It was lovely to be asked by the Artists and illustrators Magazine to contribute an article for their June issue! I thought that I would post the whole article here for anyone outside the UK.
“See the world one sketch at a time.” This is the mantra of the worldwide Urban Sketchers (USk) community, originally started in an online forum by Seattle-based artist and illustrator Gabi Campanario. The London USk Chapter formed in 2012 with six members - James Hobbs, KatherineTyrrell, Zhenia Vasiliev, Adebanji Alade, Barry Jackson and Olha Pryymak - and this year celebrates its tenth anniversary. The London chapter’s popularity has grown and at the meet up in February this year, there were over sixty people sketching throughout the day.
After starting a drawing blog a decade ago, I was so excited to discover the community and find that there were other people in different parts of the world who liked sitting on street corners, drawing their urban surroundings and recording everyday life in their sketchbooks!
It took going to several events before I started to recognise faces and chat to others in the group. It doesn’t matter if you are a complete beginner or an experienced artist: all are welcome. After we have finished drawing, there is usually a chance to go to a cafe or pub to share sketchbooks, talk art materials and get to know each other a little better.
There is a line from American poet Mary Oliver who writes, “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” As an Urban Sketcher, I feel this sums up what I am doing when I am out drawing on location. Regardless if where I am feels quite ordinary, I notice so much about the people and places around me.
The sketch in the step-by-step photographs was drawn at the February London USk meet up. The location was Sloane Square in well-heeled Chelsea and the weather obliged to make it a lovely day for sitting outside and drawing in sketchbooks. I moved away from the main Square and wandered around the nearby streets before settling on this view of one of the very grand red brick mansion blocks. A low windowsill on a building being renovated seemed a handy spot to draw from, so I perched there to make this sketch.
For the sketch I used:
Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook (8 x 10 inches)
Travel watercolour tin with mainly Winsor & Newton (WN) colours plus a few Daniel Smith (DS) additions
Rotring ‘Tikky’pen 0.3
Pentel brush pen
Uniball white gel pen
Derwent Paint pen
For the latest information about the next London Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl, check the blog at or follow on Instagram @urbansketcherslondon.
My illustration portfolio is at and I’m on Instagram @lineandwash.