Thursday, May 17, 2018

Berlin - Drawing Museum Island

Whenever I visit a new place, I’m filled with two opposing thoughts. Firstly I want to pack in as much sightseeing as possible, secondly I want to do as much sketching as possible. As sketching requires a certain amount of stillness, striking a balance can be a difficult decision. On a trip to Berlin last month, the hotel where I was staying was in the Spittelmarkt part of the city, quite close to the intriguingly titled ‘Museum Island’ and I had the luxury of a whole day to explore it in my sketchbook.

First stop was Berlin Palace, ‘Berliner Schloss’. Or rather the scaffolding and huge advertising signs which are currently adorning it as is being rebuilt for opening as the ‘Humboldt Forum’. Just like London, Berlin seemed full of cranes and building developments at the moment.

I walked on further to the Bode Museum, which nestles on the end of the island. Handily placed stone seats opposite provided a good view of the imposing building.

It was a lovely hot, sunny day so I stopped for a drink at one of the riverside cafes, where all the music being played seemed to be the soundtrack of my life! In fact, during the whole time I was there, I only heard one German language track and that was a rap song coming from someone’s speaker in the park.

Trying to find some shade where I could sit and draw the cathedral, ‘Berliner Dom’, I perched on a concrete slab in a grassed area to the side of the building. The discovery that the local ants also favoured this spot led to the sketch being curtailed and the swift closure of my sketchbook resulted in the pages sticking together and a slightly torn image.

The last drawing was the old National Gallery, ‘Alte Nationalgalerie’. While I was drawing, a wedding party were taking photographs amongst the grandeur. It was such beautiful weather that I must admit I didn’t venture inside any of the museums that day! 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Website spring clean!

I've spring-cleaned my website and it is now at
It was designed on the Squarespace platform and should work well on desk tops, tablets and phones.

It is a mix of watercolour illustrations, hand drawn maps and reportage drawings.

A special thank you to Tom Dunkley who took the photographs that are on the website.

Would love you to have a look and I always welcome feedback and comments!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Leaving Crocus Valey

A demolition site in the centre of Croydon has been the home to a pop-up saffron farm for the last two and a half years. The heritage project, initially started with a crowd funding campaign, was kept going by donations and an army of volunteers. It’s been a real community effort led by Ally McKinlay who had the idea in the first place, inspired by the legend that the town’s name originated as ‘Crocus Valley’.

These are the drawings I made on the last weekend before the developers took back the site. All the plants and containers were given away to community groups and schools with local people coming along to collect the rest. Some of the remaining gardening equipment and water tanks are being stored, in the hope that a new, more permanent site can be found in the future. I’m hoping to continue drawing there and follow the progress of the new concrete growth on the site, as four tower blocks take the place of the tiny corms.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

More scrapbook than sketchbook

A few pages from my current sketchbook where I have enjoyed cutting up magazines and leaflets, sticking them down and trying to match the colours with gouache paint. Also a little bit of doodling too. I'm not sure where it is going but sometimes it's good to play!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

#OneWeek100People2018 challenge

Last week, I took part in the ‘One Week 100 People2018’ hashtag challenge organised by Liz Steel and Marc Taro Holmes. I felt that I’d been neglecting people in my sketchbook drawings for a while and thought it would give me a boost and feel more confident drawing them again.

The pages are laid out below as they appear in my sketchbook, which is an A4 Seawhite of Brighton one containing acid-free 140gsm paper. I mainly used Tikky Graphic and Tombow pens, but watercolour crept in for my bonus day on the Saturday, which I added as I wasn’t able to participate on Thursday.

Well worth doing and great to see how other people took up the challenge. See a whole host of images by looking at the hashtag #oneweek100people2018 on Twitter and Instagram. 

Monday 5th March - St. Pancras Station, London

Tuesday 6th March - Drawn from photographs on my phone and a few from M&S Cafe in Croydon 

Wednesday 7th March - London Design Week at Chelsea Harbour

Thursday 8th March - Nothing!

Friday 9th March - Cafe Sketchers at Ethos Restaurant, London

Bonus Day!
Saturday 10th March - Crosse Keys Pub, City of London

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What's in my sketching kit?

A round up of what is in my sketching kit at the moment:

Rotring Tikky Graphic pen (0.5)
Pentel black brush pen
Uniball Signo broad white pen
Pentel Micro Correct (thick white pen)
Karisma coloured pencils - Burnt Ochre, Vermilion, Aquamarine, Cool Grey, Cold Grey Very Light, Warm Grey, Lavender and Light Blue. (They stopped making this range a while back unfortunately as they are really nice to use)
Pencil sharpener
Bulldog clip
Winsor and Newton water brush pen (from Cotman Brush Pen set)
Derwent Waterbrushes (size 1 and 2)
Packet of tissues (for cleaning the water brushes)
Elastic band (for holding pens and pencils together)

Winsor and Newton Pocket Watercolour Tin containing:

Winsor Lemon
Winsor Yellow
Indian Yellow
Naples Yellow Deep
Winsor Red
Permanent Carmine
Opera Rose
Quinacridone Magenta
Winsor Violet
Cobalt Violet
Neutral Tint
Perylene Green
Oxide Chromium
Winsor Green Yellow
Prussian Blue
French Ultramarine
Cobalt Blue
Cerulean Blue
Cobalt Turquoise Light
Vandyke Brown
Burnt Sienna

All fit into a large size Kipling Creativity Purse.

Monday, January 29, 2018

My Instagram ‘Year of colour’

My Instagram ‘Year of colour’ as supplied by the Makelight team. It’s free to get one. 
This is the link -

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wellcome Collection

Using coloured pencils at the Wellcome Collection on Saturday as dry materials were the order of the day. Still not sure what I think of these. 
Might try iPad drawing next time the rules are the same. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018


I’m still just edging my way into 2018 and as I’m not big on making resolutions, it was interesting to hear Susannah Conway talk about having a word for the year. Focussing on one word that would sum up ideas and aims for the whole year seemed a bit difficult but I came up with the word ‘develop’. The word suggests possibilities and experimentation, yet doesn’t heap too much pressure on me to reach lofty goals.

Read more about Susannah’s ideas at

Monday, January 8, 2018

Gouache colour testing

Playing around with gouache after being inspired by the work of Maru Godas, whose sketchbooks I had the pleasure of looking at during 'Rendez-vous du carnet de voyage' last year. The second photo is of her book which contains drawings from the USk symposium in Chicago. 

Check out her website at 

Friday, January 5, 2018

New Year inspiration

My attempt at doing an arty Instagram shot having taken down the Christmas lights from the tree, with a nod to those creatives who inspired me last year! 

My lovely planner is from Fran Meneses, the 'Dream, Plan, Do' manual from The Design trust, cup and notebook from kikki.K and Instagram worksheets from Emma Block Illustration. I went to one of Emma's great 'Instagram for Creatives' workshops last year and am trying to put into practice some of the knowledge she passed on. The same month, I listened to a talk by Kristina Karlsson, at the unlikely venue of a platform at St. Pancras International, where she described how she started her business. It was interesting to hear the details and she was very open about sharing useful information with the audience. Fran Meneses is an illustrator who has a great You Tube channel and I highly recommend a watch if you haven't seen it already. I took a very useful financial online course with Patricia van den Akker a couple of years ago and it has really helped with the business side of things. This year I am promising myself I will keep going using the manual every month! Oh and I almost forgot, fairy light photography inspired by Makelight.

Wishing all the creatives out there a prosperous and peaceful 2018