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

Making my own souvenirs: three days in the Holy Land

[Guest post by Jonatan Alcina Segura in Israel and Jordan]
 I can’t choose when I should travel, that’s a matter of low-cost airlines and their low prices. They decided this time that I go to the Holy Land. In January, I visited Israel and the neighbouring country of Jordan. My travel had a duration of three days, plus a fourth day to go back home. I began in Eilat, the Israeli Red Sea shore. Everything was red due to clouds. It was Friday. As the sun set the Holy Shabbat began (above).

The second day I was very excited because I could finally know the Dead Sea, I could float like a boat. I could know the city of Jerusalem too. The sun of the Middle East finally came and said hello to me through the bus windows, as I tried to sleep on the way. The bus stopped for 20 minutes and I began to draw the desert (above).

Full of energy due to the salt of the Dead Sea and after visiting the city of Jerusalem with the guide, I thought that I should find my own moment for sketching. The beginning was the Wailing Wall and the fabulous Golden Mosque (above). At that time a cat came to me and wanted to sleep on my legs while I was painting. I thought that it was dirty and the animal might be full of fleas, but it was so warm that I let him stay.

After visiting the city, I felt like a Templar who left the holy city to go back to dark Europe. I had all I could do to enjoy the amazing sights of walls, towers and gates. I had no time to finish the watercolour of the Jaffa Gate (below), so I did it at the hotel.

The next day I went very early to Jordan because I wanted to visit Petra. The bus stopped 20 minutes at a souvenir shop in the middle of the desert. But I didn’t want to buy souvenirs, I wanted to make my own souvenirs and do a fast sketch. I was so happy with my sketch (below) of the King's Highway.

After an interesting trip through the desert, we arrived at Petra (below). I always say that we – the urban sketchers – haven’t invented anything.  But when I see such magnificent landscapes I feel like a romantic traveler, an authentic David Roberts…what is life without a little bit of emotions.

The tour guide gave me some free time to hunt a pair of sketches (below). Suddenly a lot of children came to me. They are “working” there, trying to sell souvenirs and get some money to live. But that day they were really brazen with the tourists, with me too. They didn't give me a free minute. They always were with me to speak, to play…but I wanted only to draw. I couldn’t sketch anything good. I felt under stress. I changed my place to find another bigger place, perhaps free of the children…but they came and began to drive me crazy with their fingers in my watercolours, to take my things… but then I had good luck and a Bedouin came to rescue me.

The trip was short but intense. I still had a lot to draw. I did my last sketch from the Ovda Airport (below), an arid landscape of desert to say goodbye.

Jonatan Alcina Segura is an archaeologist and designer from Cadiz, Spain, now based in Freiburg, Germany. He is a correspondent for Urban Sketchers Spain. You can see more of Jonatan’s sketches on his blog and on Flickr.





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