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

Kopiko Aotearoa – Days 8 and 9

[By Murray Dewhurst in New Zealand].  

Kopiko Day 8, sketchbook 1 is complete!
What a different start to the day – rather than waking to gunshots, we wake to the sound of Ross making scrambled eggs in the Tuahu station kitchen. Great breakfast, my clothes hand washed last night are dry clothes (yes!), so just enough time for a quick sketch of the deliciously decayed old shearers quarters and we’re off again. 

The original Tuahu Station shearers quarters, a roadside break and Taaheke woodshed.

Not much time for sketching today, just pedalling with the odd break. We stop for coffee and ice cream at Tinaroto pub, and looking at the map I'm surprised to see we’re only 35 km from Gisborne, despite being so remote we're not far from the largest town in the region. Further down the road we call in to Taaheke Station farmstay for a chat, some welcome food and drink, then on to Mokonui Station some 120kms later. Turns out Ross has booked us in and our dinners being prepared – I could get used to this! Certainly a change to sleeping in my tent and eating dehydrated food which has been our thing for most of the trip. The dinner was awesome, a big thank you to our host Tasmin!

Last nights delicious dinner, the Mokonui Station woolshed and the long climb out of Rere Falls.

Kopiko Day 9
Another cooked breakfast courtesy of Ross – and a real coffee courtesy of Mr Bialetti. We climb (and climb and climb) out of Rere Falls and bump into Chris and Charles, the first wave of this weekends east to west riders. They must have been flying to have reached this point already. Next we bump into Lou at Te Wera station, she has a roadside pop-up tent with food and water for cyclist. She's chatting to a big bunch of east west riders, one announces it’s his 71st birthday tomorrow – if I’m half as fit at age 71 I will be very happy!

Rider and a road sign, Lou at Te Wera Station and an attempt to draw the Pou.

On past an impressive pou whenua, 6 metres tall, steel, white, and reflecting the history of the local Te Aitanga a Mahaki people (my quick sketch does it no justice whatsoever), then to the village of Matawai, the old pub is long closed but the cafe over the road is open and has all the important things in life such as Peanut Slabs and great coffee. We sit for a while and chat with a bunch of recalcitrant old motorcyclists sitting around in their leather. They do their best to 'wind us up' with jokes at a cyclists expense, jokes about lycra and the lack of 'real' power of choice of transport, etc. They are very funny and seriously crack me up!

If only I'd had time to sketch all the cool bikes we see on this ride. Cameraman Dylan on the right.

Riding on to Motu village I come across this lovely old Morris 8 sheltering under an old shop awning. The Motu community centre is full of east to west riders inhaling bowls of noodles, looks like they’ve had a tough morning climbing up the Motu Road from the coast!

Further on we come across Dylan, official cameraman for the Kopiko Aotearoa he's accompanied by a couple of riders looking a bit worse for wear. One has been attacked by a dog with nasty wounds to prove it. Dylan pushes the camera in our faces and asks questions like ‘What have you learned on an emotional level on the trip?’ The questions dig a bit deep for a couple of riders only thinking of the trail ahead and what they're going to eat next! We spend the rest of the morning realising what we should have said in place of the unintelligible mutterings he actually filmed.

Urewera native bush beside the Pakihi Track, and The Pakihi Hut

Part way down the Motu road we make the call to ride the Pakihi Trail. It will be longer but we've heard rave reviews of the Pakihi. It turns out to be great decision, what a superb trail! A very narrow track with a huge dropoff down one side, but you don’t really notice it as the bush is so dense. The trail is so good we didn’t want to leave and decide to stop early and stay at the Pakihi hut. It's a good chance to do a couple of sketches while in some beautiful native bush.

Read the last few days here.





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