Tag Archives: Waterstones

Upstairs Downstairs

26 Dec

Called into Waterstones bookshop café today, it’s one of my favourite places for sketching en plein air because it’s upstairs with large windows overlooking the busy street which has a couple of benches often full of busy shoppers taking a rest. So I spy on them and draw them while I’m having a cuppa.

boxing day 2018


Movement And Proportion

10 Dec

waterstones 6

So a few more quick scribbles from a local café, Waterstones, which is on the first floor so I could look down into the street and draw people going about their Xmas shopping. It was getting dark and it had been raining so the roads and pavements were wet and shiny. This chap was squatting down next to a bench, chatting, and stayed long enough for me to get some of the reflections in.



It’s harder to sketch people on the move, with just a few seconds to get the essence of the figure onto the paper. I drew with a ballpoint pen into my tiny fabric covered sketchbook, it’s about 5 inches by 3 inches. Although the scribbles were very quick, they help to refine my eye and practise drawing movement and proportion.




Big And Baggy

9 Dec

waterstones 2


Husb and I stopped for a cuppa in Waterstones café yesterday, having a break from the mid-winter gloom. We sat in the window overlooking the street where Woolworths used to be which is now Poundland, it’s a good vantage point for drawing people going about their business. It was getting dark and everywhere was wet so people came and went very quickly. It’s a good exercise to draw quickly, if you only have a few seconds you have to get the main features down and there’s no time to be distracted by details.


Everyone’s in big, baggy winter clothes at the moment, but when the rain eases off, the big fluffy hoods come down.



Millionaire’s Shortbread

8 Dec

waterstones 1

Had a busy day in town today and stopped off for a nice cuppa in the café in Waterstones bookshop .… lovely. Husb had Millionaire’s Shortbread with his tea. It was one of the best he had ever tasted. Lots of the people there read their new books while they drink their tea. I had to have a scribble, didn’t I?



A Slice Of Time

14 Jun

woollies pigeons

This screenprint represents a very specific slice of time. Some years ago, there was a Woolworths store opposite the Waterstones bookshop in Swansea. I used to sit in the window of the bookshop cafe up on the first floor, with a pot of tea, and scribble the pigeons that sat on the Woolworths signage opposite. It was large and red and stood out from the wall, giving the pigeons enough space to sit and groom themselves comfortably. It was also lit up day and night, which gave them warmth.

I found the pigeons hard to draw because they constantly fidget so I had to develop a quick impressionistic style to capture them. I wrote down my thoughts and combined them with some of the drawings to create the photographic silkscreen.



Shades Indoors

9 Dec

09 shades

Why? What’s the point? Maybe some people have medical reasons to wear sunglasses indoors, but surely not as many as I see out and about. This middle-aged dude was in Waterstone’s cafe where I stopped for a pot of tea and a scribble. He had fancy wrap-around style shades and a smart leather blouson jacket.

Drawn in my clothbound A5 sketchbook with a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size F.

Just Some Faces

24 Aug

Just some faces scribbled when I’ve been out and about the place. The older man was scribbled this morning as I was having a nice cuppa with my friend in Waterstone’s bookshop cafe while we were waiting for Illtyd the Charcutier from Pontyates to deliver our sausages and faggots. mmmmmmmmm

Filthy Weather And A Civilised Pot Of Tea.

4 Feb

Ink sketches in the bookshop.


Filthy weather today. We were promised snow but as usual, the bit of the Guf Stream that swirls around in the bay made the temperature just slightly too high for the rain to freeze out into snow. So we had freezing rain and driving winds instead. Horrible. Spent the morning at Swansea Print Workshop but was thoroughly fed up by the afternoon so sloped off into the city with husb and took refuge in the lovely cafe in Waterstone’s bookshop. I love this cafe. The bookshop was originally an old cinema, built in the very early days of the movies and it’s a beautiful building. It survived the WW2 blitz and the 1960’s town planning atrocities and Waterstones took it over and lovingly restored it. I love the idea of a cafe in a bookshop. You can buy your book and then cwtch into a comfy chair upstairs with a nice pot of tea and a toasted teacake and start reading your purchase without setting foot outside into the vile weather. Lovely.

I sketched a couple of people at nearby tables. The elderly man in braces had his head down, reading his book in his lap. The younger man kept his hat on over his very trendy haircut [does anyone say trendy these days?] while he chatted to the young lady he came in with. It was on the news today that sales of teapots in Britain have fallen because we’re all making our tea with teabags in mugs. Not in Waterstones – the tea comes in lovely little fat white china pots with matching cups and saucers.

Woollies Pigeons

3 Sep

Ink sketch: Woollies pigeon #1.

I sometimes go for coffee to Waterstones bookshop in Swansea, where the cafe is upstairs opposite the old Woolworths store. After Woollies closed, the signage was colonised by pigeons; before that, the signs were always lit up and too hot for the pigeons to sit on.  I liked to sit in the big old window and it gave me a great view over the street and started sketching the pigeons. I’d never drawn birds before and I found that they never keep still. Not when I’m looking at them anyway.

I went regularly for a few months and did dozens of drawings, using a variety of Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens.  Because they’re constantly moving, the sketches are very impressionistic and capture the essence of the birds rather than trying – and failing – to be accurate zoological drawings. Recently the store was re-opened with different signage and I must make time to go back and draw the pigeons on their new perches which is very different to the old Woollies lettering; it’s more loopy.


Ink sketch: Woollies pigeon #2.


I mounted some of them onto hand-coloured Zercoll paper, which I squeegeed with a gold metallic Acrylic System 3 paint, thinned with Acrylic medium. I squeegeed it straight onto the paper, rather than using a screen so it was very textured, rather than flat.

It’s very civilised sitting in a café in a bookshop in a converted early 20th century cinema, sketching. Must do it more often.

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