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

Episode 11: Decades of Ink

"Decades of Ink" June 14, 2020

This Sunday, Rob Sketcherman interviewed three highly respected sketching masters from Asia. We learned about their approaches to sketching and their histories with Urban Sketchers.

Ch'ng Kiah Kiean (KK) 

Rob introduced Ch'ng Kiah Kiean, known as KK, as being recognized for his “magic with ink and twig.” KK teaches around the world and has taught at many Symposiums, and joined us from his home in Penang, Malaysia. 

He started studying art as a child and continued into his teen years when he and his high school friends would travel around Penang by motorcycle and stop to sketch different sites - a motorized version of a sketchwalk! KK continues his learning by adapting to challenges he finds when sketching. One challenge he described was using a different size paper (long and skinny) than he was accustomed to, challenging him to think about how much information and detail to include, and leading him to focus more on the rhythm of his drawing while leaving some white space. 

KK also challenged himself to find the best way to incorporate watercolor into his style of sketching. He looked to his friends for inspiration and advice, and says to be confident and know your colors well. This leads us to his challenge of using color sparingly to highlight certain areas of your sketch.

KK challenged us to only use spot colors. He says to start your sketch with line work in ink or pencil, then add minimal colors to a certain part to highlight focal points.

Post and tag with #USkTalks or #USkTalksChallenge, and tag KK @kiahkiean.
Follow KK on Instagram, too!

Pramote Kitchumnongpan and Asnee Tasna

Rob interviewed longtime friends Pramote Kitchumnongpan and Asnee Tasna, who joined us from Bangkok, Thailand. We learned about their history of sketching together and getting to know sketchers in other Asian countries. They described a trip about 10 years ago to visit and sketch with KK in Penang, and continuing on to visit and sketch with Tia Boon Sim, founder of Urban Sketchers Singapore.

Pramote and Asnee also talked about the growth of USk Thailand and how they hosted an event for their group, USk Penang, and USk Singapore. The next year USk Penang hosted, and this event became Asia Link, an annual three-day sketching event with hundreds of participants.

As we looked at work by Pramote and Asnee and they talked about their history and process, what emerged was the joy each finds in sketching, and especially sketching with friends. From starting Asia Link to sketching at Symposiums, both Pramote and Asnee emphasized the importance of sketching with friends to learn, to create memories, and to have fun.

Pramote’s and Asnee’s challenges focus on some of the techniques that they use. Pramote asks us to consider that “Less is More.” He says we don’t need to include every detail in a drawing. Try simplifying the scene as much as you can with this challenge.

Post and tag with #USkTalks or #USkTalksChallenge, and tag Pramote @pramokit.
Follow Pramote on Instagram, too!

Asnee was inspired by the title of the episode, Decades of Ink, to create his challenge, Continuous Line. Using ink, draw a scene on location in one long, unbroken line.

Post and tag with #USkTalks or #USkTalksChallenge, and tag Asnee @asneetasna.
Follow Asnee on Instagram, too!

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