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 handful of sketches of people done in 2018

[By Don Low, Singapore] Looking back, 2018 has been an interesting year. I attended Porto Symposium 2018 which became the highlight trip of the year. My sketchbook for the Porto trip was already made into a video uploaded on Youtube. If you are interested, you may visit the following link to watch it: Porto Sketchbook. Besides, I was invited by the Indonesia sketchers to conduct a workshop on sketching people in Jakarta. Even though it was only for a short weekend, I had lots of fun teaching as well as sketching alongside so many talents there. Sketching always makes travel a lot more memorable. Prior to that, I attended "Taichung Asialink", a sketching meet for sketchers from all over Asia and Australia to come together to sketch historical places in Taichung. It was a well and wonderfully organised event in which I was able to meet up with many sketcher friends and making new ones. I brought my mom along too just to see how the world is actively involved in sketching expeditions like this. Though I wanted to elaborate more on these trips, this post is not about them but sharing a selection of sketches I did in 2018 of people in places I visited for food or coffee.

The one on top is a sketch of a hawker stall that sells fried carrot cake (radish rice cake), a favourite breakfast dish among many Singaporeans and residents living in the estates nearby. I have been eating from this stall for 20 years and I have seen the line grew longer and longer over the years. On a weekend, the wait for a S$3 carrot cake can be as long as 40mins. This of course gave me the opportunity to sketch while I waited. I have gifted a print copy of a sketch I did of the stall and the lady boss so she is always giving me a larger portion since then.

Singaporeans spent a lot of them eating so inevitably, my sketches are usually cafes, restaurants, coffeeshops or kopitiams where I ate from. To Chinese, "吃是福“, which is translated as, "it's a blessing to eat" literally. It's one thing to "eat to live, and another, to "live to eat". I am constantly thankful for the varieties of food here and the ability to savour them as much as I wanted.

This particular McDonalds branch in Vivocity Mall does not see an end to the line of people.

I am not always eating. There were times I was just waiting in line for something. Sketching makes waiting or standing in line a lot more bearable. Sometimes you wished the wait could be longer and so you wouldn't be interrupted half way through your sketching.

I don't take public very often but when I do, I would usually look forward to doing one thing I love - sketching commuters.

A noisy restaurant...

... and a quiet coffeeshop. This was also my last visit to Costa Coffee because the franchise has withdrew from Singapore. I was chilling with a friend, Tony Chua, who has became the foreground focal point of this sketch.

This is Telok Blangah Food Center - where my wife and I would visit for breakfast or brunch almost everyday since we moved back to this estate for good in July 2017. All my favourite food is here: fried carrot cake, steamed chicken rice, economy bee hoon, fritters and Nanyang coffee brewed with a sock.

Food courts in malls are air-conditioned and are more comfortable to dine in - but food is more expensive too.

Customers at a churros cafe - this is one aspect of Singapore that displays the "cultural influence" of America brought about by the media.

I would always choose to eat at a traditional coffeeshop aka kopitiam even if it's alfresco style.

This year in 2018, I had my nails clipped by a stranger for the first time.

And attended 2 Malay weddings this year.

Sketching while my missus was having her hair pampered.

Visiting a friend at his mother-in-law's funeral wake service...

The iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil have become the tools that I carry around with me wherever I go. Sometimes I don't even have my fountain pens and my sketchbook with me. But I am not totally converting to digital sketching yet because nothing will replace sketching on paper with pens or pencils.

Anyway, this year has been eventful but great! Here, looking forward to a new year of uncertainty and challenges.

Wishing all an awesome 2019 and happy holidays!





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