Category Archives: Dromkeen

Dromkeen Literary Festival

On Saturday I was fortunate to go to the Dromkeen Literary Festival at Riddells Creek, 45 minutes train ride from Melbourne.

It is a festival celebrating Australian Children’s Literature and Storytelling, where “authors and illustrators bring favourite stories to life”.

19Mar2016 Dromkeen HUSH

the Festival Opening of the Making of the HUSH Treasure Book “Created for the Hush Music Foundation, famous for its original music albums used in hospitals all around the world, this book is a treasure trove that will delight and entertain the whole family”

Read more about the wonderful HUSH book

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. There is so much I could write about this wonderful place , but for today’s blog I will focus on my sketching activities at the Literary Festival. To read more about Dromkeen please visit their website.

The authors and illustrators and storytellers  of Australian children’s books talked about their books and their own literary/art journeys. many of the presentations were for children and were interactive I went to listen to a few specific illustrators whose style I like and admire – and to sketch.  I was there for five hours and enjoyed every moment of it.

19Mar2016 Dromkeen illustrators

Marc McBride “Dragons and airbrush art”. Adam Wallace “”Writing and Illustrating a book”

19Mar2016 Dromkeen Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson “illustrating our incredible world”

19Mar2016 Dromkeen Sue DeGennaro

Sue deGennaro “Illustrating a picture book”


19Mar2016 Dromkeen Mark Wilson audience nowords

the audience at Mark Wilson’s “Illustrating our incredible world”

At the moment I am focusing on sketching groups of people at events and specific people. If you know any of these illustrators (above), you will realise that these sketches do not look like them at all.  Many of the illustrators spoke to the children in the audience about practice and not giving up on your first try. This resonated with me !

19Mar2016 Dromkeen Storytelling

19Mar2016 Dromkeen childrens activites19Mar2016 Dromkeen face painting & balloons

It was a grey day, but there was no rain or wind and a healthy number of people came through the gate. I heard glowing praise all day from enthusiastic children and happy stall holders. There was face painting, storytelling, cartooning demonstrations, puppetry and book mural art. I was fortunate to have a small involvement in the set up on Friday and saw the dedication and immense amount of work of the organisers and volunteers to put this day together. A big congratulations to them all for keep alive and boosting the tradition of children’s literature in Australia.

Below is a sketch of the Country Fire Association(CFA) volunteers at the traditional fund raising sausage sizzle for lunch !

19Mar2016 Dromkeen sausage sizzle


Sketching in Melbourne

Last week I spent three days in Melbourne.
I had many adventures and did many pages of sketches in my Moleskine watercolour Sketchbook with my watercolour pencils. These are a few.
This is the view from my hotel. overlooking the old Melbourne GPO tower . It also gave the view of the tops of lots of  buildings and the back of The Royal Arcade Coat of Arms. So much sketching potential not enough time.
When I first arrived in Melbourne, I sketched while waiting for the hotel shuttle to arrive at Southern Cross Station.
Then I explored Melbourne. My first stop was the beautiful State Library and its dome.
one hour later I had to give up
While I was at State Library I saw the Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection and sketched a grandmother telling a story to her grandson. The exhibition was of original children’s book illustrations. Some amazing illustrations.
In the evening I had arranged a meeting with Melbourne Urban Sketchers at the wonderful Luna Night Markets at the Queen Victoria Markets. Lots of crafts, food, great live music  interesting people all under the cover of the  markets. It was a crisp night, but I did not notice it until leaving. I was fortunate to sketch with Jodi, Angela and meet Erik, Ilsa and  Alyeesh
This is my main sketch of the night. A few of us sat against a wall and sketched what we saw in front of us. This brightly clad group stayed at the table for ages ! Great subjects.

People warming themselves by the fire sites
The next day  I explored more of Melbourne

I walked by this laneway -It is called Melbourne Place . It is  not a typical trendy café laneway, or one with the famous graffiti, but one that was in use. I had to move aside for a few cars to drive in, I also was asked  directions by lost tourists.

I think that this is my favourite sketch of my stay in Melbourne.  It is at the street end of Melbourne Place. I had to sketch it too. LOTS of peeling paint

 and I could not leave Melbourne without a sketch of Flinders Street Station. This was about 4pm it was getting chilly, I was tired and then the drizzle set in. I took that as a sign to leave and find somewhere warm.

A wonderful time. I still have some sketches to complete and hope to visit again soon.