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 3!

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

It's already Day 3 and the energy and the buzz are still very palpable despite the heat.
Today started with the workshops again. I went first with the group of Hugo Costa, who was giving a workshop titled "Amsterdam Rooftops". The location had been chosen accordingly: it took place in café Blue, a café situated at the top of the Kalver tower, opposite to the flower market. It's not a very high tower, but just enough to have a beautiful view on Amsterdam - and on its rooftops.

After a short introduction about himself, Hugo explained to the participants that the idea of the workshop was to help them learn to sketch from a different perspective and to control the technical concepts (horizon line on an elevated scene, ground line, vanishing points perspective...).

He showed several examples and then gave them a first task: draw a "skeleton view" of the rooftops, with fine lines so that they would be later able to correct and adjust them.
I left while the exercise was still going on.

Next I went to the workshop of Róisin Curé, which was set in the shade on a square right next to the statue of Rembrandt - no wonder about that, as the workshop was focused on "Channelling Rembrandt: Expressive sketching in Fude Pen and Sepia Ink". The participants were working on sketches of the statue, using only ink washes and ink lines in sepia and focusing particularly on lights and darks (see the sketch above). 

By that time, I was late on my schedule (it's soooo difficult every time to leave a workshop right in the middle of it!), so I had to run, well, to cycle to the next one, which was by Virginia Hein. Her theme was "Minimal Colour, Maximum Punch! (Focus Your Story With Colour)". That workshop is based on three concepts: defining what your story is (through trying different thumbnails) and choosing what interests you the most, and then adding colour for emphasis.
I arrived at the end, after the parts about storytelling and linework, while Virginia was adding watercolour on her drawing. 

This is another workshop I wish I could take completely!

Then it was time for lunch, and for a chat with sketchers (one from the UK and from the US), and then the programme continued, with the demos.

I went to Reham M. Ali's demo and oooh it was another great moment! Her demo was focused on "Fearless Watercolour" - and as someone who is quite fearful with watercolours, I was very interested in her demonstration!

It was wonderful to watch her use watercolours very freely and joyfully - and fearlessly indeed! 

Afterwards, I met with Orling and Mark, my correspondents team colleagues and don't repeat it too loud, but we took a quite long and relaxed break on a terrace close to the Zuiderkerk, where we were soon joined by other symposium participants and faculty members.
I'm not very fond of that sketch to be honest and was tempted to censor it - but bleh sketches are part of the games and it might be more honest to show them too!

To finish the day, I went to the Sketchwalk number 2, in the Spui neighbourhood. When I arrived on that square, "Spui", there were many many sketchers there to be seen - both with and without workshop passes. I sat next to a group of three Indian sketchers and had a nice conversation with them while sketching two of them. 

They are all three from India, and members of the USk chapter of Pune and have come to Europe especially for the symposium - without workshop passes, because they were sold out. Lakshman and Shruti, who are here shown sketching, are both architects and "passed" their passion for urban sketching for their friend Subhash, who's an accountant and lawyer (and who was standing next to me while I sketched, that's why he's not included here on paper). They've been loving their time here and will write a report on their symposium experience for their USk chapter when they are back.

And... that was it for today!
See you tomorrow for the Big Final Day!



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