Cool down with Lotte Cassidy’s drawings of London’s lidos and air-conditioned corner shops

As the heatwave continues, the illustrator offers a snapshot looking at the many ways people will be dealing with life in the swelteringly hot capital.

12 August 2022


What are your plans this weekend? A long, lazy lounge in your garden, a catch up with friends under the shady umbrella of a beer garden, or a swift escape inside to the safety of an electric fan and strategically closed blinds? Well, whatever they may be, Lotte Cassidy’s series London Heatwave is sure to give you a few ideas. Documenting “the only places to cool down in London” – the local park, the lido, beer gardens and air-conditioned corner shops – Lotte’s drawings are certainly a remedy in this stifling weather.

A near life-long resident of London, Lotte tells It’s Nice That that she’s always had a penchant for drawing the city’s people and places in an attempt to “capture something transient”. Following an art foundation at Kingston – which opened up her eyes to what illustration and animation could be – she went on to study at Bournemouth Arts University. Here, she created projects that still resonate within her work today; her film Strange Seaside interacted with her love of bodies of water, specifically the British seaside, while Fancy a Cuppa?, narrated by her grandma and exploring dementia in old age, represents her desire to visually capture memories and the passing of time. Currently, she is studying at the Royal College of Art for a masters in visual communication.


Lotte Cassidy: London Heatwave (Copyright © Lotte Cassidy, 2022)

London Heatwave is a follow-up to her series Lockdown Days, which documented Lotte’s daily walks and the realities of isolation. After the lockdowns, when things started opening up, the illustrator noticed a change in her drawings. Tones shifted from deep blues and greys to pinks, greens and oranges, and (quite understandably), isolated figures started turning into groups of friends. And so, inspired by the changes she saw, Lotte then set herself on collating and expanding this body of work into encapsulating something that people could relate to – “a hot sticky London summer”.

To represent perfectly the images and sensations of a heatwave, Lotte draws very quickly with a sense of immediacy and urgency, imagining, quite fittingly, that “everything is melting”. She adds: “The smudgy textures, reflected light, quick mark-making and juicy colours create a sense of this radiating heat.” This texture, combined with her love of using interesting perspectives, gives her drawings a hazy feeling, like a memory plucked straight from her mind. This approach comes across brilliantly in her image Amy, Maya, Bebe and Alex in Clissold Park, the sketchy grass and pink sky creating a dreamlike quality, whilst the top-down angle gives the impression that you’re one of the gang, standing up, taking a photo.

Away from dry land, Lotte’s vibrantly blue bodies of water have a sumptuously enticing quality, inviting you in for a leisurely swim or to simply lounge by the waves with a cold drink. So, why not take a moment away from the sweltering heat – and the persistent refrain of “It’s really hot, isn’t it?” – and have a peruse through Lotte’s wonderful drawings.

GalleryLotte Cassidy: London Heatwave (Copyright © Lotte Cassidy, 2022)

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Lotte Cassidy: London Heatwave (Copyright © Lotte Cassidy, 2022)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English Literature and History, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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