Monthly Archives: March 2017

Dromkeem LitFest

I attended the Dromkeen Literary Festival again this year at Riddells Creek, 45 minutes train ride from Melbourne. It is a festival celebrating Australian Children’s Literature and Storytelling and this the second year that this wonderful festival has been held. Read my report from last year 


I arrived the day before to join the group of volunteers who were setting up.I swept the courtyard of leaves, peacock poo and feathers !!

Dromkeen Homestead has became a home for Australian children’s literature and in 2013 it was purchased by the Joiner family and reopened as a centre for Australian children’s literature. To read more about Dromkeen please visit their website.

The theme is Books Can Take Us Anywhere

There was face painting, storytelling, cartooning demonstrations, puppetry and book mural art. The blue skies and sunshine saw families picnicing on the lawn when they were not going to workshops, talks, book signings  and demonstrations . 

Some of the guest presenters included Gabrielle Wang, Mark Wilson, Claire Saxby, Marc McBride, Glenda Millard and cartoonist Brett Cardwell.

.I am looking forward to next year !


Drawing a bottle of ale

A quick blog post this week. I thought I would show a drawing as it progressed along the way.
I was fortunate to attend an event at Parliament House in Melbourne a few weeks ago . It would have been great to sketch at but was just the wrong time and place . However as soon as I saw the  bottles of ale being served I knew that I wanted to take an empty one home to draw . Why? It is called The Library and has a design of the arches and curving stairs of the Library at Parliament House .



I asked the caterers to keep me a bottle and I collected it at the end of the evening and took it home along with two macaroons , They sat on my dining table for a week and I drew them over a few nights , then threw them away .

I remembered to scan them as I went. I hope this provides you with an idea of how I approach a drawing . I sketched it in pencil to get the place on the page then I drew it in the colour pencil of the object and build up layers and definition .


Colours used. Faber Castell Watercolour pencil. 

Earth Green
Chrome oxide green
Schwarz black
Walnut brown
Burnt sienna
Burnt umber
Burnt ochre
Orange glaze


Lettering is so difficult and I have not figured out a technique of writing fine lettering on an object so that it does not look like my handwriting . This is something I will have to practice as I love to draw books which have lettering on the spine and inside . Jodi Wiley is so good at this and I will have to talk to her about it .
I have three gold pens that I tested to  used the top one in the photo , a Uniball , Signo. 

Interested  in more step by step drawings?

I have written a few others

Drawing biscuits

Drawing a feather 

About me and my watercolour pencils

I hope that they inspire you to use watercolour pencils ! They are such fun !

East Melbourne Art Deco walking tour

Yesterday, on a beautiful autumn morning, that felt like summer, I went on a two hour walking tour of Art Deco East Melbourne . With hat, sunburn cream, sunglasses, waterbottle and walking shoes about 9 nine of us met to be guided through the suburb of East Melbourne by the friendly and knowledgeable Mark & Shelley from Melbourne Architours. Of course, I also took my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook, Lamy Safari ink pen and watercolour pencils (in their pencil wrap).  I was not sure of the opportunities that I would get to sketch, but came prepared!


We were given a wonderful map of the Art Deco houses that they would be guiding us to.  I decided to draw on the map instead of in my sketchbook. At this stage i was still not sure what opportunities I would have to sketch. At our first stop, away from the traffic, our guides provided a history of Melbourne architecture and explained what Art Deco is. It appeared that we were going to be there for  while, so I stood at the back of the group and sketched most of them. 

As we started walking I realised that I was not going to be able to sketch on the tour. I wanted to listen, learn and ask questions. I then had the idea that I would retrace out steps after the tour and sketch. So I enjoyed the tour as we explored the suburb. All done in freehand ink- no pencil – hence the wobbly lines and suspect perspective. 

 East Melbourne is close to the city and home to some of Melbourne’s earliest houses. It has a variety of architectural styles from Gothic, Victorian, Federation,  Art Nouveau, Art Deco, California bungalow through to Moderne (and combinations of many) . It was wonderful to have the social and architectural history explained to us as well as  the growth and development of the suburb, We were very fortunate to have two locals, Diane and Ian from East Melbourne Group and East Melbourne Historical Society on the tour, who were able to provide extra insight into local matters and the changes that have been proposed and fought along the way to protect and improve East Melbourne’s  heritage and amenity. 

I will definitely be taking another tour with Melbourne Architours and also will be looking closer at the buildings I walk past everyday. The East Melbourne Historical Society has published some very informative books about the suburb. Perhaps I need to carry the publications around with me everyday (along side of my pencils and sketchbook) to refer to as I walk to work. There is so much history that I walk past everyday in Melbourne without appreciating its significance.