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

11. Victorian Women Sketchers

 March 14, 2021 "Victorian Women Sketchers"

Charlotte Watson (Derwent), Jedidiah Dore (Derwent) & Mário Linhares


In our eleventh episode, we visited with Charlotte Watson, Global Brand Manager at Derwent, and Jedidiah Dore, a Derwent Artist Ambassador. Charlotte told us about the history of Derwent, started by Ann Banks in 1832 in England’s Lake District as the world’s first graphite factory. Jedidiah joined us from Brooklyn to talk about Derwent’s new Line and Wash Paint Pan set. Jedidiah worked with Charlotte and other Derwent representatives to develop this kit for urban sketchers, which includes a combination of three different types of paint and Line Maker pens. A demonstration video showed Jedidiah in action on the streets of Queens, NY, capturing the feel and energy of the place on Derwent’s Inktense paper. The new set launches in the UK in April and worldwide in May, so keep an eye out for it!

Mário Linhares
image credit: Arthur de Paiva e Pona

Victorian Women Sketchers

Our resident art historian Mário Linhares joined us from Lisbon, Portugal, to talk about historical women sketchers. He said that while men are centered in the teaching of art history, information about women artists is out there but you have to search for it. He approached his research by reading the art history books he had in a different way, looking for the mention of women and conducting his own research from there.

Mário told us fascinating stories about seven women sketchers from the Victorian era. They traveled to distant places and worked on location, and as urban sketchers we can relate to that, but at that time it was an unusual occupation for a woman. These women were able to live this way because of their families’ wealth, but six out of the seven artists we discussed also chose not to get married and have children - a rare occurrence at that time.

We learned enough about these independent, intelligent, and fearless visionaries and explorers to inspire us to find out more for ourselves.

Marianne North (1830-1890) started painting and drawing at the age of 37, got hooked on painting in oils, and traveled the world painting plants in the context of their locations.

Amelia Edwards (1831-1892) is known as the Godmother of Egyptology for her work in developing it as a discipline. She was concerned with preserving the heritage of Egyptian monuments and documented them with drawings.

Olivia Tonge (1858-1949) tried to learn landscape painting from her father, but was unsuccessful at it. She later learned that the issue was her nearsightedness and she began to draw close-up objects from life, adding context with text. She traveled to India and filled 16 sketchbooks, focusing on what she could do, not what she couldn’t do.

Margaret Fountaine (1862-1940) was a naturalist and traveled the world to discover new species of butterflies as she sketched, painted, and wrote about them.

Margaret Mee (1909-1988) traveled to Brazil to teach and began painting flowers on location in the Amazon forest. For years she searched for the perfect specimen of moonflower, an Amazonian cactus, as it bloomed, which it only does for one night a year.

Alexandrine Tinne (1835-1869) was a Dutch explorer who traveled to North Africa to try to discover the source of the Nile. She fearlessly sailed the Nile and traversed the Sahara, sketching and taking rare photographs of North African women in the context of their daily lives.

Adela Breton (1849-1923), inspired by the Roman ruins in her hometown of Bath, England, was an archaeological artist and explorer. Her travels took her to Mexico where she documented newly discovered temples with drawings and paintings. She felt a responsibility to capture the images and colors of the temples and monuments and her work gives us an understanding of the ancient architecture of Mexico.

Book and Resource Recommendations
  • Marianne North: A Very Intrepid Painter by Michelle Payne
  • A Thousand Miles Up the Nile by Amelia Edwards
  • The Fateful Journey: The Expedition of Alexine Tinne and Theodor von Heuglin in Sudan (1863-1864) by Robert Joost Willink
  • Explorers’ Sketchbooks by Lewis Jones Hum
  • O’Hanlon Heroes season 2 on YouTube (show about Alexandrine Tinne)

Challenge: Woman of Action

Celebrate a woman you admire by talking to her, capturing her essence and likeness, and telling her story by sketching her in action.

Be sure to share your USk Talks Challenge sketches on Instagram using the hashtags #usktalks and #usktalkschallenge. Tag our guests in your challenge sketches, and follow them on Instagram: Derwent @derwentartoffical, Jedidiah Dore @jedidore, Mário Linhares, and our host Rob Sketcherman @robsketcherman.

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