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

Sketching in the house during the pandemic and thoughts

[Don Low, Singapore] We all have been sketching as much as possible at home due to the pandemic when movements in and out of the house and around town was restricted to fight the possible spread of the virus. It has been 2 months since the 'lockdown' from Apr 7. From 3 Jun onwards, Singapore enters into 'Phase 1' of 'Circuit Breaker' where more services are opening and students are returning to schools. Everyone is encouraged to take care of their own hygiene by washing of hands and by wearing mask when out of their homes. I have been working from home since Singapore entered into a partial lockdown mode. My wife has been performing her duties as a contact tracer since March. She has been working round the clock to find close contacts and so far has made hundreds of calls during her shift when the country was peaking with covid19 cases. Fortunately she was relieved from her contact tracing duties 3 weeks ago to rest while others took over. During this period she was able to work from home and continued her work within her division (though she said she would rather be a contact tracer). So the last 3 weeks was a bliss because I got to see her more and we would have lunch and dinner together and spent some quality time after office hours. During her contact tracing time, there were weeks she would be out of the house for 12 hours and I wouldn't be able to see her until 10pm at night. Now she is back to contact tracing again but on a 6 hour shift.

During the circuit breaker, companies have been advised to allow their employees to work from home unless it was really essential that they worked on site. Allowances were even given to employees to make sure they have sufficient internet connectivity in the house. My immediate response was delight because it meant the time to commute to work would be saved. Basically someone could save at least 2 hours of travel while he or she worked from home. However I have heard stories from friends and even on the news that many families have struggled to stay sane as they have to adjust to working with their spouses and children around. And it's true as one week into 'lockdown' I was hearing screaming and shouting coming from my neighbours. Since we are living in flats, it is not difficult to hear what's going one with the neighbours.

I am a freelancer so I am used to working from home. The only benefit for me during the work from home order was having my wife in the house when she was not on contact tracing duties. However I missed being out and about with friends for coffee and eating or drinking out. Then I got used to having food delivered to our doorsteps very quickly and we found ourselves ordering food that we didn't even thought of eating before covid19. After a while we got bored and decided to make our own meals, which was quite fulfilling and meaningful too. Normally we didn't really have time or the energy to cook all the time. Eating out was our main option usually.

I always start the day with coffee and some reading, not the news though. I have the habit of waking early and start the day early as well. I only sleep slightly more on Saturday or Sunday. Keeping a regular waking time did help me a lot to stay focus and disciplined. I also took this opportunity to draw more at home, especially all the mundane stuff I have in the house, and the tools I have hoarded over the years. The latter actually made me want to reorganise everything in my workspace. In the course of the next few days, I managed to Marie Kondo so much stuff I opened up more working area for myself; grouped things together according to their functions and use, categorised and labelled most thing like an OCD would. There is still much to do but so far I am liking the results. I think I will layoff visiting the art supply for a long long time.

Having a likable work space is as important as having the right pillow for sleep. It helps me to get into the right frame of mind and follow a process that inspires and at the same time motivates me to work. Having an organised workspace is just a personal preference. Organised but not overly cleaned and looking sterile. I often would browse Pinterest for photos of artists' studios to get an idea how others work. Artists who do Youtube videos have ridiculously cleaned, organised and prettified workspace, coupled with camera and lighting setups. I have hardly any space left to paint a large canvas already. 

But I am grateful for the space that I have for my work and I am going to make full use of it. By sketching around the house and spending more time in it, I grew to appreciate what I have more and more.

Here's a glimpse of my cluttered workspace.

Still a work in progress to get things organised but I am happy so far. 





USk News$type=blogging$ct=0$au=0$m=0$show=


[Workshops Blog]$type=two$c=12$ct=0$m=0$show=