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

Hallowe'en Marks the Start of Winter (Still Sketching Though)

[by Róisin Curé in Galway] Years ago, I brought my kids trick or treating along the dark country roads near my home in the deep Kilcolgan countryside. Those times are over now. My youngest is thirteen, my boy is sixteen and my eldest is seventeen ("nearly 18 and an adult, you know" as she never stops reminding us). I'm glad those times are over. I have lovely memories but it was a lot of work for me.

 I used to say to my kids, "If I do something for you that you can do for yourself, I'm not doing you any favours." It stemmed partly on my being overworked and partly from being something I strongly believed. I usually caved in, but I don't any more, or they won't be able to fend for themselves in a few years. So when they wanted me to give them ideas for doing something fun for Hallowe'en, I had a ready answer: "Google it."
 They had a lot of fun. This is the product of my daughter Liv's search. I thought it was great. When I gave permission for those jeans to be used, I wasn't wearing my glasses, so I didn't know they were mine. Never mind! I figured there was only so much damage rats, slugs and crows can do in one night.

 My husband and I were fervently watching Breaking Bad in a desperate binge to get in Season Three before it was taken off Netfix. My husband is one of those people who doesn't tolerate fidgeting or sounds while he's watching something, but I had an overpowering urge to paint the pumpkin that my son Paddy had carved. Until then, I didn't realise how noisy sketching can be. But try stopping a sketcher when the fever is upon them.

 Two days later the weather was beautiful. My daughter and I took the little dog Reuben for a walk up the road past my house, to the old ruin on the banks of the estuary that runs past the end of my field. If you walk down a bódhrín (little road, grassy path) that leads from the house to the water, you are in a different world: the house was built in 1789 and burnt out in the 1920s. There are still walled gardens, cobbled walkways, turreted walls and a quay that never sees any boats pull in. It is utterly deserted but set in the most gentle, pristine countryside so has a magical feeling about it.
On one of the paths, a storm had brought down a tree and Liv clambered all over it. She was delighted with herself. "Why aren't you anxious for me, Mum?" she kept calling. "I'm in danger here!" I was only dimly conscious of my duties as a mother and so I told her, with difficulty, that she didn't have very far to fall, but that she was NOT to rip her new jeans. I couldn't help thinking of the trees I climbed as a child. They weren't very high - I'm scared of heights - but they were pointing upwards. It's funny, I would never in a fit have gone off for a casual walk with my mother to muck about in the countryside. I'm very flattered that my daughter wants to. My mum walked all the time, but always very fast and with a destination in mind, and there was no stopping for any reason, unless you wanted to be left on your own. And we lived on a mountainside, so you would have to have huffed and puffed UP the hill to catch up.
 The next day Liv wanted to walk there again.  I invited her big brother Paddy because (a) he's marvellous company and (b) he would have been glued to his screen all day if I had not suggested something outdoorish to do. This is the corollary of accompanying the kids places: they are far less likely than I was at their age to head off on their own. Then again, since I was often up to no good when I went off on my own (smoking, fretting and feeling sorry for myself), maybe I should be glad.

 The kids both "climbed" the fallen tree. Paddy started breaking off twigs and chucking them at Liv. The tide was unusually high and the water's edge was now at the furthermost tips of the tree. I could see things escalating and someone landing in the drink (or ripping their jeans) so I figured it was time for a sketch. Paddy is always very obliging when I ask him to sit for me and he happily took up a place opposite the tree, on the edge of the quay.
You can see how high the tide was - we can often walk along the seaweed at the foot of the quay wall. The wall behind Paddy is one of the walled compounds belonging to the ruined manor house. It's full of cows now.

 So there you have it. Yes, summer is long gone, and now autumn is too. but I think we'll survive another winter. It's another glorious day out, and I'm off to bring the dog for a walk.




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