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

Upcoming Workshops

The situation with COVID remains uncertain in many places and dangerous in others. Keeping in mind and the health and safety of our members, and the broader community, we will not be promoting any workshops on a global level until the end of 2020.

We are currently working on ways to support regional chapters to develop a promotional plan, so that as some areas are safe for travel and gatherings, these chapters can start advertising to their local audiences. 

As these Urban Sketchers activities recommence, we must strictly adhere to the local, provincial and national COVID-19 health guidelines relevant to each chapter. In addition to this, we recommend these guidelines appropriate, developped by our Executive Board.

Meanwhile, stay safe,  keep sketching and stay tuned to learn via USK Talks,

The USK Education Team

Past 2020 Workshops
  • March 15: The art of Watercolor for Urban Sketching
    with Cris Franchevich in Brasilia, Brazil
  • CANCELLED - March 21-22: The art of Watercolor for Urban Sketching (Extended version)
    with Cris Franchevich in Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • POSTPONED - May 24-31: Where is my focal point?
    with Majid Modir and guest instructor Catalina Rodriguez Villazón, in Volterra, Italy
  • CANCELLED - June 5-7: Townsville Sketchfest
    an USK educational event with instructors Gary Geraths, Eleanor Doughty, Vincent Desplanche, Ron McBurnie, Carole Howlett, Gai Capeman, Gerald Soworka and Peter Rush, in Townsville, Australia
  • CANCELLED - July 7-9: Pushing how to Look
    with Isabel Carmona, Marina Grechanik and Swaski in Tel Aviv, Israel
    OPTION: Sketching Retreat July 11-13
  • CANCELLED - July 17-19: USK Chicago Sketch Seminar 2020
    with Aaron Elswick, Alex Zonis, MJ Ernst, Barbara Weeks, Brian Wright, Jenny Zhang, Jingo De la Rosa, Joann Harling Larsen & Anna Rappaport, John A Hancock, Katie Woodward, Ken Czech, Marek Badzynski, Mario Linhares, Matthew Brehm, Nishant Jain, Paul Ingold and Suhita Shirodkar, in Chicago, United States
Past 2019 Workshops
  • April 14, 21, 28, and May 5: Simply Draw it
    with Barbara Luel, in Brussels and Bruges, Belgium
  • May 5: Simply Draw it
    with Barbara Luel, in Brussels and Bruges, Belgium
  • June 14-16: Line to Color
    with Frank Ching and Gail Wong, in Orange County, CA, USA
  • July 10-13: Watermarks
    with Isabel Carmona, Maru Godas, and Marina Grechanik, in Brighton, UK
  • August 9-11: London Park Life
    with Isabel Carmona, and Celia Burgos, in London, UK
  • September 19-22: Space Oddities
    with Isabel Carmona, Swasky, and Hugo Costa, in Valencia, Spain

Past 2018 workshops
  • April 7: Watercolor Workshop
  • with Cris Franchevich, in Bangkok, Thailand

  • April 25-28: Watermarks
  • with Isabel Carmona, Nina Johansson, and Marion Rivolier, in Barcelona, Spain
  • June 29 - July 1: Vor Ort Sketching Workshops
    with Lapin, Marina Grechanik, and Sebastian Koch, in Mainz, Germany (organized by Jenny Adam)
  • August 16-19: Good Bones
    with Stephanie Bower, in Seattle, USA
  • August 17-19: Expressing The West!
    with Róisín Curé, and Pat Southern-Pearce, in Galway, Ireland
  • October 10-13: Pushing How to Look
    with Isabel Carmona, Swasky, and Inma Serrano, in Sevilla, Spain
  • November 3-4: Gray Matter
    with Uma Kelkar, in Austin, USA
  • Nov 11, 25 + Dec 2, 16: Simply Draw it
    with Barbara Luel, in Brussels, Belgium

Past 2017 workshops
  • April 12-15: Space Oddities
    with Isabel Carmona, Lapin and Swasky, in Barcelona, Spain 
  • July 13-15: A Stage & its Stars!
    with Róisín Curé, Miguel Herranz and Inma Serrano, in Galway, Ireland
  • July 14-16: Dancing Lines
    with Ch'ng Kiah Kiean and Melanie Reim, in Seattle, USA



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