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Harry The Pencil’s Lunchtime Sketchbook

April 19, 2019
by the gentle author

When I was visiting Harry The Pencil – also known as Harry Harrison – in Mile End yesterday, he showed me this modest little sketchbook that he filled ten years ago when he was working in Great Sutton St, Clerkenwell, undertaking a single half hour drawing each lunch hour  – most are nearby his office but you will spot a few further afield in Soho, Kings Cross, Hatton Garden & Spitalfields.

Drawings copyright © Harry Harrison

You may also like to take a look at

Harry Harrison’s East End Portraits

19 Responses leave one →
  1. April 19, 2019

    Wonderful sketches. Valerie

  2. April 19, 2019

    Wonderful drawings. They should be in a book.

  3. Adrienne permalink
    April 19, 2019

    Harry’s work – these pencil drawings and his wonderful portraits – is AMAZING. Does he have a website so we can see more? What a talent! Thanks for sharing him with us GA.

  4. Caroline Bottomley permalink
    April 19, 2019

    Lovely! Very inspiring

  5. April 19, 2019

    What a talent, lovely pencil drawings.
    Anymore tucked away Harry?

  6. Jill Wilson permalink
    April 19, 2019

    What a productive way to spend a lunch hour!

    Fantastic drawings, and a brilliant technique to capture all the different textures of the buildings and foliage. He has really caught the magic of the diverse architecture and delightful nooks and crannies of London (the exception being the Barbican which literally stood out like a sore thumb!)

    More please…

  7. Rupert Bumfrey permalink
    April 19, 2019

    Yet another human gem unearthed by TGA

  8. Dudley Diaper permalink
    April 19, 2019

    Brilliant sketches. In the spirit of the great Geoffrey Fletcher.

  9. Eric Forward permalink
    April 19, 2019

    Amazing drawings. Almost seem technical in nature, being hand drawn but also precise. I recognised Meard Street immediately, the former home of Sebastian Horsley, a modern dandy, is certainly worthy of a few more stories.

  10. April 19, 2019

    This is a brilliant series. The sketchbook may be “modest”, but there is a big talent here. Harry’s got the knack — he captures volume, texture, nuance, perspective-in-his-own-way, and I love seeing the handwriting of the artist as he “notates”.

    Thank you for treating your readers into these personal glimpses of sketchbooks and archives.
    Loved this post, and will share it with other sketchbook aficionados.

  11. Helen Breen permalink
    April 19, 2019

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, thanks for showing these delightful pencil drawings by Harry the Pencil. I particularly like his “muscular” tree trunks. Why do these sketches remind me of Paris?

  12. Harry Harrison permalink
    April 19, 2019

    Many thanks for all your lovely comments, i’m very touched.
    Eric, your comment about the drawings being ‘technical’ is spot on i worked as an architect for 50 years so that may be the reason!
    Phil, Adrienne and Di, I have had a book published of my drawings produced by my office when I retired from practice a couple of years ago, it is available on-line, search ‘Harry the Pencil’.
    Lynne, thanks for spotting and commenting on the annotations, I love hearing snatches of conversation whilst I’m drawing and incorporate some into the sketch.

  13. April 19, 2019

    Oh, these are beautiful. I love the flat perspective and the confident line!

  14. Pauline Taylor permalink
    April 20, 2019

    Oh how good these drawings are, they are stunning, and very it is very interesting to read that Harry was an architect as I was immediately reminded of the similar, lovely sketches that our friend can produce at the drop of a hat and he too is an architect and retired county planning officer. And I add my voice to the compliment regarding the handwriting, it’s great.

  15. Nancy permalink
    April 23, 2019

    I love these.

  16. Griselda Mussett permalink
    April 23, 2019

    Thank you for sharing these marvellous drawings. They are right ‘up my street’. I strive to make drawings like that, but fail! These have a wonderful mix of atmosphere and ‘moment’ combined with technical accuracy – I am in awe of that. Growing up in London in the 50s, I have a deep affection for the old Georgian spaces, the little alleys and views. They are still to be found in various seaside towns especially here in Kent – Deal, for example, and Sandwich. I feel inspired to try harder to get my drawings more accurate. I note the short pencil strokes, and even the quality of the pencil marks themselves. If Harry the Pencil were to run a drawing class any time, I would be very interested to come along. I only found that I needed to do this (for my soul) at the ripe old age of 67, so I am still a student. So, thank you to the Gentle Writer and to Harry the Pencil.

  17. April 24, 2019

    Very fine and impressive sketches!

    Love & Peace

  18. jenn permalink
    April 24, 2019

    I used to go out and sketch things in my lunch break.

  19. Steve Hanscomb permalink
    April 25, 2019

    These are wonderful, I love the architectural style. I worked in Clerkenwell for many years and worked almost opposite the Tasty Cafe. Serge was a real character and many of us miss the Tasty, such a shame it had to close. It just became so expensive for him to keep it going I think and none of the replacements last very long. Long may Scotti’s and Beppe’s keep going, the last of the real classics of Clerkenwell.

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