Author Archives: alissa

Craft Victoria HATCH markets

Last week I wrote about setting up my stall for Craft Victoria HATCH  markets . Yesterday the big day arrived and all of the preparation paid off. It was a wonderful day. 

The venue was an old factory (I think) in inner city Melbourne and had a good vibe, even when there were quiet moments. There were about 30 stall holders including jewellers, ceramicists, textile artists, print-makers and more all retailing their handcrafted wares.

I went with the expectation of no sales and taking this as a learning experience. At the end of the day I did make some sales, met some amazing stall holders with a passion for their craft and willing to share their experiences and knowledge. I also had conversations with some interesting people visiting the market . A few friends turned by to lend their support and also an instagram follower visiting from interstate introduced themselves. 

I sketched a few times during the day but forgot to take any photos of the room in full swing.

Visitors seem to come in waves s throughout the day, giving time to talk, tweak the stall, eat snacks and take it all in. I handed our  business cards, talk to some people about drawing and gathered a few names for my mailing list. I now have am occasional newsletter which will be sent out to subscribers when I have  upcoming events or exhibitions or new card designs It is a separate sign up than this weekly blog.  Sign up on the right had side of the page if you would like to receive this. I plan to email the next one out tomorrow. 

Craft Hatch program supports emerging makers and who have never had their own market stall before. The program includes mentoring and professional development guidance, and is a perfect way to get a face-to-face experience. It lived up to all of that !

I arrived home at the end of the day inspired and motivated but exhausted!

Market stall – next week

When I first decided to ‘do something’ with my art as a business I was advised that 60-80% of my time would be spent working on the business (i.e. not drawing) and I have found this to be true (but it makes me appreciate my drawing time even more) .

I am working on four  projects at the moment – a commission, an exhibition, workshops and a market stall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought I would give you a glimpse into the behind the scenes of my first commercial market stall. In April I applied and was accepted for Craft Victoria HATCH market.  HATCH are markets for emerging makers in Melbourne. Since then have been to a mentor session, asked questions in their Facebook group and received lots of support.

In the last two weeks I have been very busy working through checklists that have been provided, with lots of hints and tips from previous stall holders. Last weekend I did a mock up to see what would work on the day.

Things I needed to do

  • I needed a banner for my stall. I decided on a pull-up banner that could be used at all sorts of future events (including my next exhibition). I had an initial concept and a local printer did a wonderful job of bringing it all together. I looks so good and makes me feel very professional .
  • Create a Newsletter – people can sign up to a mailing list on the day at the markets or on my blog site. I tried myself, but ended up paying someone .There is now a button where you can subscribe, This is different from my Weekly Art Blog. It will be occasional and emailed to subscribers when I announce exhibitions, events, new cards – add your name now if you would like to receive it.
  • Decide on how much stock to take on the day ie how many copies of each card. I decided 15, with 5 on display and the others in a box under the counter

  • Decide which cards to display. There is  room for 20 of my 36 designs. I will bring the others in a little display folder to show people (had go to Office Works to find folder)
  • Set prices – they should be all the same retail and my store , so they are now $7 everywhere
  • How much float? I will need lots of two and one coins as the price is now $7
  • I decided to be cash only and not tackle using credit cards. It may lose me some sales, but will decrease the stress for me on the day.
  • Needed to purchase paper bags and bought 500. It is a big box. Then decide how many to take on the day . I decided on 50
  • Table cloth – The one I have had creases from never being used – I needed to get it drycleaned
  • My table is against a back wall – I have three A4 picture of one of the drawings as a work in progress, Then I have finished product framed – I had to find suitable photo frame (at Red Cross store yesterday)
  • Checked out the space during the week – Great place – I discovered it had Masonite wall – had to buy 3M hanging tabs – as my pins and blue tack would not have worked
  • How to pack it all up to transport on the day by taxi
  • It fits into a suitcase, a backpack, the pullup banner and the two display stands that I have wrapped in bubble wrap.
  • When I checked out the venue I saw that I could be dropped outside the door by the taxi , unload my gear There are 30 stallholders all arriving at the same time

The BIG day is next Saturday and I am looking forward to the experience, the people I will meet – the other stall holders and the market customers.  It is predicted there will be about  500 on the day. Drop by if you are in Melbourne

map of where to find HATCH

East Melbourne sketchbook

Today I am sharing a “work in progress”. I am currently sketching for my upcoming local exhibition in East Melbourne. The exhibition will feature my travel sketchbooks and is going to have sketchbooks open at travel pages (in display cases) and also display a few (reprinted by Blurb) completed sketchbooks for people to browse through.

It will also display this sketchbook, which features my impressions of East Melbourne.

So that it can be viewed on display, I chose to use an accordion (Japanese) fold sketchbook, I have had this particular one in my cupboard since it as given out in a sponsors bag at 2013 Urban Sketching Symposium. It is a Sennelier watercolour sketchbook.

In keeping with urban sketching guidelines, each sketch is done on location. I made a decision that sketches would take 5 to 35 minutes. In that way I would not spend ages on a drawing , when it is supposed to be all about impressions and sketching to capture a moment.

 

 

I am using my FaberCastell Watercolour pencils and Lamy Safari ink pen.

It is not purely spontaneous, like my everyday sketchbook. I have planned my pages in advance, creating a mock-up. I am balancing close up and distant views over the pages.

 

I will be writing more about this closer to the event in June. 

practical blog posts

This weekend I have decided to put links to previous blog post where I have talked about the practical part of my art . I realised that this information was not currently all in one place on my website. (Sometime in the future I will redesign my website). I sometimes get asked about watercolour pencils or sketchbook travel journalling and it will be great to be able to provide people with a link to this page.

 I have written it under three headings

  •  Watercolour pencils, pen and sketchbook
  • Thoughts and processes 
  • Step by Step 

Watercolour pencils, pen and sketchbook

These first three links are the key ones to read about what equipment I use and how I use them daily 

Me and my watercolour pencils This was my  very first blog post I wrote and it is still current today !  It was the first time that I thought and wrote down the steps of how I use watercolour pencils and the equipment I carry daily.

Five watercolour pencil tips  – a must read !

Customised pencil wrap How I carry and use my pencils everyday

My studio  where I sketch at home and my table layout

Other equipment 

My travelling Visconti ink pot  travelling with ink 

New and old pencils changing colours for changing cities

New city new pencils changing colours for changing cities

Testing watercolour papers – when I had to find the equivalent of my Moleskine sketchbook in a large size

Thoughts and processes

Why I sketch what I sketch 

Writing on sketchbook pages – someone asked why I wrote on my sketchbook pages and I wrote my thoughts down

My different styles of sketching Examples of quick sketching and slower sketches

Sketching while walking – really quick sketching !

Travel sketching 

Sketchbook travel journal  – my original ideas – A 2012 blogpost with my thoughts on what I wanted in a travel sketchbook journal

Sketchbook travel journal – the reality In 2013  I had the opportunity to put all of my thoughts and ideas in practice. This post review what worked (most things) and what didn’t (a few things) in reality. 

Travelling with a sketchbook I considered further some of the practicalities of travel sketching . 

Step by step blogs 

These are blogs where I remembered to take photographs as a I drew an object. They are not  a ‘how-to’ guide but a look at how I use my watercolour pencils to build up lines and colour to create a finished drawing. 

Feathers   and  a small nest 

   

Chocolate cake birthday card and Biscuits

IMG_0999

 

 

Books on shelves    and Library ladders

17Apr15 books wip closeup

I have been writing a blog since March 2013. That means I have been posting an art blog for four years. It is now weekly and I share art adventures, my weeks sketches or my other sketching and drawing experiences.

I hope that my musing and sketches provide inspiration, motivation, curiosity about watercolour pencils, urban sketching and sketchbook journalling.

Looking back through each month I also realise that my blog is a valuable for me to refer to  and remember and reflect on my art life. 

 

Drawing woodworking tools on pages

I am finally able to share these drawings online.

On Friday I gave a very belated birthday gift to my friend Louise, who I have known since childhood. I drew on pages on an old book “Hand-and-Eye Training Book II for Boys” that Louise gave me (specifically to draw in). The pages are falling out, but in good condition to draw on.

I knew that I wanted to draw woodworking tools on the pages, as that is the subject of the book and an interest of Louise and her family.  

I think that I spent longer on putting that page together than the actually drawing.  I had to decide on which tools to depict and then research the images online and changing them to suit the angle I wanted them to sit on the page. The pages did not take much watercolour pencil on them and I had to be careful not to  cut through the page. 

I enjoyed getting the gleam of the wood where I could.

Faber Castell water-colour pencils used: 

 

Light Yellow Ochre
Light Chrome Yellow
Bistre
Burnt Umber
Walnut Brown
Schwarz Black
Dark Sepia
Paynes Grey 
Cool Grey IV

A gift made with thought is always appreciated by friends.

Easter weekend in Sydney

Last weekend I visited Sydney. It was my second visit since I moved to Melbourne two and a half years ago. I had lived in Sydney for ten years and made many good friends there, especially in the sketching world. 

I planned my visit to spend some quality time with friends, and I did, I had some lovely conversations and sketching time. It was definitely a sketching holiday and so relaxing. I filled twenty five pages of my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook (13 x 19) over the four day break.

I’ve included a few on this blog. If you would like to see them all they are on my flickr site from 13 to 17 April 2017.

I started sketching as soon as I left work on Thursday and was officially ‘on holidays’ – on the bus to the airport, at the airport. I sketched the view from where I stayed each night, food I ate and scenes along the way.  Some sketches are in ink and some in watercolour pencil and some a combination of both . Sometimes I can visualise what I would like a sketch to look like on the page, and I “know” (inside) that it will work in pen rather than watercolour pencil. On another day or another time I may have chosen different material. 

I am usually very happy with what i put on the page. Every now and then I am exceptionally pleased. I felt that this sketch of the cruise ship in Sydney Harbour really came together when I added the figures, The Sydney Opera House is in the background and it is a temptation to make it the focus.  However it did not fit on the page, so my decision was made.

I like to combine a feature of a building and the larger building to give it some context. This is beautiful The Russell Hotel  where I stayed on Thursday night.  I could spend some time on the interior, as I was leisurely eating my breakfast, and not meeting Chris and Liz til 10 am.  I tried not to get caught up in the detail of the staircase, The exterior sketch was done quickly, as once again I did not want to get caught up in the detail. I have been trying to figure out which room I was in and where I sketched from the Sitting Room Balcony, but it is a confusing building inside, with little staircases and rooms everywhere. 

Catching the ferry to Manly from Circular Quay. I sat on the top deck at the back. I watched as the city disappeared into the distance. This couple sat for a short amount of time on the bench in front of me. I got the lines of their heads and his arm down very quickly on the page, and was really pleased with the flow of the lines and getting their position down on the page. I can look at this and feel where his weight is and how she turns her head,. I ,quickly added some colour with my watercolour pencils, which was just as well, as they moved. I decided not to add the colour of the sky and water. 

Classic Manly on Easter Sunday. The Manly ferry , the coastal pine trees and Easter Eggs.

I sketched with about 12 few of Erin’s sketchers at Manly. I had met two when I was in Sydney, and had a lovely time chatting and sketching with them all. 

and home again. 

At the airport I decided   – no more sketching – (I did have a book to read) UNLESS I sat behind someone with fantastic hair, There was no one on the plane – but on the bus, there was a young girl with wonderfully braided hair AND bunny ears. How could I resist???? I’ve never drawn braids before and it was a  challenge ! It keep me very busy on the way into Melbourne city. Once I figured out the pattern, I could continue it while I waited for another bus.

I hope you have enjoyed my holiday. 

Please let me know if you have any questions about my sketching, using watercolour pencils, or my sketchbook journalling. I love to share my passion/obsession with sketching and the joys of watercolour pencils. 

 

Sketching in Fitzroy Gardens

Today I sketched with a friend and her 12 year old grand daughter in Fitzroy Gardens. We are three people who love to draw. Not everyone is as fortunate as me to have the time and opportunity to draw. So it is always special to spend time with other people who do. We each had different styles and approaches. I feel that it is so important to encourage young people and anyone to draw, especially if they show an interest. 

Colours

Grass Green

Chrome Oxide Green

Earth Green

Hookers Green (it is too bright. I am going back to Derwent Mineral Green)

I love a combination of a sketch on location and then finer details of smaller objects. This works for travel sketching, as I will have a ticket, or souvenir (or leaf) that I can sketch at home. Trying to capture the autumnal colours that are coming through after our late summer. A sunny 26 degrees today. Perfect for outdoor sketching.

I also used a lot of Light Chrome Yellow, Light Yellow Ochre and Bistre ( a new colour in my pencils, replacing Raw Umber, which had too much yellow in it).

A combination of old and new, looking through trees to a modern building in Clarendon Street.

A family picnic across the park. I am not sure if I am finished yet. Maybe some more colour and detail. Alternatively I may move onto my next project……

All in watercolour pencil and also Lamy Safari Joy ink pen in Moleskine Watercolour sketchbook.

Family Reunion sketching

Last weekend I spent five days interstate for a Family Reunion in Goondiwindi  (pronounced Gunda – windy) in Queensland, Australia. pop 5600

my maternal line . drawn from family photographs Faber Castell Dark Sepia watercolour pencil is perfect. I was tempted to use colours with the current generation, but liked the old world look.

It was a gathering of over 130 descendants of two migrants in 1850’s. Our family line stayed in the area until 1953, so there is close connection.

This is my art blog so it is all about the sketches from the weekend.

I took my customised  watercolour pencil wrap and Moleskine watercolour sketchbook (13 x 19 cm) with me, as I do everywhere I go. There is always an opportunity to sketch !

 

 

 

 

 

But first I had to get there – My journey began with a bus ride a,  two hour flight then a two and a half hour drive west to outback Queensland. 

The Cunningham Highway is a long flat road. Not as brown and barren as I thought it would be. 
 

Some time was spent visiting places which brought back  memories for some of the family. 

Meet and Greet at the Goondiwindi Bowls Club on Friday night. So many new faces.

I sketched this in the open hot, dry heat of 33 degrees. I did not stay out there long, heading back under the trees for conversation and food.

Group photos at Goondiwindi Boars Rugby League Playing Fields – one of everyone and then the separate families. The photographer was really quick and did not stand still for long.

Lots of social gatherings .  But I did not sketch at them all, as I wanted to socialise, ask lots of questions and try and soak it all in. The long weekend was very well organised, with names on coloured tags for which line of the family you are descended from. Great introduction and talking points. I met some lovely and interesting people. 

It was a very special moment to stand in front of the graves of the ancestors who began life here in a strange foreign land over 150 years ago. It is difficult to try to understand the difficulties and challenges that they encountered. 

 

and then the return journey home…..

… to start writing down some of the family stories that we were told and fill in the gaps on our family tree with the new relations we discovered. 

 Below is part of that history – Nana’s tennis trophy from 1941. The town of Toobeah now has a population of 42. I think it was about 250 when she visited, There are quite a few tennis courts around the district, and it must have played a big role in the social life of the district 

I sketched this in 2014

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.
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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 !