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

A Symposium is taking shape!

[By Paulo Mendes, Symposium Correspondent, in Porto]  After getting around in Porto showing the city or hunting for sketchers, it is now fiinally time to enter into the heart of the big event: At 9h00 in the morning, volonteers and organizers were gathering at the main entrance of the Alfândega building. I saw many familiar faces, including some good sketcher friends who were willing and eager to embark in such a laborious and noble endeavour.

In the main congress room splitted by a large curtain, a wide area filled with chairs is separated from the other that will be open to public. It was on the first that volonteers were given clear instructions about their multiple tasks for that day and for the days to come. Final questions were answered, and by the end everyone seemed to know where to start. In a question of minutes, both halves of the room were bustling with activity.

Among large tables still empty, unopened boxes and busy people moving around, the instructors check-in was taking place, some of them still carrying their luggage while reuniting with long time friends from previous symposiums. It was so nice to see them all, as well as some of my own good friends who were coming from Lisbon and elsewhere.

At the end of the morning I had finally the pleasure of meeting Rita, one of my fellow correspondents. How nice to meet someone in person after so many weeks exchanging emails. Besides being an excellent sketcher, Rita is a lovely gentle person, a great company to work with on the next days, and I couldn't resist to sketch her at the table. Little bit afterwards, on the bus towards the port wine cellars, both of us would meet Marina, our other equally fantastic and talented colleague whose work I've been long admiring.

The faculty was taking a tour into Poças Júnior port wine cellars. After a short bus trip across the river, we were directed to the reception room, where a history and explanation on their wines and their making was given. From theory to practice, some of those wines could be tasted, and many sketches turned out much better!

Some time for sketching was allowed, and while the instructors were capturing the old and typical atmosphere of the cellars with amazing results, I was trying to capture a few of them in action. Between a couple of failed attempts, my best succeeded results came from illustrious victims Kiah Kiean Ch'ng and Rob Sketcherman.

On our way back, instructors were left in their hotel and I went back to Alfândega after a halfway errand. To my surprise, the empty and unpacked room I left in the morning was now looking like a real Symposium hub! I couldn't help to be amazed on how everything was running so smoothly: As a member of a couple of associations in my younger years, I helped more than once to organize events by no means as huge as this one, and I know how tiring, stressful or even conflictuous things can become at some point. Nothing of that could be perceived here, not a sign of a slightly somber countenance! The atmosphere was quiet, everyone was doing their job peacefully and by seven o'clock, time to close the doors, nothing seemed out of place. It will never be too much to leave a word of appreciation to this extraordinary working group, from organizers to volonteers!
What a great day this was; And tomorrow will be even better!





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