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


[by teo cheng huat, beijing]

We had to get a COVID swap test 48 hours before we take the morning flight from Singapore to China. Went to  a nearby clinic appointed by ministry of health to do the test and result came back 'negative' so we are all clear to fly.

Changi Airport is pretty much empty as there is only 1 flight  a week flying from Singapore to Shanghai. Flight time was push 1 hour earlier and in-flight meal was canceled for health safety reason. Arrived in Shanghai in the afternoon on the 8th of October 2021 at Shanghai HongQiao International airport. Upon arrival, we were directed to take temperature check, we produce vaccination proof, VISA clearance, medical clearance and documents. Took 2 hours to clear the customs and 2 hours to reach the designated quarantine hotel of which will be our home for the next 14 days. All of us including all the luggages and bags are spray with bleaching liquid before entering the hotel lobby. Temperature check and swap test was again conducted before we check in. Each of us are given a small plastic pail and disinfection tablets (fill up water for disinfection tablet to use when flushing), sterilize tissues to clean the furniture in the room, a thermometer(we had to do 2 temperature check per day), a pack of garage bags(clear rubblish every morning at 9 am), 3 ball point pens(lots of declaration forms to fill up). My wife and myself got a room with 2 single beds and our daughter, Amanda was check into another room. 3 meals will be serve everydays at 8am, 1pm and 6pm. Temperature checks will be conducted before 8am and 1pm. There will be swap test for day 1, day 4, day 7 and day 14 in the morning between 4 am to 5 am.

Everyday after each meal, we will start walking inside our room from the entrance door to the window. We complete an average of 13,000 steps daily and by day 14 , I had completed 147,945steps , recorded in my cell phone. I had never walk so much in my life but it helps to relax and sleep better in the 20 sqm space every night. Every morning I will stand by our window to sketch the outside views and at the same time i can get some sun too which lasted about 2 hours. However there is lots of raining days too in Shanghai during this autumn season. It will rain the whole day. As we were told to leave the window half open to constantly air the room, it gets really chilly cold at night. Our bedroom actually face a row of residential blocks and sometime i could notice some residents looking toward us watching us walking in the room. Then at sideway of our window, we are able to see some roads and a spa clubhouse. I started to sketch the nearby buildings  a few time over. I started to sketch residents bringing their wet clothes to dry when it was sunny and trucks, bus and car stopping by the roadsides. After the first week, I was sketching the snacks , fruits and biscuit we order online. Everyday, we will call friends and relative a few times, video chat and send messages to  friends and loved ones. Other time, we will watch movies, drama and youtube channels. By the end of the first week, my cell phone inform me of my screen time usage had increased. So much for stage 1 quarantine activity and we are looking forward to our stage 2 where we are to select designated hotel approved by health department for next 7+7 days city quaratine. During which there are few more swap test to be done and hopefully our health code APP on our phone be green color by then as currently the color is yellow. Only when we had a green color health code then we are allow to book a flight to return to beijing.  So much for now, i shall be posting the next stage 2 quarantine in the city of Shanghai. Hope to sketch more interesting and happy stuffs and to enjoy good food and weather. Beijing shall be very cold when we return at the end of November.                              
These are our windows views. To the left is a stretch of trees and resident blocks. To the right is a busy roads and more resident blocks. And right in front is a resident block that is as tall as this hotel and pretty close up too.
These are some of the older resident blocks. Usually they are 5 levels so there are no elevators and slowly these buildings will be replace by new development. 

On good sunny day, you can see the resident bringing out their clothes to dry, most unit has this retractable clothes bar in front of their windows.

These are snacks and food we got from our flight and online.

Every week day the roads are jammed with traffic, these taxi, trucks and bus are constantly passing by everyday, queing up for the lights and access to the highways ahead.

There is SPA clubhouse on the other side of the road.

Drew a floor plan of our room. The dotted lines on the plan indicate our daily walking path up and down the room. 

From the side of  our window , we can see this stretch of trees and landscaping garden. Nice to look at in the morning and relaxing.

Our quarantine items in a plastic pail, it contain 3 pens, a thermometer, a small bottle of disinfection tablets and a pack of garbage bags.
These are typical breakfast combo , there is buns, soya milk, porridge, etc.

A view of the resident block opposite our room, I guess because it is so close to us, their windows are closed all the time and I had never seen them open.





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