Category Archives: York Minster

sketching York Minster – fast and slow

We stayed in the wonderful city of York for 5 nights. During this time, we walked passed by York Minster everyday and explored the interior twice. This blog is a collection of the sketches of this magnificent cathedral. They range from 10 minute to 2 hour sketches.  Some were planned sketching sessions and others were unplanned, taking opportunities as they presented themselves.


a very quick 10 minute sketch with my Lamy Safari Joy ink pen

This was an unplanned 10 minute sketch on the way to our day tour pick up spot. I was unsure of the time I would have and just started at the top and just started getting crazy lines down on paper. I could see the tour group gathering, so finished up. It is not really recognizable as York Minster, but for me, it captures the moment. As I scan the pages and write my blog I am immediately transported back to that time and place


This was sketched on an excellent tour of York Minster. There is so much history and the guides are so very knowledgeable and love to share that knowledge. He thought that I was taking notes.


The arrow is pointing to me (the little black splodge) sketching outside York Minster on our last morning. Our suitcases are next to me.


And this is what was sketching with my watercolour pencils in that time. This was planned as we had checked out of our lovely Palm Court B&B and had time before our booked train to London.


There are some beautifully carved monuments, sculptures and tombs throughout the Minster. Some were on the ground or at eyelevel and there were some magnificent marble medieval tombs. I was tempted to draw them for the purity of line and the wonderful marble folds of dress and gowns. However I decided on the tomb of a significant person in the history of York Minster – the founder of the Minster as it is today. I am glad that I wrote down on the page how long each sketch took, as I would have no idea if you asked me now.

After our first visit and tour of York Minster I knew that I wanted to return. I wanted to draw more, but when we returned I was not sure where to begin. There were so many beautiful architectural features. York Minster is the second largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe The present building was begun in about 1230 and completed in 1472. The stone used for the building is magnesian limestone, a beautiful creamy-white coloured rock. So different after the red brick of Manchester.

I decided to take a deep breath and put some of the techniques I learnt in Stephanie Bowers “Soaring Spaces” Urban Sketching Workshop at Urban Sketching Symposium the week before.

I spent two hours on this sketch and am really pleased with the result. I don’t think that I could have added any more .  It was a peaceful time, as the tourists walked around me. No one stopped and talked. I could quietly sketch in the serene surroundings and beautiful inspirational space.