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 with Light, Shadow and Color in Seattle

When you look at a great sketch, what is it that really makes a strong impact?

What really makes a sketch a success is a strong composition--that's what grabs your eye and holds it!  In this weekend workshop, we'll practice dynamically composing a sketch--first by exploring "Notan", the harmony of light and dark, and then with the harmony of color.

What does Notan have to do with working in color?  Practice in making strong value choices helps you more instinctively create a bolder, richer range of values when you're working with color!  

Seeing and painting shadows helps us see shape and form, so, we'll work with monochrome watercolor studies to see the contrasts of light and shadow.  Next, we'll explore color temperature, as we work with warm and cool colors to bring harmony and contrast to your sketch.

Finally, we'll look at the color of atmosphere--the way pure white light is suffused with atmospheric color affects everything we see, even the color of shadows!

Saturday we'll meet in the morning at the lovely Seattle Japanese Garden in the Washington Park Arboretum, and after a break for lunch we'll continue sketching in the afternoon in the Arboretum.

Sunday morning we'll move to a more "urban" location, Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park, where we'll conclude the workshop.  

Sunday afternoon we'll have a Sketch Crawl at Pike Place MarketFront that will be open to All!

Workshop schedule

Composing with Light and Shadow
9:30am - 12:30pm  Seattle Japanese Garden

We'll start by making bold Notan sketches in black and white, using tools that can create a variety of bold lines and shapes--while looking for rhythm and patterns of light and dark.

We'll move on to monochrome studies of light and shadow.  This is a transition from a stark Notan approach to composing with a range of values with one color.

Lunch Break

The Harmony of Warm and Cool
1:30pm to 4:30pm  Washington Park Arboretum

We'll practice creating strong values of light and dark, while seeing the effects of warm and cool colors in your sketch:  depth, mood, harmony and/or contrast.  We'll start with painting shadows, and move from little two-color studies to composing a larger composition...and perhaps add a third color!

The Color of Light
9:30am - 12:30pm  Olympic Sculpture Park

Today we'll look at the color of atmosphere. Traditionally, watercolor artists reserve the white of the paper to express the lightest light...but what about the color of light?  We'll reverse yesterday's process of starting with shadows, and start by looking at the color of light!

We'll explore some watercolor wash techniques that can be used to suggest atmospheric color.  We'll move on to start with a color line drawing, to layering warm and cool color shapes.

We'll continue to practice composing with warm and cool colors, creating light and shadow in your sketches.

In these exercises, we'll be using a limited palette.  When you reduce the number of colors in your sketch, you can see the effect that each color has!

Sunday Afternoon Sketch Crawl at Pike Place MarketFront--OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
2:30pm - 5pm

Let's wrap up the weekend with a Sketch Crawl at the new Pike Place MarketFront--we'll meet at Billie the Piggiebank!  (Drawing courtesy of Seattle Urban Sketcher Tina Koyama!)

In this workshop you will...
  • Develop techniques to discover and develop an interesting visual story in your sketches
  • Compose a dynamic range of light to dark with understanding the concept of "Notan"
  • Choose what to leave out of a composition to create interest
  • Explore harmony and dynamic contrast with color

Questions?  Contact

UPDATE:  Workshop is now full.  If you'd like to be on the Wait List, please go to:  Thank you!

Registration:  $155 (includes admission to Seattle Japanese Garden)
Cancellation Policy: 
If participant cancels, a $25.00 cancellation fee will be assessed.
No refunds if cancelled within 7 days of the workshop date. 
In the event of too few registrations, all monies will be refunded less PayPal Fees.
Space is limited to 15 Attendees

Supply list will be emailed to attendees

About the instructor
Virginia Hein was born in Los Angeles, California, and the landscape of the city has always been her favorite subject.  She has worked as a concept designer for toys and entertainment, and as art director, illustrator and fine artist.  Currently she teaches drawing at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, and also teaches sketching workshops at Descanso Gardens and other locations.  She discovered Urban Sketchers in 2009, and has been a correspondent for the Urban Sketchers blog since then.  She has taught workshops at three international Urban Sketchers Symposiums--Barcelona, 2013, Singapore, 2015 and Chicago, 2017.  She has contributed her work to a number of books about location sketching, including "The Art of Urban Sketching" by Gabriel Campanario, and her sketches were included in Drawing magazine's Summer 2016 issue on artists' sketchbooks, "Sketchbook Insider".  Her book "5 Minute Sketching Landscape" was published by RotoVision in 2017.
IG @virginiahein




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