the story of the London Southbank drawings

I recently went to London for some exhibition visits at the Royal Academy of Arts and the London Transport Museum. A great way to end the day was a leisurely walk along Southbank. It was a very sunny day and was a perfect opportunity to do some drawing. There was this man playing country on his guitar which was a great soundtrack to doing some drawing. There is this one building which I do not know the name of but it is one of my favourites and I have always wanted to draw it.

SouthbankI used biro pen because I hadn’t used it in a while and I love it (even though you shouldn’t use it apparently). I find you can really make detailed marks with it and make great tones. I focused on the building itself and ignored the trees in front which is why they have only been roughly sketched.

My next sketch stop along my walk, beyond the terrible street entertainment, was Somerset house. It is a new favourite of mine since I visited it over a month ago for Pick Me Up London (which was great! Go next year!). I have this real passion and appreciation for architecture especially old buildings which is why I couldn’t not draw Somerset house.

somerset houseThis is only a rough sketch as I wanted to have enough time to walk to and draw St. Paul’s cathedral. I used graphite stick as I find rough sketches work best with this medium. Again, I ignored the trees and focused on the building. This was drawn standing up as it is nearly impossible to find a vacant bench without businessmen holding pints of beer, sitting on them (it was about 6pm at the time and the place was crowded with people getting in the last drink before the train journey home and there were more adults in the sandpit than children). I was tempted to draw the skateboarders but they were just moving around too fast so it would have been difficult.

I then made my way to St. Paul’s Cathedral, passing a very tempting second hand book stall. I finally found a bench, sat down and drew St Paul’s.

st pauls

It was still bright so there were some lovely gold tones on the domed roof and a good contrast of light and dark, which always makes it easier to draw. Once more I focused on the Cathedral and not the surrounding buildings. I only drew the outlines of the surrounding buildings to add a bit of background or the cathedral would of just been floating on the page.  I used almost run out fine liner pen as you can get great faint lines that are not too harsh. I filled in the tone with my portable watercolour brush, careful not to wash away the small details I drew within. I very much enjoyed my little Southbank adventure and it was great practise for my reportage project next academic year. Next adventure is Brighton!


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