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

One morning, three different ways of seeing.

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

The first day of workshops started early, at about 9:00am, with a meeting at the Zuiderkerk, the symposium main venue. A morning of announcements, catching up with other sketchers, participants checking out the vendors area and more presentations of past symposiums by their hosts. You could feel the excitement and eagerness of the participants to go out to learn and sketch in their chosen workshops. They only had the option of choosing 3 out of 36 workshops, so they had to be very thoughtful about what they wanted to learn. As a past participant, I know how hard it is to choose 3 or 4 workshops out of so many amazing proposals.

About 9:30am we were set to go. Out of the Zuiderkerk, in the plaza right outside the doors, there was a contagious energy. Volunteers were spread around the courtyard holding a board with the workshop names, so participants could tell where to go. Some teachers stay in the plaza doing their introductions and later on walked to their asigned locations, others were on their way the minute they had their group completed.

My intention for the day was clear. I wanted to, at least, attend three workshops for about 50 minutes each, in order to capture a glimpse of the essence of the workshop, to try doing the exercises that the participants where doing at the moment, and use the tips proposed by the instructor to sketch in that style or technique.

My first learning experience of the day was at Norberto Dorantes's workshop: Line Flow - Discover how a simple line can be a launch point and join spaces.

Noberto started his workshop at the Mr. J.J. van der Veldebrug bridge that connects the side of the OBA (Amsterdam Central Library) with the NEMO Museum side. In my sketch I wanted to reflect Norberto's interesting remarks about the goals of the exercise he was introducing. I pictured him in the middle surrounded by his very attentive students. He wanted us to do small quick sketches of 30 seconds, for about 15 minutes. The idea was to focus on the direction of the line, on the fluidity of it to drawn us from the foreground to the background, and the movement a line can generate. My sketch of Norberto's teaching is surrounded by the thumbnails he asks us to create playing with the composition. A drawing of Norberto's demo sketch is on the right.

After the first exercise, we crossed the bridge and moved under the shadow of the massive structure of the NEMO Museum. In my sketches to the right you can see that the group is farther from me. I stayed behind because I wanted to capture the proportion of the museum using the ideas Norberto had just introduced, about keeping the line fluid by playing with the direction of it. I left the group when they were doing their second exercise to check out Shari Blaukopf workshop, who was happening very close.

Unfortunately, by the time I made it to Shari Blaukopf's workshop she had already introduced the main ideas, but she happened to be at that moment giving feedback to a student and I was able to catch the purpose of the exercise at hand. She was requiring the participant to use a brush pen so I quickly pulled mine from my set of sketching tools and got to work. The idea was to capture shapes, mainly boat shapes, by using a brush pen, to understand the structure and proportion. As I was setting up to do my exercise, she moved to another student and I decided to include her in the sketch, along with some boats, using the simplification she suggested, focusing on shapes.

Shari's workshop is titled: Barges, Schooners, and Trawlers; Sketching Amsterdam Historic's Harbor and for some reason, I see my sketch and it looks like she is the commander of her own ship. Isn't she?

The group was spread out in a big area and the time came to moved to another workshop.

My next workshop was Color First, Then Line, with the one and only, Anne Rose Oosterbaan. She happens to be the art director of the symposium and creator of Adam, the symposium's mascot and all the little animations you have seen througout the previous weeks featuring such lovely character.

I have to say I had a lot of fun in this workshop. I showed up right at the beginning of her introduction of the last exercise, so I had to pick up from there the goal of the workshop. She asks us to draw first with color, and then to draw for a second time with lines, not worrying if both drawings didn't match. I am mostly a black ink user, but this workshop gave me the opportunity to play with watercolors for a while at the same time that I was creating my reportage drawing for this post.

I stayed for the critique session and participants were very happy with their results. Once the sketchbooks were on the floor, it looked like an explosion of color. In this sketch I wanted to picture Anne Rose looking over the sketchbooks that were placed at her feet. Her body language is powerful, someone who is focused, paying respect to her students. Later on, during lunch, I happend to overhear some of her students at the restaurant commenting on how much they enjoyed the workshop and the liberty that it seemed to have granted them. Bravo Anne Rose!

In the afternoon, after a quick bite, I returned to the main venue to catch the Skit Sketch. Seven sketchers shared their experiences with sketching and the world around them. Eduardo Bajzek very moving presentation left us thinking about the power of drawing to connect with others in the streets. Pedro Cabral shared how he takes some days off every year to just walk and wander... and sketch in remote areas. Elizabeth Alley, represented in this sketch, introduced us to the similarities of sketching with technical communication, inviting us to see sketching from another perspective, either by sketching the steps of a recipe, illustrating in thumbnails actions of the day, doodles of patterns, or just sketching at work. The idea of the skit sketch presentations is to give presenters a short time to introduce the audience to a single concept, precise and focused. These seven presenters did an amazing job for sure!

To complete the day, sketchers had the opportunity to choose from 3 different sketch walks happening in different locations. It was hot, around 100F degrees. Some decided to call it a day and relax in a terrace, but many went on to continue sketching through the evening. 

I personally had a great time today, playing with three different approaches for sketching from three amazing instructors. Thank you Norberto, Shari, and Anne Rose!

Time to cool down now and find an air conditioned room! Stay hydrated kiddos! Until tomorrow then...



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