Tag Archives: leith street

construction taking shape

A look up into the new shopping and hotel complex where once stood the St James Shopping Centre.

The top of Leith walk is awash with brightly coloured construction workers as the huge rebuilding of the St James shopping centre and hotel into the new St James Quarter, which is due to open later this year.

This sketch is from just by the roundabout and show the new walkway and glass entrance which will lead to the covered shopping streets within.

I remember the old shopping centre being quite dark and small, I short cut rather than a destination. From the looks of the construction so far the new ‘quarter’ will be much larger and much brighter inside.

I look forward to stepping inside soon. Find out more about what will be inside from the website below.

St James Quarter website

A familiar site from my walk into Edinburgh

Black Bull LeithStThe famous Black Bull pub on Leith Street, opposite the current building site that was St James’ Hotel and shopping centre.

I’ve lived in both the East and West of Edinburgh and when I stayed in Pilrig Street just off Leith Walk this was a daily sight as I made my way from Leith Walk to Princes Street.

Many of you will recognise this basement bar and entrance steps from the Trainspotting opening credits as Renton runs through the city streets. Not much has changed on the exterior, apart from the lettering now on the railings.

The bar is an iconic Edinburgh location so I am glad to finally capture it in ink and watercolour. This original piece was made for a commission but mounted prints are available for £18 (100x150mm) or £32 (210x290mm) from the shop link below.

Also if you would like to commission your own piece of Edinburgh Sketcher art then email me HERE, prices start at £65.

Black Bull prints to buy.

The Black Bull website

Sketching reflections

WaverleyGateWindowReflections of The National Records of Scotland offices in the windows of Waverley Gate, at the east end of Princes Street.

Today I had a whole heap of meetings spaced throughout the day, all located around North Bridge and Waterloo Place. Whilst walking from one to another I noticed a clock tower of the National Records office (behind the Wellington statue) reflected in the windows of the building opposite.


Here is my sketch, in pen using a Uni pin fine line 0.5 point.


The National Records of Scotland website.



From Leith Street to Princes Street, the Balmoral Hotel.

BalmoralLeithStSometimes a view catches my eye and I have to stop and sketch it. Even when I have no time and really should keep moving!

I had a great meeting today with James and Fiona at Concrete Wardrobe on Broughton Street. They are very excited to stock ES products and now have a range including prints, cushions and Christmas cards.
On the way back up the hill into town I spotted this view of the Balmoral Hotel on Princes Street. Seen through the buildings on either side of Leith Street the clock tower looks stunning.
I sketched in black ink, in my wee A5 pad, before adding colour digitally after scanning onto the laptop.
If you would like to sketch with me I am taking a small group on a drawing tour in Edinburgh this Friday (18th Oct). It’s free, open to all abilities and is part of this year’s Big Draw event. For more information follow the links below.

Rain in the city

Morning sketch fans, more rain showers forecast for today across the city so I thought I’d draw a photo I took from the bus a couple of weeks ago when a monsoon like downpour hit Edinburgh. Here we are at the top of Leith Street turning onto Princes Street, before heading left on to the North Bridge.

Have fun dodging the showers today 😉

Anyone know who the statue of the horse and rider is for…?