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: Plein-Air Sketching in Watercolor

Plein-Air Sketching in Watercolor with MAJID MODIR 

Den Haag, The Nederlands, July 20-22, 2019 

The very first step to find a perfect motif is often the most difficult moment. 
We stand in front of a wide view and making the decission to frame it become a dilema. 
We want to reflect our feelings reagrding the place through a good sketch or painting, but we don’t know where to start! 

What do you do to get over the barrier and difficulties in a limitet time and live in a certain place? And how do you plan your little journey all the way through the sketching? 

Join urban sketcher and watercolor instructor Majid Modir in a 3-day workshop and follow his methods which simply will help you to feel confident doing plein-air waterocolors and taking fast decissions. Capture the visual essence of some interesting spots in the beautiful Den Haag, and bring home both pleasant memories and some vibrant paintings. 

Why not do it as an up-warming and get ready to join the USK-Symposium in Amsterdam which starts right after!

It will be a plenty of demos and you will receive individual attention and guidlines. We will work on finding the best motives with good compositions, study values & contrasts, as well as simplifying a scene, and finally keeping pure transparency in our watercolors. 

In the meanwhile we will experience the joy of sketching live and having fun! 
We will end each day with a review and an optional group dinner. 

Learning goals 

- CHOOSING THE MOTIF: Capturing the soul and beauty of a certain place. 
- FOCUSING & STUDYING: Discovering the most interesting spot in the chosen view, framing and focusing on it. 
- DEFINING THE DEPTH: Finding the Values in it and working on Contrasts as the basis and going on with colors at the same time. 
- USING THE TECHNIQUE: Improvement of watercolor technique and making a good balance between wet-in-wet and dry brush. 

Workshop location 

Den Haag, The Netherlands 
(about 40 minutes from Amsterdam by train) 

Dates & Duration 

July 20-22, 2019 

3 days, 6 hours session per day with a lunch break. 
Morning: 3 hours (10-13) / Afternoon: 3 hours (14-17) 

Workshop Schedule 

Day 1. 
INTRODUCTION: We start with looking at some helpful examples and try to understand how a good work should be planed and done. VIEW-FINDING INSTRUCTIONS: We train our eyes to capture the best angels & subjects, from a different point of view or perspective than the regular or expected. BASICS IN WATERCOLOR TECHNIQUE: We go through the materials and devices for best plein-air watercolor painting (paints, brushes, papers, easels etc), followed by demo in Duivenvoorde Castle

Day 2. 
COMPOSITION & CROPPING INSTRUCTIONS : We do some exercises to achieve the best motives by creating some fast vignettes on our sketch books, and also by using a simple tool to frame our founded motives. We continue with the selected sketches as paintings on watercolor paper, followed by a demo in The Japanese Garden

Day 3. 
VALUE-FINDING METHODS: With instructions in Contrasts (the light and the darkness), Color Palette, and some other terms such as sharpness & blur, dry brush & wet-in-wet, followed by a demo in Scheveningen Beach and the Pier

Number of participants 
15 participants maximum (minimum 10) 
All levels of experience are welcome! (preferably with basic knowledge of water color painting) 

Registration fee 

Workshop Fee € 300 (payable through PayPal) 

Including: 18 hours tuition in three days of: demos, instructions and critiques. 
You will need to book your own accommodations and travel. 

A list of suggested supplies for the class and other practical informations will be send to the registered participants. 

To register write to:

About the instructor:




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