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

The Stones of Venice: workshop results

[by Mário Linhares, when in Venice, Italy]

The workshop about John Ruskin's exhibition and work in Venice, past June 2-3 was a blast!

Intense weekend in Venice, on the path of John Ruskin, with this amazing exhibition, a spectacular guided tour by a Venetian specialist in art history, sketching from sunrise to sunset, with a lot of fun with the whole group!

The above sketch was made by Lorenza Fonda. The exercise was to capture the whole square, leaving space to the sky and the ground floor, only with a pencil quick sketch and watercolor, searching for the values and contrast of the shadows. After that, only one part should be selected to zoom in and combine with the whole composition on a bigger scale.

This sketch, showing all the potential of graphite pencils was made by Barbara Tedesco. She's great with this gestural sketches and this one is brilliant!

photo credit: Ana Filipa Correia

The three pictures above, about João Moreno's fabulous work, shows:
1. The gothic windows composition (first picture) in a walk led by Anita Cerpelloni, a local artist that knew the Gothic neighborhood like no one!
2. The charming stones of Venice (second and third ones), that make John Ruskin fell in love with the city.

At night, we kept working, trying to capture the style of the night sketches made by Ruskin and Turner. This sketch was made by Jean-Pierre Metraux. His wife, Malou Metraux and him, started sketching less than 6 months ago. Amazing!

It's really interesting to see how workshop participants take the exercises to different levels. This example from Margarida Ramos, combines the column capital on a big scale, just as was asked to do, but she decided to glue the museum tickets, a small sketch, and lettering. It was funny to understand that the time for the exercise was also a way to allow people to go further with that personal options!

Group photo at Loggia Foscara. Very special moment, sketching where the public doesn't have access:

Giacomo Sardelli, sketcher from Milan started sketching a few months ago, did a whole harmonium sketchbook during this weekend workshop, combining all exercises in just one composition (sketch below). It was great to meet him. I'm following him on Instagram now! 

What about my personal experience? 
Having the opportunity to prepare this workshop, inspired by Ruskin's work, was a beautiful experience. This trip didn't start as a workshop plan but as a family trip. Then, with so potential to sketch, why spend all that planning work only for myself? I had to share it with more people. From that thought to announcing the workshop was an exciting week, working with the educational department of Doge's Palace and the education committee of USk.

photo credit: Barbara Tedesco

photo credit: Alessia Montefusco

Some sketches (above) I was able to do during the workshop. 

It's hard to sketch while teaching, but it's very important to do so because we are visual learners, and, as an art educator, I believe that we should do some examples. Sometimes in students notebooks, but also in our own sketchbooks.

Finally, one very special moment.
One of the exercises was based on the letters that John Ruskin wrote to his father. 
I asked all the participants to write a letter to a person, but the letter should have letters (of course), and drawings. Ruskin wrote mainly to his father because he was important to him. So, we should pick an important person as well...

One month later, Simo's Capecchi letter was in my mailbox and I was deeply touched...

So, why spend our lives sketching and teaching?
Just because we never know what life has to offer, and we should do what we love!

Some feedback from participants:

- It was very didactic. I loved the exhibition of John Ruskin, a marvelous painter I did not know of, thanks for the discovery.

- Great topic, highly qualified instructor with a solid experience in teaching, overall well run, relaxed atmosphere yet intensive and rich in information.

- What I liked the most about this workshop was the instructor friendly manner, his drawing skills, and the "drawing on the path of" format. I love John Ruskin.

- Well organized, patient and very useful teaching, a tight schedule, so one could sketch all day long.

- I liked the teacher, the group of persons, and the schedule too.





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