The delights of urban sketching – by a Borders librarian

Urban sketching may not be a familiar hobby to many in Scotland, but now one local man hopes to bring this global movement to the Borders.

Peter Harrington of Melrose described the pastime as “amateur artists sketching directly on the spot, where they are: in cafes, trains, buses, on the street, wherever. It’s almost recording what’s going on around you, like photographs.

“I like the directness of it,” the Gala librarian explained. “You’re just sketching what you’re observing there and then.

“On the urban sketching Facebook page, you’re getting pictures from all over the world of what people are seeing.”

It started as a hobby many years ago for Peter, who carried a journal around with him on his travels. “I’ve always done it,” he said. “As well as writing, I do little thumbnail sketches of where I am. I’ve been doing urban sketching for years without knowing what it was called.”

While sketching in Barcelona, he discovered a like-minded group of amateur artists, and now he hopes to get something similar happening here. “I used to go out individually, but now I’d like to sketch with other people. Is there anybody else in the Borders doing urban sketching?”

“It’s a chance for people of like minds to get together – which encourages you to draw more. It’s very uncompetitive and informal, just something to enjoy. People can put down what they see in any style, to any standard.”

Anyone interested can contact Peter on