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

Porto Symposium 2018 - Call for Correspondents

Dear urban sketchers,

You are invited to apply to be correspondent for the 9th International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Porto, Portugal, July 18-21, 2018. Responsibilities of the correspondents include the following:

  • Be in Porto and available for meetings on July 17. Sketch the activities of the symposium daily during all four days, July 18-21. These activities could include pre-symposium set-up, workshops, demos, lectures, sketchwalks and informal meals with other sketchers. The ability to quickly capture people and their activities is essential. (Participation in workshops and demos is not possible.)
  • Post sketches and a brief written article each day on the global USk blog. A reportage-style of sketching and writing is expected. Correspondents are also encouraged to share on social media (giving priority to the Urban Sketchers blog).
  • Have the technical ability and equipment to support the above task, such as a camera and laptop or other means to upload images and text.
  • Able to write comfortably in English.
  • Work with the other symposium correspondents and symposium committee as a team.
Please see examples of blog posts contributed by correspondents at previous symposiums:

Wes Douglas :: Beliza Mendes :: Vincent Desplanche :: Kumi Matsukawa :: Javier de Blas :: Liz Ackerley :: Tina Koyama :: Suhita Shirodkar :: Murray Dewhurst :: Maria Regina Tuazon :: Gabi Campanario

A total of three correspondents will be selected.

One of the three correspondents will be a Porto (or nearby) resident who is familiar with the symposium neighborhood and who will act as a guide to the other correspondents. The local correspondent will receive the choice of five nights’ lodging or $500 honorarium. (This local correspondent will be selected with input from the Porto symposium team.)

The other two will be international correspondents selected from countries outside Portugal. The two international correspondents will receive five nights’ lodging and airfare.

All three correspondents will receive an Open Pass, which allows access to all events, including workshops and demos, as spectators.

To apply, please submit the following information by Feb. 21, 2018, 23:59 GMT to with “Symposium Correspondent” in the subject line:

All applicants:

1. Your name, residence (city and country) and contact information.

2. Several (5 or 6) samples of your urban sketches, especially those that show people engaged in activities. Write brief descriptions of these sketches explaining the activities in the same way that you might write a blog post as a correspondent.

3. In a few paragraphs (no more than 500 words), please tell us why you are interested in becoming a symposium correspondent and why you would be the best candidate for this volunteer job.

3. Describe one innovative idea you have for covering the event. (For example: interviewing a few instructors to get their perspective of the symposium; interviewing the symposium participant who has traveled the most miles.)

4. Writing, in addition to sketching, is an important aspect of the correspondent role. Provide links to your personal blog, regional USk blog or other platform showing examples of your writing a text narrative in English to enhance the story of your sketches.

Porto applicants only:

In addition to all of the above, please include one or two paragraphs about your familiarity with the symposium location and how you would use that familiarity to help the rest of the correspondents team. (In the past, the local correspondent has been responsible for providing detailed maps, leading team members on a walk to workshop locations before the start of the symposium, and offering general tips to make everyone’s job easier.)

Selection process

The Editorial Team and Executive Board will evaluate applications based on how well candidates meet the stated requirements. Because Urban Sketchers is a worldwide organization, global diversity of the correspondents will also be considered. Selected candidates will be announced by mid-March 2018.

Thank you for your interest!

-- USk Editorial Team and Executive Board

(Photo above shows correspondents Wes Douglas and Vincent Desplanche hard at work documenting the Chicago symposium in 2017.)




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