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

The Ischia Sketcher. Reportage from the island after the earthquake

[by Simo Capecchi in Ischia, Italy]  

 On last August 21 an earthquake in Casamicciola village on Ischia island made 2 victims and obliged 2.000 citizens to find a new home. In the same area two big quakes already happened in 1881 and 1883: the village was completely destroyed and back then victims were more than 2.000. Why people rebuild in the same area is an issue would deserve some researches.

Together with Gabi Campanario and Caroline Peyron I was holding a reportage workshop on the island in October 2017, two months after the quake, so among a number of other locations and assignments, we asked for a permission to sketch inside the red zone with a small group of participants. A fireman and few citizens guided us along abandoned streets where the main damage occurred, showed us remains of their houses and told us about their hopes and activities to keep the public attention alive on their needs and on possible reconstruction.

Our workshop had also the very ambitious goal of printing a newspaper, "The Ischia Sketcher", on the fourth morning just after 3 days of sketching, to be distributed locally. This 16 pages newspaper should have included both images and texts, translated in Italian and English, and hopefully at least one drawing of a team of 38 participants, guests artists and instructors. This project intended to pay a tribute to past centuries' newspapers and reporter artists and to learn from Gabi Campanario's passion and work as an artist and columnist for the Seattle Times.

As you may guess, we had a hard time to fulfill our mission. Nevertheless the newspaper has been printed, distributed to participants and locals with some hundreds copies left to a citizens association to raise donations for Casamicciola reconstruction - and this part was a success!
While to include (scan, fixing, translating) contributes from everybody turned out to be impossible for the lack of time. We apologized to participants for the pressure we put on them and we are sorry that just half of them are represented on the printed issue. And I am really grateful to all of them for their participation to this challenging workshop. You can flip through all 16 pages of the Ischia Sketcher here and see our team in action and more drawings in these photos (made by photographer Enzo Rando).

This experience shown us how difficult it is to coordinate such a diverse group of sketchers coming from 10 different countries, scattered along the island in more than 15 different places, with logistic and language issues, at the expense of our main task, that of improving the group drawing skills. But it also showed how thrilling it is and how much work and skills it requires to have a reportage printed right away and distributed to locals on real paper, for once, instead of the usual online sharing of the majority of our sketches, where we have no deadline and is always possible to correct mistakes. Below the 4 inner pages plus the cover dedicated to Casamicciola red zone:

Talking about newspapers, I am always curious in the old ways to approach a visual reportage and while writing this post I found the work of artists who reported about Casamicciola terrible quakes more than a century ago. Christian Wilhelm Allers for instance went there on his own (he also worked as a lithographer and printmaker) in 1893, ten years after the biggest earthquake, and published his drawings in the book "la Bella Napoli". His freehand notes on the sketches are in Italian and apparently are done on location, and the work did not loose completely the unfinished aspect of a live drawing. A portrait of a "survived" old man reporting his comments in neapolitan dialects looks "familiar" to me:

In 1883, just after the earthquake, Italian artists like neapolitan Edoardo Matania were sent by newspaper L'Illustrazione Italiana to cover the event on location. In this case, drawings would be published with the note "disegno dal vero", although the drawing appears as a composition made after several sketches with a (total) loss of spontaneity:

Finally I found some British newspapers issues of The Illustrated London News (1881) and its competitor, The Graphic (1883) who report about the two Casamicciola's earthquakes with engravings "supplied by photographs", as mentioned in the inner pages of the London News, where the drawing is a composition of views organized like in comics stripes:





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