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

Isiwari Jinja (Shrine) in Japan - 石割神社

[By Mike Daikubara at Ishiwari Jinja]
 Last month I visited my father in Japan for a short 1 week visit and we took a trip to Lake Yamanaka in Yamanashi prefecture (about 2 hours from Tokyo). It's a place we used to come often when I was a child during the summer time for it's cool climate (compared to the brutal Tokyo summer) and a beautiful view of Mount Fuji.

1 place I've never been to and wanted to also check out during this visit was Ishiwari Jinja, translated to 'Cracked Rock (boulder) Shrine' and I was just blown away by a picture I found on the internet of this place, also known as a spiritual 'power spot'. Any time I visit new places, I typically try not to read anything about it and like to read about it after the visit like I did with this shrine.

About a 15 minute drive from Lake Yamanaka, we came to the entrance of the shrine. My father had difficulty walking up steps so he decided to stick around a nearby coffee shop while I went up for a quick sketch before we had lunch. I had my sketching bag, wore sandals and told my dad I'll be back quickly.

I didn't know any better at this time.

Entrance at the base

2 Statues at entrance
Straight steps leading up. Cannot see the very top.


I think this photo of the sign must have been around mid point. It's saying to be careful of the stair steps. On the top left is a hand scribble note reading "This is the 243rd step". I wish it also told me how many more steps were remaining until reaching the shrine.

Warning sign to be careful of steps

At this point about 45 minutes up the stairs, I'm completely wipe out and out of breath. The T-shirt I was wearing is completely drenched in sweat and I haven't met a single person going up or coming down the steps. I have no choice but to keep on going up.
Then eventually I spot a rock with some religious rope wrapped around it.

Then a sign.
Old hand written sign talking about the history of this location
 Then I see something!!
I finally see something!!

I finally made it to the rock! It's hard to describe in words but I'm completely blown away with this scene since I just walked up 403 stair steps for an hour, not meeting a single person and something like this all of a sudden appears.
Like with any subject, I like to sketch before thinking about it and that's what I did here while I'm trying to cool down. I'm also starting to get text messages from my father who wants to go eat lunch and didn't think it would take this long for me to come back. I didn't think it would take this long to come here too.
I'm sketching super fast.


After the line sketch is done, I'm starting to feel good and relaxed and my left side of the brain starts working again. I go check out what's written on the sign and it tells me that there's a passage way going through the split rock and going around the path 3 times (clockwise) will bring good luck. I immediately give it a try.

Here's the 'rock'!

Stair steps from the left leading up to the rock.

A very tight corridor and the walls of the rock was wet too and I barely fit through.


Upon quickly returning to 'base' and having 'Hoto Udon' with my father, I'm telling him all the stories about this shrine.  I also remembered my iPhone kept track of my steps so I look at it and just cracked up. I was blown away by the amount of steps I had taken!!

What a fun memorable trip!





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