Sunday, 4 December 2022

Let's draw London in 2023 -- Come join us for a smashing year of sketching

 Draw London with us in 2023

As our 10th anniversary year draws to a close, next year's programme is about to unfold. Have a look at our brilliant lineup for our monthly Saturday sketchcrawls in 2023.

As always, our regular sketchcrawls are free, and there's no need to book. Just show up with your drawing kit.

We look forward to drawing London with you.

See you at the next sketchcrawl! 


 
Celebrating 10 years of Urban Sketchers London
2012 - 2022




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London by Urban Sketchers - Our 10 Year Anniversary Book

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Friday, 2 December 2022

CHANGE OF DATE - Let's draw Covent Garden - Saturday 10 December 2022



PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE

After much deliberation, we have decided to bring the Covent Garden sketchcrawl forward by one week, to Saturday 10 DecemberThis is due to the planned RMT strikes on 16 and 17 December. Our meeting time and place will remain the same. For details please see our original blog post.


But wait, there's more!

In addition to this, some of us are still planning to meet and sketch in Covent Garden on Saturday the 17th. Despite the rail strikes that day, most London Underground lines should still be operational, albeit busy and with delays.

If you are able to, please come and join us on the 17th as well - there is no such thing as too much sketching!

The meeting time and place for the 17th will remain the same for now, but travel disruptions are likely and for that reason we need to flexible. We will post updates closer to the time.

See you at Covent Garden!


 
Celebrating 10 years of Urban Sketchers London
2012 - 2022


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London by Urban Sketchers - Our 10 Year Anniversary Book

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Thursday, 1 December 2022

We drew Trafalgar Square - Saturday 12 November 2022

Midday throwdown and group photo
Photo by John Swanson

By John Swanson

It’s always a little risky arranging a sketchcrawl at this time of year. The problem is the weather: what to do if it rains? Or it’s foggy? Howling gales? So, we went with a backup plan to draw in the National Gallery, but it turned out we didn’t need it. Landseer’s lions basked in warm sunshine, and Nelson looked down benignly on the crowds idling about in shorts and t-shirts, eating ice-creams. Completely wrong for November of course, but in the circumstances the only thing to do was enjoy it.


Initial briefing
Photo by Jimmy Lu 


We gathered at 11 am. Some people had arrived earlier, and already had sketches to show. By the time the briefing began we had maybe 80 people, gathered under the rather splendid statue 'Antelope' on the Fourth Plinth.



Photo by John Webb

Then the work began. The square was already busy with tourists, but soon it was even busier with sketchers. They were everywhere. All the seats down one side of the square were taken by people squinting, measuring, sucking on pens, drawing and painting. Sketchers sat on the fountains, they inspected the lions, they set up portable easels.

Photo by Zane Karklina


Photo by Zane Karklina


Photo by Zane Karklina


At 1pm we gathered again to compare stories and sketches in the throwdown. This took place below the wall on the west side, out of the way of the crowds. However, it also meant the pictures could only be seen from one side -– or from the parapet above. With so many sketchers, this led to something of a scrum, not very satisfactory.

Seeing this, one of our number took charge: ‘Form a queue and walk past from the right! Then everyone can see!’ And after we recovered from astonishment at such a sensible idea, it all worked, brilliantly. In fact, I’d recommend future sketch organisers adopt the idea. As for the sketcher who initiated this, given the authoritative way she brought order to a disorderly bunch of independently minded citizens -– they were all artists, after all -– I’d guess she might be a teacher. Or ex-military. (I owe her both thanks and an apology, for although I did meet her, I’ve forgotten her name. Sorry, but I hope you return.)

Photo by John Swanson


The square became much livelier in the afternoon. First, there was a noisy gathering of Iranian protesters up in the north-east corner, with flags, loudspeakers and a drum.

Iranian demonstrators 
Sketch by John Swanson


Down in the square, in front of Nelson’s column, a stage had been built, and before long another demonstration arrived, this one in support of -– or possibly against — COP27. Suddenly there were more police to be seen, who, despite the hostility shown towards them by some of the speakers, treated the whole thing in a good-natured way. However, the combined racket was a bit too much for some of us, and a few sketchers drifted further afield to draw nearby scenes, like Whitehall and St James’ Palace.


The demonstration
Sketch by Katy Evans



St James's Palace
Sketch by Peggy Thistlethwaite

The afternoon throwdown was at 3.30, in the same place as before, with a perfectly operational and self-organised queueing system to view the work, all of it excellent. By the time we finished, the sun was getting low, and many of the buildings were bathed in a beautiful golden light. You might think the photographs have been photo-shopped, but they haven’t -- they really looked like that.

Afternoon throwdown and group photo
Photo by John Swanson


Trafalgar Square in golden evening light
Photo by Zane Karklina


Finally, many of us went for a cup of tea and a chat in The Crypt café at the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, bringing to an end what I think was a very successful sketching day.

A selection of drawings from the day


Here are more sketches on the day -- out of very many -- chosen to represent the variety of scenes and topics we drew. The quality of work was excellent; there are many more to see on Urban Sketchers London social media accounts (see links at the end of this blog post). 

Thank you to everyone who joined us and helped to make the day so much fun!

View of Trafalgar Square
Sketch by Paul Gadenne


The Fourth Plinth
Sketch by Sasala Wickramasinghe


Trafalgar Square
Sketch by Jimmy Lu



St Martin-in-the-Fields
Sketch by Bruce Bignold


View past the National Gallery towards St Martin-in-the-Fields
Sketch by James Walding


A lion of Trafalgar Square
Sketch by Cat Donne




 
Celebrating 10 years of Urban Sketchers London
2012 - 2022



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London by Urban Sketchers - Our 10 Year Anniversary Book

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Wednesday, 9 November 2022

NOTE CHANGE OF DATE - Let's draw Covent Garden - Saturday 10 December 2022


Covent Garden
Sketch by Karen Jones

 [By Isabel Carmona and Sasala Wickramasinghe]


In December we go back and draw Covent Garden in all its Christmas splendour!


The giant Christmas tree specially selected for Covent Garden! 


This is our second attempt to sketch iconic Covent Garden, since our last visit had to be cancelled due to spiking Covid numbers. As usual, Covent Garden will be full of festive cheer and bustling with Christmas shoppers. The giant baubles and mistletoe are back in the piazza -- Karen Jones (see main image above) drew these in 2016 -- and new this year is the hand painted 19th century Covent Garden Christmas Sleigh. We certainly will be spoilt for choice on things to sketch!

The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit. Don't forget to wrap up warm! 

Key times and meeting points


11 AM

Meet outside the Apple Store (1-7 The Piazza, WC2E 8HB) under the arches in the covered area, which should provide shelter in case of rain.

1 PM

We will meet at the same place outside the Apple Store for the first throwdown and group photograph. 

3.30 PM
Meet next at the side of St Pauls Church through the arched gate (see photo below) between the NatWest bank and the Church (by the performers’ area) to look at drawings and take final group photographs. This area is not sheltered, and if it rains we will revert to the covered area outside the Apple Store. One of the admins will be around to guide people if this is the case. 

3.30 pm meeting place at the side of St Pauls Church

Afterwards

We could then gather in the cafe/restaurant in the Royal Opera House on the ground floor next to the shop. This is open to the public until at least 8pm on days when they have performances. 

There are plenty of other pubs and bars (albeit very busy running up to Christmas) in Covent Garden, if people want to stay back for a drink. 

Options for drawing

  • The Victorian market buildings: the central market and Jubilee Market. There will be a Christmas market/stalls just outside the piazza opposite the entrance to the Royal Opera House. 
Sketch by Lindsay Topping
  • St Pauls Church (also known as the Actors’ Church) with its peaceful churchyard: numerous memorial plaques (including one for Sir Charles Chaplin!) and inside the warm interior is mostly covered in beautifully polished wood.  

  • Royal Opera House: the top floor bar area offers some spectacular views of Covent Garden markets below. The Floral Hall, with its magnificent barrelled roof and stunning ironwork, occasionally hold free public performances.  

Sketch by Isabel Carmona
Sketch by Jacqueline Röhr
  • Street performers and musicians: they’re everywhere! Street performers’ area outside the piazza (where the giant Christmas tree is); there is another performers’ area in the North Hall inside the piazza; there are regular Christmas carol and opera performances and musicians playing downstairs in the South Hall. 
  • London Transport Museum: The museum itself charges an entrance fee, but entry to the beautifully vibrant shop and cafe is free.  


Practical information


Getting there

The nearest Tube stations include Covent Garden (Piccadilly Line; 1min walk), Charing Cross (Bakerloo and Northern Lines; 7 min walk) and Holborn (Central and Piccadilly Lines; 10 min walk). 

COVID-19 visit information

We will remain alert to national guidance about COVID-19 and its variants. Even while restrictions have been lifted, it's sensible to take all necessary precautions to keep ourselves and fellow sketchers safe throughout the event. The risk of infection for outdoor events is low, but basic guidance still applies:
  • Please do not attend if you feel unwell
  • Wear a face covering when you're close to others
  • Give people space
  • Practice good hand hygiene.


Location map




See you in Covent Garden!


 
Celebrating 10 years of Urban Sketchers London
2012 - 2022



⧫ ⧫ ⧫ ⧫ ⧫


London by Urban Sketchers - Our 10 Year Anniversary Book

Urban Sketchers London on social media

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Sunday, 6 November 2022

To remind: Let's draw Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery -- Saturday 12 November 2022


Trafalgar Square
Sketch by John Webb

In case you missed the original post:

This month we’ll be drawing one of London’s most famous landmarks, Trafalgar Square, and the surrounding area.

Meet us at Trafalgar Square on Saturday 12 November, where our very own John Swanson and John Webb will convene the penultimate sketchcrawl of 2022. For a taste of what's on offer, have a look the original blog post then make a plan to meet your fellow London urban sketchers at the Fourth Plinth

See you at Trafalgar Square!


 
Celebrating 10 years of Urban Sketchers London
2012 - 2022

⧫ ⧫ ⧫ ⧫ ⧫


London by Urban Sketchers - Our 10 Year Anniversary Book

Urban Sketchers London on social media

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Monday, 17 October 2022

Let's draw Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery -- Saturday 12 November 2022


Trafalgar Square
Sketch by John Webb

This month we’ll be drawing one of London’s most famous landmarks, Trafalgar Square, and the surrounding area.

[Led by John Swanson and John Webb]

There are many sketching opportunities in the square and nearby. There is a new and striking statue on the Fourth Plinth, along with the famous lions, the fountains, and of course Nelson's Column, plus street performance artists and the endless crowds.

The National Gallery offers the chance to draw people in its galleries, while the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields is beautiful, famous and open to all -- another great sketching opportunity, inside and out. If you feel the need to wander further, The Mall and Whitehall are nearby.

If you wish to draw in the National Gallery, please keep to their guidelines, which are available online, and repeated here:

‘Sketching and drawing are permitted in the Gallery with the following guidelines:
  • Please be conscious of other people, and move aside if someone wishes to view the painting you are sketching
  • Sketchbooks or notepaper should be no larger than A3 size
  • Spend no more than 10 minutes in front of any painting
  • You may be asked to move along to another painting or room if we are particularly busy
  • No sketching is permitted in doorways or access routes
  • Painting and use of materials other than pencils is only permitted under the Copyist Scheme.’
The restriction to using pencils allows the use of coloured pencils, of course. If you draw inside St Martins, please keep to the same rule of using dry materials only. 

There is no cost, just wrap up warm and bring your drawing gear.

Key times and meeting points


11am

Meet by the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. We will meet on the lower level of the square, below the statue.

(If it's rainy, we will meet under the walkway that connects the Sainsbury Wing of the Gallery to the older part of the building.)

Location of the walkway.
We will meet underneath it if it's rainy.

1 pm

Meet for the lunchtime group photo and throwdown, by the Fourth Plinth. (If it's rainy, we will meet inside the Sainsbury Wing of the Gallery, in the open area just inside the entrance. It takes a little time to get through the entry security checks, so it’s best to allow a few minutes for this.)

3.30 pm

Meet for the final throwdown and group photo by the Fourth Plinth, or if it's wet, inside the Sainsbury Wing of the Gallery. We will then meet for post-sketch coffee and chat in the Café in the Crypt, at St Martin-in-the-Fields.


The 4th Plinth
Sketch by John Swanson


Practical information


Toilets are available in Trafalgar Square, close to the Fourth Plinth, and in the National Gallery. There is a charge of 20p in the square; contactless payment is available.

Entry to the National Gallery’s general collection is free. However, the National Portrait Gallery, next to the National, is closed until next year.

If you forget any of your drawing gear, there is a Cass Art shop just round the corner in Charing Cross Road.

There are many cafés and restaurants in the area, including in the Gallery, and there's the Café in the Crypt on the lower level of St Martin-in-the-Fields.

The nearest Tube station is Charing Cross (there are many exits, so follow the signs for the Trafalgar Square exit), while Leicester Square and Embankment stations are very close.

There are many bus services, but it’s best to consult Transport for London (TfL) for advice.

COVID-19 visit information

We will remain alert to national guidance about COVID-19 and its variants. Even while restrictions have been lifted, it's sensible to take all necessary precautions to keep ourselves and fellow sketchers safe throughout the event. The risk of infection for outdoor events is low, but basic guidance still applies:
  • Please do not attend if you feel unwell
  • Wear a face covering when you're close to others
  • Give people space
  • Practice good hand hygiene.

Location map


See you at Trafalgar Square!

⧫ ⧫ ⧫ ⧫ ⧫

 
Celebrating 10 years of Urban Sketchers London
2012 - 2022


London by Urban Sketchers - Our 10 Year Anniversary Book

Urban Sketchers London on social media

Join our mailing list


Sign up here to receive all the latest Urban Sketchers London news in your email Inbox.




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