East Melbourne travel sketchwalk

If you have been reading my weekly blog recently, you will have noticed that the focus has been on my East Melbourne Library Travel Sketchbook exhibition and the associated Sketchwalks.

We had clear crisp skies to start the Sketchwalks each day on Friday and Saturday and everyone had their warm layers on. 

My two sketchwalks were wonderful experiences. Each day a group of 13 enthusiastic participants arrived and embraced the concept of travel sketching . After a short introduction to the watercolour pencils and the idea of travel sketching,  we headed out into crisp winter East Melbourne day, drawing trees, leaves, houses, fences, signs and whatever else attracted each person. They only had 15 minutes at each of the three locations, so it was all about getting marks and an impression down on paper. 









 A giant orange crane working in the street attracted some people on the Friday. It was not there on Saturday, so those Friday sketchers had really captured the moment !

Saturday sketchers had the football fans walking past on the way up to the MCG , so some sketched the scarves and team colours.

I think that most people finished the day with a new way of thinking about travel sketching and eager to put their newly found skills into practice, 

Each day we headed back to into the warmth of East Melbourne Library to chat, share and look through some other examples of sketchbooks (my own and published books) that I had brought in.  

They are not’ how to draw’ books, but rather show different people’s sketches and styles. I’ve put links if you are interested, I will often borrow a book from my local library before deciding to purchase it.

An Illustrated LIfe by Danny Gregory

Reportage and Documentary Drawing by Veronica Lawlor

London You’re Beautiful by David Gentleman 

Taking a Line for a Walk by Christopher Lambert

Drawing Paris by David George Holm

Manchester Sketchbook by Manchester Sketchers

An Eye on the Hebrides by Marie Hedderwick 

A great book to start drawing is Danny Gregory’s book  Creative License .   It will open your eyes to creativity and drawing. I return to it regularly to refocus and relearn.

Here are the links to my previous blogposts about the East Melbourne sketchwalks and my exhibition. 

Preparing for a travel sketchwalk 

East Melbourne Sketchbook 

Video of my East Melbourne Sketchbook


Happy sketching !








preparing for a travel sketchwalk

I am preparing for my local Travel Sketching ‘walk and talk’ that are on this Friday and Saturday. Both sessions (1pm -3.30pm ) of 15 people are fully booked out and there is a waiting list ! The wonderful Melbourne Library Service have promoted the sessions widely and there has been a lot of interest to run repeat sessions. 

Yesterday I spent time walking the route and stopping at my planned locations.We are only walking a few blocks and there is so much potential to draw. The idea of the day is to inspire people and  to open their eyes to the possibilities and concept of travel sketching (not to try to teach them to draw in two hours) .


We start in the Library, where I will talk a little about travel sketching, my own approach and what we will be doing. Melbourne Library Service is supplying watercolour pencils, waterbrush and paper for the day.

There are three stops along the way once we leave the Library, each with so many potential things to draw – up close or vistas. We will stop for about 20 minutes at each .  I walked the walk yesterday doing my own sketches which I can show as examples on the day.

These are very quick sketches, as sometimes when you travel you do not get the opportunity to sit down and sketch for a long time.  I also don’t want people to stress about the drawing and getting caught in the details. 

Stop 1
Stop 2

Stop 3.

After the final stop, the plan is to retrace our route back to the Library, giving people the chance to spend more time on a previous sketch or do some more. 

When we arrive back at the Library, afternoon tea awaits and also time to talk about the day and share experiences and sketches if people are comfortable with that. I also have some examples of published travel sketchbooks from my own collection for anyone to browse through to inspire  them to continue. Ad there is my own Travel Sketchbook display on in the Library. 

It will all be very flexible on the day. This is the first group talk I have given and it will be a positive learning experience for everyone. 

My only concern is the weather. It is Melbourne in winter. This week has been 14 degrees and sunny blue skies. Fingers crossed that this continues. The wet weather alternatives are not exciting. However that is all part of travel sketching. Sometime weather changes your plans and you have to make do with alternatives.  

video of my East Melbourne sketchbook

My East Melbourne sketchbook. 

A few weeks ago I wrote about creating sketchbook of my local area and now here is the finished sketchbook. 

It is installed in East Melbourne Library as part of my Travel Sketchbook exhibition which opens Tuesday until 31st July

I am also taking two local sketchwalks. Register here if you are in Melbourne.

Participants will be provided with a sketchbook and watercolour pencils . I plan to give a little talk about my travel sketching before heading outside with the group to walk around a planned route, stopping three  times along the way to sketch. We then walk back to the library for afternoon tea and a chat. 

This is the first time that I have videoed a sketchbook (or anything else!) . This was on my iphone and was not as straightforward as I thought.

I would like to try and do a video of me sketching so that you can see a fast sketch on the page or a longer drawing build up. Sometime in the future…

my weeks in sketches

This weeks blog has my sketches from this week. I sketch everyday, but not always in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook when I am involved with other projects . It has been a busy week, so I will leave you with pictures  …


Pacific Black Ducks in Treasury Gardens. He was not asleep but stayed very still for me

coffee on the way to work

sketching at a concert

more sketches from the concert

Urban Sketchers Melbourne met at State Library of Victoria (1856). The statue is Sir Redmond who instigated the Library with Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trobe


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




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
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.