Sketch in Central London: St Paul’s North West Tower


Many of London’s drawing groups are less formal than a class per se, and MEETUP* group ‘Sketch in Central London’ ( falls into this more freeform category.

It’s free (hurrah!) but untutored and you should bring your own materials . This should include something to separate your derrière from cold benches/ground – a spanish textbook was sacrificed to this end in my own case 😦 !

A nice plus is that the group intentionally use areas which are easily accessible for people with mobility problems.

The session today had been semi-cancelled, as the organiser was unable to come, but those of us who are not so compulsive email checkers had turned up at Paternoster Square anyway.

A veteran attender took charge, but there was soon fairly autonomous scattering of sketchers around St Paul’s Cathedral,  with a provisional plan to re-group in the square in a couple of hours time.

I chose a spot looking at the north west tower of the cathedral, over the arch of Temple Bar: London’s only remaining ‘city gate’. I’ve scoured the internet hoping that in the 3 centuries it’s been standing, that something delightfully (but distantly) macabre had ‘gone down’ in the cloisters, to add a bit of colour to my choice.

Sadly, were it the site of spicy happenings, it hasn’t been recorded online. I’ll have to admit that it was the view from a sheltered and sunny spot for myself rather than a more deliberate aesthetic choice.

It’s a bit askew.

The balustrade is completely the wrong size.

And I’ve managed to create a ‘hindu-temple-meets-elaborate-jelly’ feel for those spires – which I think would have been nigh on impossible I’d aimed for it 😉 !

There was quite an informal and friendly debrief, sharing our drawings, before we went our separate ways.

The quite unstructured nature of the group did leave me wondering if I’d particularly benefitted from attending with them rather than by myself.  I’m also not sure, given the semi-cancelled nature of the meeting that this is the best week to have ‘reviewed’ so to speak.

Making time to draw on a regular basis can be difficult, and I can certainly see the attraction of making that commitment with a group.  In addition, drawing outside; facing the elements and the onlookers  isn’t always easy –  and this solution offers safety in numbers.

The aspects which I found personally most helpful were the location choice (and hence exposure to subjects which I may not have chosen myself) as well as the opportunity to pick up some hints and tips from other sketchers.

* MEETUP groups worldwide:


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