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

Rocking out in Paris with Sylvain Cnudde

[Interview with Sylvain Cnudde by Murray Dewhurst]
You won't find Sylvain sheltering down the back at gigs, he'll be right up amongst the seething pogoing crowd, sketchbook in hand, using his expressive style to capture the atmosphere and live energy. Seeing Sylvain's expressive sketches on Instagram from time to time makes me want to start going to gigs again. Read on and see if gig sketching is for you...

(Above sketch: Mars Red Sky, a Stoner, Psych outfit from Bordeaux, France).

Murray: Why did you start sketching live bands, are you a musician?
The Love Bandits (Italy. Genre: Rhythm 'n' Blues)

Sylvain: No, I'm not. Maybe I would have loved to be one. I am fascinated by them and that's the main reason why I started to draw during gigs: to be an actor of the show, not only a spectator. Actually, the first time I sketched in a concert was in 2006, in a very little cave of Paris (named le Pop In). I arrived late, and there were so many people, I couldn't enter. I was stuck in the stairs and I only could see one member of the band (the Love Bandits). He was playing harmonica. I had the idea to get out my sketchbook and a pen, and I drew him very quickly, to keep a souvenir. Later, back home, I scanned the sketch and put some colors on it with Photoshop.

At that time, I was a little shy in my drawing technique. I wouldn't have dared to go at the very front of the scene to draw. I had to train quite a long time. A friend of mine used to organise folk gigs, in another Parisian bar (le Mama Kin). I often went there to exercise my eye and my hand and it helped me to be more self confident, and to be OK with people around, watching what I was sketching.

Djana Gabrielle (Cameroon/France. Genre: Folk)
After that I started to go to noisier concerts, with rock 'n' roll conditions: very little dark places, people dancing and shoving me, bands of four, five or six musicians (sometimes more!) moving a lot.

Murray: What do you take with you – what are your tools?

Sylvain: Most of the time, I draw on an A4 spiral sketchbook with watercolor paper. My favorite tool is the brush pen. I have a black one for the lines, and others with grey ink or with color ink and water mixed I prepared before. I also use a little watercolor box, when the conditions are good. As there is not a lot of light, I have a little lamp I put on my left hand or in my mouth, in order to have an idea of what I’m doing.

Murray: How long do your sketches take?

Sylvain: It depends on several parameters, but the maximum time is limited by the gig itself, so 45 minutes, max. I do my entire sketch during the gig, and I never modify it after.

What I am looking for is a dialogue between the music, the energy of the band, and the drawing. So when the concert is over, so is the sketch.

Henchman (France. Genre: hardcore/noise/punk)
Ratcharmer (France. Genre: Balladronoise)

Murray: Do you stand in the crowd and do you get jostled by people? (I once got beer spilled on my sketch at a Kurt Vile gig.)

Sylvain: Yes I do. Sometimes I’m invited to the show, but I never ask for special treatment. First I am here to enjoy the live music, the party, like any random person. If I had better conditions to sketch, I think it wouldn't be the same. So, I stand in the crowd, I receive some beer drops too, and that’s fun! But most of the time and when it’s possible, I try to keep a distance between me and the pogoing crowd.

Salem's Pot (Genre: Rock 'n' roll Doomsters)

Murray: What's the craziest gig you've ever sketched?

The Dictators (USA. Genre: Punk)
Sylvain: I think it was in a place named la Mécanique Ondulatoire, in Paris, just five days after the horrible Bataclan events, in November 2015. There was an old punk band, named the Dictators NYC, who were supposed to play in a bigger place, le Trabendo. All the shows in the city had been cancelled for security reasons. But the band really wanted to play and they finally did it, at la Mécanique. We were maybe 100 people who really needed a big rock concert, to evacuate all this fear, all this sadness. I was just in front of the band, almost among them! And it was totally sick. I was able to make four or five really quick sketches of each musician, but after two songs, all the guys here became like crazy, pogoing in all directions! It was almost impossible to do anything valuable with my pen. So I stopped drawing, put my sketchbook back in my bag and started to pogo too. I didn't make very good sketches that night, but I had a big sweaty fun with all the people who where there.

 Mia Vita Violenta (Paris. Genre: Noise/post noise)

Murray: Do the musicians ever get to see your sketches?

Sylvain: Yes. They often see me doing it, so after the show, they sometimes come to me and ask if they can see the result. Or I go to show them directly. Anyway, I always scan my sketches and put them on my blog and on social networks, so everyone can see them, including the audience.

Canari (France. Genre: Soft Rock Psyché)

VODUN (UK. Genre: Afro Doom Fuzz)
If you are in Paris this month and want to catch some art and music, Sylvain has an exhibition of his live sketches at la Mécanique Ondulatoire, until the end of February.

Sylvain is a graphic designer in an astronomy and astrophysics laboratory. He studied visual communication and multimedia in Montreuil, Paris. What he prefers is to fill sketchbooks whenever he can – during gigs, but also in the subway, in the street, at the pub, on holidays. Check out more of Sylvain's work on his blog, Facebook or Instagram.





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