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

48 Hours in Stockholm

[Guest post by Paul Blazek in Stockholm] These sketches are the result of a personal challenge to fill one Moleskine sketchbook within a single weekend as part of an exercise in urban exploration. I find the small format of the Moleskine convenient to carry and well-suited to a quick and spontaneous sketch technique. Containing 40 pages, these little sketchbooks are ideal for such an exercise. I chose a recent trip to Stockholm to take up the challenge. With a goal of completing 20 sketches per day for two days, the exercise honed my abilities far beyond what I was able to accomplish with the occasional drawing and left me with a renewed enthusiasm and confidence in my sketching capabilities.

A few hours into the first day exploring the Södermalm district, I stumble on this magnificent old piece of industrial architecture, the Old Munchen Brewery (top of page). The striking brick forms in the sunlight make a compelling subject.

A little ways to the east down Bastugatan Street, a cluster of old houses and their shadows create a pleasing abstract composition.

Bastugatan Street
On my way to the city center I am struck by the way this pedestrian stair slots through the buildings. The steep escarpment that makes up this edge of Södermalm creates many interesting urban moments.

Gamla Stan, the medieval core of Stockholm, feels more Italian than Swedish. Its charming Baroque buildings and narrow streets provide charming views around every twist and turn. Here the diagonal shadow and dignified building façade made a dramatic composition.

Gamla Stan
Making my way to Kungsträdgården in the early afternoon of the first day, I took on a few landscape subjects. Always a fan of axial symmetry, I tried to capture a bit of the grandeur of the Molins Fountain.

Taking advantage of the endless twilight of Stockholm’s summer evenings, I push myself to complete my first 20 sketches. I am drawn into the peaceful grounds of St. John’s Church and take on the intimidating geometry of the church steeple, creating a composition with the surrounding trees.

St. John’s Church
The beginning of day two, and I am out early in a drizzling rain trying to capture the tricky perspective vanishing of the Vasabron Bridge.

Vasabron Bridge
Over to Kungsholmen for more exploration, and a delightful alleyway catches my eye. The terracing architecture and distinctive black roofs give Stockholm its unique identity.

On my way back to the city center crossing the Klara Sjö canal, I spy this great view of the Stockholm City Hall bell tower framed by trees.

Stockholm City Hall
Trying to capture some everyday street scenes, this cantilevered turret, street trees and Burger King sign make a pleasing urban composition. 

Desperate for more subjects to sketch, I peek into this residential courtyard. Taking advantage of a bench on the premises I rest my feet while I try to work out the perspective angles.

I was struck by the layered nature of many Stockholm neighborhoods. I loved the way the streets cross over each other and the buildings sort of fill in the gaps. It makes for surprising and delightful urban moments.

One of so many charming streetscapes in Vasastan. I loved the way this winding street was framed by the arched portal.

The Stockholm Royal Institute of Technology, a delightful neoclassical campus by Erik Lallerstedt. I was taken by the pure forms and powerful central axis as the campus ascends the hillside.

Stockholm Royal Institute of Technology
Racing to catch the light before the sun finally set, I try to capture the long shadows and yellow glow of the midnight sun on the facades of Karlavägen Street.

Karlavägen Street
Paul Blazek is a landscape architect and amateur artist from Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States. He has lived and worked abroad for the last 15 years. See more of his work on his website.





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