Urban Sketching: Leadenhall Market


Earlier this month I met with the London Urban Sketchers at Leadenhall Market in the City of London. Leadenhall market is one of the oldest covered markets in London and was designed by the same architect behind Smithfield Market and Tower Bridge. It’s also been the backdrop for many films, perhaps the most famous one being Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone.

I spent the first part of the day inside the market sketching the Lamb Tavern pub and after the lunchtime sketchbook sharing, I ventured outside.


Leadenhall Market sits alongside some of the City’s modern skyscrapers, including the iconic Lloyds of London building. I couldn’t get too close the the Lloyds building because the Pokemon movie was being filmed that day but I did manage to find one spot where there was a partial view of it and got a sketch done before we all met up at the end of the day to share the rest of our sketches.

You can find work from other sketchers and more photos on the London Urban Sketchers Blog.

2017 in Pictures

I remembered the other day that at least once in the past I’ve created a blog post at this time of year showing a photo from each month as a sort of review. Although I haven’t made much time this year just for taking photographs I still had a lot on my phone and in my camera so I thought I’d share one from each month – most of which I haven’t shared before –  to round off the year.

There’s also a little update at the end of this post so don’t miss that!


Emirates Airline January 2017


Barbican Centre February 2017


Barbican March 2017


Squirrel April 2017


County Hall May 2017


St Dunstan in the East June 2017


Liberty of London July 2017


Rose August 2017


Gothenburg September 2017


Still Life Copenhagen October 2017


St Paul's One New Change November 2017


Wentworth Park December 2017

From midnight tonight (New Year’s Eve 2017) there’s going to be a big sale in my Etsy shop. Everything’s included apart from digital downloads, so the special deals I’m already offering on prints and cards will be discounted even further.

I won’t be replacing anything that sells out because I’m planning on creating some brand new products for my shop in 2018. You can bookmark your favourites before January 1st to make it easier to find them once the sale begins.

Urban Sketching in Highgate


Earlier this month I went out for the day with Urban Sketchers, London and we sketched in Highgate, in north London. Almost everyone seemed to spend most of the day in Highgate Cemetery, which is where I sketched Karl Marx’s grave, probably one of the most famous there.


I also managed to get in another quick sketch from a spot that’s not on the main ‘trail’ in the cemetery and it was very peaceful. This was in my Hahnemuhle grey sketchbook using an HB pencil and a 0.3 Unipin pen.

There’s not much shelter from the elements in Highgate cemetery but we were really lucky with the weather. There was a thunder storm but that held off until the end of the day, by which time most of us were under the shelter outside a cafe back in Waterlow Park.


After lunch and before the rain started I made a start an a third sketch. I ran out of time, and although part of me would like to finish it off at home using a photo for reference, I quite like leaving some of my urban sketches unfinished because they tell the story of the day.

Our next outing’s planned for Spitalfields Market on 14 October so come and join us!

Recent Urban Sketches in London

Charterhouse Sketch

Over the past week and a half I’ve been out sketching in a couple of different spots around London. The Saturday before last I went out with the London Urban Sketchers to Charterhouse and Clerkenwell. I hadn’t been well for about a week beforehand but I didn’t want to miss the whole day, so I arrived late but just in time for the lunchtime sketchbook ‘throwdown’.

St John Cloister Garden

It felt like a long time since I’d done any sketching on location so I felt a bit out of practise and wasn’t totally satisfied with my sketches. I think that’s just a sign that I need to do more urban sketching!

Order of St John Cloister Garden

I think I also needed to slow down a bit. Maybe it was because I’d arrived late, or maybe it was the hot weather but I felt like I was rushing my sketches and not really taking in what I was seeing properly.

Peter's Lane, Farringdon

At the end of the day a few of us stayed on to sketch a bit more and I felt like I was starting to get into the rhythm of sketching buildings again. What that day did encourage me to do was to re-visit some of the materials from the course I took with Liz Steel last year, and I’m also going to work through the rest of the course that I didn’t finish.

St Dunstan in the East

Then last Friday a few of us from the London Urban Sketchers group met up informally to sketch at St Dunstan in the East gardens, which I’d never visited before. It’s a really nice quiet spot and had lots of shade from the sun which was welcome too. I worked on one and a half sketches in my A4 Moleskine, which is currently my dedicated urban sketching sketchbook. I also did one sketch in my new Hahnemuhle grey book but I haven’t got around to scanning that one yet.

St Dunstan in the East

Sometimes when I don’t finish a sketch I think to myself that I’ll come back to the same spot another day and carry on with it but actually that never seems to happen. And the other thing is, that I quite like some of my sketches that are half ink, half pencil (or sometimes just pencil and no ink at all) and no paint.

This week my sketching plans are kind of different. I’ll share that work here quite soon!

New Art Supplies: Cass Art


Earlier this week I went to Cass Art and bought a few things so I thought I’d share them with you here. In case you don’t know, Cass Art is a chain of art shops in the UK and they stock a wide range of art and craft supplies. They sell online but the also have some bricks and mortar shops across the country, including 6 in London and their prices are generally very competitive. I went to the Islington shop this week, which is their flagship store. I went to buy a single pen but came home with a couple of other things too.


I went there looking for a specific fineliner pen and they didn’t have the one I had in mind so I bought this pack of Staedtler pens instead. I think they cost £8.95 for a pack of 6. They’re all black, and are fade and water-resistant which is what I always look for in black pens. I’d never used this brand before but they seem pretty good and I especially like this chisel tipped pen which gives a line width of up to 3mm.


Although I use a lot of watercolour in my work I’ve been using gouache occasionally too and I thought it would be handy to have a dedicated palette for those paints. I like to use gouache straight from the tube rather than dispense it into pans so this flower shaped palette seemed perfect and only cost £5. As you can see, I’ve already started using it and, so far so good!


And finally, I got a few Seawhite of Brighton starter sketchbooks. These come in a range of sizes and cover colours but Cass seem to focus on the black covers and these which are known as ‘Eco’. They’re just really handy basic sketchbooks with a stapled spine and 16 sheets of paper inside.


The paper is 130gsm and is really good drawing paper. It could probably take a light wash of watercolour paint OK too. I bought one in A5 and 2 in A6 size. I thought the A6 ones would be handy to keep in my bag and I’ve just finished an A5 one that I’ve been using to rough out ideas for my hand lettering project each day. The A6 size is similar to the Moleskine cahier journal but the paper’s thicker and the price is much lower. At Cass I think the A5 cost £1.60 and the A6 was £1.10. The prices are even cheaper if you buy online direct from Seawhite but the delivery charge means that you need to place a big bulk order to make that worthwile.

Unfortunately, if you’re outside the UK, Cass Art don’t deliver to you but their shops are definitely worth a visit if you’re in London, Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester or Glasgow. I’ve shopped online with them quite a few times too. Now and again they offer free delivery for limited periods of time so that’s worth looking out for too.

Have you got any favourite art supplies at the moment? I’m always interested to find out about new products so let me know about your favourite sketchbooks, pens, paints and anything else for art making.