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 (V) - Crossing the bridge

[By Paulo Mendes, Symposium Correspondent, in Porto] Showing you Porto without mentioning one of its greatest and best known landmarks would be a heavy and unforgivable sin! It is not Porto's only bridge – there are five more – neither the oldest, but, for its location and singularity, it's undoubtedly the most famous. You will see its image everywhere, from postcards to all kinds of souvenirs, and then you will see it for yourself and will be amazed: The elegant double-deck Luiz I bridge, or “Dom Luiz”, as it is popularly called, is one of the city's two venerable iron bridges, the other being her somewhat forgotten older sister Eiffel-built Maria Pia railway bridge, barely visible upstream from this famous counterpart, and sadly disused after good loyal services from 1877 to 1991.

From São Bento station (see my second post) you will see the Cathedral and a wide avenue going up: Take the avenue, but instead of turning right towards the cathedral, continue ahead and you will see the bridge's upper deck. It is shared by pedestrians and line D of the Metro. The bridge connects Porto with the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, or simply Gaia, in the other side. Be prepared for breathtaking views wherever you stand!

If you're not comfortable with heights, you may want to cross the bridge through its lower deck. The best way to get there is by descending the picturesque Codeçal staircases: The old worn houses and their environment offer a lot to be sketched from any angle and will be a great compensation for the missed views. The bridge itself will end up appearing to you as shown in the first sketch.

Back to the upper level: It will take you to Gaia's Jardim do Morro, or Hill Garden. This sketch, from the top of the garden, makes little justice to the view towards Porto, as it was made early in the morning when the sunshine was still absent. Late in the afternoon, the place is usually full of people and the sunlight much more dramatic and interesting. And from the patio of Serra do Pilar monastery, at your right with its curious round church, you get an even better perspective!

The two easiest ways to go down to Gaia's historical quarter are by taking the cable car, or simply descending the narrow Calçada da Serra, ending at the entrance of the bridge's lower deck and the Diogo Leite riverside avenue.

The major attractions of riverside Gaia are the view towards Porto, as you can see from the first sketch in my first post, and especially the famous Port Wine cellars. The bustling Diogo Leite avenue also offers a multitude of shops and restaurants, handicraft vendors, and is the departure point of many river cruises. If you prefer some quietness instead, and get an occasional hint of countryside, just take one of the narrow interior side streets that give acess to some of the wine cellars.

Back to Porto afer crossing the lower bridge deck, the beautiful Ribeira historical quarter will be waiting for you. It's the most visited place in the city and a sketching paradise, with so much to choose from old architecture to people, colorful market stands, boats, narrow medieval streets and arches... It is not difficult to look around without knowing where to start!

If you happen to be in Porto next 14th July, you may not want to miss the Symposium warm-up sketchcrawl, organised by UskP-Norte: It will start at 3PM from this same point at Ribeira, close to the bridge, and will end at 5.30PM in Alfândega, at the doorstep of the Symposium hub. Shall we see each other there?





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