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

Six islands, 125 miles: Biking the Shimanami Kaido

The bridge between Innoshima and Ikuchi Islands. This was maybe 1.5 hours of cycling from Onomichi, so I had a snack and sat on a retaining wall. I liked the contrast of the town cluster below the bridge, and the distant island hills. 
[Guest post by Eleanor Doughty in Hiroshima Prefecture] I’ve been traveling solo in Asia since the end of August and it’s been amazing. I have so many sketches to share with you, but I’ll start with a small but particularly great part of my journey: biking the Shimanami Kaido cycling route in Japan's Hiroshima prefecture. It’s a 70-kilometer (about 45 miles) cycling path crossing through six islands in the Seto Inland Sea. 

I started in Onomichi and went south, and the bridges spanning the water got longer and more stunning each time. I was struck by how similar the landscape looked to the Puget Sound, where I live in Seattle in the U.S. Small, lush islands poking up out of a salty inland sea - the main difference is that they are much smaller in Japan, and with different trees. I wish we could have such a nice bike path in our network of islands - it's a different way to experience a landscape.

The Shimanami Kaido route was so easy to navigate, you just had to follow a blue line painted on the side of the road, and all the hills up to the bridges were graded so it was a very accessible ride for all levels. I saw hardcore cycling groups decked out in Spandex, as well as people in day clothes casually riding.

The weather wasn’t the best for plein air, but I managed to fit in several sketches during the three days I took to explore the area. I feel like I just skimmed the surface here, even though I ended up biking 200 kilometers (125 miles)!

The bridge between Innoshima and Ikuchi Islands, about 1.5 hours of cycling from Onomichi, is shown at top of post. I liked the contrast of the town cluster below the bridge, and the distant island hills.

Takara Bridge is shown below. This is maybe the most famous one, or at least the one I knew from watching anime. I wanted to show how BIG it is! There were rain clouds looming, so I was going fast with the knowledge I might have to stop at any moment. These islands grow a lot of citrus, so I drank some fresh local orange juice as I painted this, and made sure to include the distant orchards on the farther island.

Next is Ōshima Bridge. I stayed on this island for three nights, so I definitely have a soft spot for this view. Ōshima Island’s main industry is a granite quarry, so I watched boats leaving the stone yards as I sketched, as well as men fishing off the docks in the early morning. The small neighborhood shown here was really charming, with lots of old wooden Japanese houses clustered at the water’s edge.

Takara Bridge, take 2: I wasn’t happy with my first painting of this scene, so I found an observatory above the bridge to do a really fast sketch on my way back to Onomichi. It was raining a lot this day, and I needed to catch a ferry a few islands away, so I timed myself to finish in 25 minutes. You can see where it rained on my ink lines. I was pretty happy with this one because the fast drawing has a lot of energy! But I still think it doesn’t show the scale of the bridge…it’s SO big, and really exhilarating to cycle on!

I’d love to come back to these islands for even longer - you could easily spend a whole month in this area. There are many “island explorer” bike trails branching off the main Shimanami Kaido route with small charming towns and clean, empty beaches. I was constantly torn between wanting to stop to sketch and document where I was, and wanting to continue to see what was ahead.

Eleanor Doughty is a freelance illustrator and urban sketching enthusiast originally from Virginia, now living in Seattle by way of NYC. You can follow her sketches on Instagram and Tumblr, and find her illustration portfolio at





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