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

Meet the Amsterdam symposium correspondents

At the end of a highly competitive, rigorous selection process, three outstanding candidates were chosen to cover the Amsterdam symposium as correspondents: Mark Anderson (Liberty, Missouri, USA), Mariia Ermilova (Tokyo) and Gwen Glotin (Amsterdam). The USk Editorial Team and Executive Board are pleased to have selected a strong, committed team for the important volunteer role of reporting on the 10th annual USk Symposium.

Mark Anderson
Mark Anderson, a writer for the USk monthly newsletter, Drawing Attention, considers himself “a simple storyteller. Anecdotes, observations, and experiences: my sketchbook is a narrative reaction to the people and places I encounter, the day-to-day reaction to that which is in front of me.” The sketches in his application impressed the Editorial Team with that storytelling aspect. Sweating on a hot day at a farmers' market, he closely observes a woman in “a long-sleeve wool cardigan, shawl and head wrap” and captures her with deft lines. It’s a sketch with character, context and activity (shown at top of post).

Mark is eager to tell the stories of sketchers through his coverage in Amsterdam. “There’s little doubt in my mind that each of us comes to Urban Sketchers with a different purpose in mind,” he said, “and it’s that varied experience I feel needs to be shared. It’s the story of us.”

Sketch of Matsudo festival by Mariia Ermilova

Mariia Ermilova
Mariia Ermilova, a Russian national living in Tokyo, is a correspondent for USk Japan. Pursuing a Ph.D. in urban planning, Mariia combines her passion for sketching with an interest in “applying urban sketching in the community design context.” Her correspondent application included vivid sketches and stories from her participation in a local traditional festival in Matsudo. “I was invited, because as a student I am involved with social projects in this neighborhood. Festival is a chance to meet and chat with all community members. We change clothes in the tatami room. Everyone is wearing the festival special clothes.” 

“I am interested in becoming an USk Symposium correspondent because I want to meet sketchers from around the world,” Mariia said, “to connect with them and to discuss the meaning of urban sketching as a ‘soft power’ to protect the historical meaning of urban communities’ neighborhoods and architecture.”

Sketch by Gwen Glotin

Gwen Glotin has a unique, crucial role on the team. Not only will she cover the events herself with sketches and writing; she is also responsible for helping her teammates efficiently learn their way around the symposium neighborhood. Originally from France, Gwen has been an Amsterdam resident for nearly 20 years.

“I love that city,” she said of her home. “I live around 15 minutes away (by bicycle of course – what else!) from the neighbourhood where the symposium will take place, and I have sketched there regularly and will continue to do so: It’s a neighbourhood where everything is sketchable!”

The Symposium Correspondents program, which provides travel and lodging to international correspondents and an honorarium to the local correspondent, was launched in 2011 in Lisbon. The program’s goal is to bring attention to the storytelling possibilities of urban sketching, especially in covering an event.

In response to the rigorous requirements, the Editorial Team received many impressive applications, which made its decision extremely difficult. “We appreciate the time and enthusiasm that all of the candidates put into their applications,” said editor Tina Koyama.




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