2.1a: Drawing on the Familiar: Aldeburgh

Use your sketchbooks to draw a space you are familiar with. Draw the location, the people and activities taking place and use notes to capture your thoughts and feelings, dialogue and other details that can help to bring the drawings to life.Try and capture the day to day life of the space with all its comings and goings, busy periods and quiet spots, activities and events. You can spend a chunk of time doing all the drawings in one go, or work on them over a period of time.

For this project I chose to work on a portrait of Aldeburgh – a seaside town in Suffolk where we go camping or for the day at weekends.

See brochure with map and key landmarks.

I have taken many photos there, see for example:

Landscape Photography: Aldeburgh and Snettisham

The images so far were mostly drawn on a short holiday in August 2016 – just before the Aldeburgh carnival which is my subject for Project 2.1 Drawing on Location. I am planning to continue to add to these drawings and also work them into full images.

Overall assessment

I really enjoy sketching on location, but have not yet had enough practise to develop an effective style and approach. I like sketching with pencil, and also Rotring pen. I have also used watercolour in the past but am out of practice. I have a lot more work to do here.

Ideas I have are to experiment with:

  • pastel and graphite and/or acrylic and/or gouache and graphite, using pastel/acrylic to block out colour background, then different line styles of graphite on top. But I need to improve my drawing skills as it is difficult to rub out. With acrylic I can also use pen. The other two clog the nib.
  • watercolour – using just watercolour spontaneously like Zen
  • ink and wash – but I need to experiment with different line styles as well as colour combinations
  • crayon/watercolour crayon/Inktense
  • thin coloured pens with water-soluble ink
  • iPad

Apart from improving my sketching to produce better sketches on location, I also have ideas for further development as more expressive illustrations drawing on the work of artists like Katz and Diebenkorn whose paintings the place reminds me of. Also possibly work of Aldeburgh artists – though much of this is more commercial eg http://www.aldeburghcontemporaryarts.co.uk 


Some of the artists exhibitions at Snape Maltings Gallery are more inspiring – including linocuts and abstracted oil landscapes.

But I have to wait now till the weather gets warm again in Spring


The top beach near the campsite is very flat along the horizon. With curly sea holly and a few isolated groups of people.

But there are many people running along the beach – difficult to draw. But I took some video from which to practise, and then go back.


The main industry of Aldeburgh, apart from tourism, is fishing. The fishing boats still go out. Early in the morning the beach is quiet as many of the boats are out, and most of the tourists still in bed. In the afternoons people are sunbathing by the boats.

A key market are the many tourists who come and buy fish and chips at the wooden fishhouses along the sea front – with their many seagulls.

Main beach

The main beach in the town has lots of possible places to sketch.


There are many quiet backstreets, fish shops and pubs.

Castle and end harbour

At the end is an old castle that is now a hotel. Next to a yacht marina. I did not have time to sketch this on the July holiday because there was too much else going on in the town. It was also very hot and sunny with no shade. But I have plans to go there next time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.