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 Gets You Delicious Food

[By Róisín Curé in Galway] I really love cheese, but when you are raising teenagers you're not going to buy fancy hand-made cheese at fancy prices. They would have it all gobbled in a morning! So I do my best - I buy it in a supermarket and try to leave it at the right temperature to get the flavours as rich as possible without letting it spoil. My children used to ask for the mildest cheese possible but now that they are getting older and more sophisticated they are starting to appreciate the finer flavours in a well-made cheese. I'm still not going to give it to them very often though.

Sheridans Cheesemonger started out years ago as a stall in Galway Market. Over time the stall morphed into a shop in the same spot as the stall was. I thought it would be a nice place to include in my upcoming book, An Urban Sketcher's Galway, which is due to be published by Currach Press later this year. I rang to see if I could sketch through the window of the wine bar above the cheese shop, which overlooks the market. No problem!
I spent an hour or so drawing the market on a very wet January day, and arranged to come and sketch in the shop itself another day. Meanwhile, the cheese some of the customers were munching nearby made my mouth water.
"I'd like to buy some cheese," I told Aoife, one of the managers. "It's just too tempting."
Aoife picked out some cheeses she thought would go together, a Shropshire blue, a mature goat gouda and a Derg cheddar. I nearly fainted in rapture when she gave me a slice of each to taste, I'm not joking. Then she added a lovely venison sausage and some crackers - and wouldn't hear of payment. I hadn't even sketched her shop yet! I felt very lucky and enjoyed the cheese thoroughly with my family that night. I sketched them as quickly as I could before they disappeared...

The next morning I sketched them again because I didn't like the way I had cropped the bottom of the cheese, and promptly did the same thing again...
This time I included some of the lovely port I had bought in Portugal during the Sketch Tour last March. The smell of the port and wine (delicious) annoyed my husband, who was eating muesli next to where I was sitting with my still life.
I went back to Sheridans the following Tuesday and sketched in the shop. 

I really enjoyed sketching here, even though nothing interesting happened, except for the young woman who came in and chatted with one of the staff about a well-known pub that's scheduled for demolition.
"They say it's haunted," said the woman.
Galway. Ireland. That's all I need to say about that.

Aoife told me about an event they had planned for the following Friday, when an Italian parmesan maker would come over with his fabulous cheese to be sampled with some nice wines upstairs in the wine bar. It was suggested I might like to come and draw that. It sounded great, so I brought along my husband Marcel and my good friend Lorraine and they sipped fancy wines in enormous glasses while I sketched.
A man in tweed casually tossed a parmesan label onto my sketchbook as I sketched.
"Include that in the sketch," he said.
"Are you one of the Sheridans?" I asked.
"Yes," he said, "I'm Séamus."
My brother Malachy has mentioned Séamus to me loads of times - they go back a long way. I told Séamus who I was: he had fond memories of Mal, and it felt nice to make the connection.
"Come outside to the van," he said to Lorraine and me. "I want to show you something."
Lorraine and I exchanged glances and I laughed.
"It's been 35 years since I heard that," I said.
It was a freezing, crisp night and the street was deserted as we followed Séamus to the van. He did indeed have something very special to show us. It was a cheese wrapped in a white wrapper.
"This cheese has never been in a fridge," he said. "Never."
It smelled divine. Séamus gave the cheese to Lorraine and me, but Lorraine insisted that I take it home.
"My crew won't appreciate it," she said.
I have it in a very cool place - not a fridge - and I will sketch what's left of it. I think it deserves it.
Séamus and I chatted about cheese making, bread making and how it's so worth the extra effort, then I got back to sketching in the warm wine bar.

Here are the people enjoying their wine:

And here is the lovely cheese:

That's my glass of wine on the left. I made it last the entire evening because I was driving and the laws have become very strict here. Even though the glass didn't start out any fuller than it looks there, I could still feel the effects as I got into my car two hours later. I was "legal", but I think I'll leave it out next time.

The cheese maker is called Giorgio. I asked him, somewhat superfluously, if he was the G in the label.
"Yes," he said in his Piedmont (Italian) drawl. "In 1855 my great-great-grandfather started the company. He was called Giorgio. My great-grandfather was called Giacomo. My grandfather was called Giorgio. My father was Giacomo. I am Giorgio and my son is...guess."
"Giacomo," I said.
"Yes!" said Giorgio, very impressed. I guessed he didn't have to drive later. That's him in the ghostly outline at the top, gesticulating in a very Italian way to the pretty blonde girl we made friends with in the bar. I wrote down the names of all his progenitors, not that I couldn't have remembered two names beginning with G...

The cheese was delicious. The wine I had was nice. The company was terrific. The sketching was fun.
And Séamus Sheridan left some parmesan in a bag for me to collect the next day.

Three days later I was in need of lunch on a day-long sketching session. I bought some of the same two cheeses Aoife had given me to sample the previous week.

Urban sketching gets you delicious food!




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