54 George Street Edinburgh EH2 2LR

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Interview with The Edinburgh Sketcher

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The Edinburgh Sketcher, also known as Mark Kirkham, is a local legend, recognised for bringing the capital to life on paper with his sketches. Later this month, 22 April, Mark will be hosting a drawing tour as part of our next Doors Open Day at Assembly Rooms.
 
We caught up with the man behind the pencil and spoke to him about Assembly Rooms, art and Edinburgh.
 
Hi Mark, tell us a little bit about the upcoming drawing tour here at Assembly Rooms? What can we expect?
 
Hi, my workshops are an introduction to speed sketching, to capturing the view or details quickly in pen and ink. Through timed sketches and various exercises, we will relax into our drawing before we tackle more complex views. Once we have a number of ink sketches from our tour we will take a seat, have a tea or coffee and add water colour washes to our artwork in a relaxed setting.  
 
What makes the Assembly Rooms a good venue to sketch?
 
I am so excited about running a sketching workshop at the Assembly Rooms, capturing the splendour and exquisite detail of the interiors will be a delight. It is the perfect place to concentrate on shadows and shape capturing, I am looking forward to seeing what our sketchers produce!
 
You must have thousands of sketches of Edinburgh! Is there anywhere in the city you would call a favourite spot?
 
Yes, I suppose I must! I sketch so regularly it is not often I get to look back through my sketches but when I do it is like leafing through a diary. Recording your day in a sketch is great for looking back on and evoking specific memories. I love the crazy blurriness of the Royal Mile in the festival; when sketching I become so involved in my work I can find solitude in the busiest of places. 
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What is it you love about Edinburgh? Why is it such an inspiration to you?
 
There are many aspects to Edinburgh which have made it an inspiration for countless creatives over the years. For me, there is of course the beauty of the buildings, the hilly terrain which provides such wonderful views through the city but also the ever changing look of the city. The festivals, the Scottish seasons and a steady supply of Edinburgh entrepreneurs which keep reinventing the streets of the city. 
 
What are your favourite/must have art tools for the job?
 
I am a great believer in drawing anywhere with anything, within the law! I always have a pen and pencil in my pocket and usually a sketch pad in my bag. Over the years I have created a small selection of tools, various thicknesses of ink pen and brush, a small watercolour set and cheap sketch pad. If you keep the tools inexpensive it makes you less precious and more likely to be free with your strokes and scribbles. 
ToolsOfTheTrade
 
And how long would you typically spend on a sketch from start to completion? What is your process?
 
I started sketching on my lunch break when I was a designer for The Scotsman newspaper. The 30/40 minutes I had to draw made me quick and less precious about my work. I haven't the patience to keep going back to a piece, I get bored and distracted by the next view I want to capture :) 
 
You can join Mark, The Edinburgh Sketcher on one of his drawing tour of Assembly Rooms on 22 April. Find out more information about the tour here