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 the Small Stuff

[By Róisín Curé in Galway, Ireland] Well, it's January, and some spectacularly short-sighted and unintelligent decisions by the Irish government have left us with a terrifying infection rate. My kids, who are in their late teens and early twenties, are struggling to understand why their lives are on hold, since they are extremely unlikely to die from the disease. I have to explain the concept of society more than once. We have now lived cheek-by-jowl for nearly a year, like much of the rest of the world, but unlike many we have plenty of space, so we could be faring a lot worse.

I'm sketching as much as I ever have done, and as much as I can do in near-freezing temperatures, when I can't go more than 5km from home, unless it's to the supermarket, and I'm not quite desperate enough to sketch the vegetable aisle just yet. I have no interest in "virtual" sketching - I don't find much joy in sketching from a screen - so that leaves very little other than my own home. And so, please prepare for some VERY domestic scenes.

The above stone wall runs along the edge of my garden. I went numb sketching it and it goes without saying that the paint refused to dry in the heavy frost of early January, but I still loved every minute of it.

The pandemic has opened doors to me that were never open before. I have met and made friends with a huge community of sketchers. I have been teaching online since the start of the pandemic, because my living was pulled from under my feet in March - again, like so many others - and I had to explore other ways to earn my bread. I have been bowled over by the joy that teaching has brought me. I mean, I've always enjoyed teaching, but meeting, getting to know and sketching with gorgeous people every week has been a privilege I could never, ever have foreseen. I know they say that happiness comes in the service of others, but for the first time in my life I know it to be true. It's also made me think about how to pass on tips, which has helped my own sketching a lot too.

This sketch, of the special containers my mother gave me after she sold her apartment in Nice, France, was from one of my twice-weekly Instagram Live demos, but the drawing is pretty incidental. It's more about having a casual chat with the viewers. In fact, anyone watching the IGTV videos afterwards might think I am talking to myself, since the comments don't appear on the screen after the live event, but that's OK. The viewers often sketch along with me, and I am happy about that.


My teenagers have been prevailed upon to contribute to the household chores. I was hoping they'd kind of find their groove once they started cooking and cleaning, and they have (took the pandemic, though). This is Paddy doing the washing up. He wanted to go for a spin in his new car - he worked all summer last year as a sailing instructor and earned every penny for it - and was newly insured and legal. He wanted to buy bits and pieces of washing-up accessories, and who was I to argue? And so I made this sketch after his first trip to the supermarket driving his own car: it was his "day" for washing up and I thought it would make a nice subject. 

Another very very domestic scene. But I liked the label on the wine bottle. I got lost in the sketch, which is always a good outcome, whether it comes out well or not. In the sketch, my husband is insisting he can taste chocolate in the wine, whereas I thought it just tasted of wine. Either he has a great imagination or I have a peasant's palate, but either way I enjoyed the sketching very much.
Finally. a small sketch of my little dog, who has been quarantined with us, and is finding the little society he lives in very satisfactory. He looks a bit sad in this sketch because he has a bad ear, but he's better now.

I will go on sketching the small stuff of my life, the small stuff that is of great value, since it is all any of us has.

Many years ago I was buying something in the local shop. "How are you?"asked Tom, the old guy who ran the store. "I'm great, thank you Tom," I said, "I'm going home to a warm house and a hot dinner." "The Queen herself has no better," he said (please try to put on a very heavy Galway accent in your mind).

He was right. I am grateful.





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