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

Weekend in Wellington

[By Murray Dewhurst in Wellington]  

Adam Errington's view of the motorway behind us

Got to love Wellington. Wellington has character in a way that try-hard Auckland will never have. The world's southernmost capital, it's also the world's windiest city, apparently.
Wellington is steep. Old wooden houses and brutalist apartment blocks inhabited by government servants, frozen students and character artists from Weta Workshops cling to the damp valley walls. 

The central city is concentrated in a small area meaning it always feels like the place is pumping. Everywhere you look people are packing out the many bars and cafes, nonchalantly sipping freetrade, Burundi single source, cold brewed coconut lattes and chowing down on pumpkin dukkah toast with a side of eggs, or maybe a Dosa Masala, a Nasi Lemak, or maybe a warming Phở? You might be getting the idea by now – Wellington is incredibly eclectic and quite likely our very own hipster capital.
St Peters Chapel - by Zoe

My eldest daughter, Zoe, and I were in town to check out the Massey Design School open day. She's thinking of going there next year so figured we needed to check it out. We spent a full day checking out everything the school has to offer and by the end of the day I was ready to chuck everything in and apply myself. Student life looks like so much more fun that it did in my day!

The following morning, once I'd snapped back to reality and while I waited for the teenager to wake up I drew the view out the hotel window. This is St Johns in the city (top). The first two St Johns burned down making this number three dating from 1885 – the downside of wooden buildings I guess. A great corner to sketch during daylight hours, but not so great for sleeping at night due to a continuous procession of 'drunken munters' making their 'hilarious' way up the valley singing at the top of their voices.

Dave and Andrew in action
Wellington pumps out some hardy sketchers. We got to hang out with some super talented local urban sketchers, including Dave Black, Anne Taylor, Andrew James, and Adam Errington. Here are a couple of them in action below – Dave and Andrew, dressed to ward off the brisk southerly, drawing St Peters while sitting on the end of a disused motorway offramp. Most drew the church, Adam drew the motorway behind us and I tried to sketch everyone.

St. Peters by Dave Black (I think that's me on the left and Zoe on the right)

Eventually we retired to Photon Flux, a "post-apocalyptic space station" pub to warm up over a hoppy Panhead Vandal.
Zoe's sketch of Adam, Dave and craft beer at sci-fi themed Photon Flux

Another view of St. Peters by Andrew James – interesting to see how everyone handled the steeple.

Next day I took on the cupolas, crowns, corbels and corinthian columns of the old Albermarle Hotel on Ghuznee Street while Zoe checked out the vintage clothing and vinyl at Slowboat Records and Rough Peel Records. An Edwardian building that started life as a temperance hotel before becoming a brothel. The eclectic facade was probably better suited to the latter.

Albermarle Hotel

Midnight Espresso by Zoe

We finished at Midnight Espresso on Cuba Mall. At the forefront of Wellingtons coffee culture since back in the day when the owners scored themselves a container load of Cubas finest and roasted it with a home made roaster. Packed with character and colourful characters, the lady with purple hair will serve you a superb flat-white and a stuffed kumara.

Wellington. What a great place sketch.





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