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: People Mania!

If you want to overcome the fear of sketching people, and discover fun and expressive ways of capturing the city's inhabitants in action, then this is the workshop for you!

Draw people all day at Zandvoort Beach in the Netherlands (an easy half hour train ride from Amsterdam). Marina and Suhita love drawing people-stories and their enthusiasm for the subject is infectious. You'll try your hand at a lot of different techniques and go home with a bag of tricks, so people drawing will always be fun and accessible to you!

We'll divide into 2 groups and each group will take turns with an instructor, trying a myriad of techniques. After you've had a session with both Marina and Suhita, we will form smaller groups and work jointly on capturing beach scenes filled with colorful characters. And as a bonus, each of us will go home with a group sketch that captures memories of Zandvoort Beach from that day!

Learning goals
  • Overcome your fear of drawing people
  • Find new approaches and practice loose and freeing techniques to drawing people
  • Connect to the emotional side of drawing people to tell stories
  • Strengthen hand-eye coordination
  • Improve your observation and see personality and story in each character
  • Add a whole new set of skills to your urban sketching practice

Workshop location

Zandvoort Beach, Netherlands
(half hour train ride from Amsterdam)

Date and time

Sun, July 21, 2019

10:00 AM – 4:00 PM CEST

Workshop schedule

  • Meet at station and walk to beach, intros: 15 minutes. 11:00am to 11:15 am
  • Exercise 1: 1 hour 11:15 am to noon
  • Lunch: 1 hour noon to 1 pm
  • Exercise 2: 1 hour 1pm to 2pm
  • Meetup and explain last exercise and make groups: 15 minutes 2pm to 2:15 pm
  • Short Break: 2:15 pm to 2:30pm
  • Last combined exercise in groups: 1 hour 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
  • Meet, look at all the work, thank you, photos: 15 minutes 3:30 pm to 3:45 pm

Part 1: Exercises with Marina (half the group)

Portraits & Expressions

1. Eye-hand connection
  • Blind contour - draw without looking at the paper.
  • From memory - draw without looking at the model
2. Exaggeration (caricature)
  • Strengthen essentials and exaggerate
3. Capture emotions
  • Look for certain emotions try to express them
4. Cubistic portraits
  • Combine several portraits in one
5. Name your model
  • The title can show what you think about the character
6. Time aspect:
  • Speed drawing (5, 3, 1 min)

Part 2: Exercises with Suhita (half the group)

Action & Shape

1. Eye-hand connection
  • (Almost) Blind contour - draw looking at the paper very little
  • From memory - draw without looking at the model
2. Shape-drawing
  • See people and actions as single silhouette
3. Action Figures
  • Think of people as actions, draw actions, emphasizing/ exaggerating action
4. Time aspect:
  • Speed drawing (5, 3, 1 min)

Part 3: A combined exercise in creating sketches together

We divide up into groups of about 5-7 people. Each person in each group gets a
sheet of paper, they draw a person. We set a stop watch to minute intervals. When
alarm goes off you get a sheet from one participant and pass your sheet to next
participant and again add a person to the scene and keep going round and round
and build up all the scenes. At the end each group has many sketched scenes, all
done jointly.
We regroup, discuss the exercise, how it went, emphasize the freedom of it, and look
at all the work together.

Supply list

   • A small sketchbook (~A5 size) with regular paper (nothing too fancy)
     Or, a package of A5 or A4 sheets and a clipboard.
   • Tools you like for line drawing: pencil, pen, etc.
   • Tools you like for shape drawing: wide marker, paint brush, pastels, watercolours, etc
   • A mix of your favorite tools for the last exercise.

Maximum number of participants

All levels, maximum 30 students

Registration fee

$90 USD ( plus registration fee)
Buy tickets at:




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