Category Archives: Daily Sketch

Stunning View from the Belford Bridge

The Water of Leith flowing into Dean Village, such a peaceful view from the Belford Bridge in Edinburgh.

This ink and watercolour drawing was originally drawn A2 size (roughly 40x60cm) and so I managed to get great detail into the trees that line the river as it meanders its way through this scene.

I love how the ivy and other plants climb up the wall and over into the gardens of these Dean Village houses. Such a calming view from the bridge and a great place to play pooh sticks 🙂

This sketch was drawn large for a client but prints are now available from my Etsy shop in two sizes – 150x100mm for £20 and 297x210mm for £34. Buy them HERE.

Coffee break sketch

I am determined to work in a few more random sketches into my day.

Not for commission, not for promotion, not for deadline. Just for me, as it brings so much joy and although I love drawing for a living and am so lucky to have clients wanting my work, sometimes it’s just so relaxing to just draw for fun 😊

Have a great weekend all, and here’s to a little more normal routine returning next week with the kids returning to school.

A Lazy Saturday Morning

iPad time on the couch.

The Sketcher Twins are getting older, 10 years old this month and I’m losing them little by little to their gadgets. But then I’m just as bad plus this morning I welcomed the chance to get my little sketching fix 🙂 Plus it’s nice listening to them giggle together.

Time to put pens and gadgets down now though and get out in that glorious sunshine. Enjoy your weekend everyone 🙂

Snowy Steps in the City

The view down Fleshmarket Close is always a favourite and recently the snow fall in Edinburgh made this view even more special.

One morning in early February I got wrapped up in extra layers, gloves and big boots on and ventured into the city. The snow had not stopped the night before and everywhere was covered with a thick layer of crisp snow.

I took probably a hundred or more photographs, every corner revealed a new picture perfect scene, places I know so well but with a new slant, a freshness and cleanness which snow can achieve.

I did try to sketch on location but with minus temperatures my fingers didn’t last long before I had to stop and return to the warmth of my studio to work.

I have a number of photos to work from so you may see more snow sketches on here as the spring arrives in Edinburgh.

This sketch can be bought as a mounted and signed print on my etsy shop HERE.

hand painted charity gift cards

My hand painted gift cards which were so popular during 2020 when visiting loved ones was so difficult, are now available for you to send again.

They proved very popular during 2020 when visiting loved ones in person was so difficult or impossible due to the pandemic travel restrictions.

Thanks to sending out hundreds of cards we made over £300 for the NHS last year which was amazing.

This year I am supporting the charity Kindred Scotland with these bespoke gift cards. Kindred are an Edinburgh charity close to my heart, as I have benefitted from them in the past.

Kindred provide practical information, advocacy, emotional support and guidance for families of children with complex needs. You can read more about them HERE.

One of many charities working hard that provide vital help to those who need it at a time when they need it most. A charity you hope you never need but if you do then you are so glad they are there.

Learn more about this 30 year old Edinburgh charity by visiting their facebook page below and if you can make a donation to help support the amazing work they do.

Kindred Scotland facebook page

You can order your original gift card now via my etsy shop and 10% of all sales will go to the charity. Each A6 card will be sent direct to your loved one and you can request a message to be handwritten to both the front and the inside. Plus you can request a flower or object of your choice for me to draw on the front.

Order your original gift card here.

Home Schooling: Science

Today’s was Science class, and James and I made towers out of sticks and sweets!!

He came up with the idea of building towers using either squares or triangles to see which were stronger.

So looking around what we had we constructed them using toothpicks and marshmallows! and then with fruit pastilles as it turned out the marshmallows weren’t the best for construction – who knew?!

It’s been a hard week with not much ES work getting done as schooling comes first, but at least it is Friday!

Enjoy the weekend parents everywhere!!

Wintry Princes Street Gardens

At the start of the year Edinburgh had a dusting of snow which for me highlighted one positive of the pandemic lockdown.

Princes Street Gardens would usually be full of the Christmas and New Year festivities, including the fun fair land of markets and rides which takes up almost all of the gardens each year.

As the markets and fairgrounds were cancelled this year it was lovely to see this scene, with the only people in the gardens those sledging down the slopes or building snow men under the snow covered trees.

I love how the sun is just reaching over the buildings of the high street and highlighting those on Princes Street.

This sketch highlights the gardens in winter and I hope in future years we still get to enjoy the gardens as a space to have fun in the snow.

View this sketch as a mounted print and buy from just £20 including UK delivery here.

Snow fall in Edinburgh

On the second of January I woke early to find a new snow fall had dusted Edinburgh with a coating of what looked like icing sugar on a Victorian film set.

I dressed quickly and headed into town, eager to see the city centre streets before too many footprints and tyre tracks had muddied the white stuff. I walked up through Stockbridge taking photographs at every corner. So many views that look so different, fresh and clean with snow on the floor.

As I passed through the New Town I had to stop and make a quick drawing, I sat on a Georgian step and looked across Forres Street around the corner of Moray Place Gardens. Such a perfect scene with the stunning architecture, railings and lamps rising out of the snow!

After finishing my piece I walked up onto Princes Street taking more photos to work from, and trying to get the blood back into my fingers!

Enjoy the winter snow fall everyone 🙂

I later added a sledger being pulled across the road as an idea for a Christmas card for next year:

My 2020 Top Ten Sketches

In December the Edinburgh Evening News and Scotsman papers ran my top ten sketches of 2020

2020 is a year that most may want to forget. It is also one that we should remember when many of us took time to reflect, to stop and slow down a bit. For me, looking back through this years sketches brings back happy memories of family time and finding new ways to make my art and connect with people. 

Below are my personal favourites from the past twelve months and I look forward to sharing my sketches in 2021, hopefully with more crowds and live events. Keep playing the WhereArtI quiz every Monday on my website and in the printed Edinburgh Evening News. Thank you for your continued support. Mark, ES

1. Meadows Blossom

The year started so innocently, I was full of enthusiasm for a fresh start and trying new ways to make art, and this watercolour of the Meadows blossom was an experiment in not using the black ink as usual, instead light pencil and watercolour. 

2. Just To Say gift cards

And then, due to the Covid 19 outbreak, we went into lockdown early in March. At first I wondered what to do and how to continue my artwork from home. I thought a lot about how people couldn’t see each other anymore and wanted a way to help people connect with each other through art. I created individualised hand painted gift cards with personal messages on them. 

They were very popular and by giving a percentage to the NHS Covid fund I was able to donate over £350 and also keep myself busy through those early days. 

3. Lockdown Bedroom / Office

As lockdown continued I sketched from my house, capturing homeschooling and our daily walks, regular life which I could share to show how most of us were going through a similar experience. I know many people related to this sketch of my bedroom/office. 

4. Empty Princes Street

Once we could take longer daily walks I ventured into the city centre and it was amazing to see how empty the streets were. With all the shops closed and the buses not running this was the scene on Princes Street. 

5. NHS Rainbow Windows

For my family one of the highlights of our daily walks around our area was seeing the colourful and creative rainbow windows people were displaying in the houses. They were great to spot and also a reminder of how the community was going through this pandemic together. 

6. Zoom Workshops

Like many people I hadn’t heard of Zoom before 2020, but during lockdown I used it for home schooling and also for a new venture with fellow artist Cassandra Harrison. Together we started a fortnightly online art workshop where people can join in and draw together from anywhere in the world, so long as they had connection to the internet. It has been a learning curve but great to be in touch and drawing together again. This sketch is of the Usher Hall, drawn from a photograph using charcoal. 

7. Festival Cancelled

For the first time in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s seven-decade history there was of course no Fringe program in August. Knowing how busy and full of life the Royal Mile usually is at that time it was so strange to see it deserted. This watercolour captured the sombre mood as well as a passer by wearing a face mask, which at the time were still quite rare. 

8. Water of Leith

During the lockdown my outdoor sketching was practically non existent, with no sketching workshops to run or live events to cover it was hard not having that outlet. This sketch from the Water of Leith near Stockbridge was one of my first where I could just relax, take my time and capture the views in front of me again. It was great to be back!

9. Support A Business Sketch 

As the shops started to reopen in Edinburgh, I started visiting the few independent gift shops that sell my city merchandise. It was a pretty grim tale as although most were glad to be open again and able to sell, customers were still uneasy about returning to shopping on the high street and so business was slow for many.

I thought I could support local independent businesses by sketching their shop fronts and sharing them through my social media to highlight the need for support through the local community in order to survive. I continue to do this using the hashtag #supportasmallbusinesssketch

10. Leith Theatre

Another industry heavily affected by the lockdown is the theatre and events industry.I was recently commissioned to spend a few days sketching Leith Theatre, which is currently empty and falling into disrepair. I spent a couple of days capturing both the inside and out of this beautiful venue. This watecolour was drawn in the main hall. 

Steps on a shortcut

A link between streets and some beautiful iron work hidden away from the main road.

These steps at the top of Easter Road where once a twice daily sight for me as I walked to and from work. I love the iron work and the fact they are hidden away at the bottom on a dead end street.

Just by the previous primary school, which is now Abbeymount Studios, these steps lead up from West Norton Place to Melrose Terrace, providing a small short cut from Easter Road into Abbeyhill.

I have walked the street in all weathers and t all times of the year, but this week I drove up the road and sat to draw this sketch in the warmth!

You can buy a signed print of this sketch HERE