If you are ever out and about in Swindon on the first Saturday of the month, my advice to you is: keep moving.

Or you could end up being sketched.

I joined Urban Sketchers Swindon last year, and have now attended a few of their monthly events, which are officially called ‘sketchcrawls’, and I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying it.

But best of all was the one in the town centre, the other Saturday, when we found the perfect location for spying on people.

The group tries to go to a different venue every month, where between a dozen and 20 of us turn up, and, for a couple of hours, set about drawing what’s around us.

For the March event we were the guests of the Swindon Advocacy Movement, who kindly allowed us to invade their office-cum-cafe in Regent Street.

It’s the building that used to be the Information Centre, opposite the Prospect shop, and not far from the Savoy.

While some of the sketchers sketched the view inside, including sketches of other sketchers, I (along with a few others) decided to be brave and try to focus on something I had never previously attempted: people in the street.

To borrow a famous line from a famous album: no-one could have dreamed that they were being scrutinised as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

So it felt sneaky and guilty, but also cool.

That was the good news.

And although the bad news was you had to be really quick, being forced to draw in a hurry is actually a great way to learn and improve.

Even though I was sat in the front window, not one of the 20 or 30 people who ended up on the page in front of me twigged that they had become subjects, with only the people walking close to the window and glancing in realising there was a gang of artists inside, gawping at them.

It was the perfect stake-out for the Nationwide cash machine, and we found the time it takes to tap in your PIN and draw out some money is just enough time to draw someone.

Otherwise I had to rely on people stopping to sit on benches, although if nobody was keeping still enough, I could always swing round and capture the outdoor clients - mostly smokers - at the Savoy.

We even had a ringside seat when a handful of people dressed in hi-viz jackets gathered outside the pub before marching off towards Fleet Street in protest about something or other, but they moved too fast to become models.

Urban sketchers are not normally such a sneaky bunch. The sketching is usually much more public, and far from being the clandestine, devious lot you might have thought we were if you had seen us peeping at people in town, I can report that urban sketchers have great encouragement for each other, and will inspire you with their enthusiasm and talent.

And there is nothing more inspiring than talented but friendly people.

If you want to see how the sketches turned out, and whether you are in them, you’ll have to visit their Facebook page (type ‘urban sketchers swindon’ into the search box).

Hopefully, while you are there you will be inspired enough to ask yourself why you don’t give it a go, too, and join us on the April sketchcrawl.

It will be on the first Saturday of the month, starting at 11am, but we aren’t sure where, yet.

The venue is still being finalised, so details are currently a bit… um… sketchy.