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 3: A fully workshopped journey

[By Paulo Mendes, Symposium Correspondent, in Porto] Looking into the Symposium program, I always saw the third day as the most difficult, with workshops happening both morning and afternoon. I had six of these to visit and sketch, some of which requiring the tough climb from Alfândega to the city centre through the old streets and stairways not made for the unfit. I planned my day in order to start from the highest locations, moving towards the riverside and starting all over again after lunch.

It's all in the details”, by Liz Steel, was the very first, requiring the feared ascent; But no ascent of any kind will be hard enough in the joyful company of Liz. Some stops on the way were used to give precious tips and advice, and once the top was reached, we were even treated with a small pastry. Baroque facades demand sweetness!

The first exercise was to pick a detail and draw it from different directions. At this point, with the students immersed in the complexities of Nazoni's masterpiece, I also had to follow my own different direcion, as It was time to move away for my next workshop in the not very distant São Bento station.

Draw less, show more” by José Louro was my next stop. I found his group gathering after their first exercise, consisting in sketching a human figure deprieved of superfluous elements, in order to keep a focus in the essential.

Another figure, elements from the surrounding scenario and a connection between them  was the next exercise. I still could sketch some of people and a sample of the station plattform before moving back to Miragaia for my last visit in the morning.

Right up your alley – Shadow, color and light in Porto's narrow spaces”, by Shari Blaukopf was happening in Cidral de Baixo street, almost in front of the Symposium. Several colorful houses in a narrow space, their shadows impregnated with the reflections of the neighbor colors were the perfect set for the final exercise. I wanted to catch those lights and shadows while sketching the workshop itself, this being also for me an excuse to come back to color, something I've been missing

Shari was happy with the final result. Her student's lunch was well-deserved. After all the morning up-and-downs, I dare to say mine too.

My first in the afternoon was “Frame your sketch”, by Pedro Alves. I'm a huge fan of Pedro and love the efficient lightness of his workshops, a quality assigned only to great communicators. Once arrived at Virtudes and after a rest from another climb, he treated us with a masterful watercolor demo of a manor house across the street.

An exercise, consisting in pairs of students sketching each other in two versions, the better and the worse they could make, was just finished when it was time to move to my next workshop just five minutes away.

Umbrella perspective”, by Paul Heaston, a very recognizable feature of his work. An exercise iusing a single point of view had just finished and Paul was commenting the results when I came by.

After a few explanations, the students moved into a more complex 3-umbrellas point of view exercise, and I tried to capture them at work within the same spirit.

Urban tales: Buildings can talk too. Architectural scenes without actors”, by Reham Ali. The old houses of Miragaia are excellent story tellers, with their balconies overloaded with planters, hanging laundry, sattelite dishes and many other visual goodies. No human presence is necessary, as these buildings do all the talk. My sketch, with a focus in her group spreaded along the stairs, was quite the opposite of this topic, but how to resist this composition?

Reham's wise remarks on the excellent final results.

The day ran really fast, for me the fastest since the Symposium opening. It was time to go back to the "sketcher's nest in the top floor" before a well deserved short moment with good old friends at the Drink and Draw. But having this post to write, it was more like Drink and Go to me.





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