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

Five strangers go to Venice

[Guest post by Pat Southern-Pearce in Venice] What an adventure! I organised this trip of Facebook friends who had never met before with Jp Schwarz, a story-boarder and illustrator from Hamburg. Let’s borrow his words to set the scene:

“I’ve just returned from an art trip to Venice with four colleagues. All of us were strangers. Nobody knew the others and the first time we met was at the apartment in Venice. There was Alex Hillkurtz, an American and amazing story-boarder from Paris, Gail Anne Howard, a Brit from Amsterdam and founder of the Open Draw, Adina Tudor, an architect from Bucharest, and Urban Sketcher icon Pat Southern-Pearce, from Blackburn. Joining in at times was Daniel Nies, who was giving a seminar in Venice. What a wonderful time we had. Strangers, yes, but our common passion brought us together and we spent all day, every day, drawing the city.”

Jp Schwarz

Day 1: We stayed in a splendid Venetian Palace with a red-checked tablecloth kitchen, high ceilings, an enormous chandelier, a squashy sofa and chairs, and hand-blocked wallpaper. The entrance staircase was marble and steep and oh boy, did we know about it at the end of each day, loaded down with bags.

Adina Tudor
This was our main, coming-together space and we crashed here each evening, At the far end of the room were balconies and leaded-glass doors that flooded the room with light. We stood out there on our first afternoon: five strangers, bubbly in hands, toasting all to come. Six days later, none of us wanted to leave. Why on earth didn’t we book for longer?

Above, and top image: Pat Southern-Pearce
Gail Anne Howard

Jp Schwarz

Day 2: Our first full day, and we were off, all five of us together, staying close to home to get a feel for the neighbourhood. We settled around this tiny bridge, just five minutes from home, sheltered, sunny and peaceful. We could scarcely believe that we’d actually made it and now had six days of this magic ahead of us. What a glorious first day that was and so much more to come.

Pat Southern-Pearce

By mid afternoon the weather was threatening and we split up, for protection, in different places: Alex and Jp to a busy but sheltered sidestreet and Gail, Adina, Daniel and I to the open corridor of arches that make up the Fish Market.

Pat Southern-Pearce

Day 3: Lunches were fun and we ate, sketched and chatted in lots of different restaurants, mostly outside under parasols. Waiters never worried if we lingered; there were so many never-to-be-forgotten food experiences too: swapping prezzies round the kitchen table after eating, a rock-hard pizza that Gail couldn’t get her teeth through and a cooked-to-a-crisp wasp in my chicken. (The replacement meal brought a big smile to Jp, who wolfed it down.)

Jp Schwarz

Day 4: Off we trudged together through the crowds to sketch the Basilica from the Academia Bridge in blazing heat. We were lined up along one side, elbow to elbow, on stools, with milling throngs behind us, five deep. Jp swapped stools with me so that I could see through the struts of the bridge, Alex kept a watchful eye on my multitude of gel pens by his feet, and Gail dropped her shoes in the water, retrieved by a gallant boatsman, after much damsel-in-distress waving.

Alex Hillkurtz

Pat Southern-Pearce

It was fascinating to see how different our sketches were. This was one of the most awesome things about it all: the similarities, the differences, how we organised stuff (or didn’t), how differently we responded to colours and sunlight, how we could look at the same view and focus on the different things that interested us. We were all quite thrown by this and so influenced and inspired by each other that it took a while to settle.

Alex Hillkurtz

In the evening we drew the Basilica from the other side, by St Mark’s Square. It had been Alex’s long-held dream to stand where his heroes had stood and paint, and he’d even checked out a spot on one of his early morning walks. He went to his pre-selected spot, Jp and me to sit just outside St Mark’s, by the water’s edge, and Adina and Gail not far away. The St Mark’s Square spot was fated. Along came the police, friendly but determined. We were not allowed to sit and sketch in the St Mark’s area without a permit. Cameras were recording everything. We had to move… no argument… we tried!

Pat Southern-Pearce

Being midway through our sketches and needing the same view, we asked if we could sit at the outdoor tables opposite. “Of course!” Out came a white-coated waiter with a silver tray, nibbles and long beers at 15 euros each. We blinked, then relaxed. It was magical, that evening, and we lingered for hours, with Alex joining us later, under the darkening sky, people-watching and sketching, with passers-by like ghosts in slow motion and birds soaring, one of the highlights of the week for me.

Pat Southern-Pearce
Alex Hillkurtz

Day 5: The Saturday was extra special: a meeting-up day at the Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, with Daniel Nies and his workshop group, and Claudio Borsato, who came to sketch with us and collect the sketches Alex and I had brought for the “Matite in Viaggio” exhibition. What an inspiration it was: open, gloriously sunny and despite it being Saturday, peaceful, with just a sprinkling of interested passers-by. We stayed all day, in the square and by the canal, and the light was continually changing. How glad I was that I’d taken several sketchbooks with me and could respond as the mood took me. A meal that evening with us all together, and a memory of standing on the Rialto Bridge in darkness looking down at the lights shimmering in the water was magical enough to bring tears.

Jp Schwarz

Pat Southern-Pearce

Day 6: This was the one full day of rain and floods, but still we sketched: indoors, in the apartment, then later, in the Fish Market Arches, muffled up to the ears. It was blustery and rainy but we huddled against walls and went for it.

Jp Schwarz

Day 7: The final day, and with cases packed and the last goodbyes imminent, Jp and I leant against walls on this tiny rainswept street just round the corner from the apartment to sketch “our church”, San Sylvestro.

Adina Tudor

Soon after, I was leaving, the first one to go, and everyone came with me to the waterbus station to see me off, Alex with the tickets he’d sorted the day before, and Jp trundling my case. There were hugs and more than a hint of sadness. A holiday like no other.

Pat Southern-Pearce is a painter, an artist in schools, art consultant, workshop tutor and in-service provider. You can see more of her work on Facebook and InstagramJan Philipp Schwarz is an illustrator for advertising and print, and animation designer: www.schwarzmalerei.comAlex Hillkurtz is an illustrator and storyboard artist: www.alexhillkurtz.comGail Anne Howard is an art maker, organiser, supporter, education promoter: follow her on TwitterAdina Tudor is an architect and visualiser:





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