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

Circuit Breaker Phase II - back to sketching people again.

Sketching people in the eatery

[By Don Low, Singapore] My last post on the blog was dated in June 2020. I have been drawing, painting and sketching from home due to the pandemic since April 2020, when the government imposed a lockdown we called Circuit Breaker that induced a "slew" of panic buy at the supermarkets. Many have been called to work from home and for many months, the streets and many tourist locations were empty. Only the essential workers went to work. So many things have changed. First we got to rely on home delivery more so the system became more robust over the months. Many have gotten used to working from home, and realised that things kept working and going on without them in the office. Attending courses and classes during the lockdown via zoom became a viable solution to bring people together. The internet becomes the window to the world. In July, our country eased movement restriction because community cases have become almost zero. There are still covid19 cases but they are contained and contact tracing is running at its utmost efficiency with 60-70% of the people using the trace app and many places have mandatory check-in in place. Most importantly it is mandatory to wear mask at all time in public places except when you are eating or drinking. Enforcers have been working hard to get those who flout the safe distancing rule too. Fortunately it was just a small portion of people, most likely under a lot of stress to cope with the situation.

People eating out

As restaurants and eateries and shopping malls are reopening more and more, the streets and the malls are once again fill with people shopping and eating out. It appears that we are working very hard to keep the economy going. My wife and I with my mum started to eat out again. There are so many people everywhere it is hard to imagine that there was a lockdown before. I was happy to be out and about sketching people again, both digitally and with traditional mediums. It can get overwhelming at first to see crowds after so long. Sketching them helps to calm things down actually.

Eating out with friends

What I learned. People are frustrated with being cooped at home after a while. They wanted out as much as they wanted to see the daylight. Introverts like me preferred the safe environment of the house and be surrounded by everything familiar, books and art tools. I saw the world system has changed. People's idea of what's important in life has changed too. In times like this, what do I value more? My material possessions or my loved ones. Divorce rate has gone up during this period. There are couples who couldn't stand the sight of their partners and decided to part. Was the marriage a failure? Or have they married for a reason other than wanting to be together that does not work now? We trusted a world system that we thought was going to last forever. When it didn't work out, we are now scrambling to make it work again instead of looking at how we could do otherwise. We are creatures of comfort, but we also wanted to right the wrongs.

Sketching people at the food center

Communal eating has been around for decades. Singaporeans loved to eat together and the pandemic hasn't changed the fact that we love to stand in line for our favourite food, as long as we are 1-2m apart regardless how long the queue is, and sitting in a group not more than 5 people. 

At the food centre in my neighborhood

Having my nails cut

Chilling in a Chinese coffeeshop

Elderly in wheelchair

Urbansketchers Singapore has gone back to sketching outdoors again for the past couple weeks, in groups of not more than 5. I have not joined them so far but I will! The spirit of sketching is still strong here. There won't be a large "show & tell" crowd anymore. Those were the good old days! For now I am sketching only when I am eating out with my family. People in action and repose are still my favourite subjects to sketch. 

To conclude, I give my best wishes to you (who is reading this) and your family. Stay safe and healthy!





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