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

WATERMARKS - Pushing Your Sketching Boundaries Barcelona 2018

to book contact:

La Barceloneta is one of the oldest and most traditional beaches in in Barcelona city, in the Old City quarter. It is a very modern sandy beach and collects many restaurants and nightclubs along the boardwalk. With its modernity, La Barceloneta continues to inhabit the scent of salt and marine life. For many, this is considered a luxury. La Barceloneta also attracts many cruise ships to dock. Amongst the attractions on Barceloneta's beach are German artist Rebecca Horn's "L’Estel ferit" monument (known as The Cubes), and, where the beach gives way to the Port Olímpic, Frank Gehry's modern "Peix d'Or" sculpture.

From our centrally located base (La Barceloneta Civic Centre) we will explore the nearby beachfront in detail with six different locations for the 3 day workshop and you would be experiencing them all, mixing both urban views such as la Placa de la Barceloneta with markets (Mercat de la Barceloneta) with views the Paseo Maritimo (seafront) from L’Estel ferit to the Olympic Port. Map here

Join urban sketchers Nina Johansson, Marion Rivolier and Isabel Carmona for this 3 full days workshop. It will be fun but hard work, as you will be enjoying learning and experimenting all the time, trying out different ways of watercolour painting and mark making,using colour in all forms without fear, sharing the work we do and discussing our findings intensely.

Each of the instructors will explore different ways of using watercolours and Water Marks in the context of urban sketching.

Light and Shade in Watercolour (Isabel)

We will explore Barcelona’s Poblenou and Ciutat Olimpica as a city in the sun, with strong light and shadow contrasts. These two areas also contrast the open views of the seaviews with urban architecture and street scenes.

Using watercolour as the main medium, we'll explore the idea of colour and contrast as the starting point of a sketch. We will start by deciding where the lightest points of the sketch are, the paper, and where the deepest shadows will be, the strongest colours.
Seaview (Malaga) - Light and shadow with white paper indicating strongest light

We will learn to abstract what we see, using colour boldly and with strong contrast. Drawing can take place later either with more colour more linear marks or with pen if preferred.

This workshop will help people to simplify the complex architecture and not be shy about painting views that in the first instance might appear too difficult.

Starting with only with watercolour drawing with light and colour we will look for those elements of the view that interest us.
And slowly building up the watercolour layers to add complexity and depth to our work, adding a variety of marks to the sketch to increase its richness. We will practice and experiment mark making in watercolours and finally decide whether any additional marks are needed.
Newbury Roofscape - Abstracting building shapes and forms with colour, building up layers of color - sketching a complex view

Trust your watercolours (Nina)
For those of us who feel comfortable drawing, there is often a tendency to let the lines control everything in our sketches. It is easy to get caught up in detail, and keep drawing for much too long, when we could actually trust our watercolours to do most of the work for us when sketching.

In this workshop, we will start out with a few pencil or ink lines to capture perspective and proportions and the main elements, then let go of the drawing tool to let the watercolours do the rest.
With watercolours, we will work to find light and shadow, foreground and background - depth - and to let warm and cool colours help us create the atmosphere of the location we are drawing. Our aim is to not end up with coloured drawings, but find a way to let lines and colours work together in an efficient way.

In session one, we will work mainly with value sketches, to concentrate on looking for light and shade to convey depth and a sense of space in our sketches.

For this, we will do a quick and simple colour theory session, to help us find a few of those fabulously useful grey mixes that our watercolour palette will provide for us, if we let it. (We will not use black paints - mixed greys will give the value sketches more life.) Then we will take a closer look at how to use these greys, to give us light and shadow, warm and cool.

In the second session, we will keep looking for light and shade, but with the addition of full colour. We will take a look at how to mix bright vs subdued colours, and how to use these to their best in an urban setting. We will talk about aerial perspective, where the colours will help to add depth to the sketches. Also, through a line- and colour exercise, we will examine the balance between lines and paint - it is unnecessary to draw all the details in pen when the paintbrush can do much of the work faster and is just as convincing to the eye!


Watercolour is always a question of choices! (Marion)

One day, I made the greatest choice of my life as a painter: Sixteen years ago, I was in Venice in Italy, I drew in lines which I filled afterwards with watercolors. Of course, my drawings were empty, without sense and interest. I understood that I will never be able to capture the power and poetry of Venice if I continue to color the shapes drawn by contours… so I abandoned the initial drawing and started new works directly with the brush.

It took me months and years of work to express the world through forms, values and colors. But when I came back to Venice ten years later, I think I succeeded to catch a little bit of the incredible atmosphere of this city!
Some views of Venice from 2001 to 2011, watercolor. How to forgot the preliminary drawing.

Working with watercolour is always a question of choice.
You have to choose to see the world in shapes rather in lines. The world is not made with little objects side by side but by large shapes. By seeing the world in this way, you will be able to analyze the urban place in successive planes. By expressing these different planes, you accentuate the depth of the space.

The Bean, Chicago, watercolour – 2017: People and the Bean of the foreground are more detailed and stronger than buildings of the background.

Another way to express the depth and the relief of a place with watercolor is made by contrasts, different types of contrasts ( values contrasts, colored values contrasts, colored (temperature and complementary) contrasts) which we will experiment together.

We will work together step by step to try these different choices and to understand what can happen in your painting. In this workshop, we will make together several quick exercises to experiment a lot of thing. We won’t care about the result of each drawing, we won’t care of the beauty of a drawing. The only interesting thing for us is to discover, experiment and learn!

Of course, we won’t make any preliminary drawing before painting, we will work directly with the brush!

First, we will learn to know our colors by trying our brushes and mixing colors together.

Then, we will focus on values and try to understand how colored values can create depth and volume.
Bassin de la Villette, watercolor – 2017: I chose to express the huge sculpture in the foreground only with cool values
After, we will experiment different types of colored contrasts to express the depth of the place.

Trouville’s beach, watercolor – 2017: very quickly, I played only with cool and warm colored contrasts to express the beauty of the beauty of the repetition of tents.
At the end of the workshop, in a last bigger painting, we will be able to make the good choices to express our own story!
Deauville’’s beach, watercolor – 2017: as I wanted to focus on the cloudy sky, I started with blue and gray brushstrokes.

Learning goals

  • Pushing participants out of their comfort zone, at their own level. From beginners starting to sketch to more confident participants, we aim to teach you something new and push you outside your boundaries, helping you experiment.
  • Observation and sorting out what we see - don’t draw or express everything - make choices. Observe well and paint quickly because we have understood the space before us.
  • Feel the space, decipher its parts (foreground/background…) and reveal them
  • Working with large shapes of value and confidence of your own marks; don’t be afraid of making a mistake.
  • Feeling the joy of colour.
  • Experiment with different water mark and drawing techniques and ways of approaching a live sketch situation, helping you find your own self expression.
  • Using and trying different watercolour approaches - painting with watercolours and line drawing with brushes, additional marks with watercolour pencils, using textures, light and shade, understanding colour.
  • Using more colour and texture and making you think about how do you represent what you see and to develop your own way of representing what you see in colour with confidence
  • Improving brushstrokes and brushmark making abilities
  • Sketching the city, its buildings, the people and their stories.
Workshop schedule
Wed  25  April
Welcome at the Barceloneta Civic Centre, in the evening at 5pm.
Thu  26 April
10 to 11 am    Meet at the Barceloneta Civic Centre
11am - 2pm     Marion, Nina and Isa  morning workshops
2pm - 3.30pm  Lunch
3.30 - 6.30pm  Marion, Nina and Isa  afternoon workshop
6:30pm -7pm   Evening all groups meet up
Fri  27 April  
10 to 11 am      Meet at the Barceloneta Civic Centre
11am - 2pm     Marion, Nina and Isa  morning workshops
2pm - 3.30pm  Lunch
3.30 - 6.30pm  Marion, Nina and Isa  afternoon workshop
6:30pm -7pm   Evening all groups meet up
Sat  28 April   
10 to 11 am     Meet at the Barceloneta Civic Centre
11am - 2pm     Marion, Nina and Isa  morning workshops
2pm - 3.30pm  Lunch
3.30 - 6.30pm  Marion, Nina and Isa  afternoon workshop
6:30pm -7pm   Evening all groups meet up
Sun 29 April
10 am     Sketchbook sharing at Barceloneta Civic Centre
11 am Open Sketch Meet with BCN USK - route to be confirmed.
30 attendees maximum, 18 minimum. Any level of drawing experience is welcome

Travel and Accommodation
You need to arrange your own travel and accommodation.
Check the map of the workshop here
Suggested websites to look up:
various types and prices can be found in, or
Supply list
A list will be provided for participants - generally bring what you normally draw with.

Registration fee

£ 250 - (£200 concessions - 20% discount for students or unwaged (with proof of concession status)) or if paying in Euros 275 (220 Euros concessions).

To book, email Isabel - for registration form.
Cancellation policy: All fees are refundable if cancelled more than 6 weeks prior to commencement of course (up to 14th March 2018). Bank charges will be deducted for the refund in the case of an attendee cancellation. If cancelled after the 14th March up to to one week before the start of the course, a cancellation fee of £50 (60 Euros) will be retained.
No refund will be possible one week before the course.
In the event of too few registrants, all monies will be refunded.

Workshop location
Watermarks Barcelona 2018 workshop map is here

About the instructors
Isabel is Spanish but studied in UK where she practices as an architect and artist. Her passion is watercolour, easy to carry around and sketch on the go and likes experimenting and mixing media to get interesting effects. Isabel started sketching in 1993 as part of her architecture training and continues to this day. She joined Urban Sketchers Spain in 2011.  As an artist she is part of West Berkshire and North Hampshire Open Studios scheme and joined the Oxford Printmakers Cooperative in 2013.

Nina lives in Stockholm, Sweden; she has a vast experience as an art and photography teacher in public high school, and now teaches informative illustration at university level. She is an avid urban sketcher and painter, mainly in watercolours, and does illustration work and commissions.
Her daily drawing habit is exercised in sketchbooks, mainly with fountain pen or fineliners, and watercolours.

Marion Rivolier is a scenographer (stage and set designer) and Fine Artist living and working in Paris, France. For over 15 years now, Marion has also been painting outdoors. She has long painted bodies in motion, so when facing a landscape, she looks for the same dynamic given by its colours, its light or the inhabitants of the place. She paints in a hurry as if the subject could disappear at any moment. Urban vistas, interior spaces or characters are captured without prior sketch by broad brush-strokes of colours. Watercolour is unforgiving but she loves being surprised by water over moist paper or a pigment that dilutes too quickly.




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