From digital to analogue on the streets of Berlin

[Guest post by Detlef Surrey in Berlin]

Above: Beef Burner BBQ stand at Luftgarten beer garden on Templelhofer Feld (formerly Tempelhof Airport)

Being a professional illustrator I have carried out all my professional
work digitally since 1991 when I had bought my first computer and Wacom
tablet. It is my profession and I like it – I never seemed to miss paper and ink at all. At the end of the working day I switched off my Mac. Finished.

RAW Fleamarket in Friedrichshain

In 2012 I realised that I had in fact lost my passion of drawing – when I found an old sketch book with travel
sketches. There it was! I realised, that I missed drawing for myself, just
for fun, without a client, without corrections and deadlines. I decided
to start sketching again. 

Tango dancers at Monbijou Park

Burger Express on Tempelhof Airfield

After a while I met the Berlin Urban Sketchers and learned about Urban
Sketchers idea and network … and I was enthusiastic about it.

Mexican food stand Sabór a mí at Karneval der Kulturen street market

I love the situation of drawing on location, of being very conscious of a
place for a certain time, observing, watching closely, smelling,
listening to the sounds and voices around me, talking with the people
around me. I am trying to ‘capture the moment’ in my drawing. It is
somehow the counterweight to my digital professional work.

Typical Berliner currywurst stand on Winterfeldtplatz market. Visiting sketchers Lapin and Laurent Lolmède tasting and drawing it during a sketchcrawl with Berlin Urban Sketchers

I capture Berliners having a quick snack at an Imbiss stand (a small food
stand or street food shop) on their way about town. Currywurst, Falafel and Döner
Kebab stands are to be found wherever you might feel a bit hungry.

Vietnamese market in Lichtenberg

In the afternoons and during long summer evenings Berliners enjoy relaxing and meeting friends in one of the huge Biergärten under shady chestnut trees. I love the atmosphere in these places, relaxed and easy… it´s summer in Berlin!

Meisterschüler bar terrasse on the Spree river with the Bode Museum
and Fernsehturm tower visible in the background


Detlef Surrey is a Berlin-based illustrator. He draws cartoons for magazines and newspapers and contributed the regular comic-strip ‘Emil’ for Zitty, a weekly Berlin magazine. His character ‘Karlchen Adler’ is the official mascot for children of German parliament the ‘Deutscher Bundestag’. Detlef is a contributor to Berlin Urban Sketchers and you can find more of his work on his blog.

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