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


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!

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