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 6: USk from Other Eras

May 10, 2020 "Urban Sketchers from Other Eras"

"Why Read the Classics"– the famous title of the acclaimed Italian writer Italo Calvino says it all. We need to understand the past to make next steps. It is impossible to cover all of the historic references to drawing on location, so Mário Linhares talked about the dangerous (and beautiful) trip done by Eugène Delacroix to Morocco in the 19th century. Hugo Costa shared his personal journey following in the footsteps of Louis Kahn quite literally, as he traveled to sketch from exact locations as the 20th century American architect. 

Mário Linhares, former USk Education Director, joined us from Lisbon, Portugal, to talk about the sketches of French painter Eugène Delacroix. In particular, Mário told us about Delacroix’s trip to Morocco in 1832 as a last-minute addition to a diplomatic trip. Because he wasn’t following his own schedule, Delacroix had to sketch quickly, making notes about color and about the things he was sketching. He would later use his notes about color to paint his sketch with watercolor. When he returned to Paris he made oil paintings from his sketches, but the sketches themselves are rushed and raw, showing us the spirit of the moment. Through his sketches we are able to see how he spent his time, what caught his eye, and what he wanted to learn more about.

Mário recommends the book Delacroix in Morocco by Delphine Le Cesne to learn more about Delacroix and his sketches. Mário said that when he looks at Delacroix’s sketches, or sketches of other “masters” (he mentioned Joseph Mallord William Turner and Pablo Picasso), he can link them to sketches and sketchers he knows; without knowing it we’re all doing the same thing.

Follow Mário on Instagram

Challenge from Mário
Mário’s challenge is influenced by Delacroix’s notes on color. When you are sketching from direct observation this week, make detailed notes on color descriptions that are connected to your own memories to help you remember specific hues. Wait a while and go back to paint your sketches using only your color notes.

Post and tag with #USkTalks or #USkTalksChallenge

Hugo Costa, originally from Porto, Portugal, but joining us from his home in Valencia, Spain, told us about his connection to the American architect Louis Kahn. In the 1920s, Kahn took a year-long trip to study European architecture and in Italy started, as Hugo put it, “drawing like crazy.” Kahn started using a carpenter pencil, which he called his “magical pencil,” and his sketches became more energetic, looser, and more about forms and shadows. He later said that in a little village in Italy, he found the essence of his architecture.

Hugo spent four months in Salerno, retracing Kahn’s steps and drawing the same locations and buildings. He was inspired by Kahn's use of simple forms showing light and shadow and how he expressed information minimally, and worked hard to learn from him. Hugo said as sketchers we need to look at the masters, too, not just Instagram.

Follow Hugo on Instagram @yolahugo

Challenge from Hugo
Sketch forms without outlines, using only shadows to define the form. Hugo suggests squinting to see object's light and general form, and use shadows to define its form in your sketch, letting the imagination fill in the rest. Use Louis Kahn as your inspiration to use light as your guide! 

Post and tag with #USkTalks or #USkTalksChallenge

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