Draw your Own Camden

There are lots of ways to explore Camden. You can get out and about, pound the pavements, visit people or places and keep exploring and looking around.

But you can also explore Camden at home with a pencil and a piece of paper. This step by step guide will help you make you own imaginary Camden, mixing up things you remember, places you’ve been with dreams and doodles …

Fun facts

  1. John Constable, one of Britain’s most famous artists, used to go to Hampstead Heath to practice painting clouds.

2. The Fleet River runs from Hampstead to the Thames, but over the years its been built over so you can’t see it. It’s still there, just flowing under the streets. Not everything in the city is visible!

Step by step

Step 1

Draw the outline of a cloud on the largest piece of paper you can find. You could make it up, or you could look outside look up and draw one that’s floating past.

Step 2

Just like a real piece of city we’ll need some ways to get about. Criss crossing your cloud, draw a main road, like the Euston road. Draw a river, like the River Fleet. Draw a Canal like the Regents Canal. Draw a railway line. Draw your own street if you like too.

You can also come back later and add more.

Step 3

Now we need some buildings. Places for people to live, work, learn, enjoy themselves and so on. Here are some buildings in Camden to get you going. Why not also draw your own home too? Your school? The are buildings of all types and sizes in Camden, from old to modern, towers and terraces. You could also make up some yourself. Draw them onto your cloud map and you’ll start to see a city appear.

Step 4

But we need some green spaces too, parks where we can get away from it all. In Camden there are pretty wild bits of nature like Hampstead Heath and some very neat places too like Regents Park. You could add trees to the streets, plants along the canal etc …

Step 5

And finally we need a population! You could start with yourself and your family, then add in friends. There could be some animals too: Pets, wildlife or even animals from the Zoo!

Remember: All cities are made by the imagination of the people who live in them.

Which of your ideas do you think would be good ways to make the Camden of the future?

Sam Jacob is principal of Sam Jacob Studio for architecture and design, a practice whose work spans scales and disciplines from urban design through architecture, design, art and curatorial projects. Current and recent projects include a gallery in south London, a new mixed use building in Hoxton, and the National Collections Centre in Wiltshire.


This is a project that was produced in partnership with Camden Council. With their support, the Open House Families team commissioned Camden-based creatives to produce activities for families to enjoy from home, which all take their inspiration from Camden’s unique architectural characteristics. You can find more events occurring as part of the festival here: openhouselondon.open-city.org.uk/collections/7

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