Monday, December 23, 2019

Looking forward to sketching London in 2020

The London Urban Sketchers programme for 2020 has been published. you can find all the details for the venues by clicking on this link. Meeting monthly, free and open to all, if you have ever wanted to try your hand at sketching on location, you would be most welcome to come along. Just bring your own art materials.

I never get tired of drawing in London sketches and here are a selection of sketches from this year which I haven't posted on the blog before.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Looking back at the ASC Art House Open Studio in September 2019

In September the studios where I have space, organised an Open Studio event over a Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. There were 50+ creatives taking part and it was lovely to have the chance to show my work and working space. Many thanks to the team at ASC Art House Croydon for giving up their time to organise the event.

In the lead up to the event, I had a little bit of a tidy up! Even though I have had the space for a year now, I’m still working out the best place too have my desk and how to use the wall space as my unit is south facing so I get a lot of direct sunlight.

I decided to display some of the accordion sketchbooks which I’ve been using throughout the year and one of them was included in a group show held in the Art House foyer area.

On the Friday evening, we offered complimentary drinks and the Mayor of Croydon came along to make a speech and officially open the event. It was lovely to see so many people walking round the building, looking at the variety of work.

Saturday seemed more of a family time with lots of children amongst the visitors. It felt a very successful event and as a group we hope to hold another event in October 2020.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Teaching Urban Sketching

It was lovely to be invited by Kate Newman, Head of Interiors at CASS Faculty of Art, Architecture & Design to come and share our enthusiasm and knowledge about Urban Sketching with their Interior Design students last month. Part of the London Metropolitan University, the Cass is a specialist art college close to Whitechapel and The City, a very inspiring and exciting location.

Thumbnail drawings from the students
Over three days myself, Nuno, Gafung and Isabel from the London chapter, worked with First and Second Year students on location at the nearby Spitalfields Market. It is fair to say that the weather was not kind to us - lots and lots of rain - but the students managed to produce a selection of great work.

A student draws people in relation to the background
For many of the students it was the first time they had drawn outside so it was great to see them have go at the exercises. Talking to them, I found that many were confident using computer drawing programmes but making freehand sketches seemed difficult.

This student drawing captured a sense of people hurrying around in the rain.
Another student sketch reflecting the wet weather
Teaching is a completely new experience for me, so I narrowed my focus to giving exercises about thumbnails and eye level, two important elements to consider when drawing on location. I used information that I had learnt from workshops I had taken with Veronica Lawlor and Rolf Schroeter on previous courses.
Gafung demonstrated sketching on a tablet
When the rain and cold finally got too much, we headed back to the studio at the University where Nuno organised a group drawing session, pitching two teams of students on opposite tables with a large sheet of paper, drawing the team opposite in a kind of sketch battle.

Students drawing in the 'sketch battle' back at the studio
Thank you to Kaye for inviting us and Janette, Suzanne, Chiara and Guy for your help. It was really nice to meet all the students and I hope they gained knowledge to help them develop their drawing abilities in the future.

Monday, November 11, 2019

My illustration process - Showing up online

Asked recently if I could share some of my knowledge about running a creative business online, I thought it might be useful to take stock of the platforms I use. Also to clarify for myself where I spend time and maybe change areas of focus.


The home of my blog which I started in September 2011. Free to use.

The platform I use to host my website. Yearly payment for website plus addition fees for email addresses. Launched my site in early 2018.

Not as active here as I used to be but I still find it a great way to connect especially with the more local community. I post about London Urban Sketchers events, my work, retweeting illustration and drawing related pieces. Free to use. Joined February 2012.

Posting sketches and work in progress on the grid. Exhibitions, travel photos and other drawing/art related pieces on Stories. Free to use. I’ve been on the platform since December 2013.

Home to my online shop. Lots of changes on this platform lately with more to come? Fees for listings and charges on sales. Opened shop February 2014.

(Vine) - Really liked this now defunct platform where you could share 6 second videos. It was good for giving a little glimpse of where I was when drawing on location.

Original place where I shared my Urban Sketches and connected with the international Urban Sketcher community. Free to use for up to 1000 images. First posted September 2011.

A place where I find inspiration for my own projects but also a place now where I try to showcase my own work as it is essentially a visual search engine. Free to use.

A place where I connect with people I know and have worked with. Also where I post articles about projects I am working on. Free to use.

Association of Illustrators (AOI) Folio site
A selected sample of pieces from my portfolio. Annual payment.

Directory of Illustration (DOI) Folio site
A small selection of pieces from my portfolio. Comes as part of the AOI Folio package.

A limited selection of illustration projects. Free to use.

A place where I watch videos from illustrators about their lives, see art and fashion tips. Free to use.


The Design Trust
A great source of information for small creative businesses. Run by Patricia Van Den Akker, there are free resources, paid courses and business planners available.

Hashtag Authentic
Podcasts from Sara Tasker, aka ‘Me and Orla’, which are an informative listen. They cover lots of issues relevant to any business but particularly small creative ones run by women. She has a lovely voice to listen to!

The Association of Illustrators (AOI)
The professional body in the UK representing and supporting illustrators. Annual membership fee. Online portfolio and courses also available to non-members.

Simple and Season
Podcasts about slow marketing from Kayte Ferris. The website of the same name has lots of free resources. Paid courses are also available.

Emily Quinton’s website contains lots of photography related resources, many of which are free to use. There is also a paid membership community.

Miss Magpie Spy
Illustrator Niki Groom’s blog has lots of articles relating to the business life of an illustrator and she doesn’t shy away for the taboo subject of money.

Urban Sketchers community
An international website plus lots of local groups in cities around the world. Free drawing meet-ups and paid workshops. My tribe!

Fran Meneses
An entrepreneurial illustrator, originally from Chile, creating weekly videos about her work and life in New York City. Also has a Patreon account and sells products.

Holly Exley
Watercolour illustrator living in the north-west of England, making videos about work and life as an illustrator. Dogs, vegan food and extinction rebellion also feature. Has a Patreon account and also sells prints.

Ohn Mar Win
Food illustrator who talks frankly on her blog and Instagram Stories about life as a creative. Lovely work and a very gentle way of telling her story.

Parka Blogs
Urban Sketcher, artist and YouTuber from Singapore who produces lots of art related video content. Drawing demonstrations, book reviews and more.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Londonist Drinks

It was lovely to be asked to produce an illustrated map for ‘Londonist Drinks’ the follow up to ‘Londonist Mapped.’ I was commissioned to work on a map for the best pubs near mainline train stations. All the research had already been done so it was my job to add the chosen venues to a map.

First stage was a B&W rough. I drew all the stations and pub signs separately before adding them to the map on Photoshop.
Here are some of the individual images and the finished map.

I also provided some of the smaller images dotted throughout the publication.

Thanks to Rebecca Needes who oversaw the design. The book is now available and would make a great present for anyone who likes London and drinking!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Drawings from Amsterdam

Drawings from a week spent in Amsterdam at the end of July, during the USk 2019 Symposium. Although I didn’t attend the workshops, it was great to meet up with many Urban Sketchers around the city. I used Stillman and Birn watercolour paper to make the sketchbook and really enjoyed working in it although scanning it was slightly problematic, hence the varying sizes of the images.