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

USk Reportage Grant

USk Reportage Grant Program is open to individual sketchers, chapters, and creative collaborators from around the world. Visual storytelling lies at the heart of the USk movement. The program is designed to highlight the best examples of these efforts and to inspire new artist-reporters in our community. 

Proposals must be received by May 1, 2021. The winning proposals will be awarded a grant ranging from $300-500 USD to cover expenses related to the project preparation. Finalists will be announced on June 1, 2021. Authors of winning proposals will develop their projects between June 1 until December 15, 2021.
In order to qualify for a grant sketchers are invited to send us their proposals with five examples of their drawings. A successful proposal will highlight an aspect of local culture, event, moment in time, industry/trade, societal change in drawings and writing.

What is reportage?

Reportage is a visual account of a cultural phenomenon, event, current history, etc., based in drawings completed from direct observation while on location. The drawings have to tell a story by capturing an event and showing context, characters, and setting. Sketches are accompanied by short pieces of narrative writing presented directly on the drawings or added separately. The narrative is informed by firsthand account, research, and interviews. A successful visual reportage gives viewers a feeling for the setting and the people.

Who can participate?

Sketchers of all abilities and styles are encouraged to apply. You can submit a proposal as an individual sketcher or form a creative collaboration with someone else or engage your whole chapter in this project.

How does the selection process work?

All proposals will be evaluated by the USk selection committee. The merit of each proposal will be judged on the following criteria:

1. Aligns with Urban Sketchers manifesto

2. Storytelling potential as evident in drawings and narrative text

3. Showcases a unique aspect of a community, place, time, event, or larger culture

4. Potential to be developed into a complete and compelling story

What happens if my proposal is selected?

Winning proposals will receive a grant in the amount ranging from $300-500 USD in order to offset expenses related to the project before the work on the project. The authors will have until December 15, 2021 to complete the proposed project including the completion of at least 12 on-location sketches that tell the story in a reportage format.

If your proposal is selected we will ask you to grant USk non-exclusive usage rights to publish your completed reportage on our channels as a condition to receiving the grant. You will retain full copyright of your images and can publish it elsewhere.

How can I get inspired?

If you haven’t yet checked out USk Talks, a weekly show dedicated to all things Urban Sketchers visit the official USk YouTube’s channel. This season we are looking in depth into the practice of visual reportage and storytelling inviting artist reports, sketchers, and the winners of the Reportage proposal call to come and share their work and knowledge with the community.


As you work on your visual reportage we ask that you document your project in photos, videos, and other media as much as you can. These could include photos of you sketching on location, photos of your subject and the setting, audio files of interviews with your subjects, time lapses, and so on.

Other things to know

  • If English is not your first language, we will work with you to edit text for clarity if needed.
  • You may also submit posts in other languages, and we will try to find volunteer translators to work with you.
  • All accepted proposals go through a collaborative editorial process.
  • We reserve the right not to include all the sketches originally submitted.
  • All submitted text may be edited for accuracy, grammar and clarity.

How to Apply

1. Fill out the Application Form

2. At the end of the form upload a PDF containing your proposal. Please include at least five sketches in the PDF of your proposal that are related to your project or preliminary research. Include a short narrative along with your sketches that answer these questions:

- what is the main idea/subject of your proposal?
- how does it fit into the larger cultural context?
- what other sketches you are hoping to complete in the course of your investigation?
- why will this story be interesting and inspiring to other urban sketchers?

Please contact with any questions.





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