Lydia Thornley


Dispatches from a small world started as a lockdown project in March 2020. A prolific filler of sketchbooks, I thrived on sketchwalks and drawing on journeys. But In my London neighbourhood, there were ‘keep moving’ and ‘don’t sit here’ messages in the parks. So I decided to report from my back garden instead, where I grow flowers and food.

Spending time with plants through drawing, I noticed things that I wouldn’t otherwise have seen. I watched seedlings come up, leaves unfurl, flowers shake out their skirts, fruits turn, seeds set... Simple colours turned out to have a lot more going on.

Dispatches has run through a full growing season, through over 150 drawings. Many have made their way to my Instagram feed. This blog is its first online home, documenting as I go – and as I grow.


Born in 1960s Kent to an ad man and a singer, I started drawing before I could walk. I studied at Canterbury College of Art, now UCA, and graduated with a BA(Hons) in graphic design. I moved to London, worked at design practices for 10 years and then went freelance.

My late career adventures in illustration happened by accident. I produced a studio book about drawing as part of my design practice, and challenged to do a drawing a day until it had to go to press, I didn’t stop... That turned into my Instagram feed @lydiathornley. And from that came approaches for exhibitions, live sketching, illustration and drawing workshops for respite and connection. You can find out more about that, and the rest of my creative work, over at Studio Lydia Thornley.


Contact me about commissions, picture sales, workshops or press enquiries:
Tel: +44 (0)7711 198173

Follow me:
Instagram: @lydiathornley
Twitter: @lydiathornley
LinkedIn: Lydia Thornley

Visit my Teemill shop

See my workshops on Yodomo