Tag Archives: event

Castle of Light shines bright over Edinburgh

Last night Edinburgh Castle came to life with lasers, lights, fire jugglers and even a fiery dragon, and the family all loved it.

With many locations around the city now being lit up for the festive period I thought I know what to expect. Projected imagery morphing the sides of each building into movable objects, wonderful illusions and clever trickery turning the castles buildings into 3D canvases.

Castle of Light had all this but also took it to the next level by introducing characters, and telling some of the history of Edinburgh’s stunning fortress as we walked around the cobbled walkways.

My two eight year olds loved it and I was impressed by the projections, especially St Mary’s Chapel as a treasure box. The fun element was all around but I was blown away by the drawings and emotion of WW1 commemorative piece on the War Museum.

Fun, moving, thought provoking and educational. Top marks.

The Castle of Light is on until 22nd December and although not inexpensive at £18 for an adult (concessions are available) this is so much more than just a light show.

Book your tickets here:
Edinburgh Castle website

Yotel’s opening night bash, sketched in watercolours

Last week I was kindly invited to the opening night of a hotel on Queen Street, Edinburgh.

With hotels around the world the Queen Street address is Yotel’s first opening in Scotland, and sits in Erskine House, formerly office space looking out towards Fife.

Appealing to ‘independent, tech-savvy travellers’ it was only right we were greeted on the night by a robot, who asked our name and gave me a high five as I passed by.

Through out the night we were entertained by dancers and entertainers dressed in stunning outfits, some of which I managed to sketch during the evening.

Mrs Sketcher and I danced the night away in the club room while a number of DJs kept us dancing until the balloons fell from the sky!

Top night and the hotel has a modern, fun vibe. And the sketches below (drawn after the event from photos) are of a wonderful music and light dance by burlesque performer Vicky Butterfly. Click on the image to enlarge.

Yotel Edinburgh website

Reflections on my sketches

Last Friday was National Selfie Day and to mark the occasion I was asked to sketch a lift mirror in the Apex Grassmarket hotel.

I took over the mirror on Thursday night and drew my design using Posca pens. These markers are a revelation I discovered when I drew on the window of the west end shop Paper Tiger.

They can draw over almost any surface and have the added bonus of being easy to clean off after a promotion.

I loved the challenge of drawing on such a large scale and using the grey and silver markers made for a great effect.

I imagine this would work well at a wedding event, a large scale piece drawn for the night and personal to the bride and groom.

If you are interested in discussing me making a bespoke illustration for your event then let me know.

Thank to Apex Hotels for commissioning me, and to Matt Beech for the photograph of me drawing ūüôā

Edinburgh International Science Festival launched with an evening of messy fun

ScienceFestival 2018 ERSurgery
Last night I sketched at the Edinburgh International Science Festival launch night at the City Art Centre in Market Street.

24 hours ago I was creating sparkly slime on the third floor of the City Art Centre. Protected with goggles and an apron I miced my sticky potion until once happy with the consistancy, I launched it at a huge target on the wall, creating a satisfactory splat.

ScienceFestival 2018 SplatTastic

Over five floors the City Art Centre has once again been transformed in to a laboratory of messy and fascinating experiments. I loved creating scabs by congealing a bloody mixture in the blood bar as well as drawing with mini robotic cubes.

ScienceFestival 2018 LegoHoops

There was also Lego building, hula hooping and having ago at 3D pain gin using a virtual Dalits headset. Great fun for all the adults there last night for the ‘Lates’ version of the popular Science Festival location. The City Art Centre is always popular with families as you can easily spend the whole day inside touring the many experiences, some of which can be booked in advance but also many are simply drop in so there is always something to see and do.

ScienceFestival 2018 Hyped

ScienceFestival 2018 VRealityVisitors book a day pass and then can explore as many of the experiences as they wish. Have a look through the many interactive activities via the link below. I am looking forward to returning soon as I only got around about half of what is on offer!

ScienceFestival 2018 BloodBar

Edinburgh International Science Festival at the City Art Centre.

My sketches we created on the night using an ink fineliner 0.5 and a water brush and small paint set. If you would like your event sketched then I offer half and full day packages. Email me HERE for more information.

ScienceFestival 2018 CityArtCentre 2

Giant Lanterns light up Edinburgh Zoo

Zoo Giant Lanterns 2018Edinburgh Zoo is currently lit by an installation of over 450 dazzling giant lanterns.

Each night during the winter Edinburgh Zoo has been transforming from a world class animal attraction destination into a world of light and wonder as the Giant Lanterns of China illuminate a mile long trail of life size animal lanterns and performing artists.

As the animals are tucked up inside visitors walk around the circular route seeing some fantastic creations including those I have sketched above. On our night the rain fell but that made for some fantastic reflections on a cold January night. There are food outlets along the route offering warming snacks and drinks, we all enjoyed some yummy hot chocolate as we walked around.

Zoo Giant Lanterns Panda

The Sketcher twins were amazed by all the lanterns, it felt like we were in the show, surrounded by colour. The craft that has gone into creating these beautiful structures was inspiring and I reccomend you see this wonderful show before it ends on the 25th February.

Because of the rain (and the frozen fingers!), I took photographs on the night and then created the montage sketch at home, with ink  and watercolour paint. 

The Giant Lanterns on the Edinburgh Zoo website

Zoo Giant Lanterns Walkway

A business trip to the Zoo

ZooCorporate1This week I was asked by The Leith Agency to run a drawing activity for one of their clients, at a corporate event inside the Chimpanzee enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo.

My workshops and sketching tours usually happen in grand architecture filled locations like the West End or beautifully tranquil gardens such as that of Lauriston Castle. Never before have we sketched Lemurs, chimpanzees and penguins, or heard the distinctive calling sounds of the Buff-cheeked Gibbon as we put pen to paper.

But it is the perfect place to draw and draw fast as each of the creatures on show although obviously are enclosed within a cage, they are free to move and scratch and simply walk away mid drawing!

It was great to take a group of about 45 people out into the Zoo for an hour of creativity, after a little introduction and guidence to be bold, to try and capture the movement and the dynamic lines of each species they all set off with just paper, a fineliner pen and a coloured marker.

The activity linked into the days themes of being bold, decisive and quick to adapt.

And the results were fantastic, as you can see from the examples here. It proved to be a great way to get some creative fresh air after a morning of meetings and talks, plus the activity linked into the days themes of being bold, decisive and quick to adapt. We had fun back in the conference room comparing our drawings, adding a mount to our favourites and picking a winner.


I look forward to doing more, and if you would like to book myself to come and run a creative activity at your team building corporate day, AGM or similar then email me HERE.

Edinburgh Zoo website

Leith Agency website

The Edinburgh International Festival 2017 launches with a spectacular light show

EIF 2017 BloomTo celebrate the launch of the 70th Edinburgh International Festival St Andrews Square will bloom into glorious life with a light and sound show.

The EIF runs from the 4th to 28th August and tonight the city will be lit up as part of ‘Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom’, an epic outdoor spectacle of light and sound, transforming the buildings of St Andrews Square into a 360 degree canvas.

I was lucky enough to see a preview of tonight’s show and this is my sketch from within St Andrews Square.

The show runs from 10pm until midnight and although early access tickets are now sold out for the two day event (tonight and tomorrow night) you can still queue to gain access via George Street from 10.30pm until midnight.

It looks set to be a magical experience, I just hope the rain stops before the performance, although I’m sure puddle reflections will make it even more beautiful!

The Edinburgh International Festival website

The Borders Book Festival is launched from the top of The Glasshouse

BoordersBookFestival LaunchEarlier this week the Borders Book Festival was officially launched overlooked by Calton Hill in the stunning roof top venue of The Glasshouse Hotel on Greenside Lane, Edinburgh.

I hope to be involved this year sketching from the four day festival which takes place each year within the walled gardens of Harmony House in the centre of Melrose.

The beautiful town of Melrose, just 35 miles from Edinburgh can now be reached via the Borders Railway, which reopened less than two years ago and rolls through some beautiful scenery. HERE is my sketch blog from the opening journey in 2015, I am looking forward to returning to the train for the trip to the festival, which runs from the 15th to 18th June.


With over 100 events at this years Borders Book Festival there is something for everyone, including a number of big name celebrities (John Cleese, Judy Murray and Steve Backshall to name just three) and an extensive Family Book Festival which I will be taking the Sketcher Twins to. I like the fact all there is no entry charge for adults accompanying children to Family Book Festival events.

So have a look at the full programme using the link below and book yourself a few events, and be sure to take the train for a lovely relaxing way to arrive.

Borders Book Festival website

The Glasshouse Hotel website

Borders Railway website

Botanic Lights once more illuminates and transforms the Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh

botanicslights2016_houseAs green spaces are turned orange with fallen leaves and the evenings are getting darker quicker, it is time once again to wrap up warm and head to Edinburgh’s Botanic gardens for a light show to amaze and stimulate.

After being out of the country for a week it was great to be back in Edinburgh and what better way to soak up the autumnal weather which greated us but with a walk around the Botanics. Usually a haven of peace and calm, for a short time every autumn the famous landscaped gardens are transformed into a trail of colour, sound, light and projection.


There are food and drinks carts to warm you as you walk Рthe marsh mallows, hot chocolate and mulled wine went down very well with the Sketcher Clan.

I captured a few of the sights in my sketch book but there was so much more to see, we all enjoyed changing the colour of the trees with little touch screens, and especially the water show on the duck pond which had all the crowd gasping and cheering.

Head along to see the event which runs to November 6th, it will put you in the cosy wintry mood for sure. Book via the links below, tickets cost around £7.50 to £15.00.


All sketches were made with black fine liner and a watercolour wash. 

Botanic Lights website

Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh website

A Weekend Drawing at the Museums

museum1Two¬†very different drawing workshops at two of Edinburgh’s fantastic museums.

On Friday night the National Museum of Edinburgh of Chambers Street hosted their latest Museum:Lates event, this time themed around their Celts exhibition.

Revellers could take a break from the bar and live music in the main hall and chill out creating Celtic designs to colour in. Below are a few photographs from the night, which was a huge success. The Celts exhibition runs until 25th September 2016.


Then on Saturday I was up early to run a number of workshops at Surgeon’s Hall Museums to mark the Festival of Museums weekend.

Celebrating the magnificent architecture within the Surgeons Hall courtyard we sketched various angles in black fine liners and watercolour. It was great to be sketching in the sunshine, and to share some of my speed sketching tips to a great bunch of artists.

Below are a few photos from the gloriously sunny day. If you would like to come sketching with me keep an eye on my Sketching Workshops page, where I will post all details and links to where you can book a place.

I hope to see you sketching soon!


Celts exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland.

Surgeons Hall Museums website.