The Big Draw

If you Google “Things to do in Edinburgh” you’ll find an endless list of things. In fact, there are still quite a few “tourist” activities that I have on my Edinburgh bucket list.

But many of my favorite activities I’ve done in both Houston and Edinburgh I’ve found through social media (mainly Twitter).

Watermelon champion Ruaridh with 2nd to last and last place

A post shared by Pristine @ New Kid on the Wok (@premolona) on

Watermelon eating contest in Houston

So recently when I stumbled upon a free event being hosted by the RCAHMS (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland) and the Edinburgh Sketcher for The Big Draw, I quickly signed up.

To give a brief description of the Commission, wouldn’t really cover all the resources they have or the magnitude of the work they do, but I will say that I could spend hours and hours on their website and looking through their physical collection at the Commission (which is free and open to the public!).

My introduction to the RCAHMS started with an overview of Britain from Above and then a tour of the resources available at the Commission just off the Meadows on Bernard Terrace. I loved all the historic books, prints, photos, and art available. It feels like the Commission has a photo of nearly every street, building, and spot in Scotland from centuries ago to present time.

a view of Arthur's Seat in 1829

a view of Arthur’s Seat in 1829 courtesy of RCAHMS 

a view from Arthur's Seat in 2013

a view from Arthur’s Seat in 2013

It’s so special and inspiring to see how Scotland and Edinburgh have changed over time. While I started my blog as a way to share my travels and life with friends & family, photographs and writings we all do now are actually helping to create a database of information for future generations to gain insight on our lives.

view of Edinburgh from the Castle circa 1900; photo courtesy of RCAHMS

view of Edinburgh from the Castle circa 1900; photo courtesy of RCAHMS

A view of Edinburgh

A post shared by Pristine @ New Kid on the Wok (@premolona) on

view of Edinburgh from the Castle in 2012

After our tour, Mark, the Edinburgh Sketcher, took our group on a walking & sketching tour around the south side of Edinburgh. Although I live really near the locations we were viewing and sketching, I was surprised by all the features Mark pointed out that I’ve walked past for months and never noticed.

Now let me state for the record, that I’m not an experienced sketcher. My sketching experience as of recent has involved amateur outlines for the kids I babysit to color in. So when I first started sketching on the tour, I was a bit stressed.

The kids thought these drawings were incredible.

My drawings that day started out pretty poor, y’all. But by the end of the tour I was feeling much more relaxed and because I wasn’t worried about how my pictures turned out, they actually turned out better!

my favorite of my sketches

my favorite of my sketches

the actual sketch inspiration

the actual sketch inspiration

I don’t see a professional sketching career in my future, but much like photography, it’s something that I enjoy, but need to keep practicing.

each of us framed our favorite sketch

each of us framed our favorite sketch

Perhaps I should start a “sketch a day” project? My blog would be a great way of holding me accountable.

quick sketch for today

quick sketch for today

Do you enjoy sketching or drawing? What historic photos of your home or favorite spots in Scotland would you like to find on the RCAHMS online database?

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6 responses to “The Big Draw

    • Hi! Is which photo taken from Edinburgh castle? The 2nd photo from the RCAHMS and the instagram photo overlooking the city were both taken from the castle esplanade in Edinburgh.

      Thank you for reading!

  1. I used to be really into drawing and sketching and when I went to college just kind of stopped. Might look at getting back into it, your city scene is great!

  2. Great blog Pristine and great to see you are still sketching! I love the coffee cup, much like many of mine 🙂 All the best, Mark

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