Category Archives: “Faber castell”

drawing lunch step by step

Another step by step drawing. 


My lunch. Drawn as a work in progress, knowing that I would probably eat it cold as I stopped to take photos along the way.

I draw all the main shapes and colours in their watercolour pencil colours. I do this so that when I add water to those lines, they become the object, rather than leaving an outside line.

I decided to add some of plate . I had considered just the food and chopsticks – you don’t need draw the plate to show the food is   on a plate. The viewers mind/imagination fills in this information.

I gradually build up the colours, adding dark. I decided not add dark around all  of the plate.

These are the watercolour pencils I used . I have about 26 in my pencil wrap and rarely use any outside of these (I have many other colours in the range in a box).

By this stage the page was getting murky and I was getting hungry. Time to stop and eat !

an open book

An old open book has so much potential – what do you see written?

open book

This is my dilemma.

I have drawn a beautiful old book with yellowed pages, brown spots on the page (known as foxing) and a worn spine.

The book is open , inviting you in to read. However I do not want to use the original title page of the book as it is Ecclesistical Cases law reports published in 1703. I have drawn this on a loose sheet of A4 paper and may want to have it printed as a card or print in the future. I would like to have a wider audience than lawyers.

I ask for your suggestions on what you can visualise written on the opening pages of  this mysterious book  …

The thoughts so far – please comment and makes suggestions

  • leave it blank
  • Once Upon a Time
  • an illuminated letter or elaborate image or frontispiece

I look forward to reading your ideas and will let you know what happens in a future blog post .

*this was drawn with watercolour pencils in my lunch breaks at work . Warm Grey II, Burnt Ochre, Paynes Grey, Ivory, Raw Umber, Sketched lightly in HB pencil first to get the perspective and proportions in place.




books – work in progress

This is about a drawing I am currently creating. (I don’t like to use the term “working on” because it is not work at all).

This week I have been drawing in my lunch breaks. I usually draw for about half an hour. This is the result at the end of the third day.

17Apr15 books wip closeup

I took my watercolour pencils and A4 size University paper (I believe it is produced by St Cuthberts Mill in the UK). I sat at a table next to these law reports and started drawing. These are at eye level and all the shelves are full of books. On the shelf there are books either side of these and they are neatly and tightly shelved.


I did not really think before I started drawing and now I have some decisions to make. I thought I would share my options with you now and would love to hear any suggestions anyone has.

  • How many more books to draw?
  • 17Apr15 books wip1

    Current drawing on A4 page

    I only have a limited space on the paper to use. This is what is looks like on the A4 page.  I have photocopied the drawing and experimented with HB pencil for potential composition. I realised one of my first ideas would not work as I did not have room on the page to draw a few books lying down on the right side, stacked up.

    I have the options of adding more books of different heights and thicknesses and/or have some books leaning.

    19Apr15 test

    I could try this

    19Apr15 test1

    Or this, or a combination

    • How to finish the sides – I have the choice of fading the colour and lines at the edges  to have an unfinished look  OR finishing each  book and having solid colour to the edge of each book.
    • How to finish top – The books are on shelves and the books disappear into darkness of the shelf. I don’t want this is dominate the page.
    • How to finish the bottom – The books are sitting on shelves. Do I finish at the base of the book or include the shelf line.

    I am looking forward to any suggestions and will share the completed drawing when I have finished it!



    19Apr15 colours

    These are the colours I am using. There are 120 watercolour pencils in the Faber Castell range. I carry and use 26 colours in my pencil wrap and they suit me perfectly. I can usually create the colours I need by blending. This is done on the page or off the tip of the two pencils on the waterbrush.

    The pigments can be completely dissolved, and will then behave similar to watercolour paints. The paint becomes permanent when dry, enabling other layers of colour to be built up without causing it to dissolve again. Or they can sharpened to a fine tip. Great for broad brushstrokes or finer detail.

    However I have to keep remembering to sharpen my pencil. They get blunt very easily when using the waterbrush to take the colour off the tip of the pencil.

    I build up the colour gradually. However, as you can see, I also draw in darker areas early as it gives me a sense of where I am going and what the drawing is going to look like when complete.

    Here is a previous work in progress library drawing
    and other book and library drawings, some of which you can purchase on my Etsy shop

    New city – New pencil colours

    After a few sketches in Melbourne, I realised that the Faber Castell watercolour pencils colours that I had used to draw Sydney buildings in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook were not going to capture the buildings of my new city. 

    It was only a subtle difference, but I could tell and was very aware of it. Often I feel that getting the colour just right can make or break a sketch for me. And sometimes colour makes an object or building recognisable, even if the actually drawing is way out of kilter!



    St Stephens Uniting Church

    Sydney hospital and eye hospital

    The sandstone of many of the historic buildings in Sydney gives the city some of its personality. It is called Yellow block  and is known for its warm, golden straw colour. The main public buildings in Sydney, completed from the 1850s until the 20th century were built in sandstone from Pyrmont where some 50 quarries operated.  Pyrmont yellowblock was hard, and had good texture, and colour, and it was also suitable for carving. By coincidence Pyrmont is the suburb I used to live in in Sydney . No quarries now, just streetnames, pub names the landscape continue the history

    In Sydney I used to following watercolour colours to sketch buildings:
    • Ivory
           combined with either

    •  Burnt Yellow Ochre or
    • Light Yellow Ochre or
    • little Raw Umber (which is a Derwent colour)

     The other colour I used in Sydney was Magenta on the ironlace and rails of buildings.
    • Magenta


      In Melbourne, the city buildings have more grey than yellow to the stone. There are also other building materials such as  the completely different bluestone.
      I made a quick trip to explore a new art store where I tested a few new Faber Castell watercolour pencils for their colour, with and without water, and I came away with a few potentials.

      My new watercolour pencils are:

      • Warm Grey !
      • Warm Grey II
       and for the red ironwork
      • Burnt Carmine



       I have only had the chance to try out my new colours a few times, but I already feel a lot more comfortable with the colours and I think they are going to work just fine.  I will still continue to use Ivory and just a touch of the other colours, but now have a new set of colours for my new city!


      Supreme Court
      Melbourne Town Hall

      and here are the tested watercolour pencils drawn on a page together