Friday, 8 June 2012

urban sketching with london sketchers

Cheshire Cheese  
A couple of months ago, while proctoring an exam at UC Davis with a notebook and pen handy, I decided to organize a sketchcrawl in the Temple and Fleet Street areas of London, and see if anyone else wanted to come as well. I was inspired by the launch of USk London and thought this a great way to meet other London sketchers. I wasn't wrong! On May 26 more than fifty of us got together and drew my favourite part of town, with the main bulk meeting outside Temple station on a hot sunny and altogether happy Saturday morning. Dang, I miss London when it's like this!
 Let's Draw London May 26, 2012: start
It was so cool to finally meet London sketchers who I had followed online for years (though I didn't get to meet everyone - sorry James, next time!), as well as many more sketchers I hope to sketch with again. Before the sketchcrawl kicked off, I got a very quick sketch in of Temple Station, and followed this with a sketch by the Thames, accompanied by my two long-lost cousins Dawn and Claire (who are both truly amazing artists, and who I was seeing for the first time since I was smaller and people were taller). The large pointy thing in the distance is the Shard, Europe's tallest building. I think the motto of the project is "come and have a go if you think you're shard enough", or something along those lines.
 Temple Station Embankment
I missed the midway point at Temple Church because even though I knew much of the Temple shuts its gates at the weekend, I am clearly not the savvy know-every-alley Londoner I used to be (and believe me, I really used to be). That's what seven years of America's grid systems does to a man. By the time the secrets had been revealed I was mid-sketch, so just carried on, before following my cousins down to the Cheshire Cheese - no, not that one, a different one round the corner from St.Clement Dane's. It appears at the top of this post. Incidentally the sketch below on the left, that is the Prince Henry Room on Fleet Street, but the gate around it is actually a detail of the building (a closed gate which I had hoped to visit the Temple church by, ho hum). the one on the right, Essex Street I believe, was probably the quickest of these sketches at less than 20 minutes including colour (the pub above took an hour and a half without colour, added later) and the reason is perhaps because that one was drawn while I wasn't yapping away! Well, I don't get out much, its nice to talk to people about pens and stuff.
 Prince Henry Room Essex St
Ah, now this sketch below, drawn in my small Miquelrius sketchbook (with the Lapin-drawn cover), this was a quickie drawn while walking down Fleet Street to Gough Square. I wanted to scan this, but my scanner actually went and died while scanning. There isn't much more to this one except some blue pen for the sky. 
sketching Fleet Street 
And so to the finishing line! So many amazing drawings were laid out around Hodge, Samuel Johnson's beloved pet and my favourite cat statue in London (take that, Dick Whittington). I had such a great time, and met some exceptional sketchers. I can't wait to get back to London and sketch with you again!
 Let's Draw London May 26, 2012



  1. my favourite cat statue is the cat in Catford for it's oversized and faded gaudiness!
    I'm gonna have to practice those shorter sketches; you manage to capture so much detail in such a short space of time! Whenever I put time pressure on myself I end up scribbling in blind panic!
    It was good to meet you and to see your drawings on the page instead of on screen!

  2. Thanks Nathan, great to meet you on the sketchcrawl also. Actually I felt like I didn't do nearly enough, especially when looking at the amazing work produced by everyone else. With me it's almost the opposite- give me time pressure and I'll sometimes draw more than if I have three hours!


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