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

At Ridley Road Market with Lucinda Rogers

[Interview with Lucinda Rogers by James Hobbs] The drawings of London-based artist and illustrator Lucinda Rogers are well known through such publications as the Independent, the Guardian, the New Yorker and the Los Angeles Times, and are in collections including the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her exhibition of on-location drawings about gentrification and the 130-year-old Ridley Road Market in London’s East End continues at the House of Illustration, London, until 25 March 2018. (Above: Fruit mountain at the entrance to Ridley Road, 50x70cm.)

JH: How important is drawing on location for you? Is much of your work done at a desk?
LR: None of the work is done at the desk: it's all made on site, directly in front of the subject. A drawing will take four to eight hours, sometimes more. I draw on site because it's just more interesting to be there on the spot. The response to something directly into my eye goes straight into the line on the page. The process is partly about the recording of a particular time. Things move, things change and sometimes the picture has to respond to that. With a photograph, the viewpoint and much else has already been decided for you, leaving little to re-interpret.

Bedding stall with Alex and Plant Guy, Ridley Road, 50x70cm

JH: How did the Ridley Road Market project come about?
LR: I was commissioned by the House of Illustration to do an exhibition that concerns London and how it is changing, and chose to focus on a street market that I had always wanted to draw, near to where I live in east London. I did the drawings over a period of three months – there are about 34 drawings in the show.

Ras P's stall next to Sarge's stall and flag, Ridley Road, 50x70cm

My aim was to portray the variety and character of the market by building up a series of different, closely observed views, stalls and people, including some formal portraits. I also drew the tower of luxury apartments being built at one end of the market, which is a sign of change to come in the neighbourhood.

The project made me appreciate the value of Ridley Road Market, socially, for health and wealth, and in many other ways. I feel that in a civilised society we should be able to give a long life to the things that have real value, while changing others. What's depressing about gentrification is that it sweeps away so much in its path.

Luggage stall, Ridley Road, 50x70cm

JH: What is the normal kit that you take out when you are drawing in, say, Ridley Road?
LR: Foam board (foam core) to support the paper; Higgins waterproof ink; watercolours and coloured pencils; dip pen and brushes; and a stool, but I sometimes stand up. I draw on paper: the average size, for example for the Ridley Road drawings, is 70x50cm. I use sketchbooks a bit while travelling or for working drawings.

Recession Special! (Greenwich and 6th Ave, NYC), 50x70cm

JH: You use different coloured papers: can you explain more about that?
LR: I started to use coloured paper as it can provide a more interesting base for the line. Light can be picked out in a way that can't be done on white. I choose the colour of paper according to how I see the prevailing colour or character of the scene.

Alpha and Omega, Ridley Road, 50x70cm

JH: What is the current state of reportage drawing at the moment, in your view?
LR: There's more reportage drawing around, but there seem to be fewer outlets for it than before, as newspapers and magazines – in the UK at least – have cut their budgets for illustration. But there are other commercial uses, like corporate brochures and so on: designers still want to use illustration/drawing in what they do.

Firemen asleep at 1am (St Paul's Chapel, Broadway), 41x46cm

JH: Your drawings following the attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001 are particularly moving. How was that experience for you?
LR: I got access to areas behind the scenes during the clearing operation around Christmas 2001 and in a short space of time did a series of mostly black-and-white drawings responding to what I saw in St Paul's Chapel – a centre for people working on the site – and around the edges of the site. It was a moment in time. Being in the temporary morgue, where human remains were brought, was difficult, but the people working there had a lot of spirit, and that is what I drew. I felt the need to record the event urgently. It was only afterwards that I looked at the drawings as performing a significant role. There was very little photography allowed on the site.

Aeroplane hangar

Aeroplane wheel hangar

JH: Are there other reportage commissions that stand out for you?
LR: Drawing in the docks, from the bridge of a container ship in Hull and inside an aircraft hangar at Heathrow are some of my favourite places. I am inspired by the shapes of big pieces of machinery and how they contrast with the human scale, and it's interesting seeing something like an aeroplane in a different context, being repaired. Another very memorable time was drawing a music festival backstage including a Neil Young concert from the side of the stage, a drawing that lasted for the length of the concert. The stage was filled with instruments, kit, lights and props, which appealed to my love of paraphernalia.

JH: What advice would you give to reportage artists starting out or trying to make a name for themselves?
LR: Find subjects that inspire you and give them your full attention.

Lucinda Rogers (Photo Patricia Niven)

Lucinda Rogers: On Gentrification is at the House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London N1C 4BH until 25 March 2018. She will take part in a panel discussion on reportage illustration there on 21 March. Find out more about her work on her website,, and follow her on Instagram.





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