a tale of one city

Temple Station
And so here are the drawings I did on the London sketchcrawl. I started off by doing a quick sketch outside Temple station before everyone turned up; I must admit I was pretty nervous about the day!

After everybody had dispersed to sketch this and that, I sat by the Thames catching up with my cousins and drawing the view from the Embankment. The big pointy building in the distance is the Shard, Europe’s brand-new tallest building, ingeniously designed to burst any incoming alien balloon. That’ll show ’em.
Essex StPrince Henry Room
Here are a couple of sketches I did after that, the one on the right being up a quiet street in the Temple, and the other being on the less quiet Fleet Street, the Prince Henry Room. The gateway around it is actually a feature of the building, around the gate which on weekdays is open and leads to Temple Church, but on this day was shut to the public. I really should have known. So I sketched the building itself in my beloved brown pen. The London 2012 stamp is one I picked up at Paperchase.
sketching Fleet Street
This one above, a smaller quicker sketch of the famous view down Fleet Street, was done at the end of the ‘crawl on the way down to the meeting point. My scanner broke before I could scan it however so I can only post the photo.

And this last one, this was of the Cheshire Cheese pub – no, not that one, a different one on Milford Lane near the Temple. When I heard about it I just had to draw it. Old pub drawing – check. It took a bit of a while, about an hour and a half, and I had to add the colour later on, but it was a fun one to draw.Cheshire Cheese

That really was a great sketchcrawl. I still have plenty more London (and Paris) sketches to post…I just need to get a new scanner!

urban sketching london!

A couple of weeks ago I organized a sketchcrawl in London (“Let’s Draw London!”) around the Temple and Fleet Street parts of London, one of my favourite areas. It was organized alongside the recently launched Urban Sketchers London, and was also picked up by members of the Meetup group ‘Drawing London on Location’. My hope was that a fair few London sketchers would come out and come together, and boy did that happen!

Let's Draw London May 26, 2012: start

Above is part of the group that met at 10:30 outside Temple station. I passed around sign-in sheets, and all in all we had more than 50 sketchers on this sketchcrawl, and we all set off in groups or individually to draw London. What a sunny day it was too! I met several of the London Urban Sketchers, including Katherine Tyrell who thankfully took some great photos to record the day – you can see them on this post on USk London.

I printed out fliers for everyone (I had just enough!), and provided a little hand-drawn map with interesting sketchable spots, though really anywhere is interesting. Here it is:

It was great to walk around and see so many Londoners out sketching, and also to identify each other by those carrying the little fliers I made. Below are some of my photos, taken at the end meeting at Gough Square. I wanted to meet up at the statue of Dr.Johnson’s (Samuel not Boris) cat, Hodge. We decided to do the now common laying-down of the sketchbooks on the ground, all around the cat, for everyone to admire. I found this common at the USk Symposia, and while it’s a good and fun way to display them all, it’s also very humbling (and a little scary) seeing my little drawings beside so many great pieces of art! I still prefer the one on one sketchbook exchanges at the end of a sketchcrawl, and it was nice to do some of that with people. Many of us reconvened into the Olde Cheshire Cheese for a pint, some sketchbook viewing and lots of sketching talk! I’ll post my sketches in the next post, but in the meantime…

Let's Draw London May 26, 2012Let's Draw London May 26, 2012Let's Draw London May 26, 2012Let's Draw London May 26, 2012Let's Draw London May 26, 2012Let's Draw London May 26, 2012

To all who came, THANKS for coming! I did meet some truly fantastic London sketchers whose work I have followed for years (especially nice to meet Olha Pryymak, her work is beautiful), met many more whose work I will now eagerly follow, but missed meeting some others whose work I love. Not enough time! Even an old schoolfriend, Joan, from my art class 20 years ago came – I had only seen her once since leaving school so it was nice to catch up. And excitingly, I was joined by my two long-lost (and Facebook-found) cousins Claire and Dawn, who are both superb artists. We haven’t seen each other since we were kids but have grown up with an avid love of drawing, so what a great way to reconnect at last. Everyone I spoke to had a great day, and some others on the sketchcrawl are returning this Saturday to follow the same route again (wish I could join them!). In the meantime, if you’re London based or nearby, you may wish to keep an eye on the regular meetings of…

And finally, check out the newly set-up Urban Sketchers London flickr group, which any London based sketcher can join and where many great sketches and photos from the sketchcrawl are posted.

…I really must do this again!

let’s draw london!

Lets Draw London!

Next month I will be back in my home town of London, to see the people I miss so much, and also to do a bit of drawing. I will be a guest blogger on the recently launched Urban Sketchers London website, and so I am pleased to be organizing a sketchcrawl on Saturday May 26 around the historic Temple and Fleet Street areas. Why not join in? Let’s draw London!

The sketchcrawl will begin at 10:30am, meeting outside Temple tube station. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on, and this event is free and open to everyone, artists and sketchers of all levels. What better way to explore the hidden nooks of your city than with a sketchbook? It’s only half about the drawing, it’s also about the looking, the act of observation through which you build a relationship with your surroundings. Plus it’s great fun to sketch with others!

There will be a midway point at 1:00pm outside Temple Church for those who come late or leave early, and the sketchcrawl will finish at 4:00pm in Gough Square, by the statue of Dr.Johnson’s cat. It’s just off of Fleet Street, but like a scavenger hunt you’ll enjoy finding it! There we will look at each others’ sketchbooks, and then maybe pop into the old Cheshire Cheese for a pint.

I hope to see you there!

‘Let’s Draw London’ Facebook event page

goodbye piccadilly, farewell leicester square

tipperary pub, fleet street

You’ve got to love the old London pub. Sure, most pubs these days aren’t that old-fashioned, appealing to a younger crowd who need somewhere to spend the weekday hours from 5:30 to 11:00, while high beer prices are making the tradiitonal fans stay at home and watch pubs on the telly. There are still those that look the part, however, and here are a couple that I like. The Tipperary, above, is not somewhere I ever went particualrly often, but I appreciate its history – over three centuries ago it was London’s first Irish pub, and the first place outside Ireland to serve Guinness. It’s on Fleet Street, not far from the Cheshire Cheese. Below, The Ship, a proper Soho pub, one I used to go to many many times. It’s on Wardour Street, near the now-closed (and now reopened as a burger joint, I hear) Intrepid Fox, another beloved former haunt.   

the ship, soho

And you know what folks, these two drawings are available for you to buy on my Etsy store…and these pubs would look very nice side by side on your wall!

my fleeting mind

IF: fleeting

Illustration Friday this week is ‘Fleeting‘. This is Fleet Street. This could be Call My Bluff or it could be the Dictionary, Illustrated. Speaking of the Dictionary, Samuel Johnson, ol’ Sammy Johnno, me ol’ mucka, he used to live round the jack horner from ‘ere.

A sketchcrawl day today on which i could not sketchcrawl; i contemplated leaving the house for a bit but just couldn’t make it. I blame the hay fever. Big congestion. But I’m up and still drawing, somehow, inside and late in the evening, finishing off my Kwak that I’ve saved since Belgium, and tomorrowing Easter. No egg jokes. But I did manage a couple of golf jokes today while the Masters was on (I’m only allowed golf jokes once a year). One guy had two bogeys in a row; he probably has hay fever too, i said.

outside the temple

temple church

An ink attack on the page by the Copic pen, fresh from drawing every single line in fleet street, on night two of ‘sleep-training’ (it went very well too). I wanted to draw more bare trees again, but this time with buildings behind them, so I went back to a photo from London back when I lived there, and was studying nearby this place: Temple Church, off Fleet Street, former HQ of the Knight’s Templar, now a busy destination for tourists bugging the priest about the (inappropriately titled) Da Vinci Code, and medieval students looking for William Marshall (guess which of these two groups I fell into).

street of ink

a fleeting visit

Sleep-training the baby is not fun, especially if the baby stubbornly refuses to sleep. During that process, going in and checking on him every ten minutes (as per the book), I got the Copic pen out last night and drew lots of little lines, that eventually ended up looking a lot like Fleet Street in London (my favourite street); there’s the church of St. Dunstan in the West, there’s the Royal Courts of Justice, there are offices of newspapers past and present (well, not many present any more), there are the clocks I was watching closely.