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 Proud Parent of a Serious Sketcher in La Rochelle

[By Róisín Curé in La Rochelle, France] My family and I went to La Rochelle on the Atlantic Coast of France at the end of July for a week's holiday. It's a beautiful town, all pale creamy-grey buildings with slate roofs. I planned to sketch while I was there and, ever hopeful, I packed a pad of watercolour paper and a box of paints for my son Paddy, who was 16 at the time.
It was a huge pleasure to sketch alongside Paddy. He's a terrific lad, eternally good-humored and always up for a challenge. We will both remember our daily forays into the town with great fondness: neither Paddy nor I are lie-abeds, so we made the most of time that others spent lounging around indoors (note: I have just been told by my husband that he feels his life will be shortened by my chattiness in the morning. Pearls before swine!)

Here is Honor, my eldest, sketched by me and Paddy. She was not keen on the holiday and she barely left that lovely daybed in the salon.

On our first day Paddy and I drew this lovely lighthouse on the quay of the Vieux Port.

Then I wanted to tackle the massive gates to the port. 

Paddy didn't bother sketching on the beach. He was having a spat with his younger sister and the two of them were far too engrossed in exchanging insults to do anything constructive. They are normally very close but siblings don't always live in perfect harmony. The fact that I was sketching helped me to ignore their nonsense, for it was over something ridiculous (a beach towel I think).
Another sketch on my own: a row of people sitting on the quay with their legs dangling over the edge. Paddy was a bit slow leaving the apartment, and I was in the mood to sketch.

This one was a sort of public-service sketch, the public being me: my eldest was letting everyone know how little she wanted to be there with us, so I drew Paddy to take my mind off it. It was better than becoming involved and making things worse. You can see how serene Paddy is, despite ranting going on on the opposite side of the table. But my eldest was missing her boyfriend, and we all know how this can twist like a knife at eighteen. She is very like I was at her age, so I can't really complain. Luckily I can sketch and it all washes over me.
Paddy and I enjoyed this sketch thoroughly. We were in the heart of things, but the tourists filed by across the bridge just behind us, leaving us to our little patch of pretty, creamy stone flags. This is the Bureau du Port and it reminds me of a Hornblower movie, even though I'm vague on the period.  Paddy was becoming more confident by now, and was starting to feel the exhilaration of his line going just where he wanted it to go.

For the next sketch, which we did late on evening, we were joined by my youngest, Olivia. I drew the lighthouse and the two kids drew a bit of super graffiti that was on a nearby wall. I can't find Olivia's sketch but she was very proud of the results.

Paddy needed a haircut, and it was a great opportunity to sketch a French barber. As some of you know, I never miss an opportunity to sketch in the barbershop. This tall, skinny guy with scraggly beard and red baseball cap was just the sort of figure I like to draw.

The next evening Paddy and I left the apartment and took to the calm of the crowded, bustling Vieux Port. I drew the big archway and Paddy drew this little motorbike that took his fancy. By this stage he had got the message from me that he should draw whatever he liked the look of, not what he felt he "should" draw. He thought this was fantastic.

Our last morning arrived, and I convinced Paddy and his younger sister Olivia to come out with me before we had to take the bus to the airport. Olivia wasn't too happy with her sketch (she wasn't concentrating as she might) and went off to get an ice cream for them both. In this way they discovered that the pleasures of urban sketching aren't restricted to the drawing bit of it. 

So there you have it - a fab holiday. Great food, lovely weather, beautiful scenery, swimming in the Atlantic, sightseeing, superlative sketching...and as for wonderful filial company? Two out of three ain't bad.





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