Saturday 24 March 2012

Still standing: Big Ben

James Hobbs, Clock Tower, Westminster
Big Ben is leaning, it has been announced by surveyors, although at 0.26 degrees (about 8.5 inches at the height of the clock) it will take, they somehow estimate, about 10,000 years to reach the same angle as the tower at Pisa, which is standing at around four degrees.

Despite the tower’s minor tilt, it is apparent to the naked eye. From across Westminster Bridge it leans slightly to the right. For the sake of political balance, from Parliament Square it leans slightly to the left. (There’s no comfortable Liberal Democrat viewpoint, but it seems few want to view anything from that angle anyway.)

The tower’s gradually shift, hardly helped by having the Jubilee tube line running beneath it, isn’t being treated as an emergency. Renovation work isn’t expected to start before 2020. If you’re coming to London for the Olympics, it should still be standing.

More at

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Meet the correspondents: Zhenia Vasiliev

For me, both a graphic designer and illustrator, drawing is rather a process of thinking rather producing a finished piece. I love to think about how things look like, and drawing helps me with this, so sketching is a big part of my profession.

Regrettably, my full-time work schedule does not allow me to do full-scale sketching sessions too often, so most of the time I do a sketch on the go, whenever I am - so any place around London will suit me as a sketcher. I love working on along Regents canal, sketching birds, trees and people in the parks, or make a quick street scene from a cafe window, especially when it's cold outside.

I love trying all of the art materials and exploring how different materials work together in a sketch. When I go out of the house, I just grab something that lies on my work table - a bunch of colour pencils, a waterbrush, a watercolour box or just a ballpoint pen. All the materials are worth exploring and give a new dimension to my work.

Visit my blog and check out my flickr.

Marble Arch, waterbrush, india ink

Traffic jam, colour pencils, from an upper deck of a double decker bus.

Upper street sketch, North London, watercolour