the 8th International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago this year Umberto Torricelli’s workshop, titled, Postcards from Chicago, focussed on graphic reportage.
“Most of the time, when we are sketching,” Umberto explains, “we just sit down and draw, without any sort of planning about what will be our final page. That’s fine but sometimes a more well-thought out approach can better describe a place.”

In the workshop, Umberto stressed the need to spend time looking around. Sketchers often want to convey what they think is important about a place. It could be people, architecture, landmarks or scenes of everyday life. Text such as descriptions and titles can enhance the page and give a more complete vision of the subject. He then encouraged participants to draw some quick thumbnails, concentrating on scenes or a subject that attracted their attention. These thumbnails became the bricks to building a reportage page. 

Umberto advised that once you have these elements you can begin to set them up in an organic composition. Participants were encouraged to design their pages according to the information they wanted to convey and to think of text, lettering and the size of these elements as part of the overall design. Participants liked his approach because it focussed on a theoretical basis to page composition rather than dealing with drawing techniques.

Umberto adds, “designing a reportage page allows you to add a time dimension to your drawing. You can include different moments, views and details which allow the viewer to take a stroll through the place you sketched.”

Umberto admits that he is a slow sketcher but he finds that if he is short of time, he takes a simpler drawing approach. He reduces the size of drawings, framing smaller parts of the view to suggest the whole thing. He uses negative space to avoid drawing big but not meaningful subjects. And, most importantly he plans out his composition before starting to draw. He adds, “if you can figure out where will you put different graphic and text elements the page will come together.”

To view Umberto’s 2017 Symposium notes click HERE.

The Journey of HK: An exhibition in Chengdu Taikoo Li

By Vanessa Leung

Recently, USkHK had the pleasure of being invited by the Hong Kong Economics and Trade Office (CDETO) in Chengdu, China to organize an exhibition at the beautifully restored Guangdong hall, one of the oldest buildings in Taikoo Li, Chengdu. The exhibition was a tremendous success. The perfectly framed sketches were neatly displayed and brightly spotted on the exhibition panels under the high pitched wooden ceiling in the Guangdong Hall.

Three months of preparation paid off. The impressive exhibition included 132 sketches organized under 10 themes that best represent Hong Kong, including the spectacular skyline, special historic buildings, local shops and markets, Chinese tenement houses, Chinese temples, custom and traditions, local eateries, old district and alleys and fishing ports etc. This is the first urban sketching exhibition in China and is also the biggest exhibition USkHk has ever organized.

On the day of the opening, organizers were interviewed by local media and several consulates joined the ceremonial ribbon cutting. The following day an Intro to Urban Sketchers Workshop was organized. Participants were introduced to urban sketching and our manifesto with a short demonstration and were then encouraged to try urban sketching for themselves using sketchbooks and pencils that were provided.

Great job by organizers Rob Sketcherman, Vanessa Leung, Gary Yeung, Ben Luk and Alvin Wong! To learn more about this dynamic chapter please visit their Facebook page.

This exhibition runs from 22 Sept to 8 Oct 2017.


24hr Sketchwalk

To celebrate Urban Sketcher’s 10th anniversary, USk is organizing a 24hr Global Sketchwalk that will be held on November 11, 2017.

USk chapters around the world will host sketchwalks in their cities on that day. Through our social media accounts we will travel across the globe over 24 hours, following the time zones, as we broadcast hourly the sketchwalks happening live in different cities.

Get your local chapter listed in the 24hr Sketchwalk schedule by sending an email to

For more information, click

The Spirit of Camaraderie in Columbus

By Mark Anderson

Like many chapters, members of Urban Sketches Columbus (OH) hail from colorful and diverse backgrounds. Architects and graphic designer mingle with accountants, classroom teachers, and retirees. Yet despite the apparent diversity, one thing in particular seems to motivate group sketching.

“The appeal was to have access to people interested in sketching from around the world,” says group administrator Laura Darcy. “It’s exciting to people to know that there is interest in sketching shared by so many people from so many different places.”

As Laura describes the enthusiasm of the Columbus group, the social aspect pops up again and again. Perhaps this is part of the secret of a group whose numbers continue to grow each month: Sharing sketches, sitting around afterwards enjoying the company of the like-minded, and meeting new friends.

“Smart, creative, and interesting people – it’s just a lot of fun!” Laura clearly shares the enthusiasm of the group.

Sketching in Columbus is heightened by the variety of excellent locations. In particular, Laura cites the many urban parks. From Franklin Park Conservatory in a park-like setting close to downtown to the Park of Roses, this chapter has a rich tapestry of botanicals, attractive parks and a newly renovated waterfront that offers river front views of the skyline, beautiful bridges, and easy access to historically important architecture.

Laura shares that she likes to pick one or two people to sit with while sketching. Because their emphasis is strongly inclusive, the group is indeed diverse and comprised of all skill levels, ages, and interests. And that one thing in particular that seems to move the group forward?

“Simpático,” Laura exclaims. “We’re an open and friendly group and we’re creating a community of people who feel part of the group.”

Parka Reviews

by Teoh Yi Chie

Teoh Yi Chie is an infographics journalist who joined Urban Sketchers Singapore in 2009. He's probably better known as Parka from a website that reviews art books and art products.

This month Parka video reviews Spectrum Noir pens. Check it out!

Share your Chapter’s news with our Readers

Contact us to share your chapter’s news, special events, joint meetups, and exhibitions with our readers. 

You don’t need to write the story yourself. We will assign a super DA writer like Susan Rogers to cover your story! 

Contact us at


Read the September edition of Drawing Attention.


Drawing Attention Mandate

Drawing Attention, the official monthly newsletter of the Urban Sketchers organization, communicates and promotes official USk workshops, symposiums, sketchcrawls, news and events; shares news about USk chapters; and educates readers about the practice of on-location sketching.

Thanks to this month’s Drawing Attention contributors.

Managing Editor: Brenda Murray
Copy Editor: Lauren McVittie
Mailchimp layout: Suzi Briggs
Website layout: Joann Sondy
Writer: Susan Rogers
Writer: Mark Anderson
Writer: Meagan Burns
Writer: Lauren McVittie
Writer: Pedro Loureiro
Contributor: Parka
Contributor: Maria Regina Tuazon
Contributor: Vanessa Leung
Contributor: Amber Sausen

To subscribe to Drawing Attention click HERE.

Drawing Attention circulation: 6,750 (Sep 28, 2017)

Urban Sketchers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the art of on-location drawing. Consider making a donation today. Click HERE to make your tax-deductible contribution via Paypal.




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