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

Day 2: Learning from the Masters

[By Rita Sabler, Symposium Correspondent, in Porto]  Spilling my coffee and rushing out the door this morning I make my way to Alfandega where students are starting to gather around volunteers holding up the signs with the names of the workshops. I sketch the commotion as I frantically search for the first workshop I am covering.

Archisketcher’s Guide to Sketching the Big Picture Using Rule of Thirds by Simone Ridyard

I have always been a fan of Simone Ridyard’s loose web-like linework, her minimalist approach to color, the organic dialogue between her linework and her washes,  and her keen sense of composition and perspective.

Simone explained that whether or not we are conscious of it we often use the rule of thirds to achieve eye pleasing harmonious composition. The grid is present on many cameras and allows photographers to place elements of visual interest on the intersections of the lines instead of dead-locking them in the middle.

As soon as Simone sat down to do a demo a street cleaner turned a powerful hose to clean the street behind us–we almost got washed down the sidewalk with the remains of the previous night's party on Ribeira. Simultaneously a big truck stopped to make a delivery right in front of us blocking our view of the street. Streets of Porto are always full of surprises and comical situations, but the locals are so lovely that things rarely get stressful. It helped that Simone handled everything with poise and sense of humor.

Simone demonstrated how she divides the page in six more or less even rectangles. Since the main subject of our sketch is Ponte Luis I bridge we aligned the main horizontal line of the bridge with one of our helping lines. Simone showed how the tops of the buildings lining the street could be found using the vanishing point using the rules of one point perspective.

One of the tips from Simone: The tops of the doors will always slope down unless you can find a door that is smaller than you.

I attempted to follow Simone’s explanation trying to imitate her style, but I found it difficult to maintain such a loose line while simultaneously draw aligning everything to perspective grid. My 45 minutes with Simone were up and I had to scoot over to the nearby workshop where another outstanding British artist Ian Fennelly was painting a completely different picture.

Ian Fennelly's "Watercolor and Pen in a Busy Space"

When I arrived to Ian Fennelly’s workshop students were busy drawing colorful facades towering over us in Largo do Torreiro. Ian was cheering them on with hilarious comments like “This class is full of talented artists, much better artists than me.”Ian’s approach is to start with big shapes going straight to watercolor. This took a lot of students out of their comfort zone forcing them to focus on large blocks of color in front of them instead of worrying about complicated details, perspective and angles.

Once the main shapes were on the page Ian allowed students to proceed to brush pens, adding depth and making sense out of the washes on the page. In the next stage he showed how to work on details with a finer pen, adding lines, cross hatching over the watercolor and brush pen foundation.
Largo do Torreiro painted in the style of Ian Fennley. I captured him on the right
I was not familiar with Ian’s work before attending a small section of his workshop. I found myself blown away by the color, energy, whimsy, and amazing textures that Ian comes up with right on the spot.

Demo by Pedro Loureiro: “Sketching Architecture: The Devil is in the Details” 

After lunch instructors did a 30 minute demo of their master technique. I caught up with Pedro Loureiro, one of my favorite sketchers from Lisbon, Portugal. Pedro has a very calm confident voice and excellent command of English.
Pedro Loureiro and my imitation of his 5 minute sketch of the São Francisco Church
He showed us how he often makes quick architectural studies in pen and color for his clients back in Lisbon. He talked about which details should be accentuated and which could be skipped. He has a very quick and effective way of applying color washes that communicate light and shadow and accentuate perspective in his work. After his demo he generously offered his time to students to talk about his favorite tools and show us his amazing sketchbooks.





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