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

Hallowe'en in Galway

[By Róisín Curé in Galway] Every year since they were old enough for me to indulge my desire to dress my kids up (ie. under 1), my children have taken part in some kind of Halloween festivity. I swaddled them in every costume I could think of, some of them elaborate creations hot off my sewing machine (a purple velvet frock coat for a Louisiana voodoo witch the year The Princess And The Frog was in the cinema stands out) and some less swanky (a threadbare nightdress I hacked with less-than-sharp scissors to make an "angel" comes to mind). When the kids were very small I took them around the houses of my area of south Co. Galway trick-or-treating; as they got older, they went by themselves with their friends. One year we went on holiday to France over the Halloween break, and all three kids kicked up an almighty fuss. They simply loved all the dressing up and edginess.

But that's all over now, and they are making the transition to "nothing" happening on Halloween. If they're lucky, they'll organise something with a pal, and watch horrible creepy movies and eat disgusting sweets in the shapes of ghouls and severed limbs. If they're unlucky, they won't have anything organised, and if they're really unlucky, their friend will cancel at the last minute. This is what happened with my youngest, Olivia, on Wednesday morning, hours before she was due to go to said friend's house for horrible movies etc. I felt sorry for her, and took her to town with me. Her brother Paddy came too. They were happy to wander around town and look at clothes, and I wanted to get some sketches done for my book (An Urban Sketcher's Galway) which has to be complete and handed in by the end of February.

I wandered down the main street scanning shops for a creative Halloween shop display. Pickings were poor. There were a few flimsy skeletons (I suppose sturdy skeletons are even thinner on the ground) and a few well-done ghosts in the window of McDonald's, but Micky D's were never going to suggest "Galway" in the way I wanted, so I passed. A well-known puppetry and theatre company had commandeered many shop windows with their own paintings, but they were splashed with their company name and were painted in non-traditional colours (blue, red and white - what?). They weren't going to pass muster either. Then, just as I was feeling desperate, I noticed a man on a cherry picker on Eglington Street...putting up Christmas decorations! On Halloween itself! Ah for God's sake...Paddy commented that they could have done it the day before, or the day after, but on Halloween? Come one, the lads at the council!

I was ready to give up when I saw a really groovy poster outside Neachtain's. It was for a fancy dress competition. I loved the vintage I drew it.

Then I turned the corner onto the other side of the pub...and there were some less flimsy skeletons - ie. skulls. I drew those too. Then I got a human sketching outing t was improving by the minute.

He wasn't hugely impressed with me drawing him - well, he didn't see what I was doing but I suspected he didn't want to be scrutinised - so I kept my sketchbook subtly hidden and crossed to the other side of the street to get on with painting it.

The children and I went home, Olivia and Paddy watched a truly unpleasant film called The Witch (I mean, why put yourself through it?) so I indulged myself painting a nice autumnal scene at the kitchen table instead.

Until next time - happy start of winter, I guess!




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