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Friday, 19 August 2016

Sketching London - Asian inspiration

One of my favourite things about urban sketching has always been to meet other sketchers, be motivated by their drive to draw and share tips and ideas for sketching to try out later.

On our third day in London, Tia and Patrick from Singapore, KK from Malaysia, Pramote from Thailand, and many other Asian sketchers arrived. Some I had met at previous symposiums, others I only knew from their sketches online.

Meeting them didn't start out well. I was just getting ready to join them in sketching Covent Garden when I realized I had lost my favourite Hero fountain pen. Most sketchers will be able to relate to that, particularly since that model is now quite difficult to find.

Seeing how disappointed I was, Pramote gave me one of his bent nib pens with lovely Super5 blue ink in it. The sun was shining again! Now I have a new toy and a beautiful memory to go with it.

In the evening we all went to Piccadilly Circus, where KK made one of his masterpieces as usual, and I tried out my new pen.

So crowded!!
The next day we all met for a day of sketchcrawling around the city, starting by Westminster Palace. I was honestly not very inspired at first, trying to test different things, nothing really working. The palace is such an imposing building (again), and we had been there already...

A bit muddies up, but I like my ghost people
Pramote kept telling me to just have fun and put lots of water and colour on the paper. Me being slightly uncomfortable with how unpredictable water can be, I started with the "just have fun" part.

So I focused on the tower and tried out a few approaches with different tools, Tombow brushpens and watercolour pencils, for a start.

This exercise helped me loosen up and I tackled the palace in a more abstract way again. Quick, simple and effective, I'd say. And more importantly: so much more fun!


We split up briefly for lunch, some people (like me) lured by the call of their stomach. Funnily enough, we all ended up at the same place: the cafeteria inside St. Martin's in the Fields. You would never guess there is such a lovely quiet place right on Trafalgar square. 

Tia & family, KK and Pramote
In the afternoon, we headed in the direction of the London Tower, stopping near the London Eye to sketch the view over the Thames after KK proclaimed with a silent nod and a cheeky smile that it was a good spot to sketch.

Panoramic view over the Thames, with Gail in the foreground
After finishing my quick panorama, I turned to find this very sketchable food truck a few metres away, which entertained me while the others were finishing their masterpieces.

This truck reminded me of the one by the Rotondes in Luxembourg
Unfortunately, the first rain of what had otherwise been a very hot week so far started falling. It was both a bit of a party pooper and also oddly very welcome.

This decidedly very Asian day ended at a Thai restaurant in Piccadilly, right across from our apartment, where Pramote knew the lovely owner, Nikki. Best Thai food in town and a very pleasant way to spend the evening!