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

Behind the Scenes: Sketching in the Algarve, Portugal

[By Róisín Curé in the Algarve] I know just where I was when the invitation came through to take part in the Sketch Tour Portugal. It doesn't get better than that for us sketchers.

You can see a flick-through of my sketches here on You Tube. This piece has some photos from behind the scenes...

There were two catches to the trip: we had to make six sketches a day and we would travel off-season. Well I did, at any rate.

I had never been in Portugal and it was a country I had long wanted to visit. I brushed off the Duolingo app on my phone, got listening and repeating - and soon I was all set.

Tuesday 20th March
Susana and Hélio met me at the airport in Faro. Such friendly, smiling faces. Susana Neffe was our guide from the Tourist Office and Hélio Boto was the local sketcher who'd travel this journey with me. From the minute we met we knew we would get on, but I don't think any of us realised then that we would become firm friends. They are like all the Portuguese people I met - laid-back, introspective and always funny.

Hélio and I were given three themes: Nature, Gastronomy and Sun & Sea.

After our arrival we checked out Olhão, sketched a bit then went for food. I learned about spider fish, and how stepping on one makes grown men cry. At least three people had a grown-man-crying story, but no one had a woman-crying story. Whaddya know!

Wednesday 21st March
We sketched Nature in Parque Natural da Ria Formosa...

 ...and here's the beautiful Susana acting as ballast to stop Hélio from toppling over as he takes a pic of his work!

We basked in "warm" sunshine on the ferry on the way to Farol Island (my scarf is an illusion)...

...and on Farol Island Susana sat next to me and collected a feast of pine nuts while I sketched -

Thursday 22nd March
I sketched orange trees in Faro...

and ate the freshest, plumpest razor clams in Taberna Modesto around the corner -

In the afternoon we hob-nobbed with the well-to-do in Quinta do Lago...where we ducked under the boardwalk in Quinta do Lago to escape the wind.

Firday 23rd March
Raining, and too wet to sketch outdoors, so we sheltered from the rain in Loulé fish market -

and when it stopped raining trekked through Fonte Benémola, listening to happy birds feeling safe in a sanctuary -

Saturday 24th March
We drove to the babbling brooks of Monchique, where mineralised waters flow down a verdant valley and are sometimes trapped in bottles and sold. Francisco the cameraman joined us and filmed our adventures.

After a gorgeous lunch in Sagres where the sun inspired me to get sketching before we ate...

we went to the beach to sketch, but it was also a very relaxing afternoon.

Here I am chilling as I sketch...

Afterwards we went to Susana's favourite beach - Praia do Beliche. The many steps to get down made my lazy self baulk, but it was (a) well worth it and (b) not a big deal to go back up. On the beach I was reminded of happy days in my 20s surfing off another stretch of Atlantic beach, off the west coast of Ireland. Such a vibe of freedom...I reminded myself that the sea where I used to surf is still there and I was inspired to return with my board.

Sunday 25th March
In the morning we faced the ferocious wind to paint the beach at Amoreira. The only sketching situation that scares me is when sand might blow into my paint, where it can lodge and be a terrible nuisance. It was hard for me to find a composition that was both inspiring and out of the crazy wind, but in the end I found just the job. That is Francisco's hand and Francisco's camera cage to the left of the frame.

Feeling grateful to get back in the car, we drove to Aljezur to visit a ruined castle on a hill. It's just a few ramparts now but the view is wonderful. A sign outside the castle tells us that it was built in 1249. I had to find a composition that would take in the ruined walls and the faraway rooftops. The only view I could see had a horrible gate in the I left it out.

Pedralva was the next stop. It's a little holiday village - but with a difference. The houses were in a dilapidated state a short while ago but a local with a vision bought the lot and renovated them. They are too gorgeous now! This is my second sketch from there - you'll have to look at the YouTube at the top to see it - but it's really as pretty as a picture.

 Here is Francisco trying to line up my sketch with the subject - no easy feat!

 Then Francisco conducted his interview. He got me to sit on a white wrought iron chair in a beautiful whitewashed square in Pedralva, and Hélio in a quiet patio elsewhere in the village. Soon he had what he wanted in the can and it was time to make for our last sketch. We were all a bit road-weary by now and it was a little difficult to find something that worked - but the three locals knew where to go and we ended up on a long winding road that swept down to yet another wild, windy stretch of Atlantic coast. We stopped a short distance down and sketched the setting sun, which was fraught with difficulties because it was just too cold for the paint to dry.

Luckily for me Francisco stepped into the frame at just the right moment and I used his figure as a focal point, and to tell of the shadows...

One last sketch over dinner and the trip was in the bag. I hope you enjoy the flip-through on You Tube...there's one in my halting Spanish too! I will always be grateful for this opportunity. They don't come around very often...

Obrigada a todos!




USk News$type=blogging$ct=0$au=0$m=0$show=


[Workshops Blog]$type=two$c=12$ct=0$m=0$show=