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

Friday! The learning continues...

[By Orling Dominguez, 2019 symposium correspondent, in Amsterdam]

Friday already! I can't believe how much I have learned during these past two days. As a correspondent I get to move around workshops, lectures, demos, sketch walks and any corner of the event. If you want variety and options, the symposium has something for each and everyone. I arrived to the Zuiderkerk and found the plaza full of sketchers ready to go to their chosen workshops. I joined Eleanor Doughty's group. Her workshop's title is "Dry Air: Drawing atmospheric perspective in mixed media." That can give you an idea of what is it about, but if it doesn't, let me introduce you to some of the ideas of her morning presentation.

Eleanor started by sharing some of her drawings, and which tools she used to create them. Once she started doing her first demo you could hear her sharing some tips while she was drawing, as you can see on my notes written in my sketch (top one): "define first your composition by doing thumbnails, what is the story you are trying to tell?, use the sketchbook in an angle to let the watercolors drip down the page, be aware of your color palette, so you have your cool and warm colors set, restrictions make it more interesting, I recommend mixing the colors on the paper, instead of the palette and let it do weird stuff, leaving white is super important...". Eleanor invited the group to do thumbnails focusing on contrast before starting to do a bigger drawing, looking for the shapes of shadows and leaving white on the paper. As participants started to move around to do the first exercise I had to get moving to cover the next workshop.

Nina Johansson's "Framing The City - A few guidelines on image composition" was happening nearby. Participants were working on small groups of three. Nina had already instroduced the group into the elements of composition and gave each group one element to worked on, doing thumbnails and talking between them about the results. I went ahead and did my fair number of thumbnails following "the rule of thirds". I had always believe that it is good to revisit the basics from time to time, and Nina's workshop gave me this opportunity to sit down and practice the basics.

I capture Nina giving feedback to some of her students using the element of "foreground/background". Nina suggested using diferent colors to define each layer and her students were very enganged in their conversations about elements of composition.

I returned to the Zuiderkerk to attend Richard Alomar's lecture: Sketching and participatory design: Collaborative workshops in Japan and Costa Rica. Richard took us through the nature of urban sketching and the vision of Urban Sketchers as an organization. During the Q&A a great and old discussion was started: What is urban sketching? This seems to be a never-ending debate as it is open to interpretation. As Richard said, the manifesto should be taken as an imperfect document.

In the groups of attendees I spotted Vicky, from the Portland USk Chapter. I met Vicky during the first symposium and Amsterdam is her fifth one she attends. It wad great to catch up with her and share some thoughts. I asked her what keeps her coming back? three things: the people, the place (Amsterdam is a dream spot for sketchers for sure) and third, sketching enhances travel. I have to agree with her.

After lunch I got to see Gabi Campanario's demo: "Small sketchbook, big drawings". I had so much fun as Gabi showed us all his secret to "his great drawings" as he stated. I try capturing his futuristic gadget (see sketch above) that helps him create his drawings, he attaches it to his cap and he is set! We all, of course, laugh at the vision of Gabi using such ingenious design. His viewfinder is definitely not in the market yet, but he might mass produced it soon. He shared with us his little sketchbook and explain the value he sees in a pocket sketchbook, specially when you are running short of time and still want to sketch a scene.

The demo was very detailed; from choosing what to draw and from which angle, how much we can capture and what is important to you as a sketcher. A boat left, a boat came but Gabi managed to set his composition and started to draw while explaining his steps.

Before calling it a day, I had to stop by the "Drink and Draw" to catch a final sketch and sat down. People were in a great and joyful mood as the temperature started to go down a few degrees and it started to feel fresh after a couple of days of 98F+ degrees.

Tomorrow is the last day, it always feel sureal how fast these 4 days go by... I'll catch up with you tomorrow!



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