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

Looking at Porto: The Symposium area

[By Paulo Mendes, Symposium Correspondent, in Porto] Time flies! The Symposium is around the corner, just a couple of weeks and here we go! As a Porto native and local correspondent, I thought it would be the right moment to take you to some favorite places in this highly sketchable city. This way I hope to whet your appetite, Symposians and non-Symposians, who are to arrive soon or some time in the future.
It is said that the “Tripeiros”, as Porto inhabitants are called, are, among the Portuguese, the most proud of their city. As someone who was born, studied and worked here, can't call myself an exception: Great location and scenery, old monuments and architecture, nice people, nice gardens and parks, good food; The river but also the sea, beaches within the city. A couple of hours driving from such places as the Douro valley, the Minho province, the mountains of Gerês and several monumental cities and landmarks... How cannot a person feel blessed for living here?.
Being an urban sketcher since 2014, the only thing I regret is not having sketched all urban, social and architectural changes witnessed over almost five decades. How precious those sketchbooks would be by now!
But the city keeps changing, especially in the last few years, and there are still lots of pages to be filled. And I am sure there will be sketches waiting for you to make in every corner!

For this post, I firstly wanted to show the place where the Symposium will happen: Alfândega do Porto, the massive building at the right. Alfândega means Customs: This was built in 1859 as a Customs House and served its purpose until 1987, being then converted into the actual Congress Center and Transport and Communications Museum. Location couldn't be better, between the river Douro and the lovely Miragaia neighborhood, in the city's historical area.

Close to the Alfândega building, a former rail yard converted into a parking lot and promenade provides great riverside views; This sketch was made last Sunday, St. John's day, during the traditional race of Rabelos, the old typical boats that used to transport the wine barrels and other goods from the highlands of Douro.

The Miragaia neighborhood, just across the street from the Alfândega building, is a treat for sketching. If you have the misfortune of being unable to go elsewhere during your stay, you still could fill some sketchbooks here without walking too much. How to resist this colorful mess of balconies, windows, hanging cloths and so many other elements? A lot to explore here!

A ten-minute upstream walk will take you into the Infante area, its name given by a nearby square. This is also the way to go to the city centre, another 15 minutes up the hill, with plenty to see and sketch on the way, or using the “500” bus if you want to save your legs. The "1" tram will take you in the opposite direction, a scenic downstream ride until the Foz district, where river meets sea.
This is also the entrance to the Ribeira, perhaps the best-known and most visited of all historical neighborhoods, whose cascading houses can be seen in the first sketch.
Baroque lovers should not miss the São Francisco convent church at the left, for its richly ornated gilded carving interiors.
I hope to show more of the city in the next days. See you soon!





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