Sunday, 18 March 2018

Interesting...Urban Sketchers in The Guardian

From the 'In Pictures' section of The Guardian web site:
The artist capturing urban clutter
[John Webb]

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

We Drew Leadenhall Market 10 March 2018

Sketch by Hannah Lee Miller

We met at the start of the day inside Leadenhall Market near the Lamb Tavern (which was a popular spot for some of our group to enjoy refreshments as they sketched). There were building works happening in the market and a nearby street was closed due to the filming of the Pokemon movie but this didn’t prevent our group from finding plenty of things to sketch.

Sketch by Joe Bean

Sketch by Gafung Wong

The weather was better than forecast, and many people sketched outside, although lots of sketchers opted to draw the wonderful interiors of the Market, including the silver dragons, which are a feature here and throughout the City.

Sketch by Dolores Kitchener

The nearby Lloyds and Leadenhall Buildings gave some sketchers an opportunity to contrast the old and new architecture, with others sketching the nearby churches of Great St Helen’s and St Dunstan in the East.

We met again inside the market at lunchtime to share our work from the morning and as always, it was interesting to see the wide range of styles and subjects.

We ended the day by sharing the rest of our sketches and taking a second group photo. Many sketchers commented that this place is worth coming back for more, since it would take longer than one day to really do this interesting area justice with our drawings.

Thank you to everyone who came along and we look forward to seeing you again, and welcoming more new faces at our next sketchcrawl on 28 April in Walthamstow.

Blog Post by Olga Mackness

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Let's draw Walthamstow - Saturday 28 April 2018

The Woodpecker Tapestry by William Morris (1885)
Part of the permanent collection of the William Morris Gallery in Lloyd Park, Walthamstow. 

In April we’ll be drawing in Walthamstow, one of London's historic villages. It got a mention in the Domesday Book, and still retains some interesting old buildings.

St Mary's churchyard
There are two main centres of interest in Walthamstow. The Old Village is to the east of the station. There's the medieval church of St Mary's, with a suitably spooky churchyard, a picturesque row of almshouses, the half-timbered 'Ancient House' and the Vestry House museum (free admission). This has an interesting local collection and would be a useful bolthole on a wet day.

The Ancient House
Vestry House Museum
To the north, along Forest Road, are some more modern landmarks. William Morris House, a Grade II* listed building, was Morris's family home from 1848 to 1856. It's now a gallery (also free admission) devoted to his work and that of his fellow Pre-Raphaelites.

William Morris House - front
Behind the gallery is Lloyd Park. The medieval house which once stood there has vanished, but you can still see its moat.
William Morris House - back
The moat of Lloyd Park
And just along the road is the absolutely humungous art deco town hall; you may have spotted it in movies about Hitler or Mussolini, since it makes a perfect backdrop for fascist rallies.

Walthamstow town hall
If you want to wander a bit further, Walthamstow High Street is the longest street market in Europe. And just east of the Old Village is God's Own Junkyard, under cover and specialising in vintage neon. It says it has a cafe. I haven't been there myself, but it comes recommended and looks amazing.

Key times and meeting points for the day:

11am We will meet outside Walthamstow Central station (Victoria Line, linked by footpath to Walthamstow Queens Road on the Overground). Then sketchers can head off in whichever direction they fancy.

1pm The lunchtime meetup will be at the back of the William Morris House, where there is a good flight of steps for photos. There are also two cafes, one in the house itself and the other in Lloyd Park, behind William Morris House. The park cafe has one the most impressive selections of ice cream I have seen in London. Both have a good range of light lunch options.

3.30pm We finish outside the Vestry House Museum, to compare our work and take a final photo before adjourning to a nearby café or pub.

The day is run by Elizabeth Blunt and Philip Stones.


Sunday, 25 February 2018

We drew Tate Britain - 24 February 2018

Lovely capture of the group at the end of the day from Cynthia

So lovely to see such a good turnout for the February sketchcrawl, based in and around Tate Britain. We had people travelling from Hampshire and Birmingham in the UK to join us and even two European visitors from USk Netherlands and USk Rome!  

Lots of great sketchbook drawings from both inside and out, some of which feature below. Lots more on the Facebook page -

Next meet up is at Leadenhalll Market on Saturday 10th March -

People sketched by Paul

Rossana from USk Rome

This lively sketch by Kat

Architectural study by Gavin

The beautiful architecture in the Members Room sketched by Marie

Window view watercolour by Daniel

Simon braved the cold for this lovely pen sketch

Henry Moore sculptors were a popular subject. This sketchbook drawing by Gaynor

Urban Sketchers at work in the Members Room in Tate Britain  

Sangeeta at work in the Members Room


Saturday, 17 February 2018

USk Porto Symposium Registration

A quick reminder that registration for the 2018 USk Symposium in Porto, Portugal opens at 3pm Saturday 17th February! 


Thursday, 1 February 2018

Science Museum LATES

[By John Webb] New Year, new pens, new experience. Went with Sketchmob to the Science Museum LATES. What an experience. The Museum closes then reopens at 6:45. When I arrived at 6:30there was a huge long queue down Exhibition Road. But the arrangements were so efficient we were all in by 7:00 and set off to sketch but first visiting one of the many 'restaurants' around the galleries along with bars, live music and interactive staffed demonstrations. I gather the other museums do similar things scheduling their LATES so as not to clash.

Great places to sketch in the warm, dry and with masses of people.
I went for a view downwards into the Broadcast Gallery trying out my new Tombow Brush pens - brush one end pen the other. A whole new technique and one which will take some mastering. I've seen so many other London Urban Sketchers use them. One has to keep up...


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Let's Draw Leadenhall Market – Saturday 10 March 2018

In March we will spend a day drawing in and around Leadenhall Market in the City of London. The area offers contrasts between the Victorian market building and the modern financial district. It is also near historic churches and the garden of St Dunstan-in-the-East.

Leadenhall Market

Key times and meeting points for the day:
11am: Meet in the main entrance of Leadenhall Market on Gracechurch Street
1pm: Meet again in the Gracechurch Street entrance to look at drawings done in the morning.
3.30pm: Meet in the Gracechurch Street entrance to review the day’s drawings and take group photographs.
We could continue to meet and talk in a nearby pub, The Crosse Keys on Gracechurch Street.

Options for drawing

There is a great mix of old and new architecture in this area. Options for drawing include:
Leadenhall market: There has been a market here since the fourteenth century. The building we see today is a Victorian market building designed in 1881, by Sir Horace Jones, Architect and Surveyor of the city of London from 1864-1887, who also designed Billingsgate Fish Market, Smithfield Market and Tower Bridge. The covered market now has shops, bars and cafes although many will be closed on Saturdays.
As the main financial district, some of the modern buildings which now dominate the City of London skyline are in this area:
· the famous Lloyds of London building , known as the Inside-Out Building, architect Richard Rogers

30 St Mary Axe - The Gherkin

· 30 St Mary Axe -The Gherkin - designed by Norman Foster, is very short walk away

The Leadenhall Building - The Cheesegrater

· the Leadenhall Building - the Cheesegrater - also designed by Rogers, Stirk, Harbour and Partners
· 20 Fenchurch Street - the Walkie Talkie - architect Rafael Vinoly, looms over the area.
There are also others which are under construction in the area.
Amid the contemporary office buildings can be found some much older buildings including several churches which pre-date the Great Fire of London of 1666:
· St Andrew Undershaft, on St Mary Axe near the Gerkin, was constructed in 1532 but is under scaffolding at the moment
· St Helen’s Bishopsgate, shown in Olga’s watercolour, on Great St Helen’s off Bishopsgate, dates from the twelfth century, and is unusual in being designed with two parallel naves

St Ethelburga

· St Ethelburga, 78 Bishopsgate, was largely destroyed by IRA bombing in 1993; reconstructed, it reopened as a Centre for Reconciliation and Peace

St Katherine Cree

· St Katherine Cree, 86 Leadenhall Street, was built in 1628-30
· St Botolph without Bishopsgate is an eighteenth century church with a small garden.
Also, St Dunstan-in-the-East , (St Dunstan Hill, EC3R 5DD) - Church and garden, hidden gem of the City of London, with a beautiful set of stone stairs and the grounds one of Sir Christopher Wren's churches. Damaged in 1941 the Church has been made into public gardens.
If the weather is wet, we will have an opportunity to draw inside the market, which is under cover. There is also a covered area at the base of the Leadenhall Building (the Cheesegrater), and there are many cafés around Monument and the southern end of Gracechurch Street to find shelter.


Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest market sites in the City of London. It has been a market since the 14th century. Popular with merchants for centuries, Leadenhall Market survived the Great Fire of London and many re-building works. The original façade of the market can be seen at the north west entrance. The current market building was created in the late nineteenth century.
Leadenhall Market is a popular filming location and can be seen in many movies including: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; Hearafter; and Love Aaj Kal. Part of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (the first film in the blockbuster series) was filmed in Leadenhall in 2000/2001. The market was used to represent the area of London leading to the popular wizarding pub The Leaky Cauldron and magical shopping street Diagon Alley. The pop group Erasure also filmed their music video for Love to Hate You in the market in 1991.

Practical information

Leadenhall Market is roofed but not heated, so dress warmly. There is some seating in the market, but drawing elsewhere, it would be useful to have a portable stool. Leadenhall Market can be found in the heart of the City of London, at Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 1LT. Public areas of the market are generally open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, although the shop and restaurant opening times vary, with most in the immediate vicinity closed at weekends. There is more information on the Leadenhall Market official site:
Leadenhall Market is near several underground stations– Bank, Monument, Aldgate, and railway stations – Cannon Street, Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street. Nearby bus routes are 25, 48, 35 and 40.
The suggested pub for meeting after the sketchcrawl is The Crosse Keys on Gracechurch Street:
This pub is also part of the City of London Community Toilet Scheme, which means members of the public have free access to their toilets whether or not they are a customer.
There are other cafes and pubs in the area, although some are closed at weekends. The best areas to find cafes are around the Monument or in and around Liverpool Street Station.

This day is run by Olga Mackness and Cathryn Worrell