Monthly Archives: October 2016

New Greeting cards

I am very excited that I have SIX new greeting cards available for purchase. They are printed from my watercolour pencil drawings.

christmas-mince-pies christmas-pudding

There are TWO new Christmas cards to join the four that I already have . These two Christmas images were drawn in the last two month, specifically for these Christmas cards. They were drawn on A4 watercolour paper . I tried to think of colourful Christmas themes that fit within my drawing style. I love to draw food and smaller objects. These two were great fun.


fungi – drawn from fungi on small branches collected in Toowoomba


Squirrel – Drawn from one of many photographs I took of squirrels in Kensington Gardens in London.


Drawn from old keys that I have collected over the years,


Old Law books on the shelves at work.

I have been working on this project for about two months. Four of the drawings are from my  sketchbooks over the last few years. It took a long time to decide which drawings would look good on cards and appeal to other people. Just because a drawing looks good, doesn’t mean that it will make a good card.


The excitement of taking delivery and unpacking my new cards

Once again, my local printers Print Together, have reproduced the subtle colours and lines of watercolour pencils. The cards were delivered last Wednesday and I have spent the last few days, putting envelopes inside them and sealing each one in a cellobag. Yesterday I started to take photographs of the cards to put up on my Etsy online store. It was a lovely sunny day, so I went to the park.

They are now available for purchase from my Etsy online store for $AUD 5.50.

travels of a geisha sketch

In July I had an exhibition as part of Melbourne Rare Book Week called “You Can’t Draw in Books?”  where I drew in books that were about to be thrown away, or that I bought for a few dollars.  The next step for them  would have been the bin.

I gave the books a new life by drawing on the pages with my watercolourpencils. The image I choose to draw, reflects the words on the page.

“You Can’t Draw in Books?” is now installed as exhibition again at my local library East Melbourne Library  until November 26 2016









One of the books I drew in was Memoirs of a Geisha, a fascinating novel. It was a best seller when it was published, but now you can now find a copy in any charity shop in the  book section.
Below are the steps of drawing the geisha on the in the book.

















I choose the geisha drawing for my flyers, which I have pinned up in local cafes.

new and old pencils

I have finally finished scanning and uploading my three sketchbooks from my three week UK holiday .

Now I can reflect a little of the practical side of my UK sketching . There are two parts to this post: a few new colours I used in England and the discovery of a new pencil colour.


I was aware about the need potentially alter the colours I use in different country. When I moved from Sydney to Melbourne I had to buy new pencils for the colours of Melbourne buildings and wrote a blog post) . Getting the colour right is important to me. There had been a discussion leading up to the Urban Sketchers Manchester Symposium on their facebook group about watercolours people could use. People discussed the different greens for English trees and also the reds for Manchester buildings. In an example of the generous sharing nature of the group, Linda Toolsema kindly tested a whole range of watercolours and translated them to the equivalent watercolour pencils to assist me. It was invaluable and I was able to choose some extra colours to take with me.

I use FaberCastell Albretch Durer Watercolour pencils

NEW COLOURS                                           USUAL COLOURS



Midland Hotel, Manchester, with its red brick and terracotta


I use Payne’s Grey a fair bit.  I know that French Ultramarine & Burnt Umber combined make a great shadow, but often for the way I draw, just the one colour is useful  – and Payne’s Grey is it !


My Payne’s Grey pencil got smaller and smaller and then I lost my spare. I could not find an art shop in Manchester or York that sold single Faber Castell watercolour pencils. It was not until my final week in London that I could buy one. I used this tiny pencil until the last moment when I bought the new one.


In London at the amazing art shop L Cornelissen & Son   (above) I finally found my Paynes Grey and proudly showed the assistants my tiny pencil.

Cornelissen & Son was established in 1855 and has been trading in London as artists’ colourmen since then. Cornelissen is known throughout the world as a specialist niche supplier of art materials from premises that a 19th Century apothecary would recognize.


However, along the way I found a shop that had another lovely FaberCastell watercolour pencil Dark Sepia, which does not replace Payne’s Grey, but I immediately fell in love with. It has a lovely warmth that is great for buildings.

I am not experimental in my everyday art materials and sketchbooks. I enjoy using my watercolour pencils in my Moleskine Watercolour sketchbook. I am still learning about them and enjoying the pleasure of drawing.




Sketching Mum’s favourite London

I have almost finished scanning and uploading my three UK holiday sketchbooks to my flickr website. Every sketch holds a memory of a time and place and I feel like I want to show you them all. These blogs have been more of a ‘holiday snaps’ than art talk. I did not know where to start and stop sharing my English holiday sketches on my blog.

However, my mother (and travelling companion) has recently mentioned a few places and events that express what London means to her.  I have taken her suggestions to form the basis of my blog this week.


Mum & I in Regents Park, London

I have taken Mum’s words and added my sketch


  •  the green spaces, so many lovely squares. We were using our Oyster Card just like all the locals and other tourists – Russell Square, King’s Cross, Jubilee Line, Westminster!!!!



the places to visit like British Museum and Library





  • then there is beautiful Regents Park, an oasis in the busy streets around Baker Street. Pity we had a little trouble finding our way back to Bloomsbury


  • London is the red buses, telephone boxes and post boxes


  • not forgetting that time we sat eating lunch after hearing the ‘Bells of St. Clements’


  • and looking down the street at the Royal Courts of Justice.

London is all that and more……………



Sketching London

London. Where do I begin? Ten days in this wonderful city.


We’ve been to London before, the last visit in 2013. I had lived here  a long time ago and had a few return visits. There were many places to return to this visit and also a few new places to explore. I now have a whole sketchbook full of memories for myself and to share with anyone who is interested. I am still scanning the pages.


Mum & I arrived after 9 am in Trafalgar Square. There were not too many tourists about and the National Gallery did not open until 10 am. We had agreed that I would sketch ’til then and Mum would explore the area. It works well when we arrange my sketching times. I take advantage of travelling times and queuing/waiting and eating times to sketch. We will choose our seats at lunch for the best sketching view. I also let her know if there is something I NEED to sketch. She is VERY VERY patient.

While I sketched, Mum walked down towards Whitehall and Westminster, viewing  those amazing buildings, some of the iconic sights of London. She could also report back that the queues were so long for Westminster Abbey that we did not need to go there .

So what could I draw in just under an hour?  I knew that I wanted to draw the Lions. I did last time I was here and now I know that I want to every time I visit. I put some light pencils lines in makes sure the lion would fit on the page and then just launched in with my Lamy Sarfari Joy ink pen. I was really pleased with result, and realised that I wanted to put him in context. The background setting was perfect and then I waited til red buses zoomed past and slowly added their height and windows in relation to the lion.


I was really excited by producing this sketch in just 10 minutes! Just looking at it makes me feel like I am there.

London is visual overload as there is much to take in. Each day there is so much to see and do. I hardly took any photographs when travelling, apart from people. Mum took photos, and wrote her  diary so between the two of us we can re-live and piece together our time there.

Already it seems so long ago (it wasn’t) and I want to go back again (I will) .

I will keep adding London sketches everyday to my flickr albums  
If there are any questions anyone has about sketching and travelling or watercolour pencils, please ask. Having a travel sketchbook is a wonderful and unique way of capturing a time and place. It doesn’t have to be the slightly obsessive all encompassing way that I do it. Just a little sketch on a page or a scrap paper will be a momento for life.