Drawing A Beer: The Artist Sketching Every London Pub

Shots by Adrian Dennis. Video by Linda Abi Assi

Lydia Wooden sits opposite The Atlas pub in west London, meticulously introducing detail to her drawing of the making and pausing only sometimes to sharpen her pencil.

The 28-12 months-previous artist has designed up a sizeable TikTok and Instagram following with her detailed sketches of perfectly-liked London pubs.

She has established an formidable but, she thinks, not extremely hard, aim — drawing all 3,500 of them.

So considerably she has managed “a handful of hundred”, quite a few of them in close proximity to to her residence in Catford, southeast London, she informed AFP.

The challenge arrived about for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic when lockdown meant she was not able to perform giving children’s following-college art lessons.

“It did form of stem from just being, you know, a pub human being, like that’s wherever I socialise with my pals,” she reported.

Wood’s drawings get countless numbers of likes on Instagram and TikTok, wherever she posts quick films about the method, then holds up the concluded sketch in entrance of the pub.

The freelance artist experienced always drawn some images of pubs to promote at Xmas markets.

But when she declared her plan and requested for commissions to draw the capital’s pubs, “matters went a minor bit crazy”, she admitted.

The 28-12 months-aged freelance artist has crafted up a TikTok and Instagram next with her specific sketches


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Now making art is her whole-time career, typically carrying out individual commissions, together with pubs and residences.

She also sells prints on the e-commerce craft web site Etsy.

“They truly feel so quintessentially British. I assume that no matter whether you are a pub particular person or not, they are terrific structures to appear at or be in.”

The Atlas pub, in close proximity to Earl’s Courtroom, was proposed by a TikTok follower and sits on a peaceful facet street in close proximity to a leafy cemetery.

But Wooden nevertheless has to put up with screeching ambulances driving past and a plumber’s van unhelpfully parking in front of the creating.

Some publicans have presented her a hearty welcome when they realised she was drawing their properties.

But The Atlas, its bricks painted glossy crimson and the higher partitions protected with creeper vines, is shut right up until late afternoon.

Inside of, the Victorian-period pub has lovingly preserved interval features this kind of as wood panelling.

It is now a “foodie” pub serving dishes these kinds of as risotto or confit leg of duck for supper.

“It appears to be fairly posh,” claimed Wood.

She chooses some pubs to sketch herself. Some others are prompt by followers on social media


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When she does not see the task as an excuse for a pub crawl, she likes to go into the sites she sketches to get a sense of their vibe.

A “area” with normal drinkers has a absolutely various environment from a central London pub with its transient passing trade.

“When I’ve been inside of a pub after I’ve drawn it, there is definitely a diverse form of feeling of ‘oh yeah I know that pub and I can advocate it to someone’.”

A handful of times later on, Wooden is in busy Soho to draw a really diverse pub, The Coach and Horses on Greek Street, which she has been into in advance of.

“When you’ve been inside the pub you form of have a link to it,” she reported.

She selected the pub simply because a commentator on one particular of her TikTok video clips told her of a family members relationship to the pub.

Their grandfather, Norman Balon, was famously known as “London’s rudest landlord” and ran the pub for more than 60 decades.

“I cherished that type of anecdote,” stated Wooden. “It quickly drew me towards it.”

The central London pub in a historic 19th-century making has experienced a vibrant clientele, which include journalists from satirical journal Non-public Eye.

Other regulars bundled the famous alcoholic newspaper columnist Jeffrey Bernard, who was immortalised in a Keith Waterhouse enjoy “Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell”.

Drawing a beer: fulfill the artist sketching every solitary pub in London

It is now managed by a brewery chain.

On a Saturday afternoon, there is a continual stream of passers-by and drinkers sit with pints outside.

“That took practically three several hours,” she said of her completed drawing of an “legendary portion of Soho”.

“It is really humorous — there are so a lot of persons about, but really it felt very a tranquil drawing.”