Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Millbank: the campaign commences

So the general election campaign is underway, something that was very apparent as I cycled through Westminster yesterday, with helicopters overhead, the prime minister heading off to the palace, and TV crews putting up temporary studios on the green across the road from the Houses of Parliament, one for the BBC, and the other for Sky. Allegra Stratton from BBC2's Newsnight was being filmed at a desk behind me as I drew this. My enthusiasm to keep out of shot meant Big Ben remains barely visible on the right hand side of the drawing.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

100 postcards in a box

Gabriel Campanario's hugely successful book The Art of Urban Sketching was published in 2012, and I was lucky enough to have my drawings included in it. Now comes a boxed set of 100 postcards of different images from the book – again including something by me – on sale in the UK from 2 April 2015 (Quarry, £12.99), and already out in the US. It's a great collection of scenes from every continent and 30 countries drawn on location by many of my favourite urban sketchers.
It's a tricky one: are they too good to post to people, or so good that they shouldn't be kept in a box but shared through the post? 

Saturday, 14 March 2015

The 1967 Ford Mustang comes fifth

When did I start drawing cars? The 1967 Ford Mustang, above, has just come fifth in a poll of Britain's favourite classic cars – my drawing of it is featured on the website of the survey's findings, which was commissioned by The Car Buying Service. Number one, not surprisingly, went to the Jaguar E-Type (below). My great aunt Nelly lived on Brown's Lane, Coventry, where E-Types were made and test driven, and my brothers and I would sit on her gate and watch them go by when we went to visit her.
Did I vow then to have one when I grew up? No I didn't. Bikes and buses are much more up my street.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Around the Victoria and Albert Museum

London's Urban Sketchers met up to draw in and around the Victoria and Albert Museum on Saturday. It was a great turn-out, helped by springlike weather. I stayed outside to draw for most of it, around South Kensington tube station (above), and across the road from the museum in Thurloe Square (below). The museum's first director, Henry Cole, lived in the house on its corner. It would have been an easy commute for him in the 19th century – easier than now, when crossing four lanes of speeding, outsized 4x4s and tour buses is required.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Coming soon: a new book

I have a new book out in a few months' time about drawing your way to your dream garden. (Yes, that's my back garden on the cover.)

Click on the cover to get a glimpse of what's inside.

I'll be blogging about it more in time, as well as tweeting and posting on Instagram. Follow me there.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Signing Sketch Your World at the Mall Galleries

I'm happy to say I'll be signing copies of Sketch Your World on Thursday 5 March at the Mall Galleries, London, from 3pm. I'll be there with Katherine Tyrrell, who will be signing copies of her new book, Sketching 365. (There is even a reduced price deal for anyone buying both books before 4pm on that date.)

Katherine and I will be bringing some of our sketchbooks, and will be very happy to talk about all things drawing. The signings will coincide with a Pastel Society event from 6pm to 9pm – details of entry are here – with music by David Buckingham on guitar.

And I'll be able to tell you more about my forthcoming book, Dream, Draw, Design My Garden, which is published soon. Here's a glimpse. I'll be posting more details here shortly.

For more details and directions, visit the Mall Galleries website. I hope to see you there.

Monday, 9 February 2015

What I drew at the British Museum

Gold cape, 1900-1600BC, found Mold, Wales, 1833
I had a day drawing at the British Museum last Saturday with London's Urban Sketchers, and found myself drawing the kind of things I don't usually do. Of course, the scale of what is on display is immense – around eight million objects are viewed by more than six million visitors a year. The museum may have been crowded, but it is still possible to get an object to draw quietly for a while without feeling you are getting in the way.

Even the Mold Cape has a space by a pillar where I could slip in to draw. The cape is not like anything I've seen before. Dug up in Wales in 1883, and more than 3,000 years old, its fragments went to different people when it was discovered, and only slowly, over more than 100 years, was it reassembled as bits of the paper-thin gold made their way to the British Museum to create what it is now. Neil MacGregor, the director of the museum, featured the cape in his Radio 4 series A History of the World in 100 Objects in 2010.

Egyptian rooms
Time was limited on Saturday, and there were people to meet and talk to, so it is easy to find yourself sweeping past miraculously saved objects that have similarly intriguing stories. In the Egyptian rooms, the Gayer Anderson cat, with nose and ear piercings, a horus falcon with extraordinary eyes, and the sculpture of the seated man whose name I wrote so quickly I can't read it now caught my eye. Downstairs in Africa, as it were, contemporary work, such as El Anatsui's sculpture that echoes the form of the Mold Cape, made me stop and draw.

Thanks go to Isabel Carmona and Sue Pownall for arranging the day, and to Simone Ridyard – who is included in Sketch Your World and has her own book out soon – who travelled down from Manchester. There are more drawings from the day on the London Urban Sketchers Facebook page. Monthly gatherings are planned through the rest of the year.

Entrance to the British Museum is free, even in our age of austerity.