April 27, 2015


by Ekaterina Khozatskaya in Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Sketches made in different cafes of the vegetarian cafe chain "Ukrop", wich in russian means "dill".
Lately I've seen a funny article on buzfeed text about dill in Russia - 21 Disturbing Examples Of Russia’s Dill Addiction - laughed a lot.

 Ukrop-Leto (Dill-Summer)

 There are some swings instead of chairs, so it is possible to have your meal swinging.

Укроп на Марата
 Strawberry Banana Smoothie!

Укроп Квартира, антресоль. Ukrop-Kvartira (Dill-Flat) 

Cafe made in the style of a flat! This is an entresol. You can climb up there and even have your meal! Quiet a specific feeling, I must admit. Some people from below asked if this is my bike:)
But no, this beautifull one isn't mine. For some reason many cafes are now decorated with Electra bicycles - I suppose it's an original promotional campaign.

 Укроп Квартира

47th World Wide SketchCrawl, Gyeonggi English Village, Paju City

By Lee Yong-hwan, Paju City near Seoul, Korea

Main Gate of Gyeonggi English Village, pencil and watercolor, 24 x 32cm

City Hall, pen and watercolor, 24 x 32cm

a scenery around the main street, pen and watercolor, 21 x 29.6cm

Concert hall, pen and watercolor, 24 x 32cm

 a scenery around the market street, pen and watercolor, 21 x 29.6cm

Science Safari and Exciting Adventure, pen and watercolor, 21 x 29.6cm
Last Saturday, It was very fine and clear weather to sketch outdoors. In celebration of the 47th World Wide SketchCrawl, we usk Seoul members met at Gyeonggi English Village in Paju city close to Seoul. As soon as I entered the village through castle-like gate, a new world of fantastic atmosphere with beautiful buildings and diverse performances impressed me.
The street is lined on each side with the typical western style buildings where English programs are conducted, with the the restaurants and convenience stores drawing the interested visitors and tourists. All facilities have been newly built to simulate a village in an English-speaking country. Students can learn English by enjoying a cultural experience in an exotic environment. 
Though it is located near urban areas for easy access, it is a suburban English village in harmony with its surrounding natural environment. We enjoyed an exciting sketch time across the fantastic village in the outskirts of Seoul.

April 26, 2015

Honoring Kathmandu

By Stephanie Bower, from a trip to Nepal in 2011

I have dreamt of seeing Kathmandu since I was a child, as merely the name conjured up images of what must be the most exotic and wonderful place on the earth. So it was literally a dream come true when in 2011, I had the opportunity to travel to Northern India and Nepal…quite literally, the trip of a lifetime, and the trip that got me sketching again.

Sunday’s 7.8 earthquake has devastated such a beautiful place and its people. Based on what I’ve seen online, what were once ancient and intricate Hindu and Buddhist temples have been reduced to piles of bricks and splintered wood, some of which are recorded in these sketches. The loss of life, of Nepal’s heritage, is beyond words.

So today with heartfelt sadness, I post these images from my sketchbooks...to honor the beautiful people and beautiful places in Nepal.

Ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples side by side in the Kathmandu Valley’s Bhaktapur, Durbar Square, intricately detailed brick, stone, and carved wood. There are three ancient Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, each is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The pale gray Vatsala Shikhara Temple near the center of this sketch has been destroyed in the earthquake.

The Boudhanath Stupa is the largest Buddhist stupa in the world, located in Kathmandu. It has been damaged in the earthquake.

Entry to the Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu. There is a constant stream of people from all walks moving clock-wise as they spin the many prayer wheels around the perimeter.

This is a tiny temple in the Durbar Square of Kathmandu, filled with numerous ancient temples. Red curtains hang from the eaves, and each corner of the roof is the form of a bird.

A sketch of courtyard of the wonderful hotel Kantipur Temple House in Kathmandu, intricate brick and wood detailing.

Very quick sketch while surrounded by kids, of Patan’s Durbar Square.

This is Swayambunath, sitting atop a hill in Kathmandu with busy monkeys hopping about. It is the oldest Buddhist Stupa in the world.

Me sketching in Patan’s Durbar Square, surrounded by curious children poking at my pencils and erasers, lifting the corners of the pages in my sketchbook.

Phoenix Trip Sketches

In Phoenix, Arizona by Mike Daikubara

Business trips can be exhausting but they're also a nice way to get away for a while and see/experience new things - especially when taking trips to a new location.

This was my first time visiting Phoenix and I was pretty excited - also because it was really warm out there and during this time Boston was still getting pounded with historical record breaking snow.

Warm up sketches usually start off at the airport and inside the plane. Just a great way to shift the mind and to get into the mode of travel sketching.

Boston Airport Untitled

Landing in Phoenix, I took the light rail into the city instead of taking the cab since I was in no rush. I tend to prefer walking, biking and public transportation over cars since it allows me to see the surroundings better. Train to downtown

After checking in, I walked around the city sketching and looking for a place to eat. Church Also ran into a classic car street festival.  Wish I had eaten prior to finding this festival since I was too hungry to sketch.Car Untitled

For breakfast, I frequently ate at this nice breakfast place next to the hotel. This was one of the most health conscious dishes I've ever had. Maybe too health conscious for me...Breakfast

It was a Sunday and I had some free time. The hotel had a rental bike (free!) so I just freely rode around the city. Untitled 

I ran into a place called the 'Friendship Garden' - quite fascinating to find a Japanese garden in a desert area. Koi carps and everything. Very tranquil.

Friendship Garden Koi Carps @ ROHOEN (鷺鳳園) Japanese friendship garden in Phoenix Arizona. Sketching the Koi carps - very relaxing. 

The same church drawn on day 1 but this time looking from a balcony across the street. That's were my conference was taking place.


I had my (free) hotel bicycle so I didn't get a chance to try these city bikes placed throughout the city but these bikes had really nice attention to details and quite high tech too.

GRID Bicycles

I also had some time to visit the Heard Museum (American Indian Art and History) which was fascinating, and an amazing exhibition of Da Vinci's original writing/drawings were on display at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Hopi Katsinas @ Heard Museum Phoenix Museum Phoenix Museum leonardo Da Vinci - The Codex Leicester @ Phoenix Art Museum. I'm so glad i had my emergency "Golf" pencil with me to get a sketch of this at the museum. Absolutely fascinating person and i'm sure he had very little friends...

Seattle Sketchers visit Seattle Chinese Garden

In 2011,  I visited the Seattle Chinese Garden with my family.  At that time, the “Knowing the Spring Courtyard” had just been completed.  Four years later, just last Sunday the Seattle Urban Sketchers went there for our monthly sketch outing.  The garden is still not complete.  In fact, most of the change I saw was in the additional planting areas.  Funding has slowed the progress of completing additional pavilions and buildings as well as other infrastructure.  Buildings and Pavilions are fabricated in China and artisans are brought over to work with local contractors for the installation of the work.  There is a lot more to be done.    It is planned to ultimately have a total of 12 buildings, including an education center and a banquet hall.  When completed, the gardens and buildings will cover  4.6 acres on the north side of South Seattle Community College.

The project is a collaboration between architects and artisans from Seattle and its sister  city of Chongqing.  The Garden when completed will represent the traditional Sichuan style Chinese garden.

Seattle Urban Sketchers -It looks like we were in China!
Admiring the work done during the day.
My sketch and the Pine and Plum Pavilion
The Pine and Plum Pavilion
Rear entrance of the Knowing the Spring Courtyard
Walkways that surround the Knowing the Spring Courtyard.

London Urban Sketchers draw St Paul's Cathedral and the Thames

Yesterday, London Urban Sketchers held their monthly sketchcrawl - this month it was "Let's Draw St Paul's to the Thames" Here's a couple of photographs of our ever increasing band of happy sketchers - and their sketches.

....at lunchtime, here we all are on the roof terrace of One New Change, nearly level with the dome of St Paul's Cathedral

in the afternoon - sketching the skyline across the City of London and the South Bank of the Thames from One New Change

and at the end of the day, in Paternoster Square in front of the Stock Exchange building

and here are the sketches - from lunchtime

and some of the sketches at the end of the day - there were lots of "up close with the dome" sketches from those on the roof of One New Change!

People will be posting their sketches today and next week on

For anybody who would like to join us, next month's outing will be to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew on Saturday 16th May. The notice of the outing will be placed in the very near future on our blog. 

April 25, 2015

Old cottages of Akaroa

Here are some old cottage sketches from our Akaroa trip over Easter - if it's one thing Akaroa does well it's old houses. Akaroa was settled in 1840 by French settlers which gives it a point of difference amongst local destinations. As the English already had a large presence in the North Island it had been hoped that they could take the South Island in the name of France. By the time they arrived it was too late as the English had moved quickly to secure the south. Despite that they bought land from local Maori and set about building Akaroa.

This first house below – the Langlois-Eteveneux cottage is one of the original French cottages and was pre-fabricated in France then shipped out. It certainly does have a slightly different look and construction to most of the other cottages in town. Street names are a legacy of the early French settlement with this house on the corner of Rue Lavaud and Rue Balguerie.

This cottage below got the better of my landscape sketchbook - I had to crop the roof off so it could fit. This one is on Rue Jolie...

Obviously the building below isn't a cottage at all but I've included it anyway. It's the Old Shipping Office and like a lot of early NZ commercial buildings it is constructed of timber to look like stone – even down to the turned balustrades and wooden keystone at the top.

This one at the top of Rue Jolie has flowering Nikau palms and awesome harbour views...

Akaroa harbour is a partly submerged volcanic cone or caldera on the Banks Peninsular east of Christchurch so the terrain rises very steeply guaranteeing dramatic views of rugged peaks over water. I've tried to compress the scenery into most of the sketches somewhere. This one is on the not so French sounding William Street...

Our accommodation in Akaroa for the week was this original 1850's cottage complete with old coal range. Fortunately it wasn't quite cold enough to light it...