“I’ve lived in London for 25 years, having spent most of my youth in relatively rural parts of the UK, such as Devon, where I was born, but the buzz of city life gets me like it always did. I often cycle past St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, the towers in the financial district and the great buildings along the Thames, and I can still marvel at what a great city I live in.
When it comes to drawing, though, I am often more taken by the more mundane things going on. I like to stand before the great city sights, remove the workbook from the bag, uncap the marker, and then turn around before starting to draw. It’s the street furniture, the everyday, the ubiquitous stuff that is easily overlooked that makes a city what it really is. It’s a kind of anti-celebrity view of the world that I like. They creep in, of course: the Post Office Tower, Canary Wharf or the Shard crane their necks to get a look in, but I try, at least, to keep them in their place.
I was editor of Artists & Illustrators magazine for several years, and have written several books about drawing, including Sketch Your World and Pen & Ink. I’m in the Urban Sketchers editorial team, and helped set up the London chapter. It’s this sense of artistic community that I love, and why I am happy to be part of Urban Sketchers.”
• James’ blog.
• James’ art on Flickr.
• James’ Instagram.