Anyone who has been in Edinburgh for any length of time and has a Twitter or Instagram account will no doubt have heard of Edinburgh Sketcher. The talented chap (IRL name Mark Kirkham) has accrued a formidable social media following and enchants folk from far and wide with his unique and charming hand-drawn pictures of the city.
I was excited to hear that he’s teamed up with Mercat Tours (the same folk who do the Doomed, Dead and Buried Tour) to offer a special storytelling and sketching tour of the Royal Mile. I’ve been a huge fan of his work as far as I can remember, so when I was offered a place on the tour through my work I absolutely leaped at the chance.
I can’t really draw a stick man to save my life, but the tour is aimed at all abilities – from absolute beginners to skilled sketchers. Clipboards, pens and watercolours were all provided too, so the only thing I had to take along was my enthusiasm!
The format of the tour was quite unlike anything I had been on before. At each stop, our knowledgable Mercat Tours guide Hannah would give some fascinating insight into the history of the city, then Edinburgh Sketcher would show the group how to draw the buildings, statues and details around us.
Starting at the Mercat Cross beside St Gile’s Cathedral, we weaved down the Royal Mile, taking in sights such as Parliament Square, Advocates Close, John Knox House and the World’s End, scribbling and sketching all along the way.
After a couple of hours of drawing the sights of the Old Town our fingers were getting a little numb, so we headed back to Mercat Tour’s headquarters for a warming cup of tea and to add some colour to our works of art with a little bit of watercolour paint. The Edinburgh Sketcher gave a little guidance on painting technique, and after a little brush stroke here and there, our pieces really started to come together!
For the final flourish, The Edinburgh Sketcher distributed a frame to each of us and I framed my framed drawing to give it that proper professional look!
The morning lasted three hours in total but the time totally flew in – I really enjoyed the challenge of drawing the landmarks that usually just pass me by and it was brilliant to get drawing technique advice from Edinburgh Sketcher himself. Now that I have a taste for it, I am definitely going to make time to draw and doodle even more of Edinburgh’s beautiful architecture and scenery. Who knows, I might become a big-shot artist yet – ha!
Many thanks to Edinburgh Sketcher and Mercat Tours for inviting me along to the Sketching by the Mile Tour. The next outing will take place on Saturday the 9th July and costs £25 per person. You can book your place now on Mercat Tours’ website.