Saturday, 14 June 2014

Town hall to cemetery: a Stoke Newington drawing tour

Last Sunday, as part of Stoke Newington Literary Festival, in the part of north London where I have lived for the past 23 years, I was joined by an evolving cast of about 50 artists as we drew our way along Church Street, the neighbourhood's epicentre. This was partly to publicise my book, Sketch Your World, but also because it is such a good place to draw: it is historic, crumbling, gentrified, leafy, literary, organic, unstuffy, siren-filled, unrelentingly urban and many other things, too. And the arrival of summer was timely.

The great thing about this kind of event, of course, is that although you can stand on your own and draw any day of the week, doing it as a group means you stop and look at things and in places you may not otherwise. It's never easier to sit on a kerbstone and draw than when you're in a group. The usual fantastic range of abilities and experience were among us, but for those of us new to drawing on location, this was a chance to blend in and feel confident as we worked. For about an hour and a half, as we worked our way along from the town hall, people seemed to be drawing everywhere you looked...

Our mission, in blazing sun throughout, ended in the shade and birdsong of Abney Park cemetery, where we cooled off, and shared and compared our endeavours – thanks once again to Seawhite of Brighton, who kindly supplied its Eco sketchbooks for the event.

Thanks for coming, if you did. And thanks to the team at Stoke Newington Literary Festival for inviting me to do this. Sketch Your World is a book about getting out and drawing rather than sit around discussing, and there's a chance a similar event may take place at next year's festival.

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