Thursday, 12 May 2016

Urban painting

Street Art pieces have been popping up on walls and shutters near where I live in South East London and last weekend I had a chance to sketch while one was being painted.  The artist doing the work was called Artista and she was being helped by one of the team from the London Calling Blog.  I drew whilst the emulsion coat was being added which would act as an undercoat to the spray paint layer. 

I thought I carried too much kit around sometimes but it’s small in comparison with the street artists’ materials which include a work box of spray paint, tins of emulsion, paint rollers, tape and ladders.  You also need a good head for heights!

The finished artwork

See more work by Artista at


Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Pizza Chicken Fry-up

Old skool restaurant in Mile End Road, just past the yellow bridge (forerunner of the Garden Bridge scheme). I just love the black and white tiles and the orange. And the fact that it's ordinary. The Happy Chippy round the corner in Grove Road is now a pizza place in dark matt grey paint. I never thought I'd get nostalgic about tacky photos on acrylic signage, but I have.


Monday, 2 May 2016

Let's draw Westminster: Houses of Parliament and River Thames

Date: Saturday 14 May 2016
Led by Jo Dungey

This is an extremely famous area and consequently very crowded. We propose two locations which are most practical for drawing:

• Victoria Tower Gardens, Millbank, the green area along the river, south of the Houses of Parliament

• the riverside walk on the opposite side of the river from the Houses of Parliament

For the afternoon session, and to finish the day, note there are two options given below, which we may choose, depending on the weather.

Nearest tube: Westminster

Outline timetable:
Start: 11am — Meet at Victoria Tower Gardens, near the Burghers of Calais statue by Auguste Rodin (above) at the southern end of the Houses of Parliament. View the location on this map. There is a sliver of shelter at the entrance to the nearby Parliamentary Education Centre.

You can choose to draw here, or cross Westminster Bridge to draw from the riverside walk opposite the Houses of Parliament. This has seats and good views of the Houses of Parliament (above), and of Westminster and Lambeth Bridges.

Lunch: 1pm — Photos and meet-up, again near the Burghers of Calais statue in Victoria Tower Gardens.

In the afternoon, you could move to a different side of the river, or towards Parliament Square and Westminster Abbey.

End: 3.30pm — Meet for photos and review of work. There are two possible venues, depending upon the weather.
If dry: at the southern end of Victoria Tower Gardens near the refreshment kiosk and children’s playground. We will then decide where to move for refreshments.
If wet: at Tate Britain inside the Manton entrance on Atterbury Street, and then in the Djanogly Café downstairs in Tate Britain.

What to draw:
The Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey need no introduction. On the other side of the river is Lambeth Palace, originating in the thirteenth century. There are also smaller buildings, such as the Jewel Tower, monuments, statues, views of the river’s boats and bridges, and lots of opportunities to sketch people. Don’t feel you have to tackle a whole building; a single arch, window or doorway can often capture the essence of a historic building.

Victoria Tower Gardens has public toilets and a refreshment kiosk at the southern end. There are also toilets near Westminster Pier, in the underground station, in the Methodist Central Hall near Parliament Square, and other cafes. Food can be bought near the tube station, there are cafes on Millbank and Horseferry Road, and pubs on Whitehall.

There are no real indoor drawing locations in this area other than cafes, and a few crowded doorways and archways. So check the weather forecast, dress suitably and if necessary bring a brolly. If the weather is bad we will end at Tate Britain, further down Millbank at 3.30pm, and also visit their café. If it is cold or wet, you may choose to move on there earlier. The nearest tube station for Tate Britain is Pimlico.


Saturday, 30 April 2016

London USk's Timberyard Soho show extended

Photos by Cephas Azariah

The London Urban Sketchers exhibition at Timberyard cafe in Soho has been extended. It was due to come down at the end of April, but it will now continue over the summer. We will post a definite end date when we have one. If you're passing through London on your way to or from the Urban Sketchers symposium in Manchester at the end of July, come and give it a visit. It's in the heart of Soho in central London: the full address is below.

The drawings and prints of drawings are all of London, lots of them done on our regular monthly sketchcrawls. Most of the works are for sale – and several works have already been sold and replaced.

Photos by Cephas Azariah
Artists on show are: Sangeeta Bhagawati, Elizabeth Blunt, Nathan Brenville, Julie Bolus, Isabel Carmona, Jo Dungey, Katy Evans, James Hobbs, Isabelle Laliberte, Daniel Lloyd-Morgan, Choon Low, Dolores Kitchener, Tom Ledger, Paulina Little, Simone Menken, Olya Osipova, Simon Privett, Nick Richards, Evelyn Rowland, Sue Smith, John Swanson, Marissa Lee Swinghammer, Katherine Tyrrell, and Tony Underhill.

Timberyard Soho is at 4 Noel Street, London W1F 8GB and is open Monday-Friday 8am-7pm, and Saturday-Sunday 10am-6pm. This is its website:

Thanks to Cephas Araziah for allowing us to use his photographs of the show.


Monday, 18 April 2016

Around Piccadilly: the team

Here are some photos of people in action around the Royal Academy on our recent gathering. It was good to see everyone who ventured out on such a cold, grey day, and to sit and compare notes (and warm up) at the end of the day. Thanks to Katherine for organising it, even if you couldn't come – we hope you're better soon.

And afterwards, at a cafe across the road from the Royal Academy...

You can find details of our next planned meetings here.


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Let's Draw Galleries, Bookshops and Arcades in Piccadilly and St James

On Saturday 16th April, London Urban Sketchers will be drawing the galleries, shopping arcades and bookshops of Piccadilly and St James - and in particular the courtyard of Burlington House (where the Royal Academies are located) 
  • Piccadilly is the street running west from Piccadilly Circus
  • St James is the area south of Piccadilly
  • Nearest tubes are Piccadilly and Green Park
The Courtyard of Burlington House - drawn from the RA looking towards Piccadilly through the arch
pen and ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
This is a summary of the visit - followed by a description of what we are visiting.
  • MAP: Map - see below for places and websites
    • start/lunch/end in yellow
    • galleries in red
    • arcades and shops in Hatchards turquoise 
    • books in blue
  • DATE: Saturday 16th April 2016
  • START venue/time: 11:00 Burlington House courtyard
    • wet - under the archway (see sketch)
    • dry - though the arch and turn right
  • LUNCH: 1:00pm - same place
  • FINISH: 3:30pm - same place
  • AFTERWARDS: Depends on numbers, probably the Grand Cafe at the RA - otherwise over the road to the Gallery at Fortnum and Masons!
  • Travel: Tube Station - Piccadilly or Green Park
Katherine Tyrrell is organising this but is very busy this week and may have problems being there on Saturday. James Hobbs will however be present on Saturday.

PLACES / Websites:

See the following websites for what the different places look like


There's also a number of galleries in Cork Street and Duke Street




Monday, 21 March 2016

Looking back at the St. Pancras sketchcrawl

It was lovely to see such a great turnout on Saturday for this month’s sketchcrawl despite the rather grey day and chilly weather!

The outside of the old station building, which now houses the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel,  proved a draw for lots of the group.

Others drew inside the station, although it wasn’t much warmer!

The lunchtime stop was in Granary Square and there was a chance to look at the work so far.

The building work around Granary Square and boats on the canal proved popular subjects in the afternoon.

Although the plan was to meet on the terrace at Kings Place, it seemed more sensible to warm up in the café area inside. There was time to chat, get a hot drink and look at each other’s sketchbooks.

It wold be great to see your drawings.  If you are on Flickr, you can apply to join the London Urban Sketchers Flickr page or those on Facebook can join the London Urban Sketchers Facebook page.  If you are on Twitter or Instagram, use the hashtag #urbansketchers for your work to get seen and shared by others.

London Urban Sketchers Flickr page

London Urban Sketchers Facebook page  

Thank you to everybody who came along and hope to see you all at the April outing to the area around the Royal Academy.