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

GREEN STORIES - PYSB in Oxford from 20th to 24th June, 2018

Oxford is a famous tourist city with loads of history.  In this workshop we want to focus on the day to day life of their people and buildings. The city has a distinctive identity as sustainable city - and runs an annual Green Week in June which we are joining in :

Whilst preparing this workshop we approached various groups in Oxford to engage with their work and their approach to creating a greener, more sustainable future for our planet.  We have found a few locations where the green stories get close together and we can tell their approaches to their environment and people . Specifically, we will spend the morning around Rosehill Community Centre in South East Oxford and the afternoons around Lady Margaret Hall to the North of the City Centre.  Both have done recent architectural and environmental projects to reduce their impact and engage their communities.  in each area other projects also call our attention including a low carbon group, a deep retrofit private housing project, a cooperative housing project and a passive house standard non domestic building  and everywhere multiple inclusion of renewable energy and other green strategies to reduce our footprint in this planet. We are going to tell loads of Green Stories as well as discovering a variety of approaches to sustainability.

As part of the workshop we will put together an exhibition of our work and show it at one or more of the venues, opening it to the public on the Sunday 24th June for all to see the green stories we have collected during the week.

RoseHill Rose Hill Community Centre[/caption]

Discover the environment and  talk while you paint and draw (Isabel)

Drawing people in action is a journey of discovery, a conversation, finding out while you draw them, listening what they have to tell as much as the difficulties of the drawing itself.  We will talk about questions and information we need to understand for each project, thinking whether the story is about a place, a detail, a community or a person. We will think what information we need to gather quickly about the place, the people and the story behind them.

Starting with colour (in watercolour or your prefered media) we abstract what we see. Careful drawing can take place later either with more colour more linear marks or with pen if preferred. Because we are discovering and finding out loads of information, we will learn to synthesise, pick up those points that interest us, record them and remember them while drawing them.

The process will help participants to think about a sketch from the general (capturing the general picture in colour in blocks or in outline) to the particular (adding detail and focus gradually).

As well as capturing the setting and the people, we will spend time understanding the building projects and interventions, bringing it all together with text and note taking.

Isa3 Timber workshop at Elm Farm (Bristol)[/caption]

Isa4 The nurseries at Elm Farm (Bristol)[/caption]

The spirit of a place (Luis)

Paul Klee referred to the building as “a fellow sufferer of the human being”. And it is never truer as for housing projects. A building is made of brick, wood, steel and concrete, but is also made of the longings of those who live within its walls. When construction workers leave the site, what is a bald geometry will soon be filled with life and the place will hold the unique imprint of its new dwellers.

Capturing the spirit of a built place necessary implies combining the two features: the obvious space defined by the walls and a ceiling but also subtler elements that were not in the mind of the designer or architect, that continuously add new layers on the original substance. Even when people are away, these layers tell a lot of stories about them.

This workshop will propose a look into this spirit: sharp lines would help us to define the architectural space, then other tools will be needed to capture light and textures and focus on certain aspects. It might be a familiar object; it might be the view of a tree outside the window. It might just be two people talking quietly at a corner. The handling of different scales and its role in composing the page will be an important goal, in which texts will play a primary role, not only balancing the blank space but also helping in the narrative aspects where the images may fall short.

Luis1 Vernacular architecture in Andalusia: La Alpujarra. Not only geometry, but also light and texture[/caption]

Luis2 Seafood restaurant: the inhabited space suggests stories

Luis3 Objects at a flea market soften the stiff lines of the building



Architecture is a frame in which life happens. Places tell us about the motivations of the people that designed them and live in them: solemn and humble spaces. It is just a matter of ‘listening’.

What a building unveils (Swasky)

Buildings are made by people, designed and built, but what is more important is that they are lived by people. After drawing some of the greatest buildings that you can find in Barcelona most of them those designed by Gaudí, I had the chance of drawing the Miro’s foundation by the architect Josep Lluís Sert. My approach to all them has been, as a non-professional architect, has been always the same: keeping my eyes and ears wide open and curiosity is as my main attitude.

Second main thing I pay attention to is which is the story I find behind each building. I love the way a thread leads me to a place maybe I wouldn’t thought before being. This is the way we are going to start working: following information known before and also the unexpected.


Victor3The good storytelling is something difficult to master, because we need to know some tricks and we have to know how stories work better.


We are going to also focus in writing, a really important thing when we face telling a story. Usually most of the people is scared of writing, of putting into words an account of their own experience.

Victor5This learning approach will help attendees to get used with different strategies and work habits in order to improve their abilities to create a visual and written report of their practical contact with an observation of the buildings and projects that we will visit.

Victor6Learning goals
  • Pushing participants out of their comfort zone, at their own level. From beginners starting to sketch to more confident participants, we aim to teach you something new and push you outside your boundaries, helping you experiment.
  • Losing the fear to draw people
  • Gain confidence drawing buildings
  • Focusing on people, their context, the buildings and the story underneath.
  • Learning to interview people and tell their story
  • Reportage and collecting in drawn form what you want to express
  • Experiment with different techniques and ways of approaching a live sketch situation, helping you find your own self expression.
  • Using and trying different approaches - line drawing with pens and pencils,watercolours and colour in different media.
  • Using more colour and texture and making you think about how do you represent what you see and to develop your own way of representing what you see in colour with confidence
Workshop Schedule
Wednesday 20 June
5pm - 7pm Welcome at Lady Margaret hall
Thursday 21 June
9:30 am -10am Morning meeting at Rose Hill Community Centre
10am-1pm Isa, Luis and Swasky workshops in Rosehill area
1pm – 3pm Lunch and take local bus to centre of Oxford (buses run every 10 minutes)
3 – 6pm Isa, Luis and Swasky workshops around Lady Margaret Hall area
6:30 – 7.00pm Evening all groups meet up
Friday 22 June
9:30 to 10 am Morning meeting at Rose Hill Community Centre
10am-1pm Isa, Luis and Swasky workshops in Rosehill area
1pm – 3pm Lunch and take local bus to centre of Oxford (buses run every 10 minutes)
3pm – 6pm Isa, Luis and Swasky workshops around Lady Margaret Hall area
6:30 – 7.00pm  Evening all groups meet up
Saturday 23 June
9:30am -10am Morning meeting at Rose Hill Community Centre
10am-1pm Isa, Luis and Swasky workshops in Rosehill area
1pm – 3pm Lunch and take local bus to centre of Oxford (buses run every 10 minutes)
3:30 – 6:30pm Isa, Luis and Swasky workshops around Lady Margaret Hall area
6:30 – 7.00pm  Evening all groups meet up
Sunday 24 June
10.00am to 2pm Exhibition opening (venue tbc) and sketch meet up with Oxford Urban Sketchers

30 attendees maximum, 18 minimum. Any level of drawing experience is welcome.

Travel and Accommodation 

You need to arrange your own travel and accommodation.
Check the map of the workshop here

Supply list
A list will be provided for participants – generally bring what you normally draw with.

Registration fee

£ 250 – (£200 concessions – 20% discount for students or unwaged (with proof of concession status))

To book, email Isabel – for registration form.
Cancellation policy: All fees are refundable if cancelled more than 6 weeks prior to commencement of course (up to 9th May 2018). Bank charges will be deducted for the refund in the case of an attendee cancellation. If cancelled after the 9th May up to to one week before the start of the course, a cancellation fee of £50 (60 Euros) will be retained.
No refund will be possible one week before the course.
In the event of too few registrants, all monies will be refunded.

Workshop location

Green Stories workshop map is here

About the instructors

This workshop combines the abilities of




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