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

Amsterdam Day 2: it's hot!

[By Gwen Glotin, 2019 symposium correspondent, in Amsterdam]

We all started day 2 today feeling enthusiastic and ready to sketch - and I think we all ended it feeling tired, smelly and sticky - but happy! In other words: it's still HOT in Amsterdam, more than ever. A new heat record seems to have been broken today actually.
On the programme today were workshops, skit sketches and sketchwalks.

I began with the start of Veronica Lawlor's workshop, focused on reportage: how do you capture a city, the stories that happen in a city like Amsterdam?  You look. You look at the iconic things, but also at all the small things happening, at the people, what are they doing, how do they look... You can then make thumbnails to study the place and the different angles you can choose. That's what the participants started doing when I went to the next workshop.

It was just a few steps further, on the same square where big trees and buildings were luckily providing some much needed shade. It was Jim Richard's workshop, titled "Drawing with Abandon".
He had a large ring binder with many sketches that he used to give explanations and tips about central lines, point of view, how to build up a scene... The participants then had to practice drawing several thumbnails and while they were doing so, Jim walked among them to give them personalized advice.

After that I took my bicycle again to go back in the direction of the Zuiderkerk and go to a beautiful passageway (I have to admit I thought "yeeees, that means shade!" where the workshop of Eduardo Bajzek was taking place. The theme was "Hidden Amsterdam: Atmosphere and Character" and the location was really well chosen for such a subject. When I arrived, the participants were working very quietly and focused in the passageway, sitting on their chairs or on the ground. The scene was so quiet that I preferred to go back outside, so as not to disturb them - and also because I spotted another participant who had chosen to draw the other side, the entrance of that passageway seen from the canal side. I decided to draw her - more than just a little bit, I have to say, because she had a very cool and colourful hairstyle and I just love drawing people like that. That participant, Amy, is from Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom and Amsterdam is her  first symposium (I hope I remember correctly on that, I forgot to take notes!) (which you should *always* do, take notes, as Veronica Lawlor advised a bit earlier!). She was working on a view of the passageway entrance in pencil and enjoying herself a lot - she said that Eduardo (who came along to check on her on give her lots of advice) was a great teacher and that she actually had never been taught as well as here during the symposium - she feels she learned a lot more than during her art studies so far! 

I then went back to the main venue, hoping to catch the end of the lectures - but I arrived just too late. So, it was time for a break and a lunch instead - with a Dutch friend from Utrecht who had taken a workshop with and could tell me all about that (it was Reham M Ali's workshop and the participant, Kitty, was full of enthusiasm!). 

The afternoon started with the series of Skit Sketches: eight talkers talked on stage over their drawings, each of them had chosen a specific theme and their talk was illustrated by a projection of the corresponding sketches on the big screen. 

The last event of the day was the sketchwalk - or rather, the sketchwalks, as there were 4 different ones to choose from today. I cycled to the start point of the "Amstel" sketchwalk, the Skinny Bridge - a very iconic place of Amsterdam. But the bridge was in the blazing sun and, not surprisingly, there was no one here. But I only had to go a little bit further, where the shade was, to find the sketchers.
Many of them were sitting here and drawing the Skinny Bridge - some of them with workshops passes, some of them from the faculty, some other without passes but enjoying the sketchwalks just as much - and all of them very hot - but still sketching!

Laurent and Samantha, both sketchers from Belgium, explained that they were enjoying urban sketching but were not working with drawing at all: Laurent works in IT, Samantha in communication - you don't necessarily need to be an architect or a graphic designer to go and sit outside and draw what you see!

I finished the day by going to the end point of the Amstel sketchwalk, where many many sketchers gathered at 7 p.m. to share their drawings and take a group picture, in a very friendly atmosphere.
But at that point, I was too tired to make a last sketch. I just wanted to go home and take a shower!

I'll be ready to go on tomorrow!



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