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... The End!

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

This morning, the last day began as usual at the Zuiderkerk, where everyone looked for their workshop groups. I started with Charline Moreau's workshop, which was dedicated to composition and titled "Compose A Sketch As A Theatre Stage - Give Depth To Your Front Views!".
It took place by a quiet canal and the participants sat on their chairs or on the ground, listening to Charline's introduction. She wanted them to focus on the scene in front of them and to analyse the different layers they could add in their drawings: the opposite canal bank, the boats, the canal itself, the lampposts... They would have to make decisions about what to keep and what to leave. 

The participants started to work on that, before focussing on shadows and light values and on giving depth to their sketches through using several plans.

I then went to the Rembrandtplein (the "Rembrandt square"), where the workshop of LK Bing was set. The title of his workshop was "Exploration of Classical Moods through Dramatic Composition". The concept was to teach the participants to incorporate "classical moods" in their works, a timeless quality, using dramatic lightning and vintage colours. When I arrived, LK was giving a very impressive demonstration, drawing and then painting the street leading to Muntplein.

Then I had to leave and joined the group of Karen Jiyun Sung, just a little bit further. It was easy to spot them: the participants all had, how shall I describe it, papers in weird formats, actually assemblies of several pieces of paper, taped together, and their drawings extended accordingly. That was precisely the theme of the workshop: "Growing A Drawing: Making Sketches Beyond the Dimensions Of the Papers". The participants I talked to were having a lot of fun with this and Alessandro explained it was very freeing and that finding out too late that some part of a scene didn't fit on the page would never happen to him again thanks to that approach!

Then back to the Zuiderkerk for the last time. And for a break!
 Afterwards I cycled to Nemo, a huge green building in the shape of a ship which harbours (haha) a science museum aimed at children. That's where the final Sketchwalk, open to everyone (workshop passholders and sketchers without passes - but also newcomers), was due to start. Not surprisingly, there were already sketchers everywhere. My eyes were attracted by the yellow dress of Dipti, a sketcher from the United Arabic Emirates - so I had to sketch her (see above). But afterwards I had to flee to another place because that spot was in the sun, and it was hot again (less than the previous days, though!) (... and woohoo, the announced rain showers never happened!).
I then walked around, enjoying the sight of the many many sketchers and recognizing some of them, until I suddenly met an online drawing friend from Sweden, whom I had never met in real life - that's only one of the joys of the Symposium: getting to put a face on "names" you've known for a very long time sometimes! 

The sketchwalk was followed by the traditional group picture - such an impressive number of sketchers!! And then it was time for the Closing Reception, organized in the "Muziekgebouw" (The Music Building), a modern building by the water, off Centraal Station.

There were many people there, taking the opportunity to hang around or connect for a last time with their fellow sketchers. I first took a break with some members of the tireless Dutch team - but then decided to draw the food and one of the very active member of that Dutch team, Linda - she would probably want me to point out that no, she didn't eat all that by herself!

There was also a "raffles draw": during the previous days, everyone could buy tickets for a sort of "art supplies lottery". And guess what, I won one prize! A beautiful set of watercolour paper and paint by Kremer Pigmente I think (... I must admit I haven't had the time to look it up yet).

After the prizes came the big announcement: the location of next year's symposium. And the answer is.... (Drum rolls).... Hong Kong!

There was also music to finish the evening - played by a great band called Zorita. And that was my last sketch! What a weird feeling!

It's been an amazing experience. Unreal, insane, inspiring, exhausting, fun, overwhelming, sooooo awesome - I need some time to absorb it. Thanks a LOT everyone!




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