I first came across Lydia’s drawings on Instagram and instantly fell in love with them. Gestural, immediate and beautifully executed, I knew I wanted to feature her work. Read what she has to say about her drawings and feast your eyes…

I’m a graphic designer and creative consultant. And I draw my way to and from my east London desk space, around town and on my travels.

What I see on my commute depends when I travel: Labourers and cleaners, City workers, the main rush hour, then what I call the creative rush hour and the more relaxed to and fro during the day until it all starts again, the return home blending into London at play.


My drawing style is loose line work. I often have only seconds to make a drawn note so these aren’t likenesses.

But drawing makes me look. I notice more about my city and its people.

I’ve drawn since before I could walk. As a designer, I’ve always thought on paper but had stopped keeping a daily sketchbook through decades of commissioning other people.

Then I went on a trip with a sketchbook as well as a camera and I rediscovered drawing in cafés. I made that year’s studio book, which was a sort of shorthand about drawing as part of my design practice. As an artist I was doing some teaching, which challenged me to do a drawing a day until it had to go to press. The easiest way to do that around my design projects was to draw my way to work. And then I didn’t stop…

My daily drawings have turned into a prolific Instagram feed, with most of the drawings now coloured-up digitally.


The sketchbook drawing has developed into other projects: Catwalk Dogwalk Whistle is a hand-stitched studio book about fashion on the London commute and Hair Lines has been a bespoke exhibition at Beaucatcher salon in Stoke Newington. The next project will be along soon. I also take commissions.

Follow Lydia on Instagram: @ydiathornley
Commissions:  lydia@thornley.co.uk

About the images
•  These people pictures are all about fashion. Each season in East London, a colour, a hem length, a trouser width is suddenly everywhere. And I see the turn of the seasons in clothes.

•  In cafes, I sometimes draw people but, as often, I’m sitting in front of a little still life.

Images courtesy of the artist