Tag Archives: art

Selective sketching on Princes Street

ink and watercolour sketch of a princes street building

Today was such a glorious September afternoon here in Edinburgh, perfect for a little outdoor sketching

This beautiful Victorian building is on Princes Street. I have ignored the bottom floor as it is a recently closed, boarded up shop.

It is such a shame that rinces Street is looking so tired just now, a mixture of closed shops, discount stores and mobile phone clones. But look above the ground floor eyeline and there are some beautiful architectural details.

Like this tall building which lies opposite the Scottish National Gallery. Dating back to the late 1800s I believe it was originally a tea room and would be lovely brought back to its glory days.

I would love to see more independent shops on Princes Street, original and different enough to bring shoppers back to the high street.

WhereArtI Quiz – 17th May

A watercolour scene in Edinburgh, but can you place it?

Can you tell me where in Edinburgh I have sketched?

Your comment will not show up until I reveal the answer tomorrow morning. Get your answer in before midnight tonight and I will pick a random winner from all correct entries by this time tomorrow.

This week’s prize is a screen printed tea towel featuring my illustration of The Shore in Leith.

Keep an eye on my facebook and twitter feeds for clues if they are needed later today, and remember you can also see my weekly competition in the printed version of the Edinburgh Evening News each Monday.

Keep looking up and noticing the beauty in the everyday, you never know where I will be sketching next!

My Edinburgh sketched merchandise and high quality prints are available on my Etsy shop and I am available for commissions too. Email me at contact@edinburghsketcher.com for more details.

WhereArtI Edinburgh?

Monday 6th April

Can you tell me where I have sketched?

Do you recognise this famous clock?

Leave your answer in the comment box below. Your comment will not show up until I reveal the answer, which I will do before the end of the day.

I will pick a random winner from all correct entries and they will go on to the ‘Winners wall’ for the month. At the end of the month one of those will be picked to receive a prize.

The prize for April is a screen printed tote bag featuring my sketch of Edinburgh Castle.

Keep an eye on my facebook and twitter feeds for clues if they are needed later today, and I will pick a winner for the Winners Wall before the end of the day.

Keep looking up and noticing the beauty in the everyday, you never know where I will be sketching next!

If you would like to buy an Edinburgh Sketcher tote you can find them in my Etsy shop.

Ravelston Garden buildings

This striking building on Craigleith Crescent is known as Ravelston Garden and always catches my eye as I pass by in the car, usually on the way the either the Modern Art Gallery or Craigleith Retail park.

One such time I had a little time so stopped to sketch the view. I was looking for a location for my WhereArtI quiz and thought this was ideal. Somewhere I would recognise but not necessarily know the location of from memory.

Designed by Andrew Neil and Robert Hurd, in the 1930’s the buildings were originally known as the Jenners flats, who were the managing agents. Ravelston Garden is a category A listed building, designated by Historic Scotland for “national or international importance”.

I love finding out a little bit more about the buildings I draw, and hope you do too.

This drawing was created with a black 0.3 fine liner and a water brush and watercolour set.

The Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery

Inspired by advertising prints made over 100 years ago.u exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery is inspiring

This is the first exhibition held at the National Galleries of Scotland devoted to the art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). Coming from an advertising background myself I find his work so inspiring, the limited use of colour and striking imagery which captured the imagination and turned mass produced posters into artwork for many years to come.

Most famous of all are his posters for the nightspots of the bohemian district of Montmartre in Paris, where Toulouse-Lautrec lived, worked and socialised, including the now legendary café-cabarets Le Moulin Rouge and Le Chat Noir.

The exhibition which runs until 20th January 2019 focuses on Toulouse-Lautrec’s lithographic posters, portfolio prints and illustrations which made stars of Montmartre’s venues and their entertainers.

But also we see his portrait sketches in pencil and some of the less known rejected artwork. The exhibition creates a glimpse of the man who, over one hundred years ago created such lovely sketches from rehearsals or back stage including the acts, the orchestra and the crowd.

I’m looking forward to doing more of that myself in the summer.

The sketch was made with fine liner ink pens and a watercolour set and brush. PS I added the writing on the walls 😉

For more information and to book see the National Galleries Scotland website here. 

A new commission in a brand new building

CPG Photography

Today Lidl opened a new superstore on Easter Road, and they commissioned me to create a sketch for their wall.

The brief was to show the new store as both part of the local area and Edinburgh as a whole.

I really enjoyed sketching this out as it was a little stretch for me as many of the angles and perspectives are made up,
(I didn’t really have a seagulls eye view of the street!).

Easter Road swirls and curves its way into the centre of Edinburgh way in the distance, again not exactly right but suits the flow of the image. Leith Lines is hanging up on the first floor of the new Lidl store and you will see it if entering from the carpark area which is on the ground floor.

The Easter Road store is uniquely designed with shopping on the first floor and a large car park on the ground floor. The shop has a 1286 m² sales area and has an in-store bakery.

Pop in and have a look and let me know what you think of the sketch.

Giveaway: If you take a picture of my in store sketch and post it online, and be sure to tag me in  it – then I will pick one to receive a print of Leith Lines. 


Lidl website

Thanks CPG Photography for the image. 


New art in the Haven cafe, in Leith

haven prints photoThe Haven cafe provides fresh and tasty fry ups from its Anchorfield home in Newhaven.

With friendly staff, fresh made to order food and scrummy home baked cakes it is no wonder this popular cafe is always busy. I love the fact I have a wall of framed artwork for sale there as it gives me the perfect reason to visit!

The Banana Flats sketch, top left is a giclee print which I have added watercolour too to create an original piece, is £49. The square Victoria Bridge, top right is also a giclee print from an original watercolour painted on location in Leith, and that is £65 in the frame.

A true locals secret this place is well worth a visit if in Leith, and much, much better value than many close by. Plus the walls are full of local artwork, what more do you want!

The Haven Cafe website


WhereArtI 5th March 2018

Where in Edinburgh have I sketched?

If you can you tell me where in the Scottish capital I have sketched then you could win a great prize. Email me your answer using the link below and I will randomly pick a correct answer tomorrow morning, who will then go into the monthly draw to win a prize.

The prize for March is a set of my new Edinburgh Sketcher wooden postcards.

Currently being printed the three sketches featured on my new wooden postcards, which can be posted with the same postage as a normal postcard, will be Edinburgh Castle, Greyfriars Bobby and the Forth Bridge. A photo will appear here later.

Click HERE to enter your answer

The answer is always in Edinburgh so keep looking up and noticing the details in Scotland’s stunning capital city. Keep an eye on my facebook and twitter feeds for clues through the day if they are needed.

Enter via the link above or email contact@edinburghsketcher.com with the subject line ‘WhereArtI 5th March 2018’.

Apex Grassmarket Hotel website.

Fantastic art created in the National Museums Scotland

imagePrize giving at the NMS for this years Christmas Art Competition.

Now in its 44th year the NMS Christmas Art Competitioni open to all ages and runs each winter just for the few days between Christmas Day and the New Year.

Participants are givin paper and pencils and encouraged to capture any of the thousands of exhibits on display in the Chambers Street museum.

This January I was one of three judges asked to narrow down the many entries into 1st 2nd and 3rd places for each age category. Ranging from 3years to 70years the artists varied in styles as well as abilities and it was a great inspiration to see so many beautiful pieces created in so little time.

It was an honour to help pick the winners and congratulations to not just those who attended today to receive their prizes but also to all those who took part and found enjoyemeant from drawing in such a wonderful location.

This quick sketch is in watercolour, from days ceremony.

National Museums Scotland

A new skill for a new year

Pyrography Castle 2I was very lucky this Christmas to receive a pyrography set from Mrs Sketcher and I have been having fun experimenting since.

It’s always great to find a new way to be creative and from my early experiences it seems pyrography, which is the art of decorating wood or other materials with burn marks is perfect for my style of sketching.

Using a ‘pen’ with a heated tip you can make a marks on wood and with a number of different shaped tips you can make various marks from curved lines to broad shading. Below is my first mess around with the pen, and a burn portrait of Mocha, the Sketcher Cat.

Pyrography Mocha

I have included a link to a similar kit to mine online if you want to have a go yourself, it is a little tricky to get used to the speed in which you move the pen, as depending on the wood if too slow the tip can stick resulting in a large burn mark, and if too fast then the linework can be too light. But once you have a controlled speed the drawing is relatively easy.

The kit I received had a number of wood pieces within to try out the pen but unfortunately they were not labelled so I cannot name the wood that these are made on, if you can then please let me know.

A similar pyrography kit at the HobbyCraft website.

The original Edinburgh Castle burnt sketch is available framed for £75. Let me know HERE if you would like to purchase it.

Pyrography Castle frame