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

Partying with Sketcherman, Chinese Twigging with Kiah Kiean and Coming Home with Simo Capecchi

[By Rita Sabler, Symposium Correspondent, in Porto]

People Party in Porto! with Rob Sketcherman 

Any good artist can show you how to correctly draw human proportion, but only Rob can make you dance it. Sketcherman’s energy is contagious and his tips are so useful even when one’s head is spinning from the overload of information on the last day of the symposium. 

Rob has masterfully covered a lot of territory in less than an hour I was listening in on his workshop. First step was understating how to correctly size up a resting figure. Turns out if we use a human head as our basic measuring unit there are two “heads” between our chin and our navel, one “head" between our navel and our crotch, another two "heads" between our crotch and our knees and and another two "heads" between our knees and the floor. 1-2-1-2-2! Rob made us sign and dance the rhythm several times to literally get it into our bodies. The same formula can be applied to any pose, including sitting and walking ones. 

Next it was time to slice up the human head like a pizza pie. We quickly moved on to simplifying figures into basic shapes. Rob’s advice is to not get intimidated by all the detail and start with basic building blocks–rectangles, triangles and circles before fleshing out details. 

Slicing and dicing human proportions with Rob Sketcherman

Sketcherman showed us how to use quick gestural sketches to practice drawing people.

Finally, it was time for the most interesting part of the lesson–how to pick details that tell a story. Here are some tips: 

1. Pick people of different shapes and sizes–it will add more visual interest to your sketch.
2. Look how people’s personalities could be conveyed with the posture and accessories
3. Use gestures as much as you can, as they can show what kind of relationship your subject has to their surroundings 

Finally, if you don’t like what you see add some stripes, dots, and patterns to make things interesting! 

Kiah Kiean’s Sketching with Dry Twig & Chinese Ink

Conveniently for me, right across from Rob Sketcherman the virtuoso artist Kiah Kiean was unpacking his supplies that he brings every year for all of his workshop students: a big box of Chinese twigs that his father picks in his garden for Kiah Kiean students, a little round container with gauze to hold the ink, and a bigger box for dry washes to be used with a brush. KK uses a very unique approach to making his stunning sketches. 

Step 1: Make lines with a sharpened twig on hot press watercolor paper by dipping a twig into a contained with gauze saturated in Chinese ink. 

Step 2: Use a brush dipped into a sponge barely holding any ink to quickly apply rough textures and depth around lines. 

Step 3: Apply watercolor.

Seems easy enough? Not so much. Here is my sketch of the workshop and a little attempt at sketching KK style. 

Kiah Kiean’s Sketching with Dry Twig & Chinese Ink
KK patiently waited as his students sharpened their twigs, poured some ink into the little containers he provided for them and made a few unsure lines with a twig. 

I was really looking forward to seeing one of Kiah Kiean’s famous jaw dropping demos on location but it was time to run in order to cover my last workshop of the symposium. 

Simo Capecchi’s One page says it all. A reportage on Porto wine 

Having taken Simo’s workshops before I already knew turning the delivery of her students to their location into an adventure is part of Simonetta’s elaborate plan. Once in Brazil I felt like we were possibly being kidnapped when she took all of her workshop participants in a safari style open van to an unknown location far away from the town of Paraty, where we learned and sketched cachaça production plant. 

This time in Porto I was to catch a water taxi in order to cross Douro and arrive to the neighborhood of Ribeira de Gaia where Simonetta was teaching a workshop on one page reportage on Porto wine. Being extremely pressed for time and trying to make it to her location before the workshop was over I had my own James Bond moment running with my sketchbook to catch a water taxi, jumping into one in the last minute as if being chased by a villain, and finally arriving in style just as the students were finishing their one page story. 

Simonetta has been producing gorgeous one page reportage stories for a travel magazine Dove, using her watercolors and hand written stories to illustrate such topics production of tortellini in Bologna, or construction of sail boats in Venice. 

Marking the reportage of the reportage: My attempt to quickly sum up my experience Simo style 
This time Simonetta put her students in the visual reporter’s shoes asking them to make a one page spread detailing the story of Porto wine using the panorama of Porto in front of them as an impactful image, using Rabelo boats in the water in front of them along with wine cellars and shops along the waterfront as main story points. Students had to learn how to effectively combine writing and drawing. 

It was a perfect last workshop to cover for me because Simonetta’s artwork and approach always feel like “coming home” for me. They are warm, sweet and are exactly where I want to be. 

I spent my lunch break catching up with the delightful friends–Silvio Menendez, Maru Godas, and her husband Ramon working on a sketchbook spread for a special birthday gift for Nelson Paciencia. It was a pleasant break from being locked up in my room writing blog reports while scarfing cups of dry noodles. 
Lunch sketch of Maru Godas and Silvio Menendez

Closing Reception

Soon it was time for get ready for the most bittersweet moment of the whole event–the closing reception. I couldn’t believe it was over. Due to lack of sleep, so many amazing talented and kind people that I wanted to talk to, and so much sketching it felt like one day instead of four. 
Collaborative concertina of the closing reception
My fellow correspondent Marina had a brilliant idea for our final reportage piece we would draw together with her in a concertina sketchbook filling the ends simultaneously until we meet in the middle. Soon our third correspondent Paulo Mendez joined in, and the party really got going. 
Collaborative concertina of the closing reception
We filled tow concertinas with colorful portraits and captions from the participants who came to socialize over excellent Portuguese wine, bet on the amazing array of silent auction sketches, and the most climactic moment of the event–the announcement of the next symposium location. 

What a fantastic conclusion to this magical week. See you in Amsterdam in 2019!





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