London Sketchcrawl Report

26th November was the first SCBWI Sketchcrawl event in London.

The event was open for anyone, not just our illustrators, however as it turned out only members turned up on the day. A small but dedicated group of SCBWI children's book scribblers descended on the Natural History and Victoria & Albert Museums, pens, pencils and brushes at the ready. Here are just a few samples from some of the participants, I've posted all of my own sketches on my personal blog.

Amber Hsu - Fish
We started the Sketchcrawl shortly after 10.00 am in the Natural History Museum. The location, exhibits and visitors all proved to be inspiring subjects.

It was great to see the way each artist focused on different aspects of the museum. Some of us made copious notes and explored characters developed from the displays, while others sought to capture the environment and immediacy of the moment...

Clare Tovey - Bats

John Shelley - Griffon Vulture

Clare Tovey - Whale
John Shelley - Moeritherium
Some creatures past and present gave particularly inspiring ideas for children's book characters....

Amber Hsu - Girl and Bird
I think one of the biggest lessons for us all was how these displays encouraged us to broaden our vision, whether through new ideas or for texture, materials, treatment of our drawings etc.

The relatively limited time frame per image encouraged us to open new doors in our creativity.

John Shelley - Distant Relatives

John Shelley - Entrance Hall, V & A Museum
Sue Eves - Notes on Devonshire Tapestries

In the afternoon we moved on to the Victoria and Albert Museum, where once again the location itself as well as the exhibits proved a rich source of subject material.

Amber Hsu - Sculpture

some participants: L to R: Sue Eves, Amber Hsu, Anne-Marie Perks, Claire Tovey, John Shelley.

There were many more sketches and other participants, if I receive any more I'll add them to this post.

At the end of the day we gathered to share notes. It was a fascinating and very satisfying event which we certainly plan to repeat.

Sketchcrawls began in the US a few years ago based on an idea by Enrico Casarosa. Although there are set dates for Worldwide Sketchcrawls this SCBWI event was independent. More information on the original concept is on the Sketchcrawl website.


  1. What a great idea this is.
    I absolutely adore Amber's Girl & Bird.

  2. The best part of the day was sharing our drawings in the cafe - Amber's Girl & Bird was a wonderful surprise - fast imagination!

  3. Fantastic! Nostalgic for home. New England Illustrators we should have a sketch crawl!

  4. So cool! Really hope to come along to the next one. Thanks for posting! x

  5. Oh how I like - you're all so talented, *happy sigh*

  6. What a brilliant idea to have a Sketchcrawl! And I love the results. Looks like such fun!

  7. I am in awe of your talent, and the hard work it took to make you so talented!

    Maybe we should organise a write crawl to go alongside the sketchcrawls?

  8. what a lovely lift to my morning perusing all of your work...inspiring :)


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