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

USK Workshop: Discover Umbria! - CANCELLED

Due to the coronavirus outbreak in  Italy, Suma, La Romita and USK have taken their responsibilities and decided to cancel this workshop. 

Want to come back from your travels with a sketchbook full of memories? In this dynamic 4-day workshop co-hosted by La Romita School of Art, you’ll learn techniques for quickly capturing scenes in ink & watercolor as you explore Umbria, Italy. You’ll use gestural line to sketch the essence of fleeting moments, whether it’s people at a cafe in the piazza or clouds over a sweeping landscape. Then you’ll add vibrant color to bring your drawings to life.

Each day will bring new places and subjects to inspire and challenge you: markets, ruins, even vineyards. There will be a mix of demos, exercises, and individual instruction in each location. You’ll come away energized and excited to draw!

Participants will learn to: 

  • Choose and frame a subject, using compositional principles 
  • Simplify architecture and people using gestural, dynamic line 
  • Use appropriate marks for both close-up as well as wide-angle scenes 
  • Tailor their sketches to the place, using a localized palette of colors and textures 
  • Add color to their sketches with loose washes, not bound by the lines drawn
  • Selectively “break the rules” of color, tools, and paper to get a fresh perspective 
  • Create a visual narrative of their travels 
All you have to do is get yourself to Rome; everything else is taken care of! Learn about dining and accommodations at La Romita School.

Workshop details 

Day 1 

Arrival and orientation 

  • Transfer from Rome to workshop location 
  • Showcase and intro to the workshop 
  • Survey of sketchbooking styles - words, pictures, collage, textures 

Day 2 

Outdoor Sketching Basics

Morning [San Gemini or nearby]

  • Warm up, getting loose 
  • Choosing a subject 
  • Principles of composition 
  • Close ups, wide angles 
Afternoon [Studio]

  • Techniques for proportion, angles, and perspective 
  • Measuring and capturing proportional elements and angles 

Day 3 

Gesture, Place, and Values 
Morning [Todi or nearby]

  • Using gesture for suggestion: buildings, people 
  • Localizing your sketch - textures, unique features 
  • Simplified scenes, a sense of place 

Afternoon [Studio]

  • Simplifying values 
  • Focus on light and shadow 
  • Ink & wash value sketches; coloring sketches 

Day 4 

Paint the rainbow 
Morning: [Montefalco or nearby]

  • What color is that? Seeing color in a beige world 
  • Pushing colors to extremes 
  • Complementary colors and how to use them for vibrant scenes
  • Compositions using contrast and vibrant colors 

Afternoon: [Studio]

  • Explore options for limited color schemes 
  • Using different 3- or 4-color palettes 

Day 5 

Day trip [Assisi or nearby] 

  • Putting all the elements together 
  • Creating a narrative and adding notes 
  • Series of sketches to tell a story of a place 
  • Use a sketch as template for “breaking rules” 
  • Sketching scavenger hunt 

Day 6 

Departure - Transfer to Rome for travel home 

Practical info

When: May 22-27, 2020
Where: Italy (Rome to Umbria and back)

Minimum 10 participants. Beginners welcome. Scholarships available; please inquire when you register.

Fee: $2100. Includes all instruction, airport transfers from/to Rome, dining & accommodations. Pay in full by 30 November 2019 to get 10% off the workshop price.

Register for the workshop by clicking here, or send an e-mail to

About the instructor 

Suma CM is an award-winning artist who is passionate about teaching. She has led several workshops on outdoor sketching in the San Francisco Bay Area and is the instructor of the online class “Urban Sketching in 15 Minutes a Day” on Bluprint. Her work is included in Archisketcher (North Light Books). A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Suma has a degree in cultural anthropology with minors in fine arts and psychology as well as an MBA from the Wharton School. When she isn’t sketching, she is a manager at Google in Mountain View, California. She previously served on the Executive Board of Urban Sketchers and still sits on its Advisory Board.

About La Romita School 

La Romita School is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, dedicated to promoting cross-cultural exchange through the arts. It was established in 1966, and since then has been organizing workshops for artists of various disciplines including sketching, plein air painting, calligraphy, writing, & poetry.



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