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

Urban Sketching Victoria B.C. with Gabi Campanario

Join the original urban sketcher, Seattle-area artist and journalist Gabi Campanario, for a fun weekend of sketching and exploration around downtown Victoria B.C., a pleasant walkable environment rich in history, culture and scenic locations.

This event consists of three drawing workshops themed around key urban sketching topics: architecture, people and nature. Participants can sign up for one, two or all three workshops (see schedule below). Campanario will demonstrate how he approaches each subject and guide participants through exercises in different techniques, including pencil, ink and watercolor.

Through event partner Greater Victoria Placemaking Network, sessions will start at CityStudio, an innovation hub located at 711 Douglas St.. CityStudio is within walking distance of the workshop outdoor locations —the stately British Columbia Legislature, lively Bastion Square and relaxing Beacon Hill Park — and many other sketch-worthy downtown locations such as the inner harbor, the Royal BC Museum and Chinatown.

Participants can register for as many workshops as they’d like, but space in each workshop is limited to 12 people to ensure a good learning experience for everyone. Each three-hour workshop costs Can$140. A walk and talk on Friday afternoon / early evening and an open sketchwalk on Sunday afternoon are free for anyone to attend.

Victoria owes its reputation as one of the friendliest, most livable cities in Canada to its impressive network of bike routes, green spaces and gardens, well-preserved architecture and an eclectic mix of English, Asian and Native American cultures.

The most direct travel options to Victoria from the U.S. include the Victoria Clipper ferry from Seattle, the Coho ferry from Port Angeles, Washington State ferry from Anacortes and Kenmore Air seaplane flights. From Canada’s mainland, BC Ferries offer frequent ferries between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay, which is a half hour drive north of Victoria.

Schedule (sign up for one, two or all three workshops; registration for the free talk on Friday is required to get a head count that matches the capacity of the venue; registration for the Sunday sketchwalk is suggested.)

Friday, April 12
‘Observing Public Space’ talk & walk with Greater Victoria Placemaking Network; plus ‘Seeing with the Urban Sketchers’ Eye’ by Gabi Campanario (16:30 – 18:00; free)

Saturday, April 13
  • Architecture Sketching Workshop (10:00-13:00; Can$140)
Location: British Columbia Legislature
Working from the general to the specific, participants will learn how to draw buildings that look as solid and accurate on paper as they do in real life.

  • People Sketching Workshop (14:00-17:00; Can$140)
Location: Bastion Square
People don’t stand still for urban sketchers to draw them. It’s our job to figure out how to capture their movement and expressions. In this workshop, we will practice gestural drawing and capturing people individually or as part of a crowd.

Sunday, April 14
  • Nature Sketching Workshop (10:00-13:00; Can$140)
Location: Beacon Hill Park
Expect to work with your watercolors to capture organic shapes, water reflections and interesting textures.

Open Sketchwalk (14:00-16:00; free)
Queen Victoria statue and British Columbia Legislature.

Learning goals
  • Develop skills to approach a variety of common urban sketching subjects 
  • Learn to work from the general to the specific to achieve sketches that capture a sense of place without unwanted distortion 
  • Learn basic urban sketching techniques in pencil, ink and watercolor 
Campanario, a Spanish-born artist best known as the founder of Urban Sketchers, promotes drawing on location and on the go, as a way to engage with your hometown and the places you visit. In his workshops, he emphasizes an incremental learning method, starting with composition and line and gradually developing an eye for tonal values and color. The sessions are especially aimed to drawing enthusiasts interested in documenting the world around them, as well as professionals in creative fields who want to reconnect with the practice of observational sketching as a fun and rewarding pastime.

To register, visit this page.

Workshop sponsors
Urban Sketchers (including Victoria Urban Sketchers Meetup group)
Greater Victoria Placemaking Network
Stillman & Birn




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