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

The Kids Are Alright: Staying Home With Teens

[By Róisín Curé in Galway] Who would have thought that a tiny little microbe could cause the world to stop in its tracks? Okay, lots of people, I guess, but I didn't. I never thought about it. The last time I thought about viruses, apart from when someone in my family came down with a cold or the flu, was in a lab in NUIG (our university here in Galway) when I studied microbiology for a couple of years. I can see us now, sixty students in white lab coats and the blue-eyed lecturer, similarly attired, calling out in exasperation, "Aseptic technique, how are ye!" This is an Irish way of saying " despite my best efforts to teach you the correct technique to avoid cross-contamination, you are failing woefully." We did all kinds of fun things with plates of agar jelly and petri dishes, autoclaves and cultures: we would smear a thumb onto the surface of the agar plate, and watch what grew after a few days. One person in each team of four would introduce something different: an unwashed thumb, a thumb washed with water, a thumb washed with normal soap from the dispenser in the university bathroom and one washed with an antiseptic soap such as Dettol. The dirty thumb was the worst in terms of the nasty little colony of bacteria that would grow up, but while plain water was surprisingly good, there wasn't a huge amount of difference between the regular soap and the Dettol. I remember that bacteria were pretty straightforward, if very virulent at times, but viruses were tricky because on so many levels they refused to come out and fight like men. They skulked and hid and even killed bacteria. They were tricky.

Anyway. That was then and this is now. I am at home with my teenagers and my husband and we're learning to fill our days productively.

My daughter is going to do some lovely embroidery on a denim jacket...

My son and his friend traded haircuts now that the barber is closed. My son's friend got the better deal, as my boy Paddy is 18 and has a very good eye, while his pal is 15 and not quite as used to drawing and so on as Paddy is. So the back of Paddy's head is a little uneven.
My kids are mean, and use any excuse to call me a "boomer", which I'm not - I missed it by a few years. But I kind of deserved it here: I shouted for Paddy not to change the song, when it was only his calculator he was poking. It's my eyesight...
My girl took a notion to make some gorgeous apple muffins, and made a mock-cross face while I sketched her crumbling flour and butter together. 

I have made this image a little smaller so as not to induce too much envy. The muffins were divine but after two I had a sore tummy. Serve me right.

USk Milano sugegsted people draw the view from their windows. This is the view from my studio window. It was windy but not raining, until I put the laundry on the line, at which point it started raining, of course. It stopped when I brought it inside.

There is lots more on my blog, where I am keeping a daily record of the "quarantine" and have some very silly non-urban sketchy cartoons. You'll find me at this address. I hope you enjoy it. 

Meanwhile, please stay safe everyone.




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