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".
Blog
Flickr

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

Keeping Up With The Curés - The Holiday Special

(by Róisín Curé in Galway) Christmas is over and the new year has begun. I breathe a sigh of relief every year at this time. To me, Christmas means preparing extensively for the arrival of my extended family, eating too much rich food and spending far too much money, and while it's a lovely time once you're in the swing of it, it can feel somewhat daunting in anticipation.
Luckily it's also a time to draw colourful decorations. I love an excuse to turn up the volume on colour. The paper I use (Fabriano Venezia) is great for taking a few layers of colour and letting them pop.
I made this sketch on Christmas Day and I was full of confidence, but I'm afraid I'd had a glass or several with my meal and my sketching ability was not equal to my confidence. Everything ended up far too large and I missed out on half the nice things I wanted to include. Beer glasses?

We were on our own (just the five of us) for the first time in many years, and although this was something I'd always feared, it turned out to be blissful in a way I find hard to describe. I spent the morning baking for sheer enjoyment - mince pies in puff pastry, vanillekipferl, bread. My Austrian relatives were very kind about my attempts at baking Austrian-style via photos on whatsapp, but the only way is up! Besides, they were delicious, despite not looking very professional.
Next day everyone was taking it easy. I'm an early riser most of the time so I decided to indulge and make this sketch...I suppose I had a soldier theme going on! Very camp soldiers who would not be out of place on the stage!

A few days later we made our annual pilgrimage to see Mother-in-law in Kent, in the UK. I adore this woman, and the few days we spend in picture-postcard Tenterden every year are the highlight of my year, and have been for nearly twenty years. From the first time she greeted me with a hug and a huge smile - I had only been going out with her son a mere five weeks - and promptly made me a prawn and avocado sandwich and a cup of tea, she won my heart. Since that first visit, through engagement, marriage, babies and now teenagers, she has been a font of humour and generosity. She is an elderly lady now and frail, and finds the annual New Year stampede that is the descent of her grandchildren exhausting. But she insists she wouldn't have it any other way, and our children simply adore her.

I hate flying. I get collywobbles looking out the window, and so my husband says I do not deserve a window seat. This time, however, I ended up with one. My husband was in the seat in front of me and said he didn't think I would appreciate my window seat. I looked out of the window and immediately felt the usual terror. I wondered if sketching would take my mind off things - the possibility of crashing to the ground, the usual - but being Aer Lingus, drawing the seat in front of me was not going to be very rewarding, due to being all navy, rather than the bright yellow and navy of Ryanair. The only option was to draw what I could see out the window.

It worked! I focused on getting the colours right, the cloud shapes and the shadows, rather than imminent death. I showed the husband the sketch after we landed. "See? I was appreciating the view!" I said. Little did he realise that the converse was the case - I hadn't even been aware of it as I sketched.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are cruising at 420 miles per hour, at 15,000 feet," said the co-pilot. "Heathrow is below us on our left." So now I know where I was when I made the sketch...sort of.

In Britain, I took every chance I could to carry on sketching. My daughter had her hair cut, and I always like drawing in a hair-cutting outfit. However, unlike barbers I've sketched, Rachel the hairdresser was a bit too hard to pin down. Too unpredictable! I was left with an aborted sketch - something I hate in a pretty sketchbook.
Help was at hand in the form of a Japanese print in the lovely B&B where my husband and I were staying. I changed the colours a very tiny bit to harmonise with those in the sketch of Olivia, my daughter.


Next day was New Year's Day. I drew my dear mother-in-law Erika, followed by a sketch of my older daughter Honor. My girl looked very beautiful in her harem pants and scarf - all things sub-continent are what she's into at the moment - so I drew her. You can't tell from the sketch that her hair is a mass of dreadlocks under that scarf. My Austrian mother-in-law is unimpressed. "Worms!" she says. "You have a tangle of worms instead of hair on your head!"


Neither of these sketches looks exactly like their subjects, but I have decided to just sketch in ink and accept whatever happens. I do find that if you just plough on as if everything is going to turn out fine, it does tend to be better than if you get all panicked. So I ignored the stray ink lines, the false starts, the lines I seemed to insist on putting in the wrong place.

Continuing in the theme of drawing my loved ones badly - or should that be inaccurately - here are my husband Marcel and his mum enjoying a quiet moment after dinner. Regardless of how "right" the drawing is, I am so happy to have it.

The day we were to leave for Ireland, our boy Paddy broke his Omama's chair. A leg snapped. My mother-in-law insists it was making cracking noises anyway, and doesn't want Paddy to feel bad. I decided to draw it before we left, as we would never see it again, and it has been mother-in-law's favourite chair for years.

Back home, and the cake Paddy made at school is still in evidence. I drew it intact - how could you not? - and when it was open, to show the cake itself. I am very happy to have made the sketch. 



Now it's time to get back to the business of everyday life. 

Until the next subject calls out be sketched...



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