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

From Peace to Protest - Play Nicely, People

[By Róisín Curé in Dublin] I arrived in Dublin City on a Friday afternoon. I left Galway in windy winter weather but in Dublin there was a hint of spring.
"Where are you sketching today?" asked my brother Malachy, "it's a lovely day."
Malachy has been my comrade-in-arms since I started my second book, an illustrated memoir of Dublin in urban sketches. He has housed me, wined and dined me, advised me - he's in the publishing area - and encouraged me since last September.
 I decided to sit outside for a while, and drew the beautiful Leinster House, where the government sits, and the National Museum, next door. That's the bit you can see on the far right.

I love sketching in winter...if only they'd turn up the heat a bit. I'm one of those people whose hands go stiff and white if the temperature drops below semi-tropical, and many is the time I have stumbled into a café and made straight for the bathrooms, where I can run my hands under hot water for a while. Still, I knew the fabulous museum would fix me in jig time, so I persevered. It's the colours I love - washed out and bleached, the stonework stark against the sky.

The next day I went back to sketch a Garda (that's a policeman) outside the Dáil (that's the word for the houses of parliament) but it was raining, so I popped indoors to sketch stuff in the museum. I love the gold jewellery, which glitters as if it was tooled only yesterday. It's 4000 years old. It's heavy, it's solid, it's beautiful. It's a bit baffling too - I couldn't work out half of what things were supposed to do, despite the comprehensive descriptions. The fractions I've written are in relation to the actual size of each piece, on an A5 sketchbook, so A4 on a double page.

That done, it looked as if it had stopped raining, and I might yet get my Guard. I went out and was greeted with quite a surprise: there was a proper fight unfolding outside on the street. With their backs to the Dáil were the pro-free-speech crowd: an anti-hate-speech bill was being brought in. They waved flags - Tricolours, and green ones with a horrible anglicised version of Irish on them that was popular in the 1940s or something (I cannot bear any anglicised Irish. Imagine if English was rewritten to accommodate French or Spanish people who couldn't pronounce it...). They were on the Far Right, as I could make out - nationalists and so on. Facing them were the lefties: shouts of  "Nazi scum" were being hurled across the street from their side. It was very aggressive, and a two lines of Gardaí were keeping them apart. (I found out later that a Guard's hand was injured.) The Beangardaí (policewomen) were there in force, but the two I saw were tiny. That didn't mean they weren't fierce. One, in riot gear, told a horrible man to get back onto the pavement. He was huge, and refused, so she gave him a good shove. He still squared up to her, so her big male colleague added a roared order to him too. He complied, like the bully he was.

The wide street between the two factions was empty - the no-man's-land - and two kids took advantage of this, messing about on their scooters. They waved flags so I guessed they were with the Right. After a while one of the Left was arrested and put in a van, another van arrived and another Beangarda got out with a big alsatian, who was much scarier than my doodle suggests. Another dog didn't get to leave the van, and its cries and whines clearly said "It's not fair!"

I felt nothing but dislike for either side. This ugliness isn't what we're used to in Ireland - protest, sure, but two sides pitted against each other? Even in the hotly-debated and very emotional Eighth Amendment referendum (over abortion rights) each side was more or less civil when they met in public, even when they were using upsetting material to prove their points. No punches were thrown, and there were some great memes on Twitter.

Eventually the protest broke up, ending without a murmur. The two crowds made their way down towards Nassau Street, separated - I hope - by the Gardaí. I asked the Guards left if it was definitely over for the day, and started sketching them. One was a Beangarda (not in the pic). She told me she was an artist and rapidly listed her accomplishments.
"But I gave it up to join the Guards," she said, "then again, I do both now."
 I tried to tell her about Urban Sketchers Dublin but I couldn't get a word in, and she didn't want to know.
"Each to their own, isn't that it?" she said. She has no idea what she has just missed.
She had perfect acrylic nails in a lilac colour.
I drew one young Guard - sketched twice - as he twisted his head constantly, watching the street where the protesters had gone. He seemed nervous, but I didn't really notice that until his older colleague joined him - the older Guard had clearly seen it all before, and leaned against the side of the archway in a nonchalant manner. The younger Guard relaxed completely, all the tension leaving his body.
After that excitement I sketched in a very comfy hotel. Back tomorrow for more!




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