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

Japan adventures

[By Mario Luz in New Zealand ] Its been a long time since I did my last post but I got fresh sketches from our recent Japan adventure.  Our time spent there was split between the two major busy cities Tokyo and Osaka with a break on the calmness of the islands on the inland sea. During our stay we our lucky enough to attend a urban sketcher meeting with our friends from Tokyo in Ginza neighbourhood, so we meet the "locals" they were very friendly and we all had something in common to share. Tokyo is huge, there is all types of neighbourhoods, building scales and streets, but even the most anonymous street corner is interesting enough for a sketch, full of signs, restaurants and urban paraphernalia. Our major goals for visiting Tokyo according to our daughter was to visit Pokemon centre, studio Ghibli, all the 300 game centres and spin all the gachapon machines that we could find on street. Most of them became reality...

Tokyo street view
Tsukiji market
Tokyo street view

The main reason to flight down south to the port of Takamatsu, where we stayed for 5 days, was the  Setouchi Art Triennal that is happening during the springtime. Takamatsu is a special port city with interesting covered streets and a lot of bicycles. To complement the beauty of the landscape, this year there were art pieces and installations spread over some islands. Firstly Naoshima, which is already very art focused because of the famous Benesse house and Chichu museum designed by Tadao Ando which can be visited any time of the year. The following day we went to Teshima that has a museum designed by the japanese architect Sejima, a bubble of white concrete. The last day was Ogijima, a small fisherman's village that has a timeless sense of place. Some of the art installations were done inside old houses which gave us opportunity to see traditional architecture from the inside. In these small places time slows down compared to big cities so it end up being our favourite moment of the whole travel. 

Takamatsu restaurant while waiting for the ramen
Ferry boat and daily tickets
Ogijima view to the inland sea
Naoshima fishermen's boats
Teshima art installation with scaffoldings

Osaka seemed to be a bit more laid back compared to the busy and working focused Tokyo city but, our stay was during the golden week when japanese go on holidays, this year they had an additional 3 leave days due to the new emperor transition.  The food in general is delicious, I think its difficult to find a bad restaurant, a good ramen its almost a guarantee for a decent meal. Interesting how the electric cables are part of the streetscapes of all japan cities, but when you find very narrow streets like some in Kyoto, the complexity of the cabling becomes the main focal point and maybe the sketching subject.

Electric cables and the crows are a constant presence in Kyoto

Shichirin restaurant in Tokyo

Osaka street view close to a nice art store.

The Kishi train station is the end of the line of a rural monorail in the Wakayama prefecture. The station was near closure in 2004 because of financial problems on the rail line, in 2007 was decide to adopt Tama as a station master, her primary duty is to greet passengers, so she spend most of the day being photographed and sleeping, its a pretty hard life. The publicity from Tama's appointment led to an increase in passengers, the trains keep running and Tama became the motif for the station, the cafe, the decoration and even the roof. Tama is a cat. In Japan everything is made to look cute.
Train station, the electric strawberry train and the stamps from the temples





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