Tag Archives: west end

Beautiful red stone pediment above the caledonian

I just love the detail in this stone doorway to the mighty Caledonian Hotel, now the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh.

Situated at the West End of Princes Street the red sand stone building was originally a railway station and opened in 1903. The station was closed in 1965.

It is amazing to think now, but at the time of opening there were two railway stations on Princes Street, one at either end. The other was the North British Railway station, now the Waverly and they were fierce rivals to the Caledonian Railway at the West End.

I love to find out about the details carved into building in the Victorian times and the following passage about the triangle sketched above is from the fantastic Canmore website. You can find out more about the building on their page HERE.

“The pediment over the door contains an elaborate scrolled shield carved with the coat of arms of the Caledonian Railway Company: a lion rampant. Flanking the shield are a seated male figure to left, and a seated female figure to right; their feet point towards the corners but their heads turn back to the centre. The male figure has his right hand on a model of an engine. By his left hand is a bag spilling coins. The female figure has her right hand on an open book, and her left hand on a winged wheel. Beyond the wheel is a lamp”
Canmore. National Record of the Historic Environment Scotland

Make Christmas cards from your West End sketches

Join me on Sunday 17th November and be inspired by Edinburgh’s Georgian architecture.

Following on from my first Christmas Card themed workshop a couple of weeks ago I will be back at Paper Tiger on Stafford Street to run two more workshops in November.

Each person who buys a ticket will receive a goody bag including a moleskine sketch book which we will use to draw a few locations around the West End in black ink.

I will be there to help you get started with a few tips and techniques so your confidence will grow as we move around the area. Working in black ink you will capture perspective and depth in your drawings.

Once back at Paper Tiger I will show you how you can turn these drawings into Christmas Cards ensuring you can send out your very own works of art this year.

Each place is £25 and included in that is your Paper Tiger goody bag and also all materials needed to take the workshop.

Book your place here:

17th November 12.30pm – 2.00pm

17th November 2.30pm – 4.00pm

Paper Tiger Facebook page

These photos were taken on the previous workshop with Paper Tiger

Enjoying the new years sunshine in Edinburgh

westport_pepperssandwichbarDrawing in the great outdoors in Edinburgh city centre this January.

As 2017 gets started for me I have been in various locations around Edinburgh meeting people and sketching in the glorious sunshine we have been enjoying.

Whilst on route to meetings I have grabbed  a quick 10 minutes to sketch my surroundings as Edinburgh’s beautiful vistas grab my attention. Some which I haven’t seen before, such as this one below from Morrisos Street shows the old Caledonian Distillery, which has been converted to residential buildings. The 300 feet tall chimney stalk was preserved – and is amongst the biggest of Victorian chimneys surviving in Scotland.

The distillery is currently available to see as the ground in between has been cleared temporarily to create space for the new ‘The Haymarket Edinburgh’, a new office, retail and leisure space in the West End set for completion in 2018.


The main sketch at the top of the page is from a new find for me, a sandwich bar offering delicious coffee and gluten free rolls, which made for a scrummy bacon roll this morning.

Peppers Sandwich Bar is on Lady Lawson Street and the friendly staff and visitors alike enjoy this lovely view down the West Port towards the Grassmarket.

The Haymarket Edinburgh website

Peppers Sandwich Bar facebook page



Hawthornbank Lane in the beautiful Dean Village

es_wai261216This is the very pretty Dean Village which lies hidden away in the West End of Edinburgh. It’s a beautiful walk through narrow cobbled streets, idyllic wee cottages and peaceful walkways over the Water of Leith. And all just moments from the West End of Edinburgh’s city centre.

I often walk through the village on route from Edinburgh centre to the Modern Art Gallery and this takes me through Dean Village and past these beautiful houses on Hawthornbank Lane.

My sketch was made with ink and watercolour and drawn from a photo I took on one of those walks.

Modern Art Gallery website

Edinburghs West End

Sketching the West End tours this August

ES_WEsketching1My sketching tours in Edinburgh’s beautiful West End are running twice weekly throughout August 2016.

I am a week into my sketching tours and they are going great, despite last weeks showery weather my fellow sketchers created some great work while walking around the city’s thriving shopping and business district.

Surrounded by stunning Georgian architecture and colourful shops the West End has always been a must see area for visitors to Edinburgh, and a favourite place for me to draw.


Join me on one of my sketch tours and you will capture in detail the historical architecture, unique heritage features and charming landscape as you explore Edinburgh’s West End with a sketch book in hand, using ink and watercolour to bring your visit to life.

Under my watchful and encouraging eye you will quickly pick up sketching skills while increasing confidence in your own artistic ability as we wynd our way through cobbled streets, Georgian crescents and stylish shop fronts.


Once you’ve filled your pages with beautiful West End images, we’ll end our tour at Strumpets on William Street where you’ll add watercolour to your sketches. Strumpets homemade cakes are a popular indulgence in the West End and they have kindly offered all tour sketchers a 10% discount on the day!

All abilities are welcome and encouraged so follow the links below to book your place. I look forward to sketching with you soon!


Sketching the West End – Throughout August 2016
‘Draw your way through Edinburgh’s West End’
Explore Edinburgh’s West End with a sketch book in hand, using ink and watercolour to bring your visit to life, under the guidance of Edinburgh Sketcher, Mark Kirkham.
3 hours. 1 -4pm, £28 adult, £16 child (5-15 yrs)

Wednesday 17th August  Click for more information and to book

Friday 19th August  Click for more information and to book  SOLD OUT

Wednesday 24th August  Click for more information and to book

Friday 26th August  Click for more information and to book

Friday 31st August  Click for more information and to book



Edinburgh’s West End website

The Atelier Restaurant in Edinburgh’s West End

Atelier_starterRecently I popped in at the The Atelier Restaurant for a bite to eat, and a little food sketching.

The 2 AA Rosette Scottish dining restaurant lies on Morrison Street in Edinburgh’s West End, and has a cosy and relaxed atmosphere with a friendly welcome.

I visited with the Sketcher Clan for a week day lunch, they open 12-2.30pm, 5.30-9.30pm Tue-Thu and 12-2.30pm, 5.30-10.30pm Fri and Sat, and the place seemed to be a popular business lunch location.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary ‘Atelier’ means a room or building in which an artist works. This couldn’t be more appropriate for this Edinburgh kitchen.

Atelier: a room or building in which an artist works

We enjoyed 3 courses of beautiful food. Each plate was a work of art, the above starter of ‘Lamb ballotine, buckwheat, fennel, artichoke’ had delicate sauces dabbed around the the plate like one of my sketches.

Not only did they look good but tasted delicious, the Sketcher twins shared a pasta dish of ‘Fregula, peas, asparagus, ricotta’ and when they couldn’t finish it all asked if we could take the rest home.

Our shared dessert of ‘Poached apricot, dark chocolate cremeux, sorbet’ disappeared before I could sketch it to a flurry of silent scooping and synchronised ‘mmmm-ing’.

Below is a sketch from after the event 🙂


Today’s sketches were made with a black fine liner pen and watercolour paint. 

The Atelier Restaurant website

The Atelier are holding an ‘Aura Night’ Italian cuisine evening on Monday 22nd August for one night only from 7pm-10pm, creating a ‘Tasting Menu offering a Journey through great Italian flavours’. Places are £45 per person and reservations are required. To book, please call 0131 6295040


Sketching Stafford Street in stages.

StaffordStPHOTO_1Yesterday I drew a scene from Edinburgh’s West End, and posted photographs online as the drawing took shape.

Standing on the corner of Stafford and Melville Street, looking towards Shandwick Place I noticed the architectural angles directing me along the Edinburgh street. In a rush I took a photo to sketch from later.


Here are the four stages of my illustration which shows some of the process as I sketch. Although I often don’t draw in pencil if out and about, favouring the speed of using the pen straight away.


StaffordStPHOTO_2 StaffordStPHOTO_3 StaffordStPHOTO_4

Tranquillity and splendid coffee in Edinburgh’s West End

Brass&CopperBrass & Copper provides a calm and peaceful place in the heart of Edinburgh’s West End in which to enjoy a coffee and a catch up with friends.

Situated in the middle of William Street, Brass & Copper is my new favourite hang out, just a sugar cubes throw from the hustle and bustle of Shandwick Place it could not be more different. Seek it out for a velvety smooth flat white and relax for a moment before heading back into the city.



Today’s sketch was drawn in fine liner pen, with a watercolour wash painted in the rain which is why there are a few drips here and there. 


Brass & Copper facebook page