Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

"Since I was a child, I have always loved drawing. As an architect, I was trained to sketch on site in my first year of my studies. I have always considered sketching a wonderful tool in my job to understand things, more in the field of spatial relations than in their material aspect. On the other hand, I have always brought a sketchbook with me in my travels as a much more effective way of keeping a memory than a photograph. But lately my travel sketches tended to be too few and too quick. I have recently found Urban Sketchers, and then discovered the immense joy of sketching outside with no particular task. Reading Usk’s manifesto, I feel especially sensitive with the point of keeping a record of time and place, and I’m changing from sketching just architecture to understand the city as a big scenario for human activity. I live in Málaga, a city in the south of Spain with more than half a million residents and 2,500 years of age; but also the center of a busy and lively metropolitan area, home of an active harbour and a big tourist destination. Now that I have two small children and I do not travel as much as before, I’m trying to show this mixture of old and new in my drawings. It is so rewarding to share my work with so many excellent artists and receive continuous feedback from other members! And, last but not least, to learn from other parts of the world. I'm delighted to join Urban Sketchers." • Luis' art on flickr.

Javier de Blas




I live in Logroño, which is the capital of La Rioja, a region in northern Spain well known for its wines.

Since graduating in Fine Arts from the University of the Basque Country, Spain, I have worked as a graphic designer and illustrator, and as a teacher of artistic drawing at the College of Design in La Rioja, incorporating live sketching as an important part of the programme. I like to travel and relate what I see. I never go without a sketchbook on my trips. It's just like having a little travelling studio with me at all times.

In 2009, I met Gabi Campanario, who was lecturing in the town of Jaca. He invited me to have a profile on Flickr and post to the Urban Sketchers group. The course in Jaca opened up a totally new horizon for my sketchbooks, not as a storage place for pages and pages of drawings, but as an aesthetic and narrative unit, although in my opinion that must be kept at a distance, because the need to maintain this unity sometimes makes you feel caged in, as though you are working on a final work of art. And that makes me rebel; the fact that it could go right or wrong helps me keep its identity and the freshness of a sketch or, let's say, a rehearsal.

I have participated in numerous meetings for urban sketching, and completed two important trips for the sole purpose of drawing. One was in 2012 to the northern Mediterranean Basin. Unfortunately that year saw the start of the Arab Spring uprising and the conditions were not right for exploring the south coast. On this trip I established my blog Desde La Bañera (“From the Bathtub”, which is the way I see our sweet Mare Nostrum). In this same blog I incorporate new entries every time I return to the Mediterranean.

The other trip, in March 2015, was to the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, where I travelled with the intention of publishing a sketchbook on my life within a Sahrawi family, and donating the benefits to a cooperative association. I am crowdfunding a non-profitmaking solidarity edition of this book until 27 July 2015.

Read Javier's guest posts from the Tindouf refugee camps:
Diary from a Sahrawi Refugee Camp, A Meal of Maru-u-Hut and The Slaughter of the Goat

You can follow Javier at
Flickr, Urban Sketchers Spain, Viajero en Tindouf blog, Desde la Bañera blog

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