Sketching At The Library

Today the Manchester Urban Sketching Group met up at the recently reopened Central Library in the centre of Manchester. I don’t think I ever visited it before it was renovated, but the new version is very impressive.

Here is my sketch. I was regretting my choice half way through drawing the books!


The building is circular and I had problems with some of the ceiling features. Here is a photo of ‘the real thing’.


After finishing this sketch I had a wander round the rest of the library. What struck me was the lack of ‘libraryness’. Just to the right of where I was drawing was the cafe. No ‘No food beyond this point’ notices or anything like that. Some members were using water colours. Can you imagine using watercolours in most libraries? I remember not being allowed charcoal at a life drawing session at Whitworth Art Gallery.

There were some interesting finds during the renovations. There was a large photograph on the wall of the foyer of part which was used a shelter during the Second World War. Bombing raids on Germany had been recorded on a  wall. This is a detail of the photograph.



In a cabinet, there were some of the ‘treasures’ found by the workmen:


After a couple of hours of sketching we met up for the show and tell. Here are some of the photos I took, both of the work on the ground and some individual pieces. What always interests me is the variety of marks and of subjects – quick sketches of people in pastels, intricately detailed studies of a building outside, and so on.

urban25 urban24 urban23

urban34 urban33 urban32 urban31 urban30 urban29

My first experience sketching with the group in January was a disaster! I was cold; it was outside; it was five hours long; I saw no-one for most of that five hours; I was miserable and I said so. The ones since have been the opposite – warm, inside, shorter, and able to chat to fellow sketchers. I’m looking forward to the next meet! Here we all are at the end (and yes, Phillipa, I am wearing my Flat Cap of Art at the very back!)



About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website
This entry was posted in Art, Artists, Drawing, Landscapes, Sketchbook and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Sketching At The Library

  1. agogo22 says:

    Reblogged this on msamba.

  2. seascapesaus says:

    I see you John – the only real artist according to flatcap rules! I love the way your books have a life of their own. You certainly had plenty of colleagues this time and they produced quite a range of drawings as you said. But how fascinating is that photograph of the women talking?

  3. Pingback: Preamble to Unit 3 – Drawing Outside | The Milkman Goes To College

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