how sweet the sound

grace cathedral christmas concert 2011

This year, I was given the honour of illustrating the Christmas Concert Series brochure of Grace Cathedral, in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighbourhood. Last Sunday, with my Mum who was visiting from London, I went down to San Francisco and attended their show ‘A Cathedral Christmas’, performed by the purple-clad Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. It was a surreal experience seeing so many people clutching copies of a drawing that I had done! My Mum, as mums naturally do, pointed out to a few people, “he did that!” After being introduced to the Dean of the Cathedral, we took our seats and listened to the amazing concert, and what a location! Immediately I got my sketchbook out – it’s not every day I get to attempt a cathedral from the inside. I intend to go back and practise some more! I drew during all the traditional Christmas music, including some pieces by Handel (I’m no expert on this sort of thing, but it was pretty good; I also learnt from my Mum that Handel lived in Edgware for a bit, so we were near-neighbours, a couple of centuries apart) (Good job he never went to Edgware School though, with a name like that he’d have had a pretty obvious nickname).
grace cathedral xmas brochures

Many thanks to Bruce and Abby for this wonderful opportunity, and for inviting me to the show. Here’s the Grace Cathedral website: http://www.gracecathedral.org/. And here are the remaining concerts they have this Christmas season, click here. If you’re in San Francisco, I recommend it!

And Merry Christmas everyone! Just another week now, and last week I chopped down my first Christmas Tree (well I say ‘chopped’, I mean ‘sawed’) – there it is in the background of my photo above…

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maybe it’s because i’m a londoner

Earlier this month I officially became a published illustrator, and this week I finally received my copy of London Walks – London Stories! I was excited to receive it, and it’s quite the book; a shame I’m not in London, to walk around with it and learn a few new things. As a devout though exiled London Walks - London StoriesLondoner, and a former tour guide and London historian myself, to be asked to illustrate a book about my home city written by the guides to whom I always revered (the blue-badge London Walks folk), well an absolute honour to say the least.

One of the funny things, my name appears on the inside title page just above Rick Steves, the celebrated PBS travel guy, who wrote the foreword. Surreal! The book will be out here in the US on April 28 (I found out on amazon). The drawings have already been appearing on the London Walks leaflets you get in all the tourist places in London, in minute form, but here is how they look now:

london walks page

 I haven’t read it all yet, so I’m off to do so.