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 — Day 3 to 5

[By Murray Dewhurst in New Zealand].  

Kopiko Aotearoa Day 3
I wake to the pleasant sound of horses munching grass outside my tent. Nice! Ohura is still dark and misty when we're back on our bikes and riding up the beautiful Matiere valley, past lots of old sheds and houses like this sketch. The legs feel weary but the body is slowly getting used to this routine. In Ongarue we stop off at the Flashpackers to pick up our pre-mailed supplies (we've sent deny food for Rem to hold for us as there won't be many shops in the days ahead) and cook up a lunch of noodles. Rem appears from somewhere looking a bit like some sort of holy man wearing a white turban, a lava lava and an impressive beard. As usual my sketch makes him look older than he really is - sorry Rem! Rem fuels us up and riders start appearing in various states and with bikes in varying degrees of decay. One guy is considering riding to Rotorua to get a bottom bracket he's worried it won't make it to the end. That's a long way to ride for a repair, but then again a bike is useless without one and there are no bikeshops on the Kopiko. 

On the bike again and we're into the Timber Trail where we swap gravel and sealed roads for proper twisty MTB single track through dense forest. Were also riding the ‘wrong way’ - most people ride this trail in the opposite direction to take advantage of all the downhills, but not us, we're riding uphill luckily the trail is so good we don’t really notice. The trail is broken up by long swing bridges over the river. It is so spectacular I make the mistake of trying to look at the view while riding on the narrow bridge boards – this makes me lose balance and almost crash – it’s a long way down – and I feel nauseous! Best to look straight ahead while riding them or walk across and enjoy the view I decide. We finish the day sitting around a roaring fire at Camp Epic, a 'clamping' camp half way through the trail. We're not here to clamp though so go for the cheap option and put our own tents up.

Kopiko Aotearoa Day 4
Day 4 was long and hard! The day started really well, the second half of the Timber Trail especially with that beautiful winding downhill to the end was mint. We meet some Tour Aotearoa cyclists on the way which lightens the day – Robyn with her handbag hanging over her handlebars and Elaine above. The following hours of slow gravel road slog really take it out of the legs. We need a cook-up on the camp stove at Pureora to revive energy levels and my riding mate is talking up how great his 'Butt butter' is working. It's an ointment applied 'back there' that keeps everything feeling great. Currently my back-end is feeling like it's connected to the national grid and I get a shock every time my seat hits the saddle. 

There was an amazing downhill before the Arataki swing bridge followed by a spirited chase from a farm dog that wants piece of my calf muscle before the superb Waikato River trails which would have been really enjoyable any other day but I'm exhausted. 14 hours on and off the saddle for only 95km and we're so exhausted we don't make our intended camp at Whakamaru so we pitch camp on the Waikato river trail as the sun goes down and trout are splashing as they try to catch nymphs. 

Kopiko Aotearoa Day 5
Day 5 was awesome, it started on the the Waikato trails again, we ride past no less than 3 hydro electric dams and, Pohaturoa, the craggy mountain you see rising out of the forest. It once had a Māori village perched on top with some 300 people living there. They must have been rock climbers! Later we ride past bubbling mud pools, lots of multi-coloured beehives, we eat lots of sweet wild blackberries and a neat pale blue 1930 Ford displayed for sale in a farmers front paddock. 

We finish the day camping at the excellent Waikite Valley thermal pools. Cool to be back in geothermal country and get to soak the aching muscles in various hot pools.

Read Day 6 – 7 here




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