It’s no wonder that Scotland’s scenery inspires artists from all over the world – with its breathtaking mountains, majestic lochs and magical castles, it’s every painter’s dream.
So it’s no wonder that VisitScotland has come up with a new way to draw attention to some of the country’s most iconic sights.
From the picture-perfect houses of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull and the dramatic beauty of the Glenfinnan Viaduct to the Forth Bridge and the eye-catching design of V&A Dundee, landmarks like these are often considered works of art so VisitScotland have launched Sketching Scotland.
A series of 20 short online videos teaching people how to sketch well-known landmarks and locations, each tutorial is accompanied by a voiceover giving advice and tips on how to create your drawing, as well as facts about each destination.
The idea is that the creative campaign will inspire people to visit the landmarks once it’s safe to do so.
Nikki Sherret, VisitScotland senior content editor, explains the inspiration behind the project: “The Covid-19 pandemic essentially stopped all travel in Scotland and forced the tourism industry to grind to a halt just weeks before the season traditionally starts,” she says.
“It was crucial for us to create content that kept Scotland at the forefront of people’s minds but also reinforced that stay at home message – we wanted people to dream now but travel later.
“This unprecedented situation really forced us to think outside the box,” she continues.
“How can we showcase Scotland and all the wonderful things people can see and do here when they can’t actually travel? When we decided on Sketching Scotland, we just loved the idea that we could create something really different – that people could do at home but could also inspire travel when it was safe to do so.
Nikki reveals she and the team were spoilt for choice when it came to choosing just 20 landmarks and locations for the tutorials.
“We were really spoiled for choice. Scotland has so many iconic landmarks but we knew we wanted to ensure we had a good regional spread covering the length and breadth of the country,” she says.
“This was especially important when thinking ahead to lockdown restrictions easing as we thought it was likely people would want to stay local.
“This way, wherever you are in Scotland, you won’t be far from the real-life inspiration for one of our sketches.
“Also we can’t forget that this is a campaign about art so we really needed to have locations that were iconic, that people recognised and were visually appealing both in real-life and on paper – from St Abbs Harbour and the Orkney’s Italian Harbour to the Scottish Crannog Centre, to name but three, we have a fantastic collection of locations to sketch.”
Two or three tutorials are being released each a week so that people can try them and come back at a later date and try more.
“Each video sees our illustrator talk you through the process of sketching the chosen landmark, from a completely blank page to the final artwork,” explains Nikki.
“Not only does he talk you through what he is doing and why, he also chats about the locations and the area. This was an important aspect of the content for us because at the end of the day we want people to visit Scotland and we look forward to welcoming them.
“We felt Sketching Scotland was a fun take on sightseeing, so even if you couldn’t physically visit you can still learn about some of our best-loved attractions in a completely new way.
“We were also conscious that people are looking for ways to use their time creatively and learn a new skill. We loved the thought that people all over the world could be taking 15 minutes to relax, draw and think of Scotland, and the project is aimed at adults and children. “We’d like to think it is for everyone,” smiles Nikki.
“We know that people have different skills sets so we’ve tried to cater for this – the tutorials not only focus on different landmarks and attractions they are also of varying difficulty. So, while you might find some of them challenging we hope those taking part will create at least one masterpiece they are proud of.
“Our main hope for Sketching Scotland is that people have fun and are inspired to visit landmarks and locations they may have never visited before.
“If we help unlock some hidden creative potential along the way then that’s an added bonus but our real hope is to get people out exploring Scotland when it is safe to do so.”
Nikki and the team enjoyed the challenge of thinking outside the box and creating something they hadn’t done before.
“It’s always exciting when you get a concept but to see that come together and become a fully-fledged content campaign, especially during such a challenging time when everyone is working from home, has been really rewarding,” she smiles.
Iconic sights include V&A Dundee, the Old Man of Hoy and the Italian Chapel on Orkney, Glasgow’s Riverside Museum, Glenfinnan Viaduct, Bow Fiddle Rock, Portknockie, Forth Bridge, Calanais Standing Stones, Duff House, Tobermory houses at the harbour on Mull, The Pineapple, near Falkirk, The Kelpies/Falkirk Wheel, Caerlaverock Castle, Scottish Crannog Centre, Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, St Abbs Harbour, Abbotsford House, Culross houses, Dunfermline Abbey and Sumburgh Head and lighthouse.
To try Sketching Scotland visit visitscotland.com and share your sketches on social media using #sketchingscotland