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

USk Workshop: Simply Draw it

Dearest sketchers, 

I am an architect, still working as an architect every day restoring monuments as a living. In my free time I make art : drawings and paintings. 

Being a child I always wanted to become an artist, but my parents pushed me into university and I became an architect… After about 15 years without drawing I struggled myself through tutorials, workshops with several watercolour artists, doing loads of work, struggling to find “my style”… It was full of stress, where it should have been fun and full of joy! I did also a lot of watercolor workshops and it all seemed so complicated and non-intuitive… There are funnier and easier ways to learn how to draw & paint. 

I think we all teach what we most needed to learn when we were beginners and that we all grow when we get out of our comfort zone. In this sense I find it very important to pay attention to the new members and the beginners, as they’re the future of the organization, and accompany them. When I invite new people to join the urban sketchers I noticed that it’s an obstacle for a lot of beginners that they find they can’t draw well enough to join the urbansketchers. Some of them literally told me “they’ll come back when they know how to draw”… 

So I created this workshop especially destined to beginning sketchers who struggle with drawing and “start from scratch”. For that I also use Betty Edwards method “Drawing on the Right side of the Brain”. I think it’s an excellent method. I present some of the exercices in the book applied specifically to urban sketching. 

My “speciality” is value drawing, cityscapes, mixture of techniques to create texture with pencil, ink, ballpoint pen and watercolor.

My workshop is called “Simply Draw & Paint It” : Urban sketching on the right side of the brain. As it’s in spring, I plan to go sketching cherry blossoms in Brussels. The last Sunday we’ll go to Bruges. 

In November and December I organized 4 “Simply Draw It”-sessions, and now I add “paint it” to it, as I experienced everybody likes to give more attention to end the sketch in watercolour. 

In this workshop we will exercise how to look in a creative way at an urban scene and sketch in a relaxed way what we see, avoiding overwhelm and allowing each participant to search for his own “handdrawing”. At the end of the session each participant will have experienced and researched a way of finding his own drawing style. 

I developed some urbansketching exercises based on Betty Edward’s method to make drawing more accessible and to make progress in drawing more effective and joyfull and to take away the fear of making a “bad” drawing. 

Learning goals : 

1. Learn how to really look at an urban subject in a way to activate the right part of the brain;
2. Learn some observation tips to make a “correct” drawing without getting into detailed perspective rules;
3. Learn the basic drawing perception skills:
- the perception of edges (seeing where one thing ends and another starts) 
- the perception of spaces (seeing what lies beside and beyond) 
- the perception of relationships (seeing in perspective and in proportion) 
- the perception of light and shadows (seeing things in degrees of values) 
- the perception of gestalt (seeing the whole and its parts) 

Learning to draw is really a matter of learning to see – to see correctly- and that means a good deal more than merely looking with the eye.
[Kimon Nicolaides, the Natural Way to Draw] 

Workshop Dates and Location:
- April 21st and 28th we'll be sketching cherry and magnolia blossoms in the famous social housing garden city “Le Logis Floréal” in Brussels.
- May 5th, I propose to sketch morning and afternoon sessions in Bruges, Belgium.

Duration: 3 hours
In Brussels:
-21/04 : from 14:00 to 17:00
-28/04 : from 14:00 to 17:00
In Bruges:
-05/05 : from 9:30 am to 12:30
-05/05: from 14:00 to 17:00

Registration fee:
30 euro/session or 99 euro for the 4 sessions, available on my website
USk and I are offering one scholarship for a full sessions workshop (the 4 sessions) to a student. Applications to be send to




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