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

Journey through the seasons in my small Russian city

[Guest post by Masha Kirikova in Korolyov, Russia]

Three years passed since we moved to the little city called Korolyov. It was not easy to relax and feel its peaceful ambience at first. I invite you to follow this petite journey through the seasons, meeting our people and observing a life in its simplest form.

Hurrah! Crows are here too, they are not leaving me. I was so afraid there wouldn't be a single crow in our new place... I'm lucky – a pretty big garbage bin area is located right in front of our windows. Where there is waste there is a crow. Two crows live in our backyard, some pigeons too.

People leave things near the garbage bin hoping someone will take them home. Lamps, tables, doors and chairs, often books wait their destiny in the snow. The chair was standing, then lying, then standing again. It was moved from one backyard corner to another, covered with sparkling snow. No luck for this one. Too many days was it waiting.

The winter is snowy as it always is here, in the middle of Russia. I was amazed to see those linden twigs glowing under the sun. Crisp snow, -8C, I could not resist. And froze almost to death after 40 minutes of sketching.

We have a big school building with a stadium under our windows. Day after day I see kids practicing skiing with their teacher. All ages, from 7 to 14, do it on a weekly basis. They study how to glide with and without sticks, how to make the right leg move. My husband, my grandma and I, we all had skiing at school. It's a part of obligatory physical training with marks and norms, competitions and exams.

The first thawed path of this year! We are enjoying the spring air. It's -10C outside, but sunbeams colour poplar trees green. Little birds make funny sounds in the morning. Spring, how welcome you are! Spring nibbles dark patches in our snowdrifts. Spring eats our white as a melting ice-cream, leaving coffee and chocolate spots on its sides. Spring adds emerald green velvet on linden's bark, inspires little birds to sing louder, and dwindles far houses in fog. Daffodils are ready to bloom on our windowsill.

Locals love to feed the birds. Some of them believe those creatures are not actually birds, but dead relatives coming from the sky. It's impolite to leave them hungry! Older people become more active. No one makes pigeon defense on the roofs, no metal pins on the windows nor on balconies. Even monuments stay bird-friendly. Surprisingly our pigeons know their manners leaving bronze Gagarin (the Soviet cosmonaut and first person to journey into outer space) fresh and untouched.

I saw two old ladies from our studio window. They sat intimately close under the blooming maple tree. Warm days invite elderly to have the first sunbath of the year. Twittering babushkas in the same style wool berets inhabit most post-Soviet cities. I already have two similar berets, keeping them from moths and waiting for my retirement.

Spring Gagarin Street. Sunny weather, sunny mood. Our street glows with love and toddler's laugh.

These two spend weekends under the maple trees. They endlessly cure a car they own, making repairs and adding new features to its exterior. It already has dark window glass, shining silver paint and some tiny accessories, but it's not enough. Father teaches his son how to work with an engine and watches his every move with teacher's attention. Those two love mechanical work so much. Father drinks his beer, standing as a guru while the son changes spark plugs. Peaceful summer Sunday it is.

We here are in the middle of 20th century and I enjoy it a lot. Dandelions cover the town as well as drying duvet covers. The rope between a linden and maple tree adds a village feel to our common backyard. The lady from the first floor brought her wet linen to dry....Right before the storm!

Our town is floating. No one can escape the pleasure of swimming. We sink into dark varnished puddles covered with yellow birch pollen. Fellow citizen is bravely jumping into the deep.

The hole is a must for each and every fence. No matter how thick is the metal, no matter how strong is the construction. Someone will choose to change the design liberating a fellow pedestrian.

The coziest part of our little city: pink bricks with white decorative elements on facades, high trees and only a few cars. Also at the city center are a music school for kids, central park, concert hall and the main square. Always busy (as busy as it could be with only 100,000 inhabitants!). I draw under the music school colonnade when rainy or snowy and enjoy boys and girls twittering after their piano lessons.

It's a snowfall again. Very romantic indeed. Unfortunately it didn't last long. Passersby float under the window. Winter holidays are near! Let's wear a pair of warm mittens and make a snowbaba. A snowbaba is our Russian version of a snowman, but a female one. As big, as soft and as puffy as a real winter lady must be.

Masha Kirikova is a natural history illustrator, artist and tutor living in Korolyov, Russia. You can see more of her work on her website here and on Flickr hereHer previous guest post: Winter hats on a Moscow suburban train 





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