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".
Blog
Flickr

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

Barely time to draw on a rushed European trip

[Guest post by Tapas Mitra in Paris and London] It was not intended to be the whirlwind trip that it became. It was designed as a relaxed, contemplative and atmospheric vacation in France and England: a couple of days in the French Alps, a few days of leisurely strolls in England’s Lake District. But that was not to be due to the late arrival of the French visa which curtailed the trip by a few days, and the result was a non-stop hop-on hop-off across Paris, London and English towns.

The sketches, hence, were always rough and done on the go. The relatively complete ones were done when we were not moving; these were from hotel windows, in public transport, in cafes or at places where I could hide myself from my family and friends and pull out that quiet sketch time. The most photographed sights are absent from this travel account since I hardly had time to visually digest what I saw, and we would leave a site for a new venue before I could take my sketchbook out.


It started with a long flight from Delhi to Paris, with a stopover at Abu Dhabi. We spent our first evening in Paris in the Place de la République, near our hotel. This sketch shows the lower part of the statue of Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic.


From our hotel window I could look across the road and see this house down a narrow street.


This sketch shows the girl who served us at the Chinese restaurant near the hotel, and the Laughing Buddha on the restaurant window sill.


On the left is a street in the city of Versailles. We spent the afternoon at a cafe on this street after our visit to the Palace of Versailles. On the right is a beautiful building on Rue Montorgueil, the famous market street in central Paris. The art enthusiast may recall the famous Claude Monet painting of this street celebrating the street scene and people in his characteristic dense brushstrokes. My sketch, in comparison, is very quiet.


In the gardens of the Palace of Versailles I made studies of statues; it is arguably the largest open-air sculpture gallery in the world.


On the left is a black cat on the steps of our Airbnb in Paris. It echoes the celebrated Le Chat Noir poster of a cat by Théophile Steinlen (and not Toulouse-Lautrec, as we were sternly told at the reception desk of the tiny museum in Montmartre village, which featured works of the village artists from the heydays of impressionism). On the right is the portrait, a little exaggerated perhaps, of a paleontologist we met on board the Eurostar on the way to London. She was travelling to London via Paris on her return from a field trip in Latin America.


In London we stayed at my wife's cousin's place, in a house on the magnificent Hampstead Heath. On the right is their Bernese mountain dog, named Baloo after Kipling's bear in The Jungle Book. The top image shows the London skyline across the Thames from the Tower of London side. The Shard, the tallest skyscraper in the UK, dominates the skyline.


We spent a day at the Gladstone Pottery Museum at Stoke-on-Trent, and marvelled at how a defunct factory has been turned into a museum.


The trip is over! My wife and daughter rest on the train, exhausted after the hectic trip.

Tapas Mitra is an urban sketcher and academic. His previous guest posts featured Indian airports, street vendors in Bhopal, and the city of Lucknow. He lectured at the 8th Urban Sketchers symposium in Chicago. Originally from Calcutta, he lives and works in Bhopal with his wife and daughter.

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