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.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Sketchbooks at the Museum

London's Urban Sketchers are meeting up at the British Museum on this Saturday, 7 February 2015 from 11.30am to 3.30pm. (This drawing is of the museum's courtyard with the lovely Centre Point rearing up in the distance.) Everybody's welcome. Just bring things to draw on and with, and come and say hello. There are lots of places to warm up, and it's all very relaxed.

There's more information on the London Urban Sketchers website, if you want it. And join the London Urban Sketchers new Facebook page.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Mole Man's house, Dalston

I stopped to draw the Mole Man's house in Mortimer Road, Dalston, as I cycled home the other day. It's been like a building site for years, but now there is activity above ground as it is developed for the artists Sue Webster and Tim Noble, who were reported to have bought it at auction before Christmas. It was previously the home of William Lyttle, aka Mole Man, who tunnelled beneath it in all directions over more than 40 years, until complaints led to his eviction. (He was rehoused in a flat and, with nowhere to dig, was dead within a few years.)
Papers report that the architect David Adjaye, who designed the forthcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture in the National Mall, Washington, DC, among other buildings, is overseeing the development, although it doesn't look anything special yet, apart from being a shrine to scaffolding and corrugated iron.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Euro-Coaster, Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park

The big winter fair in Hyde Park over Christmas, called Winter Wonderland, had this roller coaster among the labyrinthine commercial sprawl. Euro-Coaster? Get on that, Nigel Farage.

I drew these on a recent numbingly cold sketchcrawl with London's Urban Sketchers: why not drop in on the group's new Facebook group page.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Christmas on James Street

The 73 bus at the end of our road runs to Oxford Street and there are still some presents to be bought, so we head on down. What possesses anyone to shopping there at Christmas? We take a break at a quiet cafe down James Street as darkness falls.
Season's greetings! I'll be posting images on Instagram and Twitter over the break, do drop in and follow me if that's your thing.
Have you just been given a copy of Sketch Your World? Visit its Facebook Page at