Tag Archives: charcoal

Zoom sketching with live music

This week my new fortnightly zoom workshops with local artist Cassandra Harrison had live music provided by cellist Laura Sergeant.

Cassandra and I have been running zoom workshops for the past couple of months, picking a different medium or artist to have a look at each session and creating step by step ideas so people joining in can have a go and try some of the techniques Cassandra and I use regularly.

Each session runs for 75 minutes on Tuesday evenings from 7-8.15pm, and we have also been asking special guests to join us and share a little about what they are up to, what art they are inspired by and if they like they can join in the art making. Those joining us have included comediens, architects and professors and most recently a cellist who regularly plays in Edinburgh with the Scottish Opera, Laura Sergeant.

I met Laura a few years ago after sketching some of her performances around Edinburgh and so I thought it would be wonderful to have her join us while we sketched the Usher Hall, a venue she has played many times before.

We used charcoal and soft pencils to create the drawing below on Tuesday evening and it was wonderful to be played to by Laura, it made me miss the festival and all the many performances that had to be cancelled this year.

If you would like to know more about the Urban Sketching workshops follow the link below and I hope to see you one Tuesday evening.

Urban Sketching with Cassandra and Mark

A Wild time was had in Kinross

Last weekend I was at the second Wildhood Festival at Tullibole Castle

A festival in its infancy Wildhood has already a strong following of families and creatives all wanting to come together and be involved in this weekend full of fun aimed at those aged under 12 and their families.

I first got involved last year when I and my family camped and I put on a couple of arty workshops making paint brushes out of feathers, leaves and twigs that we found in the woods.

This year I had space in front of the picturesque Tullibole Castle so we created paintings of the bright white 16th Century castle which sits on a small hill surrounded by both lush well kept gardens and wild forest.

All of which was open to explore with many hidden workshops happening within, like foraging, storytelling and many crafts. The sketcher Twins loved making mini twig rafts and floating them along the small river that runs through the grounds.

Another favourite was foraging in the forest and trying various concoctions like nettle cordial and elder flower tea.

On the second day I sketched the castle again with charcoal on the end of long sticks we had found. We stood and drew on to paper on the floor, the distance from paper to hand focusing your hand and eye into precise mini movements.

You can see some of the results here as both the children and their adults had a go, which I was really pleased with. It was great to see families creating art together.

I love the whole vibe of the festival, to log off from work and technology for the weekend and immerse yourself in family and nature. Simple really but not always easy to accomplish.

Have a look at the festivals website below and put your name down for next year, I and I know my family can’t wait!

Wildhood Festival website

Tullibole Castle on Facebook

Capture the stunning city of Stirling with my latest Sketching Day Tour

Stirling CastleCome with me this April to sketch Stirling’s imposing fortress and medievil old town in watercolour and charcoal.

For one day only on 29th April 2017 I will be running a day of sketching workshops with The Curious Thing, drawing on location in this central and vibrant Scottish city.

We will focus on pen and watercolour in the morning session which runs for 3 hours from 10am to 1pm and will head out sketching for the first two hours, followed by a relaxed sit down with a cuppa while we add watercolour to our creations.

In the afternoon (2pm-5pm) we will use charcoal to capture the city’s medieval buildings and stonework, giving an atmospheric twist to your work. Again we will head out for a couple of hours before taking a seat to add detail and discuss our creations,

No previous experience is required for this informal and relaxed workshop as I will be on hand throughout to direct and give guidance as you create your own personal sketches of your visit.

Tickets can now be booked for this one day only very limited event, follow the link below to reserve your place via The Curious Thing website. I look forward to seeing you there.

Book your ticket for the morning session (£24 per person)

Book your ticket for the afternoon session (£24 per person)

The Curious Thing website

Drawing the Collection at Surgeons Hall Museums’

surgeonshall_sep16_sketchers1On Monday I ran two sketching workshops at the wonderful and facinating Surgeons Hall Museums in Edinburgh.

As it was the September Bank Holiday, I was asked to host two sketching events looking at the exhibits on show inside The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, which was initially established as a medical teaching resource but now welcomes one and all to discover the mysteries and wonders of historical medical science.

I find looking at the specimens, ailments and medievil looking implements (that were used not that long ago) so interesting, and spot similarites to items found in hospitals today. Seeing and reading about the many ailments that at one time would of been fatal leave me with an feeling of gratefulness of being born in this age!


Museums and galleries are a favourite of mine as I spent a lot of time there as a youngster, especially on rainy days 🙂 They are such an inspirational place to be in.

On the day we took pens and paper around the museum drawing diferent objects, sometimes as a group and sometimes on our own before heading to the Autonomy Lab to add watercolour and charcoal to our drawings.

Here are some of the very good results from the two workshops, thanks to all who came along and had a go.


Drawings all made with watercoluor, fine liner pens and charcoal.

Surgeons Hall Museums’ website

Spend this September Bank Holiday sketching at Surgeons Hall Museums

watercolour-examplesThis coming Monday, 19th September I will be running two sketching workshops at the fascinating Surgeons Hall Museums in Edinburgh.

After sketching the exterior of the magnificent Surgeons Hall with a workshop in May I will be returning on Monday 19th September to capture some of the interesting exhibits inside the Edinburgh attraction, home to the largest and most historic collections of surgical pathology in the world, including bone and tissue specimens, artefacts and works of art.

I will be giving speed sketching tips and helping you capture your view in ink, charcoal and watercolour. All abilities are welcome for this relaxed and engaging workshop in interesting and stimulating surroundings.

Places are limited so book your place now at the link below.

Workshop 1:  Time: 10.30am – 1pm (2.5 hrs)  Price: £6 (£3.50 concession)
Workshop 2:  Time: 2pm – 4.30pm (2.5 hrs)  Price: £6 (£3.50 concession)

Book Your Place Here