Saturday, 9 June 2012

Meet the correspondents: Nathan Brenville

I first came to London as a student in 2001, and I fell in love with the city immediately. Although I grew up in the North West of England, I think of London as my home. Apart from a brief sojourn in Baker St, NW1, I've lived the best part of ten years in South East London, in various places between Camberwell and Lewisham (as the drunken crow flies), and consequently the places that are dearest to me are mostly scattered around the South East.

It wasn't until around two years ago that it occurred to me to draw any of these places however, but once I discovered location drawing, I couldn't stop. The excitement of capturing places - their architecture, their atmosphere, the colours, the shadows, the people flowing in and out, having on paper your own emotional response to being somewhere at a certain point in time, when that happened there was no going back. The camera and I didn't speak for quite some time, I was pretty angry that it had kept me dependent on it for so long.

The first few sketchbooks I kept of location drawing were mostly all of trips abroad, I found it a wonderful way of engaging with your environment intensely, to soak up as much as you can before having to leave it behind.

But after nearly ten years of living, working and commuting in London I was looking to reconnect with my home environment too, and I decided the best way would be to go back to all of my favourite places around the city and begin to sketch them. I soon discovered there were far more than I'd realised, and sitting there, really looking at places I thought I knew well opened my eyes to much more. I began to investigate the history of the locations, to find connections between sites, to discover just how intertwined all of London is, in its personalities, its fashions, its parks and streets.

The Horniman Museum, Forest Hill

Even better, with living here, I was in no rush to finish my sketches but had the luxury of coming back, of finishing drawings at a later date or drawing it again in a different season, weather, or time of day. I'm three quarters of the way through my London sketchbook (or more accurately, 'My London' sketchbook), slowed down mostly by being back at university, but I feel more excited than ever to be living here; it's fuelled my desire to draw and it's helped me rediscover the city afresh. On top of that, and perhaps best of all, through drawing London I discovered there are other people out there drawing London, or England, Europe, Asia, America, all over the world, one drawing at a time - being part of the Urban Sketchers community continually provides invaluable inspiration and encouragement, so contributing to this blog is really exciting for me.

I will share some of the drawings of my favourite places and their stories, but also other sketchbooks of the new places I find or familiar, unassuming spots that suddenly leap out at me and demand to be drawn. The more you draw, the more you find to draw.

Dulwich Park in summer

I like to sketch the places that don't normally get a lot of attention, the places people pass by without giving a second glance. I usually prefer the everyday London to the tourist London, and delight in drawing (literally) out the hidden histories of ordinary looking buildings, trees and spaces.

You can find a lot of my location drawings on Flickr.

I also have a blog in which I post more general artwork, from comics to animations and various other pieces, at

I'm currently studying for an MA in Animation at Central Saint Martins.

I'm looking forward to meeting all the other London artists out there on our future sketchcrawls.



  1. That's a lovely sketch of Dulwich Park.

    Good to have you on the team! :)

  2. I also love the trees in Dulwich Park. I look forward to seeing your posts.

  3. Welcome on board Nathan, I look forward to reading your posts! I love your drawing, and that one of the park is incredibly good.

  4. Thanks everyone! I'm looking forward to a summer of sketching!

  5. Hi Nathan, do you know whether there are any drawing event next weekend in London? Would love to come!

  6. Eva - not a reply from Nathan, and this isn't a drawing event next weekend, but there is one this Wednesday 17 July: see


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