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: Paris, je ne sais quoi - Capturing the essence of Paris by reportage and Mixed Media - CANCELLED

I was so looking forward to conducting my Paris: Je ne sais quoi? workshop on September 5-6, 2020.

Unfortunately, as this coronavirus crisis continues, I feel that it is safer to cancel the workshop until further notice, and refund everyone's tuition.

It has become very apparent that the world will not be fully opened up by the first weekend in September. And with public discussion of a possible second wave hitting us this fall, I don't want to take the risk of putting anyone's health in jeopardy. I will try to hold the workshop some time in the future, when the world is open and safe for travel again.

Stay safe sketchers.

Best, Veronica

Paris: je ne sais quoi: Capturing the Essence of Paris Through Reportage and Mixed Media, a workshop with Veronica Lawlor, March 21-22, September 5-6, 2020. This workshop got cancelled in light of COVID-19.

Paris means beautiful architecture, delicious food, and fine wine: a lifestyle in which art and enjoyment are as essential to life as breathing. How can an urban sketcher capture such a city, in all of its character and expression?

We will look not to the monuments of Paris, but to the moments of Paris, to find that je ne sais quoi that makes the city so well-loved. Finding example in the great artists of French history, and working with mixed media, picture design, and gesture of people, you will discover how to capture those ephemeral qualities of Paris through your own unique way of drawing.

Topics covered will include:
How to capture a small situation within a larger context Storytelling through gesture and expression of people How to express the feeling of a place through line, mark, texture and color How to create a reportage through intense observation, evocative expression and picture sequence

To observe, to draw, and to enjoy – is this not the French way? 

Learning goals 

  •  Learn to embrace the overall environment of an urban setting and find your focus 
  •  Learn to be more decisive on location 
  •  Document the sensations of Paris; working with mixed media to create evocative line, mood and texture in your drawings. 
  •  Learn to make an organic picture of people interacting in an environment 
  •  Find the story that speaks to you! 

Workshop location 

We will work at and around Les Halles, in the center of Paris. (Exact meeting spot to be announced, dependent on weather.)

Dates and schedule

March 21 – 22, September 5-6, 2020
Saturday 10 am – 4 pm, with a 1 1/2 lunch break.
Sunday 10 am – 5 pm, with a 1 1/2 lunch break.

Optional Bonus night sketch on Saturday evening from 7 – 9:30 pm.

Saturday, Day One Les Halles, Paris (exact location TBA) 

  • 10 am – 12:30 Thumbnails and picture-making. Take a walk and draw, to cover your story through point of view and design of people in their environment. 
  • 12:30 – 2 Lunch on your own 
  • 2pm – 4pm Capturing Mood and Emotion with marks and mixed media Your choices make meaning!   
  • 4pm – 7pm Dinner on your own 
  • 7pm – 9:30 Optional: Paris by Night Café Location TBA Use mixed media to capture the essence of people watching and the Parisian café nightlife. (Cost of food and drink not included in tuition.) 
Sunday, Day Two Les Halles, Paris 

  • 10 am – 12:30 Gesture, movement, expression of people. Following through on your work from Saturday The nuance of the story. 
  • 12:30 – 2 Lunch on your own 
  • 2pm – 4pm Putting it together: what is the story and how do you tell it? A sequential reportage of the location. 
  • 4pm – 5pm Closing critique: Review and discussion of lessons learned. 

Supply list 

  •  8”x 10” sketchbook, paper that can handle wet or dry media 
  •  1 Fountain pen or marker 
  •  Soft graphite pencils: 3B and 4B plus small sharpener 
  •  Portable brush pen and water pen 
  •  Small watercolour pan set 
  •  6-8 colored pencils (Prismacolor is a nice soft brand) 
  •  Small plastic container for water 

Registration fee : 

250 EURO ( ~275 USD) Registration form HERE. Please note: cancellations will be granted a full refund until March 1, 2020, less PayPal fees. From March 2 - March 10, a 50% refund will be granted. No refunds will be granted after that. Thank you for your understanding.
Maximum number of participants: 18 participants, all levels welcome Minimum number of participants: 8 participants
Workshop will be conducted in English.





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