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

Let the Sketching Madness begin!

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

What a day, what a day! After months of waiting and talking about "it", D-Day finally arrived today: the 10th Urban Sketchers Symposium has started in Amsterdam, in a record heat which has made sketchers sweat a lot, but hasn't had any impact on the general (very!) happy mood.

The general activity was due to begin at 3 p.m, but things started much earlier this morning. Actually, when I arrived at 10 am, there were already many sketchers on the Zuiderkerkhof (the little square where the Zuiderkerk (the central venue) is. It reminded me of rock concerts when fans arrive hours too early and have to kill time until the doors open. Here, it was the same, except that the "fans" had all sketchbooks and pens and brushes with them. The Zuiderkerk has already been sketched a LOT!

First the instructors were checked in and got their goodie bags, after which there were a few welcoming words from Amber Sausen 
and Peggy Wong. That meant a couple of first sketches, quick ones, and oooh I was still nervous at that time! But still, it does show an impression of that moment. 

After that it was the turn of the volunteers, very easy to identify through their red t-shirt (I've been calling them the Red Army since this morning, haha!). They got their instructions and final explanations from Marleen Dambrink, who, you could say, is the boss of the Red Army! In total, there are around 60 volunteers working behind the scenes, all sketchers from The Netherlands, but also a few from Belgium and Germany. 

After that, it was time to go outside and meet and sketch some sketchers. And that was good also because it meant entering back into my comfort zone: drawing individual sketchers without rushing a lot! I sat close to two sketchers who turned out to be from Poland - from Warsaw (see the sketch above). Anna Maria told me it was her second symposium, after Porto last year. She likes to draw people and flowers, and therefore doesn't consider herself a "pure" urban sketcher - but there are all kinds of them (well, of us!) actually. Her friend Juka is in Amsterdam for the first time and it's her first symposium. She uses ink and watercolour the most and has a "thing" for drawing furniture.
They are later joined by Renée, a sketcher from the US who just moved from Seattle to Dallas. It's her 3rd symposium and she enjoys drawing architecture and people.   

Later, I go back inside to check out the art supplies market. It was very very warm outside but weirdly enough, it's even hotter inside the church. Especially on the first floor, where the sponsors are selling all kind of sketching and painting products. It's a VERY dangerous (ok, I mean "tempting"!). 
Within 5 minutes, I bought an Amsterdam pencase at the stand of the Dutch Urban Sketchers and not one but 2 sketchbooks at the Laloran stand - I've never seen them before in Amsterdam shops so, I just HAD to buy them, in the interest of, hmmm, sketching research!
Then I flea, because everything is too tempting. But I flea in the wrong direction and go into the other part of the art supplies market. Where I come across a stand with beautiful pigments. It's from Kremer Pigmente, a German brand who sells both watercolour sets and pigments - they have more than 2500 pigments! Andrea, the vendor, explains to me that we can also buy the pigments, mix them to gum arabic following a recipe explained in their book, and in that way make our own paint. 

Then it's time for a break! It's hot hot hot in Amsterdam, we're not used to such temperatures here and I need a break and at least two or three very cold drinks. I happen to meet sketching friends who are here without workshop passes and so have a very gezellig break (did I already tell you about the key word "gezellig"? Yes, I probably did and I'm too chatty as it is. If I didn't, look it up yourself!).

Back to the Zuiderkerk. The square is full of people, there's already a long queue of sketchers waiting, even though the doors won't open yet. So I sit down and sketch some of them. 
It's a good spot, it allows me to come across sketching friends I know in real life or people I've known and followed online, sometimes for years, but have never met so far. This is *awesome*! 
And finally, finally, it's 3 pm and the doors open to allow the sketchers in, they have to get registered to get their workshop passes (and, not unimportantly, their goodie bags!!). Amazingly, the check in is finished within half an hour. When other sketchers arrive later, they look very surprised and wonder where the queue is. Congratulations to the Red Army of volunteers for accomplishing this! 
After that, the Opening Ceremony can start. We hear from the people who prepared the symposium, and from Amber, the Urban Sketchers president, who explains we're going to hear short stories about the previous 9 symposiums, from the people who hosted them. It shows again the diversity and the international character of the Urban Sketchers. 
Parka, who covers the symposium through video and filming and photographing, is just in front of me so of course, I can't resist. There, one sketch more! 

And then the first day is over. We're tired, tired, warm, warm - and happy happy!
Time for a quick dinner - and then instead of going home as I initially planned, I go with Orling to the Amstelhoeck, the café where the Drink & Draw evenings are happening. Lots, lots, lots of sketchers everywhere again! I sit at a table with 2 sketchers who turn out to be from France, Bérengère and Béatrice. I choose to draw Béatrice in order to also have a sketch with a few Dutch houses in the background. 

And then it's time to go home. And to sleep.
Oh wait, no, I have my homework to do first!
I need to learn to be more concise, I think!
But I had fun! It's surreal to see all those sketchers everywhere, I loooove it.
See you all tomorrow!



USk News$type=blogging$ct=0$au=0$m=0$show=


[Workshops Blog]$type=two$c=12$ct=0$m=0$show=