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

FAQs for Chapter Admins

Q: What are the criteria for creating an Urban Sketchers Chapter?

A: You need:
  • to agree to follow the Manifesto 
  • 3 local Administrators 
  • a geographical location 
  • a free online platform where Admins can organize and announce events and where members can post their sketches
Q: How can I create an Urban Sketching Chapter?

A: Step One
Become familiar with our website. Our Manifesto describes the guidelines we follow. If these simple rules seem acceptable, and maybe even an exciting challenge, then you should definitely take the next step.

Step Two
Review the Regional Chapter Guidelines and complete this form. Your application will be reviewed by the Regional Chapter Coordinator and presented to the Board for approval.

Q: What if there is no chapter near me, I sketch alone, or I have a disability and can’t attend sketching events? Can I still form my own chapter?

A: A chapter is meant to be a diverse community of people who share an interest in on-location drawing. If you have three administrators and a group of people who sketch in a place you can point to on a map, you are welcome to apply to be a chapter. As an individual, you can also add your name to our Global Directory and you can apply for membership at almost any worldwide USk Chapter. You will find that most Chapters are welcoming of guest members from all over the world.

Q: Why does USk only allow one chapter per city?

A: USk chapters should be at least an hour's drive apart. We don't want to set up a situation where one chapter is competing with another. Make sure there isn't another chapter nearby if you are considering starting a new one. As our manifesto says, "We support each other and draw together."

Q: How can I attract sketchers to join the group?

A: Invite your friends and your friends’ friends. Get the word out to local art, architecture and graphic design schools, create a group on a social media site such as Facebook and invite your friends to LIKE it. Your group will grow by word of mouth.

Q: What kind of online platform do you recommend?

A: Approximately 30% of our Chapters use a blog or website and 70% use Facebook. Whichever you choose, the platform must be free and allow the Admins to announce events and everyone to post their sketches.

Q: What about Meetup, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter? Are these acceptable online platforms?

A: We strongly discourage using Meetup as a way to jumpstart your group because this program has associated costs that you might be tempted to pass on to your users. Also it’s not an effective way to post the sketches. Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat do not allow Admins to organize events and are not effective platforms where members can post their sketches. However, you may wish to create an Instagram or Twitter account in addition to your blog or Facebook page.

Q: How frequently should we meet?

A: That’s up to you and the other two Chapter Administrators. If you’re happy running the group, other people will be drawn to what you’ve created. Meeting too frequently will only make you unhappy and will eventually lead to cancellations and inconsistency. Figure out what works for the Administrators and the majority of your members.

Q: Can we charge members to sketch with us?

A: No, you can’t. It is absolutely a violation of our core values. However, if you create a workshop, which is a special event, you can charge for attendance to pay the associated costs. See the USk Workshops page for more information on bringing a workshop to your city.

Q: What’s the best way to share sketches on the internet?

A: Besides sharing your sketches on your Chapter’s online platform, you could also share your sketches on the USk Group page. The sketches must be legitimate urban sketches. Or you could submit your sketches to the Editorial Committee for inclusion on the USk site. Or you may wish to share them on our USk Flickr page.

Q: Can I announce my painting exhibition on the USk site or USk Facebook page?

A: No. USk promotes USk events and workshops and posts urban sketching stories and sketches exclusively.

Q: Can our city chapter post sketches done outside of that city or are we restricted to only posting sketches in the city for which we are named?

A: Your Chapter should be accepting of any legitimate sketch made by one of your members. Posting sketches you made outside of regular meetings or while you’re on vacation can be an interesting way to share your world with your chapter.

Q: Is a sketch done in a rural setting considered an “urban” sketch?

A: Sketches that capture a specific geographical space and pinpoint a moment in time in the life of the sketcher are perfectly acceptable urban sketches whether they are of a crowded street scene, a cattle farm, or of the beach or mountains. Remember to tell us where you were and when you sketched it.

Q: Are there criteria for members to join a Regional Chapter?

A: Anyone who follows our manifesto may join a local USk Regional Chapter. Our USk Chapters are not private clubs. We are community groups. Our chapters are free, open and inclusive regardless of age, race, gender, or skill level.

Q: Can non-members or even non-sketchers participate in our local sketching events?

A: Of course! How will someone decide if they want to join your chapter unless they first attend one of your events? Non-sketching family members or friends are also welcome to tag along as long as they are not disruptive to the group. We want to be inclusive and welcoming of everyone.

Q: Should a USk Chapter allow sketchers from other cities to become members in our chapter?

A: Why not? Our founder Gabi Campanario likes to join chapters in other cities. He pops in and LIKES or comments on people’s sketches and people are thrilled. Sometimes it happens that people from highly restrictive countries seek membership in our USk Chapters just so that they can have a window into our world. Also, people with disabilities who are not able to attend USk events may wish to join your chapter so that they can see and enjoy your sketches and share their own. Finally, you may be contacted by travelers to your city who would like to sketch with you. We want to be as welcoming and inclusive as possible.

Q: Can non-Admin members create their own events?

A: Non-Admin members are welcome to sketch alone or with others and to post their sketches to the Chapter platform. However, your Admins are working hard to research and organize great events for your chapter. You don’t want to compete with what your Admins are doing. Why not suggest your location/event to your Admins so that they can schedule it in with the other events they’re planning?

Q: Can we make up our own logo?

A: As an officially recognized Urban Sketchers chapter you may wish to display our official logo. The logo can be adapted to your chapter according to this logo design guide. You are not required to use our logo but if you do use a logo it should be the USk logo and no other.

Q: Where can we find more information about how to run our chapter?

A: Please become familiar with our Regional Chapter Guidelines available in 17 languages.

Q: I need technical help/advice with my blog, what can I do?

A: If you need technical help/advice related to your blog platform or Facebook group page please email or .

Q: I need group management advice/mentoring, what can I do?

A: If you need advice concerning running your chapter, please email Richard Alomar or Membership.

Last updated 04 Dec 2018 PW



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