Tag Archives: urban sketchers

Urban Sketching #HomeSweetHome

pen and ink cartoons dayin my life
Sketching a day in a life

This week, Stoke Urban Sketchers celebrated international recognition as they were granted the status of ‘Regional Chapter’ within the global community of Urban Sketchers.

The group met up for a sketch this Saturday in the New Vic and the group founders, Laura Green and Rhomany Klair Scattergood were interviewed by the Sentinel for a feature as part of the Stoke bid for City of Culture 2021. There’s a taster video of the sketching session here filmed by Rhomany.

Instead of sharing my recent sketches, I thought I would rewind a bit to where I began  keeping a sketch book. A few years ago, it was a wish of mine to become a member of the Urban Sketching community. I loved the confidence and simplicity of sketches from life and how people would share their sketches from all over the world. The range of skill is quite dramatic – from hurried sketches to accomplished works of art.

sketch book diary of my day
Breakfast part one and two

Even with my background in architecture, I still found it quite daunting to sketch out on the street, but that was only until I came across the work of Danny Gregory and his genius idea of Sketch Book Skool.

morning sketches tortoise, dog and cat
Pets and washing on a sunny day

I think I was the eighteenth person to enlist on ‘Beginning‘, that first round of Sketch Book Skool lessons, which was such a brilliant experience. There must be thousands enlisted now.  Danny and his co-teachers taught us all to just go for it – to sketch our days and in so doing we sketch our lives.

For these sketches, I was following a lesson given by Prashant Miranda, recording a day from start to end, my early dip into sketching from life, which is all urban sketching is about.

sketches of ordinary scenes
Peg out washing, sand windows or sketch?
5 easter monday crop 5
At the end of Easter Monday – it’s bubbles!

If you are thinking of joining a local group of Urban Sketchers – it is really informal and you’ll be made very welcome! 

notice board 2
Kitchen Noticeboard

8 loch lomondThanks for reading!


Train leaving Platform One

Letterbox drawing in pen and ink on Stoke station by Ronnie Cruwys
King George Letterbox, Platform One, Stoke-on-Trent Station

Having a sketch book means waiting for anything is a pleasure,  especially somewhere like Stoke Station where there are plenty of subjects to draw.  This letterbox on Platform One caught my eye, marked with the initials GR, for George VI (reigned 1936 to 1952). The evening sunlight was pouring all over it and it was so bright, it looked gilded in places.

Thanks to @Rhomany for recommending Holbein Watercolours and the juicy Vermillion Hue, this is a proper letterbox red!

pen and ink sketch in Perfect Sketch book
Gables and Chimneys over the North Stafford Hotel, Stoke Station

On the opposite side of the station stands the North Stafford Hotel , built in 1847, and listed grade 2*, with its grand Dutch gables and rows of chimney pots.

Pen and ink andwatercolour sketch of Victorian chimneys over Stoke Station Hotel
Chimney stacks, Station Hotel, Stoke-on-Trent

These sketches are tiny – drawn in a palm sized pocket sketch book – one of the ‘Perfect Sketchbooks‘ made up by Erwin Lian. The paper is lovely to draw on and means that is is easy to zoom on an a detail and draw something like a chimney stack, or a chap with his phone and coffee.

pen and ink sketch of a chap in Stoke Station
Coffee to go

There were a few trips down south last month so a few London sketches will follow soon.

Signing off with the best thing to follow a run of townie sessions: a day out cycling on the Welsh coast!

Thanks for reading


sketch of the car at picnic spot in Wales
Time for another brew, but this time after a bike ride at Llyn Tegin, Snowdonia

Recharging the Batteries

Church Stretton jan 2017 a.jpg
Church Stretton, Shropshire

Plans for January to be a time of taking stock of where I’m going and all that have gone out the window! Instead I’m treating it as a time to recharge the batteries.

We went for a great leg stretch up on the Long Mynd a week into the New Year which helped me recover form some cold bug (too long spent sketching in the cold in Hanley!) when I did the above sketch in Church Stretton whilst Iain went and had a look in a bike shop.

Christmas was fab but we had to say cheerio to our much loved old girl Nina shortly after. She almost made it to 14 years.

Nina, our Chesapeake Bay retreiver, sunbathing
Nina, our Chesapeake Bay retreiver, sunbathing

It’s a quiet house without a dog  (first time in 18 years) – although noticeably cleaner!

Then last Saturday afternoon it was really lovely to meet up with some sketching enthusiasts in Middleport Potteries, as I joined the Stoke branch of Urban Sketchers sketching in and around the buildings.

Middleport Pottery sketch.jpg


Canadian Pine.jpg
Met up with Paul and Mandy of The Canadian Pine Company – thanks for your hospitality!

Middleport is famous for its Burleighware, those rich deep blue and white pots – we have a jug at home which my sister bought for me – like this one:

Anne's Burleighware Jug.jpg

Thanks for reading and wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2017.


The Big Draw goes Psychedelic

large coloured drawing
Pyschedia alive and well in Newcastle’s Borough Museum and Gallery

A short post here as the art speaks so well for itself! Been getting stuck into The Big Draw with a few other members of Gallery at 12, home of Staffordshire Artists Co-operative.

It’s been a delight to meet these lively, creative youngsters – they need no encouragement, only coloured chalks and papers and they are off. Newcastle Borough Museum and Gallery have done a great job hosting this drawing event throughout half-term.

Saturday and our first artist Ashton with his beautiful drawing.
Ashton with his beautiful drawing.

Saturday’s star was Ashton, our first artist of the week who really set the standard high.

Monday’s star was Charlotte – or rather ‘Team Charlotte’ with their much admired triptych:

Oakley drawings
The Oakley Triptych
Serious stuff from this table...
Serious stuff from this table…’Team Charlotte’ with Craig and Wayne from Gallery at 12

Today, Thursday, was full of activity but the work of these three young artists made a great splash of colour on the walls.

kids paintings for the Big Draw
Natalia, Isabel and Georgia pin their work up in the gallery today.
kids drawings at borough Museum and gallery
Wall of Colour
Hens were a universal favourite.

As any grad student of #SketchBookSkul knows, all mornings spent drawing is followed by a pick me up sketch

As any grad student of #SketchBookSkool knows, a morning spent drawing is best followed by a pick-me-up coffee and yes, another sketch. Cheers Embassy Grind – great new destination for us here in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Thanks for reading.


Dougie Mac at Station Stores, Whitmore


It is the big Douggie Mac Bike Ride today. It’s terrific to see all the cyclists out in their jazzy colours for such a great cause, all very chirpy and making an early start on their bid for LLangollen. I have been meaning to sketch some of the buildings close to home so, continuing in the spirit of Sketch Book Skool, I sat outside the Sheet Anchor and sketched Station Stores along with a few cyclists!

A few examples of the smiles, waves and colour below. Thanks for reading!Image










English Kitchen, Brunswick Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme

No 7 Brunswick Street, The English Kitchen

English Kitchen
No 7 Brunswick Street

I’m back from a wonderful family gathering and one of the first jobs on my list was to MOT my car. I popped the car into the garage but this time, packed my pens and sketchbook as there is a building close by that I have wanted to draw for quite some time.

No 7 Brunswick street stands out as a reminder of what was once a street of elegant town houses. The building next door is shrouded in scaffolding at present but the English Kitchen was just the right size for me to complete in one hit, standing with my back to Jubilee Pool.

First and second floor of 7 Brunswick Street
Look up!

Thanks to my friends who have encouraged me to get out there and draw – I completed the line drawing on the street and applied the colour at home. Here is the final sketch. Thanks for reading!

Pen and ink sketch of 7 Brunswick St
No 7 Brunswick Street in full technicolour!