I was lucky to get the chance of a visit to Carcassonne in the south of France. The medieval city has very few residents so even though the fabric has historic origins with major renovations in the 1800's the city does feel a bit unreal. Still it's difficult not to be impressed.

I'm told the flat turrets are the Roman ones. On this first sketch I slipped up a bit by putting a diagonal hatch across the city walls. That flattens the curved turrets.

Looking up from the couryard of a cafe just inside the walls.

This picture exploits the overlapping shapes for composition.

This is one of those pictures I find hard to resist. An old window, a vent grille and a waste downpipe. Just the stuff of every city so the task is to look at composition and to look at how the marks are made.

This sketch was carried out using a 4B pencil on an A5 sketchpad. The paper is slightly textured. From this I've concluded 4B is a bit too soft for this size of paper. The marks are just a bit too grubby.

As we all sat down for dinner I did this sketch of Sean, one of the wine tasters. Carried out with a 4B on A5 sketchpad. Need to tear up that last rule!

Back to 4b on A4 sketchpad with smooth paper. The 4b gives a good range of marks. The hatching variety shows the wear on the different stones.

I hit this corner early in the morning but already the streets were so busy that the perspective at the wall to street wasn't visible so not quite right. Gave up and moved on.

I suppose here I was attracted by the overlapping forms.

Happy with this one. The marks in the foreground are suitably loose particularly in the arched window.

Windows. Hard not to draw them. The reveals of this window are interesting. Also the slight projection from the surrounding wall and how this was detailed.

I suppose sketching Carcassonne couldn't be complete without a sketch like this. This one picks up the shape of the walls better and I'm content with the grass and vegetation.


Having a coffee at breakfast time and thinking of all those games that can be played with perspective.

I think it's the simple elevation and high contrast that I like in these images.

When looking for something to draw it's important to go the places people don't normally go. This is looking up from the moat. I enjoy the marks of time on the elevation. Openings that have been formed and then closed up again as use changes. The pair of wheelie bins roots the image in today.

This is the main entrance to the city. There's a constant movement of people which I had to represent.

Here a sharp 2B on A5 paper. Lines are precise. Taken from the garden of the Hotel.

Final sketch was this completed with a 4B and a 2B pencil on smooth A4 paper. Visually the image refers back to the arrow slits in the City itself. The grey texture comes from random movements of the 4B pencil. This one stayed in Carcassonne with Frederique, the owner of the beautiful apartment we stayed in. His devotion to this listed building and enthusiasm for the restoration works he is undertaking were really unsurpassed. This door onto the main street from the building carries the marks of time. It's a fitting entrance.