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

Travel Sketching in Amersfoort with Shari Blaukopf

How do you tell the story of your journey through sketches? The answer is not in any single sketch, of course. The answer emerges slowly across a series of sketches, both large and small, captured in a single sketchbook. Turning the pages, these sketches reflect the essence of the location and your responses to place.

Join urban sketcher and instructor Shari Blaukopf in this three-day workshop designed to give you a variety of skills to help you feel confident while travel sketching. Capture people, places and things that evoke memories of a time and a place, and return home with a fat book filled with fresh and vibrant sketches.

As part of a small group, you'll observe plenty of demos and receive individual attention as we work on value studies, color, composition, vignettes, lettering, simplifying a scene, and keeping our watercolors fresh. The focus will be on having fun as we sketch, capturing the cafés, canals and traditional Dutch architecture. Each day will end with a review and an optional group dinner.

The location:
Amersfoort, The Netherlands, was chosen because of the many historic buildings and canals, making it a perfect sketcher’s destination that can be explored on foot. It’s a city of medieval origins, with a rich history. No wonder it's the most photographed small city in the Netherlands!

Note: Meeting locations for each workshop will be provided to participants via email following registration.

July 17–19, 2019

Learning goals:
In this workshop you will learn how to:
  • Capture the visual story of a place
  • Create focal points in your sketches
  • Work quickly and confidently in ink and watercolor
  • Create vignettes and multi-sketch page layouts enhanced with hand-lettering
Daily Schedule (9:30 – 4:30 each day)
Day 1 
The first demo and exercises will focus on choosing a subject, finding a focal point and exploring techniques for ink drawing.
Lunch break
The afternoon exercises will go in depth with watercolor: Using the right ratio of water and paint, knowing your palette, wet-in-wet, and glazing techniques.

Day 2 Morning:
We'll start the day with selecting subjects for a thematic page or spread, creating vignettes and using lettering to enhance the page design.
Lunch break
We will work on quick techniques for foliage, water, reflections and clouds.

Day 3
We'll work on developing a street scene composition, simplifying architecture, capturing people, and keeping a sketch fresh and lively.
Lunch break
This will be an open Sketching Session for all, where you'll have a chance to practice skills and techniques learned over the two-and-a-half days, followed by a final review and fond farewell.

Fees:The $350 USD class fee (payable through PayPal) includes three days of demos, instruction and critiques. You will need to book your own accommodations and travel.
Once registered, you will be sent a list of suggested supplies for the class.
Minimum participants for the class to run: 12; Maximum: 15

To register:
This workshop is full. Please email to have your name added to the wait list.

About the instructor:Shari Blaukopf is a Montreal-based graphic design teacher, illustrator, sketch blogger and correspondent for Urban Sketchers. She has a BFA from Concordia University with a specialization in graphic design, but her true love has always been watercolor painting.
She is co-founder of Urban Sketchers Montreal, has given many watercolor workshops through the Urban Sketchers Workshop Program and she is a signature member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour. She is the author of The Urban Sketching Handbook: Working with Color, and you can find her online courses on




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