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

New Year, New York

[Guest post by Nelson Paciencia in New York City] We got our flight from Lisbon to Dublin, and then to New York, immediately after Christmas, on 26th of December. Me and my wife were in NYC twelve years ago, in a time we didn't have kids and I was not an urban sketcher. Two good reasons to return to one of the most fantastic and cinematographic cities in the world, and this time I knew that the story would have to be told differently. Our main objective was to spend New Year's Eve in New York!


During our eight hour flight from Dublin to NYC, spending the time playing games, listening to music or watching movies and cartoons. 

After a long trip with connections (bad idea), we arrived in the magical city just before dinner time. It was -6ºC on the street, so the well-heated, lovely apartment in the East Village, built in 1900, was very welcome. It was already one o'clock in the morning in Portugal, we landed on the beds without dinner and unpacking luggage. 

We woke up the next day at five o'clock in the morning, jetlagged, and as we looked out the window and at the weather forecast, we realized that from that day on the temperature would go down a lot. The adventure was about to begin! Those who know me know that I like to tell stories, with an involvement and a personal stamp that can be recorded forever. And give them to read to others (but especially to myself) with a drawing done on location, which proves that I was there and that I stopped the clock of time for a few moments to do it. And that's the greatest pleasure I take from this incredible experience of being an urban sketcher.



When preparing for the trip to New York, some weeks before, this ladder truck in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum was one of the things I knew already that I would capture for my sketchbook. I´m so glad I did it.




Natural History Museum - One day I need to take one of Lapin´s classes to learn how to draw a dinosaur properly




Guggenheim Museum – the masterpiece of Frank Lloyd Wright was the other place I knew I would draw during my trip to New York. This was done through snow and -8ºC, just before our visit to Central Park and, after lunch at the Metropolitan Museum.




Our lovely house in East Village had lots of vintage objects, charming and irresistible. 

I drew this Polaroid camera just after we realized that we could not spend midnight in Times Square, despite having tried to get through the security barrier at 2.30 pm, more than nine hours before the ball went down from the tower. That day was -11ºC during the afternoon, and -14ºC at midnight. It was the second coldest New Year’s Eve in New York since 1917. (As I read the day after in the New York Post)

After the disappointment of the day before, we decided to go to Times Square on January 1st.  (see sketch at the top of the post)

I took some confetti from the street to glue on my sketchbook, and I decided to try to draw, despite the cold and the wind. It was the first time I drew in such difficult circumstances, but I knew that no excuses were possible in this situation. 



The last complete day in New York.

I decided to go for a walk, just on my own. I left the metro in Union Square Park and I decided to walk down 5th Avenue, a way to absorb the last hours in the city. I stopped in front of the Empire State Building and I knew that my last drawing in this city was about to happen.

I know for sure that I will not wait twelve years to come back again. Like some extraordinary people, some places need to be part of our lives once in a while, like New York City.

Nelson Paciencia is married, a father of two boys, and lives and works as an architect in Lisbon. Nelson's drawings and stories can be seen on his blog or Instagram page.

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