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

Evoking memories along the coast of Victoria

[Guest post by Angela Williams in Melbourne, Australia] Returning home always provides the opportunity to revisit places of precious childhood memories. For me, many of these memories are of weekend or holiday walks and picnics, usually along the coast. My Christmas summer holiday break is always spent with my independent 97-year-old dad and my extended family in Warrnambool, the town where I grew up, a three-and-a-half-hour drive from where I live in Melbourne. Warrnambool is a small city of 35,000 people, located at the end of the Great Ocean Road in southwest Victoria.

I love the beach. The opportunity to swim or walk along the beach is tempting in any weather. Christmas is a busy time, with lots of people around and chores to be done to keep everyone occupied and fed, so sketching this year fitted in when possible. There were no lazy days at the beach – the weather was a bit patchy during my break, with just one hot day.

Shelly Beach: This year I visited Shelly Beach, Warrnambool, for the first time in decades. It was one of my mum’s favourite school holiday clifftop walk and picnic spots when we were children, the one you did only when it wasn’t a beach day, as there were rock pools to explore, cliffs to climb and plenty of shells. I visited at low tide, noticing the erosion along the cliffs, and paths now formed to contain the damage - the sandy tracks we knew as children no longer encouraged. A wallaby jumped out of the bushes on my way out there, and an echidna was busy searching out ants on the side of the track on the way back.

Middle Island: Squeezing in one more sketch before heading back for dinner I stumbled across the 5pm Meet the Maremmas tour on Middle Island. The Maremma dogs are trained and then placed on Middle Island to protect its penguin colony from foxes during the breeding season; they found fame with the film Oddball. I was able to plonk down on the sand within earshot of the tour leader’s talk, and sketch and then meet the dog they brought along at the end of the tour.

Lady Bay from the Flume: The long expanse of the main beach in Lady Bay has many different sections, the sheltered waters near the breakwater, the swimming and surfing areas near the surf club, then the rougher more challenging surf for the board riders accessible from the Flume. On one of the stormy mornings at the Flume I was able to position myself on a damp sand dune, and look east (above) and west (below) to take in the whole of the bay. By the time I looked to the west the sun had started to break through.

Holidays over, it was time to head back to Melbourne, and at the last minute I decided to drive back the long way, via the Great Ocean Road, and then cut back through to the highway. A three-and-a-half-hour trip took eight and a half hours, with the slightly longer route, and stopping for sketches and more childhood picnic memories along the way. I have seen this coastline in many moods, but it is always breathtaking when the sun is shining and the sea is roaring. This day was so windy, and the paint palette kept blowing closed.

London Bridge: London Bridge was named for its original double arched formation. We walked from the land to the tip of this many time as kids. At 7pm one January night 27 years ago, the span connecting to the land collapsed. Two tourists had just walked to the furthest part of the formation when they heard cracking, and they were stranded for three hours while a helicopter was sent from Melbourne to rescue them. With the numbers of tourists visiting this area each day, this could have been a real tragedy.

Twelve Apostles: My last stop before heading inland to get back to the city was the famous Twelve Apostles, though there are only eight (above and top image). The chances to sketch in relative peace are next to none, and you certainly cannot move off the main walkway to let the crowds go by. Photographers with tripods were starting to set up in time for the sunset, but it was time for me to move on.

I take for granted this wonderful stretch of coastline that has always been a part of my life, but in recent years I am seeing it through new eyes with my sketchbook.

Angela Williams has a background in architecture, and lives in Melbourne, Australia. She has been a member of Melbourne Urban Sketchers since it was established five years ago, and posts her sketches on Instagram.





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