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

01. Together Through Lockdowns and Beyond

January 3, 2021 - "Together Through Lockdowns and Beyond"

USk Paris: Together through Lockdowns and Beyond 
03 Jan 2021 
Genine Carvalheira, Brigitte Lannaud Levy, Marion Rivolier, Dwa 

In this first episode of the new season, you joined us on YouTube where host Rob Sketcherman gave us some teasers about the season ahead. Today’s episode focus was on Chapters, and to help talk about it Rob introduced USk vice president Genine Carvalheira. Genine joined us from Toronto, Canada, and told us about her role as an executive board member working on long-term planning and the day-to-day running of the organization, and about working with the 320+ chapters world-wide in her role as membership director. 

Brigitte Lannaud Levy and Marion Rivolier/USk Paris Chapter 

Rob introduced Brigitte and Marion by thanking them and the USk Paris chapter for being supportive of USk Talks from the start. They reposted challenges and even tuned in during late hours when we changed the program time. 

Marion, who has led USk Paris since 2014, and Brigitte have worked with volunteers to organize many programs such as exhibits, 10x10 workshops, and participating in the USk 10th Anniversary. They received a USk Community Workshop Grant for their proposal to teach kids urban sketching in museums as a way to discover the world and art. 

In early 2020 they partnered with Le Santé Prison to teach prisoners to sketch their daily lives in the prison. USk Paris volunteers were allowed to sketch all parts of the prison and conduct workshops with the prisoners, culminating in a large piece portraying a loose map of the prison, but filled with sketches of the place and the people, mixing their sketches and sketches made by the prisoners. The final piece, which was the same dimensions as a cell, is now permanently displayed in an area of the prison where prisoners can see it. This unique project showed the possibility of human connection through sketching.

Brigitte, Dwa and Marion


Dwa is an artist from Madagascar who joined us to first talk about how welcoming the Paris chapter was to him when he was in Paris in 2018 for an artist residency. He said that meeting them was like starting at a new school because he didn’t know them but they all knew each other, but that he soon felt comfortable because, “everyone speaks the same language by sketching.” 
We got to know more about Dwa and the books he has published of his sketches, one about Paris, Un Gasy á Paris, and another about Madagascar, Back to Al Bak. He told us a bit about sketching in public in Madagascar where he always ends up surrounded by kids watching him sketch. When he’s finished sketching, he shows his audience his sketches and tells stories about them, making his sketching outings into a bit of a performance but also inspiring kids to become urban sketchers, like USk Paris and their workshops. 

Wherever you are in the world, urban sketching is an inspiring way to meet new friends and make connections in new ways.


Challenge: Paint Your Window View 

Paint your window view using direct painting, and add character with window frames. Watch the episode for Brigitte’s tips on painting your window as though you are looking through it. This challenge was inspired by the lockdowns they have experienced in Paris due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The USk Paris chapter was proactive in finding ways to get together virtually and motivate sketchers, encouraging everyone to discover treasures in their daily lives that we don’t normally pay attention to. 

Watch again



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