Sketchcrawling in Manchester

SCBWI BI North West held its first sketchcrawl day event last month at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Manchester.

Children's book illustrator/author Lynne Chapman led our group of 12 people, including illustrators, designers, teachers, students and writers. We had the use of MOSI's wonderful Learning Loft as a base on the top floor of the Great Western Warehouse. 

Lynne started filling sketchbooks on train journeys on her way to school visits, and went on to become involved with Urban Sketchers. Lynne sketches in a variety of small easy-to-carry hardback sketchbooks, sometimes with grey paper and sometimes in a concertina-fold format. 

The contents of Lynne's small black sketching bag: 
*Wrist sweat-band (to replace a cloth, for cleaning brusheswhile painting on-the-go). 
*3B pencil & other b&w mark-making stuff incl graphite stick, white chalk, sharpening tool 
*Watercolour pencils (Inktense by Derwent) 
*Calligraphy pen which gives lively lines (cheap Sailer) with waterproof writing ink (Noodlers) 
*Variably coloured pencil (Koh-i-Noor) 
*Small pan set of watercolours 
*Clips (to hold down paper) 
*Waterbrush (brush with a small water reservoir) 
*Blu-tack with 2 plastic hairspray tops (to stick to surface and fill with water, but too messy to use inside museum) 
*Hairspray fixative

We had 4 sketching stops in total, about 1 hour each, spaced throughout the day. The first was at the Air and Space Building, with planes and roadster cars. 

Katie Weymouth

Pattie Callaghan

Jonny Wood

 The second sketchstop was at the Power House, full of moving engines and very challenging to sketch.
Lucie Golton

Pattie Callaghan

Lynne Chapman

The third sketch stop was in the Castlefield canal basin area in the sunshine (yes, it came out specially!). Some of us also recorded writing on signs and overheard snippets of conversation.

sketching & writing in sunshine

Adelina Pintea

Anna Violet

Eleanor Boyle
The fourth sketch stop was the view from the Great Western Warehouse (top floor or ground level). 

Heather Dickinson

Celia Hume
Lynne Chapman

writing by Gill James

 At the finish, we had great fun sharing our sketchbooks and writing. Being part of a sketchcrawl group made many of us feel more relaxed than sketching alone in public places. The event also gave the challenge of drawing industrial scenes and machines, out of the usual comfort zone for most of us there. Gill James will post a further article about this event from a writing angle in Words & Pictures Network News. 

Anna Violet Freelance Illustrator


  1. Excellent write-up Anna, and a fantastic event!

  2. Lovely to see all that variety of sketches and what a great tip - that wristband brush wipe! Big thanks and it was good to see you Anna at the launch of SCBWI Illustrator Showcase exhib at TimberYard Covent Garden - next stop Seven Stories?!

  3. Thank you for recording this Anna - I love seeing everyone's work. And what a great place to go!


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