I’m Lydia Thornley, a designer, creative director, reportage illustrator and prolific filler of sketchbooks. Dispatches from a Small World started as a lockdown project, reporting from my London garden in sketches. This blog takes that journey of discovery into a third growing season.
On late Autumn days of mud and gaps, the garden seems spent. But on a warmer-than-it-looks Saturday, nature coaxes me to the far end, where berries drop and ivy sprawls. There, purple-black and glossy among lime green leaves, is one jasmine berry. Eyes tuned, I look up, at the holly … Read More
I’ve started my drawing day bimbling around sketching the lilies given to me by a kind neighbour, partly because I promised myself that I would and partly as an excuse not to go outside. It’s chilly. This should be no surprise – it’s November. But in this year’s strange climate, it … Read More
A dark, dank day has me reaching for soft-toned, soft-textured paper. Not, it’s called – a tactile surface somewhere between smooth and rough. It was my dad’s choice for watercolours (I always wondered at the ‘not’) and today, it’s mine because I have small things to draw, in a posy foraged … Read More
Snails. They have a reputation for slowness. But after overnight rain they’re making the most of a garden going over, edibles ready for last harvests and composting. I spot a yellowing squash leaf teeming with them. It’s a bit like a one-minute pose in a life drawing class – swift marks, … Read More
It’s been a sombre week. As I step into the garden, I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for. Permanence, maybe? Timelessness? No – nature shows me something else. Just as the giant sunflower heads dry, two smaller sunflowers are bursting into bud, tight little knots of fresh green on hairy … Read More
I go into the garden to draw a one-out, one-in story about new growth and moulted feathers. But today, the garden has colours to show me. The fennel is reaching its mid-point between flower and seed. It’s full of colour I’m not expecting – dusty blue, turquoise, mauve, blended with … Read More