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

Symposium, day 2: Workshops at breakfast, Demos for tea.

[By Paulo Mendes, Symposium Correspondent, in Porto] 
Second day of Symposium, first day of workshops. This brave correspondent trio of yours  had organized itself in order to attend most if not all of them along the next days. I was still unsure on my approach into what may be the Symposium's staple activity: What to sketch or write, which angle or point of view? Well, this should be like the act of sketching itself: If you practice you will figure. And so I joined one of the twenty seven groups that gathered at the Alfândega doorstep, identifiable by the signal holded by a volonteer that in all fairness called herself the Liberty Statue. It was the first of the three workshops I was allocated on this day: “Beyond the trees – How to include a wooded foreground in order to enrich a panoramic view”, by Charline Moreau.

As a bonus, this workshop came with a fitness session by climbing the steep streets towards the wonderful Virtudes promenade, whose trees provided the raw material. I'm a big fan of Charline's work, and couldn't find more relevant her vision on trees as a mean to frame a scene and create a composition. I tried myself to put something of that spirit on my sketch,  made while the first exercise was on the run.

I had to move to my next workshop when Charline was making one of her stunning watercolors as a demo between the first and second exercises. I wish I could have seen more!

My next workshop was “Pocket Urban Sketching”, with Gabi Campanario. It was close to the Clérigos tower and the big “Porto.” blue lettering where tourists like to picture themselves, and Gabi was running across his students, enthusiastically giving tips and techniques in how to use a small sketchbook as a mean to sketch faster and more frequently, something that I see as the quintessence of the act of Urban Sketching itself. A boost on motivation!

Sketchbooks were reunited and Gabi made a demo on the use of watercolor. And for the second time I had to move away from a watercolor demo moment...

I was curious about the next workshop, “Graphite is the matter”, by Eduardo Bajzek, and his approach to sketching, through shapes instead of lines, working from outside-in. This is totally new for a line guy like me, who goes straight to ink, but his drawings speak by themselves and I could see by his student's motivation and results that new amazing ways to see were showing up.

Eduardo was moving from one student to other, offering advice on adding or removing elements in order to create focal points, enhance compositions, etc. Since graphite was the matter in this workshop, I couldn't resist to sketch him in one of those moments with a watercolor pencil I got the day before in the goodies bag. 

After the final sketchbook reunion and comments, it was time to eat something and going back to Alfândega for the Skit Sketch session.

I had no idea what Skit Sketch could be, but it became clear after Amber's explanation: It's a presentation with 20 slides of 20 seconds each, in the Japanese PechaKucha style. There was a total of nine speakers, each one with his topic. The first three were Eduardo Bajzek (Sketch Tour Portugal: Fátima), Jonatan Alcina Segura (The sketch must go on) and José Pablo Ureña (Sketching the urban rivers).

They were followed by Laura Candón Cornejo (Our kids: Next generation of artists), Richard Alomar (100 sketchwalks – more or less) and Dilar Pereira (Timor Leste – Cadernos de Desenho) 

Final three were Javier de Blas (Sketching daily life at the Sahraui refugee camps), Tomás Reis (Rock n'Roll Baroque) and Wiltfried (Usk Symposium behind the scenes).

My last sketches of the day were taken from the big demo outdoor event. I could manage to pick three of the best: How not to be inspired by watching these true Masters at work?





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