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

07. Visual Storytelling: Practical Tips


February 14, 2021 "Visual Storytelling: Practical Tips"

Nina Johansson & Pedro Loureiro

Pedro Loureiro / Nina Johansson

In episode seven, Rob Sketcherman was joined by Nina Johansson and Pedro Loureiro to share with us how their sketching is inspired by other art forms, namely comic books (also known as sequential art) and movies. 

Nina Johansson 

Nina Johansson joined us from Stockholm, Sweden, to talk about how she has been finding different ways to tell stories with her sketches while working from home during the pandemic. She said that we can find stories during these restricted times and in hindsight it will be a story worth telling: “Ah, remember those years when you were sitting in your living room working.” 

Many of her sketches are inspired by movies and camera angles, and she talked with us about how your point of view when sketching can change your sketches and tell stories in a different way. We saw her sketches of overlapping elements to show moving through space and moving around objects and drawing them from different angles. As she lives in Stockholm, she doesn’t get out to sketch much in the very cold and dark winter so she has experience with creatively sketching stories from her home. 

Pedro Loureiro 

Pedro Loureiro joined us from Lisbon, Portugal, and told us about his interest in comics, how he learned to sketch stories from them, and how he continues to be inspired by them. The composition in his sketches show his interest in sequential art with the way he positions the subject, using perspective, angles, and contrast to tell a story. He says, “I’m a little bit of a drama queen when I’m sketching.” 

He suggested filtering out some of the setting and paying attention to the framing - even of inanimate objects - to help tell a story. 


Pedro suggests imitating other artists to see how your art can change. Read comics first to enjoy them, but then pay attention to an element that the artist does well, like shading. Also look at the layout of the pages, which is unique to comic books. 

He also reminds us to adjust our styles and tools to the context of what we’re sketching, such as sketching movement, and suggests fusing together action into one scene instead of in separate panels. He showed an example of this from a demonstration he sketched - his sketch was full of people that he captured over time, sketching the people whose actions were most relevant to telling this story. 

Nina talked about adjusting styles and tools when sketching in freezing weather. Wearing gloves or mittens can impede the sensitivities of your fingers, and wet materials can freeze. She uses colored pencils and uses watercolors by mixing the water with alcohol (avoiding those with sweeteners, aromas or colors, which will ruin paints), and wears many layers of clothes. 

For sketching a strong story element, both Pedro and Nina emphasize the use of contrast. Nina also says to think about variation of lines and colors to help emphasize the focus.

Nina shared some great information about camera shots to help us think about the point of view we are sketching from, from a long/wide shot to an extreme close-up, and capturing movement through space in different ways. 

Sketching is like creating a documentary, so think of the inspiration you can get from different forms of storytelling to tell your stories in your sketches. 

Book Recommendations 

  • Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud 
  • Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner 

Challenge: It’s a Mug’s Life 

Document your day through the point of view of your favorite beverage, and where it goes with you.

When you share your USk Talks Challenge sketches on Instagram, use the hashtags #usktalks and #usktalkschallenge and tag Nina @nina_sketching and Pedro @pedromaclourerio. Follow Nina, Pedro, and our hashtags on Instagram, too!

Watch again




USk News$type=blogging$ct=0$au=0$m=0$show=


[Workshops Blog]$type=two$c=12$ct=0$m=0$show=