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 (VII) - Up to the center: A narrower path

[By Paulo Mendes, Symposium Correspondent, in Porto] 
As previously written in my second post, you will always have to go up the street to reach the city center from the Symposium hub in Alfândega. I showed then the best known traject to get there, via Infante and São Bento station, but actually there are some other ways: From Miragaia, just across the street from the Symp, a few steep and narrow old streets can be an alternative, and actually in less time, if your legs can handle the climb. Unable to show you all, I thought we could at least explore one of the most interesting.
In Miragaia, you will find easily a pretty church standing among the colorful old houses: The São Pedro de Miragaia church.To the right, Tomás Gonzaga street will take you up until São João Novo square.

The small square of São João Novo has to show the beautiful yet sadly abandoned São João Novo palace, not visible from my angle in this sketch, an interesting set of old worn houses and finally the Convent and church of São João Novo. The convent is nowadays a court, and the church is being restored, its beautiful front covered with scaffolding. However, you still can visit - and sketch - the equally beautiful interior.

A few meters up to the left, take the picturesque Taipas street. It's a steep lively artery with plenty of character and old Porto atmosphere. It will take you straight to the Cordoaria and Clérigos central area, but doing so you would miss two of the best views in the city, one to the right and other to the left. Let's turn right first, to a street between the abandoned Leite Pereira manor house, in the center of this sketch, and the yellow building just after it.

Rua de São Miguel is another old and picturesque old street. Its slightly curved traject ending at the doorstep ot Nossa Senhora da Vitória church, makes it hard to resist for a sketcher. Needless to say that the church, as all baroque churches in Porto, deserves an attentive visit. Once there, you can turn left and proceed towards Clérigos by São Bento da Vitória street – with another remarquable set of old houses and a big monastery to catch your attention – but we shall turn right instead.

The Vitória viewpoint is somewhat abandoned and slovenly, but you go there for the amazing view: The Cathedral, the Bishop's Palace, the Grilos church and the Luiz I bridge dominate over the built complexity of the old city. It's basically the opposite view to the one shown in the last sketch of my previous post, although from a slightly higher point.

Now back to the Taipas street: To the left from the sketcher's position, the Passeio das Virtudes, or Virtudes Promenade, offers another great view to be admired, in this case downstream with the elegant Arrábida bridge on the way. This lovely place is very popular for its freshness and convivial atmosphere, especially at the end of the day when lots of people gather to relax and watch the sunset. From here, you can also easily go back down to Alfândega and the Symposium.

From Vitória or from Virtudes, a few more steps will finally take you to the city centre near the Clérigos area. You can rest at the Amor de Perdição square, named after a romance - “Doomed Love” in English - by 19th century writer Camilo Castelo Branco, who spent some  incarceration time in the big building at right, formerly a prison and today the Portuguese Center of Photography. A photo exhibition from Frida Kahlo Museum archives, not to be missed, is currently there.

Well, only a week for the Symposium, and still want to show you so much of Porto... Will I be able to?





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