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

A frenetic rhythm for instructors in Porto!

[by Marion Rivolier in Porto, Portugal]

I was lucky again this year to give workshops at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Porto. I arrived two days before the start to prepare my course, "Capturing space and people in the same gesture". The first thing is to find the ideal location, people sitting, standing, moving, a varied but not too complex urban landscape, shade in case of burning sun and calm, if possible... Leaving the Ribeira, too tourist, too noisy and too sunny, I choose the Tram Stop that seemed to meet all my desires. 

I tested all the exercises of my workshop as well as my demo, from several points of view. I liked to discover these places by capturing characters: tourists, locals, workers, waiters, waitresses, bus drivers, and some designers. 
The colors of Porto begin to emerge: a beautiful range of colored gray enhanced with intense pink, orange and yellow. The changing blue-green color of the Douro is a nice counterpoint to blackmail these colors. 

I continued my training space and people in the same gesture, during the Faculty Tour, in the cellars in Porto de Poças in Vila Gaïa de Nova on the other side of the Douro. We were about fifty sketchers to taste the port and to draw the vats and barrels in a humid atmosphere and with strong vapors of alcohol. I think we were a little tipsy at the end of the visit...

The same evening we were lucky that the mythical Livraria Lello open only for us. This bookstore is wonderful but extremely complex to paint. How not to paint all details of this incredible decoration and hundreds of books? 

The next day, why not continue in complexity with the Ponte Luis I, built by Gustave Eiffel? This is the first Sketchwalk. It's pretty amazing, every meter, there is someone drawing. I do not know how many bridges were crunched but it would be interesting to create a gallery! I like the relationship of the blue-gray color of the bridge with the background in warm colors. The sky is cloudy which brings a density to the composition.

Thursday morning, I taught my first workshop. We speak movement, light, silhouette, attitudes, shadows, reserve and large colored masses in a studious and attentive atmosphere. Everyone tries to integrate my proposals into their own work, it's really interesting. Rita Sabler, one of the correspondant, wrote a wonderful post about it, thank you very much Rita!

I did a warm-up for my demo with Skit Sketch, quick lectures on various topics around drawing and its relationship in the community. I capture the attitude of each speaker in a single gesture, fast and precise.

I am ready for my Demo. I believe there are at least 25 participants. They are very interested and ask a lot of questions. I explain the process upstream because during the demo, I will have trouble speaking. Indeed, we must remain extremely focused to capture the characters and the urban landscape in the same gesture. We have little time, so I paint very quickly. I feel like I ran a 400m at the end of the demo. I am leached. Thank you Ben Luk for the pictures!

The instructors have very little time to draw during the Symposium so on Friday night, I do not resist capturing the Luis I Bridge in this nocturnal atmosphere. I do not see much. I mix my colors blind and I feel that it works. It is difficult to paint watercolor nocturnes because it is hard to darken enough. Back at the hotel, I see that the atmosphere has been made.
Thank you to the wonderful team, Portuguese team, volunteers who made everything easier for us!
I hope to see you next year in Amsterdam!





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