Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Cheesegrater and friends

 Pencil. 149 x 210 mm Evelyn Rowland
with Yves Damin from Paris USk at St Gabriel Wharf 27/12/13

A very small sketchcrawl at very short notice and I only made it to the second half! The rain stopped and the wind subsided so despite it being pretty nippy out, I managed a couple of drawings  and a coffee in three hours. 


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Posh Banger Boys in SE1

Pencil and watercolour 210 x 149 mm Evelyn Rowland

A very pleasant afternoon at an impromptu pop up sketch session courtesy of James Hobbs. This is number 8 Stoney Street; a  takeaway on the ground floor. I got enticed by a few random chimney pots, window frames and brick arches over the first floor windows. The actual shop part is not quite as romantic as the rest of the building suggests. 

I went back during the week for another go. It was supposed to be a simple little drawing with some nice brick work. Again I learn that the simplest ideas are often the hardest ones to get down. 


Friday, 13 December 2013

Draw: Borough Market on Saturday 14 December

Able to meet to draw at Borough Market on Saturday 14 December for a few hours?
Come and join us if you can from 1.30pm when a group of us will be meeting by the tables outside the PorteƱa stall in the market. There will lots of warming sustenance around to fight the cold weather.
Text 07891 611919 to find us.


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

East from the Millennium

Southwark Bridge
The original sketch from St Paul's side of the Millennium Bridge. I returned the next day to finish off the drawing. On Saturday, even though the sky was a greenish blue with ominous grey clouds, the early afternoon sunlight turned the buildings to lovely ice cream colours. Unfortunately, I had to hold that thought, as on Sunday our weather returned to normal.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Courts of Justice

Courts of Justice in Strand
This is a rather long sketch done with red pencil. Royal courts is a very interesting and challenging piece of architecture to draw from!


Monday, 4 November 2013

Rising Sun over Carter Lane EC4

   Rising Sun over Carter Lane.                             Pencil and watercolour 149 x 210 mm

I went out to paint from Blackfriars Bridge this afternoon but spotted this cosy little group before I got there. Bright and rather cold but I know I wouldn't have survived very long over  the Thames today. Alright, it wasn't that bad ... I shouldn't be so weedy.


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Two sketches from Islington

Saturday morning in Upper street
Evening near The Crown pub, Cloudesley Road
The first sketch is with pencil, and a second one is ballpoint pen, both done in the streets around Angel Underground.


Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Heron and some Cranes

 The Heron and some Cranes. Pencil and watercolour 149 x 210 mm

I went down to the Tate today, to see the Klee's, and after that I popped up to the 3rd floor to paint (as you do.) Then I dropped my rigger brush down one of the grates by the window. I asked the staff to run a recovery operation so I could finish up. If you can't ask an art gallery assistant to get a brush back for you, who can you ask? Needless to say, I didn't use it.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Cambridge Heath Road

Cambridge Heath Road Pencil and watercolour 149 x 210 mm

I drew this on soggy afternoon at the start of Nathan Brenville's Bethnal Green Sketchcrawl. Whilst working on this sketch, I kept in mind that intentions matter. I used to make  pencil drawings and then wonder why they appeared to lose something the moment I took a brush to them. Here, I wanted the pencil to be part of the work. This means that the lines here, have a different quality to those in a piece where the intention is a line drawing in its own right.


Thursday, 10 October 2013


Thamesmead's Southmere is now being demolished - a place where Kubrick's 'Clockwork Orange', 'Misfits' from Channel 4 and some of Aphex Twin's music videos were filmed, and a nice place to be at! We visited it not so long ago to discover its community spirit, - while there, we have actually felt ourselves in a very unusual London. That's a sketch from the cafe in the middle of it, near the lake.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

New members of the Urban Sketchers London Flickr Group

some of the sketches in the Urban Sketchers London Flickr Group
This is the Group Pool of the Flickr Group associated with Urban Sketchers London.

These are the new people who have been accepted as members of the Urban Sketchers London Flickr Group. I've included links to their current photostreams - obviously their individual Flickr accounts are not all sketches nor are they all of London.  However you can see the type of sketches people are producing - just as you can in the group pool.
  • Nick Kobyluch - see
  • Shih Jhih-Ren aka Lion Ren -
  • Michelle Salamon
  • Jonathan J Dixon
  • Paul Alcock
  • Meredith Moore
If you'd like to join the Flickr Group please read the rules - see the rules towards the bottom of this post.

I'm afraid they're a tad on the stern side as we've had some examples of people who didn't read or ignored the rules and swamped the Group Poll with images which did not fit the scope of this group!  So we decided to be crystal clear!

Then, if you think your sketching fits with what we want to see and share all you need to do is apply to join!
  • You do need a Flickr account - but that's free.  
  • Plus we need to be able to see examples of your sketches of London.  
  • If you've got a lot of diverse images please don't make us search.  Instead you can create a set of London sketches and give us the link to that.
Please note:
  • we process applications to join in batches so you won't get an instant response
  • you don't need to be a member of our Flickr Group to join our sketchcrawls. However we do like to see your sketches from the sketchcrawls in our Flickr Group so please highlight if you've been on one.

Post sketches of London ONLY

view profile

Urban Sketchers London is a group administrator Urban Sketchers London says:

Please note that this Group Pool is for sketches done from observation and on location in London ONLY.

It is also essential that all members of Urban Sketchers London on Flickr read the rules - as requested - before posting to the group.

The purpose of the Group Pool is to show off what London looks like. Thus the Urban Sketchers London Group Pool is NOT the place for any sketches which are:
* done on holiday (ie not in London and not of London); and/or
* of your friends in your own home; and/or
* the interior of your home in London; and/or
* people who are posing for you; and/or
* done from photos


Members draw London from the window of their homes, standing in the street, sitting in an art gallery, from a cafe, at a park or on the river - but sketches and drawings must always be done on location, not from photos or memory.

Make sure all your posts comply with these rules:

• You did the drawing from observation and on location IN LONDON, not from photos or memory. Please Note: Membership may be terminated without notice if you repeatedly post sketches to the group pool of places other than London.
• You have written the location of the sketch IN LONDON in the headline or caption or placed the image on your public Flickr map.
* The only photos of places which can be posted to the Group MUST relate to Urban Sketchers London Sketchcrawls - and be taken on the date of the sketchcrawl
• No sketches from figure drawing sessions or posed models
* No objects or figures without a location context which is a place in London will be posted to the Group Pool (ie sketches of people in locations are OK; sketches of people in isolation are not)

If you have any queries please do get in touch and we'll be happy to clarify whether or not a sketch is OK or not.

If you post any sketches which do not appear to comply with Group rules you will be asked to removed them. We only ask once and there are no reminders.

If you fail to remove all sketches which do not fit with the theme of this Group your membership will be suspended until they are removed.

Don't worry if all your sketches comply with the rules but please do review your sketches uploaded to the Group Pool if you think you may have made a mistake.

Urban Sketchers London (Moderator)


Monday, 30 September 2013

London on the edge ... of E18

East from George Lane Viaduct

Very small watercolours of the in-between the houses and trees of George Lane, South Woodford. I wanted to take a look at the backdrop to my part of East London, giving it the same scrutiny as if painting a building close up. The ill defined becomes the centre of attention; with a touch of foreground to put it in its place.


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Sketching day 5th October in the East End

Hello everyone.
On Saturday the 5th October at 12.00 noon there'll be a few of us urban sketchers outside the Museum of Childhood (right next to Bethnal Green tube station) and we will be meandering our way over to the Geffrye Museum (by Hoxton overground station), sketching anything interesting along the way. It would be great if you could join us!
The route is about one and a half miles but there will be plenty of stop offs. Last entry (entry is free) to the Geffrye Museum is at 4pm, so we aim to get there before then, hopefully more like around 3pm.

Start point: Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green

If you want to look around the Childhood Museum before we leave, it would be best to arrive before 12, as we will set off not long after. There's a couple of historical spots and the like along the route, but mostly it's about exploring and seeing what takes our interest!

One other thing, if you have one of those lightweight portable folding chairs, it might be an idea to bring it along, as there may not be a great deal of places to sit and sketch.

Everyone is welcome, so invite as many people as you like, and don't forget to bring your sketchbook and pencils!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Clissold Park, Stoke Newington

The park at Stoke Newington is worth a visit if you're near these parts. It had a makeover recently and is looking better than ever. This coming Sunday, 29 September, it is hosting events marking the anniversary of the opening of the New River, which passes through the park and was built to bring drinking water to the city from Hertfordshire 400 years ago. I like that it's still called the New River, despite its age and the fact it is no longer functioning as a water supply. Why bother changing it now?


Sunday, 15 September 2013

up the archway road

"Suicide Bridge", Archway On my full last day in London, I took the tube down to Archway to meet my cousin Dawn Painter for some sketching around Highgate. This was my old neighbourhood before we moved to the States., and I still love it around there. I used to live on Hornsey Lane, a few doors down from the bridge above, Archway Bridge. Of course, this bridge is better known as Suicide Bridge. Unfortunately, it's a name more commonly earned than I realised before I lived there. Dawn and I sketched beneath the bridge, beside the busy Archway Road, where the 134 bus charges down on its way into central London. Because I lived higher up Highgate Hill I would not come up this way much, so it was fun to come back and explore a bit more. We popped into one store full of second hand stuff where I saw a full set of Worzel Gummidge dvds. We grabbed a sandwich at Tescos and sat opposite the Jackson Lane building, an arts centre not far from Highgate tube station. Jackson's Lane, Highgate  We walked further up to Ripping Yarns, an amazing antiquarian bookstore stacked to the brim with wonderful books. Hardly enough room inside to turn around. They specialize in old children's books but also have lots of other books as well. We spent a lot of time in there, I was looking through many of the old annuals, Roy of the Rovers, the Beano, Topper, all those I used to have on my own shelves. We sat opposite the bookshop and sketched it, and then it was time to go. I had to pack my bags to fly back to America. Ripping Yarns, Highgate

60 Cleveland Street, London

The Post Office Tower. Fineliner 210 x 148 mm Evelyn Rowland

The first recognisable London building I recognised. To a five year old living in the wilds of Suffolk, it was the most exciting thing imaginable. I always look fondly at it when heading down Oxford Street or as today, enjoying it from the fourth floor in John Lewis, where it is seen to rise above a cluster of chimney pots, from a previous century.


Friday, 13 September 2013

South Woodford Odeon, High Road, London E18

Shhh! its just started! Pencil and watercolour 149 x 210 mm Evelyn Rowland

This delightful piece of Odeon architecture is only a facade. Inside it has been divided into the usual 'screens';  perfectly adequate to view but woefully short on experience. 'The pictures' used to be somewhere to go;  the building was important.   Still, the outside is preserved, at least from the first floor up. 


Friday, 23 August 2013

Tate to Tate Sketchers!

Thanks to the small but dedicated bunch of sketchers that came down Friday last week to join me on my walk from the Tate Modern to the Tate Britain. Although the weather looked ominous to begin with, it soon brightened up into a warm and sunny afternoon.

I think the most interesting sight along the route was that of construction workers dangling from the rafters of the Blackfriars railway bridge, like giant orange bats. It was quite unusual and I'm glad we all got the opportunity to sketch it.

We also got a special guest appearance from Urban Sketcher James Hobbs, who happened to be cycling by and spotted us!

I chose to focus on smaller details of scenes to try and get more done, as it's quite a pressure when you have to keep moving. Even with our relaxed pace, I found it quite difficult to capture as much as I wanted.
I think I'll have to draw some more people next time too!

Not everyone could stay 'til the finishline, but a few of us were able to sit down and have a very pleasant drink and compare sketchbooks at the end. 

Thanks everyone! and I'm looking forward to doing something similar again soon. Details will be posted on here!


Sunday, 18 August 2013

sketching jack the ripper's london!

Last month I invited London's sketchers to join me in a little afternoon-evening sketchcrawl around the streets of Whitechapel, in London's East End. Titled "Sketching Jack's London", the theme was to be looking for what is left of the city once stalked by the notorious Jack the Ripper. I made little hand drawn maps and gave everyone a small micro-sketchbook I had made myself. There were around thirty-five of us in total (many came for the first half, while others joined in after work), some from all around the world (such as Alissa Duke from Australia and Sue Pownall who was visiting from Oman). So many lovely sketchers there! It was an unusually hot London day, but great to see so many sketchers out! Here is the starting group...

Sketching Jack's London July 17, 2013
We started at Whitechapel station, bustling with the local market around us. It's been more than a decade since I was last in Whitechapel, and while much has changed, much remained as I remember it. I sketched the station. I don’t imagine Jack the Ripper coming by tube, but the station dates back to the 1870s so it’s not impossible. I wonder how he would have felt about the current extortionate ticket prices. “What a Rip-off” probably.

 whitechapel station
I wandered down Whitechapel Road to the old Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Established in 1570, this is in fact the oldest registered manufacturing company in Britain – or the world, as the various bike tour guides passing by would say. Still, they have a magnificent history (see their website) – this is where the Liberty Bell was cast (though it broke, of course), as well as the bells of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the bell from the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, and perhaps the most famous bell of all, Big Ben, a bell so famous that most people think it’s a clock. Big Ben is also the biggest bell they ever cast here. I didn’t go in, but sat in the shade of a tree outside while locals stopped and said, oh wow man, and offered to give me cold drinks.

 whitechapel bell foundry
Next, Aldgate East, and stood opposite the magnificent building above the station, and the lovely Whitechapel Art Gallery. I had planned on finding the "canonical five" Ripper sites and sketching the cobbles in Mitre Square, but the evening was pressing on and I needed to head up Brick Lane. Aldgate East
I love Brick Lane, I used to come here for a curry every week when I was a student in Mile End. These days there are lots more hipsters than in the late 90s, but the same old curry houses I used to love are still here in the heart of Bangla Town. I didn't, however, have a curry! I wasn't hungry. I did sit outside and sketch though... Brick Lane
And finally to Christ Church Spitalfields, built by Nicholas Hawksmoor in the English baroque style it was completed in 1729 (so definitely a big part of Jack’s London).

 christ church spitalfields
Oh, and then there are the sketches I did in my own micro-sketchbook. As I said, I gave one to everyone with the proviso they must draw London in it. I did, but mostly I took the opportunity to draw London people...

sketching jack's london micro-sketchbook sm

And that's it! This sketchcrawl was definitely the highlight of my trip, and it was nice to reconnect with an area I had all but forgotten. I really enjoyed the final meeting at the end where we looked in each others sketchbooks, and it was lovely to meet such excellent and artistically diverse sketchers. And I finally got to meet James Hobbs! Amazing to look through his sketchbook. Afterwards, several of us popped into the Ten Bells pub across the street for a pint. I look forward to meeting the London sketchers again on a future visit!

Sketching Jack's London July 17, 2013  
See more photos from the sketchcrawl on my Flickr set "Sketching Jack's London"...

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


all-hallows-by-the-tower London’s skyline changes every time I come back. The City now has at least two skyscrapers that were not there last year, dwarfing other prominent 21st century additions like the Gherkin. It is an ever-changing city and it always has been. Above is one building that, while subject to many modifications and rebuildings over the centuries, has pretty much the entire span of London history within its foundations. All-Hallows-By-The-Tower, a small and often overlooked church which sits right next to the Tower of London (which is rather handy given its name), is said to be the oldest church in London, founded in 675, though its main building and spire date from the 1650s (it survived the Great Fire, though it was greatly rebuilt after it being damaged in the Blitz). In the background, one of London’s newest towers is being constructed in the background. The 'Walkie-Talkie' I think it is called. I like to think there will be a time in the future when kids are trying to figure out the reason for its name and not being able to figure out what a walkie-talkie is supposed to be, just as people do now with such places like Pall Mall and St.Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe. I popped inside for a look around, to learn a bit more about its history. There is an actual Saxon-era arch still standing, and if you go below to the crypt museum you can see some original Roman tiled paving – this church was built on the site of a building from the days of Londinium. On my open-top bus tours years ago I used to tell Americans the two things I knew about this church: Pennsylvania founder William Penn was baptised here,and John Quincy Adams was married here, you know, President number 6. It was nice to finally come and spend some time looking at it and learning about it. Oh, and here is the Tower itself, sketched immediately afterwards among a throng of passing tourists. No introduction necessary. Tower of London

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Tate to Tate Sketchcrawl - August 16th

I recently traveled on the "Tate-to-Tate" Thames clipper boat, and it occurred to me that walking this route would make a good sketching trip.
I've been wanting to do some central London Thameside sketching for a while now, and it seems a good opportunity while the weather is still summery.
So, with the success of Pete's midweek sketchcrawl recently, I thought we could try a Friday afternoon, for a couple of hours sketching. Apologies to those of you at work, we will do another weekend one soon.
To those of you who can make it, I look forward to seeing you!

Date: Friday August 16th 2013.
Time: 3pm
Start location: Tate Modern, at the base of the Millenium bridge
End location: Tate Britain
Finish time around 6.30pm


Monday, 5 August 2013

Wapping from across the river

 Last month I took a walk along the Rotherhithe shore of the Thames, at the lowest tide of the year. Mostly I took photographs (some of which are on my Facebook page), but I did do one drawing that I like. I couldn't resist drawing my favourite pub on the opposite shore. Even though it was the lowest tide, the Town of Ramsgate remains out of reach.

Wapping Old Steps from Rotherhithe. Ink, charcoal pencil and crayon on paper, 29x40cm


Friday, 26 July 2013

london, waking up

Trafalgar Square 
I just got back to California from my annual excursion back home to London, and was surprised to see that it was actually summer time, and the weather was hot and sunny every single day. Not what I had ordered at all! I was looking forward to gloom and cold and drizzle, though I'll admit the sweaty tube at rush hour was pretty gloomy. So on one particular Tuesday, I got up and took the tube at the determinedly pre-rush hour of 5:45am and headed into central London to sketch in the early morning light. I love wandering around a city as it is waking up (preferably having recently woken up myself, rather than stayed up all night, as my much-younger self may have once done). London is no different, although in Leicester Square I did witness the remnants of some people's night-before, a drunken testosterone match of pitiable proportions that made the street sweepers stop and raise their eyebrows. I've never liked Leicester Square. Trafalgar Square on the other hand... I've seen a fair few incidents of silliness there among the late-night throngs waiting for their night-buses in the shadow of Nelson's Column, but when everyone is gone and before the city of the daytime re-emerges, this is an excellent place to stop and really absorb an epic sight. I'll forever be grateful to London for pedestrianizing that awful north side of the square, the former rat-run outside the National Gallery, turning Trafalgar Square from a pigeon-infested overgrown traffic island to a nice place to sit and hang out. I sketched the view from the northern side in the early morning light, with Horatio on his high perch looking down Whitehall to the clock tower of Parliament, home of Big Ben. Summer morning light is like nothing else, except golden custard pouring across the city, and those shadows move pretty fast as that sun rises. London can be incredibly annoying sometimes, expensive, grumpy, sweaty, time-consuming; but in these moments you get to see it at peace, waking up with a smile, in a good mood.
 Sketching London in the early morning Sketching London in the early morning 


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Last month I posted on here some drawings made down in Wapping. I developed one of these into a print - a drypoint intaglio print, using two plates.

Here's how it looks at proofing stage:
The alley to Wapping Old Steps - 2 colour drypoint on Hahnemuhle paper 21x29cm


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Sketchcrawling through London's East End

James Hobbs, Gherkin and Christ Church from Hanbury Street, London E1
Thanks to Pete Scully for his great sketchcrawl through the East End of London last week, which took in places made notorious by the 19th-century serial killer Jack the Ripper. About 30 of us took the route between Whitechapel tube station and the Ten Bells pub next to Christ Church Spitalfields – some of them fresh from the symposium in Barcelona, lucky people. Some people just can't draw enough. As always with sketchcrawls, it was great to meet people who had previously only been virtual artists online. 

James Hobbs, Ten Bells, Commercial Street, London

You can find more images on the group's Flickr pool,