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

Running and Sketching - the New York City Marathon

[By Veronica Lawlor in New York City, USA] Several weeks ago in early November, I ran the New York City Marathon to raise funds for Gilda's Club, an organization that provides FREE cancer support for cancer patients and their families. I ran in honor of my beautiful sister Patty, who lost her fight with breast cancer in 2014. Gilda's is a tremendous organization, you can read more HERE.
It seemed appropriate to run a marathon in Patty's honor, as she was a runner her whole life. I did my training and got myself ready for the big day...and couldn't resist sneaking a tiny sketchbook into my fanny pack to document this event. The marathon runs through all five boroughs of New York City: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, where the race begins.
I arrived at the starting area in Staten Island with my friends Andrew, Tony and Frank, who'd also signed up to run. There were lots of people milling around, getting ready for the start of the race.
The star athletes were there too, and WOW do they have long lean muscular legs! I am not exaggerating the length of this man's legs in the slightest.  
Everyone wears extra layers of clothing while waiting for the race to start, and leaves them on the ground once the race begins. All the clothes are donated to charity from there.

Some fanfare, helicopters, the Star Spangled Banner, a cannon fired, and we're OFF!
As we crossed the Verazzano bridge and landed on the other side, people were yelling "BROOKLYNNNN! WELCOME TO BROOKLYNNN!" Quite a welcome indeed! People are cheering you on every step of the way; there were also musicians, drummers, and church choirs. Musical energy helps the runners along.
We ran through Brooklyn, into Queens, and over the 59th St. bridge to Manhattan. It was a beautiful morning and the views were spectacular!

The 59th St. bridge was quiet - no spectators - but our friend Andrew played the song "New York New York" on his iPhone. Very appropriate! As we got closer to the Manhattan side of the bridge, we could hear the dull roar of the crowd...
WOW - the crowds on First Avenue were AMAZING!!! People were four deep standing on either side, with signs and slogans - cheering and giving us so much energy to get uptown! 

The clouds were gorgeous, white and billowy, as we ran over the Third Avenue bridge into the Bronx. The Bronx is one of the shortest parts of the marathon, but it's where you hit the crucial spot - 20 miles. That's where everyone says you will "hit the wall." I didn't know it, but "the wall" was about to arrive for me, too. 
As we entered back into upper Manhattan, around mile 22, I suddenly felt a wave of pain hit me EVERYWHERE at once - "Ow!" I yelled, "what the heck was that?"
"You just hit THE WALL," said my friend Andrew. So now I know what it's like! After that, my right leg was starting to feel weak, and I switched into a slow trot to continue. There was no way I was not going to cross that finish line! My vision got very small, just looking at my two feet moving on the street - trying to avoid manhole covers, and going up and down the hills of upper Manhattan and into Central Park. Andrew kept telling me that every hill was the last one - thanks Andrew, kept giving me hope! Ha ha.
Even at this tough stage, the whole experience was still super exciting, and, since I'd helpfully written my name on my shirt, complete strangers were saying, "you GOT THIS Veronica!" as I moved along with Andrew and Tony. Our other teammate Frank had decided to sprint the last two miles...we laughed and wished him well! (And caught up with him at the finish line later.)
And then, there it was - the marker for MILE 26! Woo hoo - only .2 miles to go - and ONE MORE HILL! We can do it....
I crossed the finish line, very, very happy, and a little bit dazed. A kindly volunteer said, "Come here!" as she wrapped me in a plastic poncho, handed me a bag with some fruit and other goodies in it, and put a medal over my head. I didn't know you get a medal! Nice.
What an experience! Considering that as of late June I'd never run more than a 1/2 mile; I never, ever, expected to run a marathon. I was thinking of my sister Patty so much during the race, how she always put her best foot forward in life, not just when running marathons but in everything she did. And how much she loved to laugh - she would have loved how much the four of us were laughing as we ran the 26.2 miles together - laughing together was what Patty and I did best. I'm so glad that I was able to raise $5000 for Gilda's Club, in honor of her. That's a good feeling. Thank you so much to everyone who donated.
New York City is amazing place - still can't believe how many people came out to cheer the runners on! Thanks NYC! 





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