Saturday, 26 December 2020

Sasala Wickramasinghe
My name is Sasala Wickramasinghe, I live in London.

I chanced upon the concept of urban sketching in 2017 whilst browsing the art shelves in Foyles Bookshop in London: a quick flick through the book, Urban Watercolour Sketching by Felix Scheinberger was enough: why didn't anyone tell me about urban sketching sooner?! I come from a scientific background - a clinical biochemist by day, working for the NHS. It is an immensely fulfilling and interesting role, although apart from the occasional flow chart, requires little or no artistic skill. 

My first official urban sketching experience was with USk London in December 2017 to the V&A in South Kensington. There was no turning back after that - I've become an urban sketcher! I promptly signed up for Liz Steel's online watercolour course which not only taught me how to mix watercolour properly, but inspired me even more to delve further into this amazing activity.

I attended my first USk symposium in Porto in 2018. Never before, have I met so many amazing and talented people in one place - such diversity yet with a single great passion - urban sketching! I learnt so much from amazing teachers like Matthew Brehm and Shari Blaukopf. I made so many friends and met sketchers I've been following on social media for a while before then; and Porto itself, a beautiful city full of character.

In the past 3 years, I have learnt and absorbed skills from workshops, symposia and fellow sketchers. They have only gone on to fuel the fire inside me for more urban sketching. For me, the greatest 'aha' moment has been when I realised that I'll never again be bored of waiting, for anyone or anything (train/bus/airport/cafe/street-corner), as long as I carry my urban sketching kit with me!

During these challenging times, knee-deep in a pandemic, sketching has been a life line for me. I feel humbled and grateful for the opportunity to share my experience and contribute more to USk London chapter as an admin.   

Instagram: @sasketcher_rw




Saturday, 19 December 2020

Let's draw: Urban Sketchers London 2021 Provisional Programme

Sketch by Helen Hayhoe

Looking ahead to 2021, the challenge for USK London is to expect the unexpected. We cannot be responsible for organising structured, real-life events due to government restrictions, but we have decided that we will choose a theme for each month as sketch inspiration that people can do according to national, local and personal situations.

We will stick to the format of one Saturday a month, with a timed ‘throwdown’ on Facebook where people can share their sketches and, for each of the specific events, we will allow flexibility for sketchers to share work not necessarily made within the M25. We want to be as inclusive as possible at this difficult time and include anyone isolating or in lockdown.

Each month, we will introduce the theme with ideas for a group meet up (if and when that is possible), an interpretation that can be done locally, and tasks that can be completed from your home. That way we can rise to the opportunities that come about but adapt to the levels of restriction that apply at any moment in time.

Where a specific location is mentioned, please do follow government guidelines. Feel free to visit the location as an individual at any time during the month of the theme, or to sketch in small groups as allowed. ‘Throwing down’ on Facebook on a specific day will bring us together.

We would also like to encourage the sense of our community of sketchers by encouraging you to write more about your sketches – about the media used, your inspiration and more about you. Do feedback to each other and comment on posts. There is a wealth of talent out there. We will also be collaborating with other USK groups, in the UK and beyond.

Also we are very happy to welcome Sasala Wickramasinghe to the admin team in 2021! More about Sasala in an upcoming post.

We are presenting plans for the first 6 months of 2021. We welcome you to offer to co-facilitate any of the months’ events, and/or to offer to run events for the other months. We do have ideas for the next set of themes but welcome new ideas too. Email us at

Further details about each theme will be posted nearer to the time.

Saturday 16th January/Regeneration/Isabel Carmona 

Battersea Power Station, Changes that you notice in your local area, Changes in your home: redecoration, DIY 

Sunday 14th February/Naughty but nice/Nicky Brown 

Eros in Piccadilly Circus, Spring, blossoms, snowflakes… Chocolates, Valentines… 

Saturday 27th March/People/John Webb 

Waterloo Station, Passers by, You and yours 

Saturday 17th April/Animals/Jo Dungey 

Details to be confirmed by Jo nearer the time.

Saturday 15th May/Squares/Lis Watkins 

Trafalgar Square, Your local square, Square things! 

Saturday 19th June/Water/Helen Hayhoe 

Twickenham Riverside, Local river or pond, Water in your home 

Ideas for July to December include Sculpture, Decoration, History, House and Garden, Transport, Food and Stairways. We welcome any other suggestions and offers of help for the second half of the year. Please get in touch!


Monday, 7 December 2020

Winter Festivals - a drawing challenge for Saturday 12th December 2020

As we still cannot meet as group, we though it might be nice to set a theme to replace this month’s cancelled sketchcrawl and the suggestion is ‘Winter Festivals.’ It could be activities indoors, outdoors, something grand, small details, at home or in a public space. The idea is to use the idea of ‘Winter Festivals’ as a starting point to inspire some sketching and how you choose to interpret it is entirely up to you!

We will have a ‘throwdown’ on the London USk Facebook page from 3.30pm where you can share your sketches with the group.

Please note: We want to be as inclusive as possible at this difficult time and include anyone isolating or in lockdown so we will allow sketchers to share work not necessarily made within the M25 on this particular occasion.

*Sketch from last year outside the Natural History Museum by Sassala Wickramasinghe.