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

Sketching at Kampong Glam, Singapore with an unlikely visitor from Hong Kong

Bali Lane, Kampong Glam, Singapore
[By Don Low in Singapore] The unlikely visitor was Rob Sketcherman, and his wife, from Hong Kong. He was invited by the Ministry of Education to conduct a training course and workshop for the teachers to learn and use Procreate on the iPad Pro for digital production and digital journaling, and possibly or just maybe, incorporating the digital process into the schools' curriculum. "Luck teachers, and what about us?", some sketchers responded on Facebook when they heard news of this.

What an honour for Singapore!  I did also have the honour to sketch alongside Rob too after his intensive week long teaching & training programme was completed. While his wife went shopping, Rob spent his weekend on a Saturday afternoon with the members of Urbansketchers Singapore at Yan Kit Road, the oldest suburban neighbourhood town placed right beside the expensive business district. I almost missed the meet if not for my pal, Tony Chua, who texted me the time and location, just when I was waking up from an afternoon nap from exhaustion. I was glad I made it and managed to sketch Rob on my iPad Pro while he was sketching a magnificent Ficus tree, the oldest in the area.

In this manner, we got to catch up with each other and I got to see his sketching process. We exchanged some tips on drawing with Procreate here and there but I was the one benefiting the most. Definitely the best way to learn from the master himself.

Here, take a glimpse of the meet up with Rob. Everyone was super excited and elated to see him.

Knowing Rob has another 1-2 days in Singapore after the weekend, I invited him to sketch with me exclusively on the following week on Monday, which was also an off day for me. We visited Kampong Glam, a Malay enclave and conservation area for heritage buildings, also one of my favourite places to sketch shophouses built during Singapore's colonial days back in the 40s and 50s. Conservation and preservation was done pretty well but the functions of the buildings have changed. In Kampong Glam, most shophouses are converted to offices, shops, and restaurants. The stretch along Bali Lane where we were sketching are predominantly bars, and cafes, well sadly. The advantage to this is, it is not difficult for us to find a place where we could simply sit in comfort, get a drink and draw. Though touristy, prices for drinks and food remain very reasonable and not exorbitant. The price to sit at this cafe to draw was 2 glasses of ice lemon tea that did not cost more than $4 each.

Rob's sketch of the area at Bali Lane is beautiful. While he focused on a lush foliage beside the preservation building, I paid more attention to the building itself, and made a longer landscape composition of the place. Here's a close up of my sketch.
At Kandahar Street, we had milk tea or teh tarik (pull tea), and where we were sketching another magnificent view of the Kampong Glam. Rob was delighted to see conservation houses surrounded with other high rise office buildings and hotels creating an interesting balanced mix of old and new. The coffeeshop where we were sitting was packed. Strange for a Monday and during office hours. Maybe the customers were mostly visitors. The customers were sitting shoulder to shoulder. People were also talking very loudly. But to sketchers like us, this was a perfect concoction. Interesting characters are always our inspiration. You will see what I meant when you look at Rob's sketch of the coffeeshop. Even the hungry mynah was included too.

Lovely sketch by Rob (top) with mine below. A show and tell with just iPads.

My sketch describes the quieter side of the neighbourhood. I added colour later in the studio.
Like I said, there was so much going on in a tiny place like this. Kampong Glam is a melting pot of languages, cultures, races, heritage and even the arts. There is just too much to see and do and sketch. Alas we only have a day! 

Finally we chill and rest from the day at humble abode.





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