Category Archives: ferry

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 a ferry quickly

Today I sketched this Sydney Ferry “Charlotte” at King Street Wharf terminal, while I was waiting for my ferry.
I made a quick set of notes as to each step so that I could explain how I used watercolour pencils to capture this part of my day on paper. The ferry is about 6cm x 6cm on the page
Sketched the basic structure of the ferry in Faber Castell Chrome Yellow as it pulled up to the wharf, unloaded and then reloaded passengers. I did not know how long it would be there but knew this would take a few minutes as it was just after 9am and full of commuters.
Quickly added the shapes of the windows in HB  pencil (to get the numbers and shapes correct)  and marked the height of the passengers against the front windows
Quickly and roughly shaded (scribbled) with Faber Castell Chrome Oxide Green and Yellow  in the correct areas
The ferry started to pull out backwards so I decided to draw the front of it  (in green) now that I could see it all
Added light loose background shapes of buildings across the other side of the water.
on the 8 minute ferry ride to Cockatoo Island
I added a little Faber Castell Ivory pencil direct to the page on the yellow area. This is to tone down the yellow, which is a little brash for the Sydney Ferry colour. These two colours mix as the water is added and they are spread over the small area on the page .
Use the waterbrush on the page to spread the colour
Added a few finer lines and the red and blue colour with the pencil direct on the paper
Then I was off the ferry and ready to enjoy my day !


Sketching at Erin’s

I was invited to Erin Hill’s Sketchclass on Friday to give a short talk about my travel sketching. I’ve talked to the Saturday group before, but not the Friday people. Have a look at Erin’s Scandinavian sketching session this week for our results. I gave a quick 10 minute talk about me and my sketching. I brought along my two London/Barcelona sketchbooks from my holiday in July last year. See these on my flickr page in the  London and Barcelona  SETS.  My sketchbooks were eagerly devoured by the class of enthusiastic sketchers. I think that looking through my sketchbooks provided them with an idea of the sort of things that can be sketched, with a different approach and  style.

 ” the power point converter for the UK – who would have thought of that”
“oh look … suitcases”

I also write notes on my pages -(something that not everyone does) and use watercolour pencils in a few different ways on the page. Read here about my watercolour pencils

I also brought along my current Moleskine watercolour sketchbook of which I was on the final pages. I started it one month ago.  Lots of time to sketch now. I approached the day as if it were a holiday. And it was an adventure. I knew that I was going to Manly , so  drew a map. Then at Circular Quay, where I had time before my ferry left.

The ferry ride takes 30 minutes, so I knew I had that time to sketch. I had run out of ink in my Lamy Safari Joy pen, so  I used the first pencil I took out of my pencil wrap to draw the people on the ferry.


Then down to business – looking outside the ferry window . I was experimenting with blue today.  Australian sky blue is difficult to get right and the ocean can be a challenge too. I like the Derwent Inktense Sea Blue. When combined with other blues in my sketchkit it has a good colour.

So after three pages I arrived at Erin’s class and gave my talk and my sketchbooks were quickly passed around. But not for long, as it was down to classwork (but we continued to chat through the morning and over lunch). While the students did the wonderful experiment of drawing a drawing upside down (it makes you draw lines that you see rather than those you think should be there), I drew the gift Erin gave me – some delicious and decadent looking pastries .


I drew them for 15 minutes, while the class did their lesson and then completed it at home. Although I do not have a sweet tooth , I find biscuits and cakes fun to draw and I seem to have quite a collection now . See them here



next : 15 minutes – draw something from your bag – my keys

Then a walk to a wonderful local store The Modern Furniture Store where they generously allowed us to sit in the store and sketch.

and home on the bus… a full day of drawing . I Love it !

Erin’s Sketch class and travel journaling Part Two

Today I returned to Manly to talk to Erin’s Sketching Class about my travel sketchbooks and my recent holiday to London and then Barcelona for the Urban Sketching Symposium.

It was a smaller class this week, so that just meant it was more informal and we talked more ! As a few of them are going on a Travel Sketching Holiday to Fiji with Erin in just a few weeks, it put them in the right frame of mind.

I showed them my two sketchbooks and talked about how I put my sketchbook pages together (mentally) and decide what to include in a page and where I put things on the page. The emphasis is always that is YOUR sketchbook and you decide what to include. It a record of your own holiday and moments that are important or unique.

We also talked about making and taking opportunities to sketch on holidays when you are with non-sketchers. Also thinking about when you can find a few minutes or some longer time to record a moment.

I sketched the basics of this page as I sat on the ferry going from Circular Quay to Manly. I knew I had eight minutes before the ferry sailed . I added the colour on the ferry ride out to Manly. Would I have done this if I was with non sketchers? probably .
I left a space on the left hand side as I know that I want to spend time at home drawing my old, folded bus timetable that I used. 
I also left space on the right hand side of the page as I knew that I wanted to draw a map of my journey. I drew it from Google maps when I got home. I drew it in ink, as the main feature of the page has enough colour.
updated version with bus timetable. drawn at home (while watching tv)

 The theme this week for Erin’s class was Barb’s birthday cake (I have never met Barb. She is a Friday sketcher- Happy Birthday !) I did not get a chance to finish the balloons as we had to leave to go to lunch.

But that does not matter – capture the moment on the page, as life around does not wait for you to draw it before it moves on.

and you don’t have to “finish” a page

Lunch at the Sugar Lounge in Manly . The sketching lessons continue through lunch from Erin as we sketched our food, table accessories, other people, or for me – the lights above. They look just like upsidedown birdsnests !

Erin’s sketch class and travel journalling Part One

Today I was invited to Erin Hill Sketch Class to share my experiences from the Barcelona Urban Sketchers Symposium  and my travel journal sketchbooks from London (still scanning and uploading these) and Barcelona. I basically got to talk about what I love and enjoy to a group of people were really interested. Perfect. And I get to continue my “holiday high” even though I have been home three weeks now.

AND I am going back next Saturday to do it all again ! Fabulous . If you are in Sydney and would like to book into her class have a look at Erin’s website.

Using my new Moleskine watercolour accordion fold book.

I talked for half an hour (so much to say, so little time!) while the class had a look at my two travel sketchbooks. They asked questions about how I choose the workshops I did and what I learnt (which I hope I answered in the short time we had). I have a lot of full blog posts yet to come about these.

Although we officially then started Erin’s class (theme: floral) the discussion continued all morning and though lunch. We talked about formatting pages, where to start drawing, and writing on the page. Erin guided the students on colour, tone and formatting.

Erin had chosen a “floral” theme and we sketched two cacti arrangements that were on the tables (in 25 minutes) and then walked down the road to Rambling Rose:floral atelier to draw the inside or outside of the gorgeous shop. I was attracted to the black and white striped awning and the building, but also included some of my fellow sketchers on the page.

This little cacti had marks on it which made it look like a little Japanese figure. I found it hard to remember that it was a spiky plant!

I had also started my page and my day as if I was on holiday – the ferry ride, a map ,  scenes.


I also like to write comments on the page during the day. They can either be my reactions to places, sights, sounds or smells or just what I am thinking at the time. I think that it makes the whole page more personal and individual.

At lunch I got to show some of the class how I use my watercolour pencils and of course we  drew lunch.


Erin’s Sketch class and a days travel journaling

My first blog post, on 27 March this year was prompted by going to Erin Hill sketching classes to show her students how I use my watercolour pencils. I talked about it to the class and then I realised I really needed to put it in writing, as so much of it happens in my head. So that became my first blog.  Read about the steps I go through here

Yesterday, I had the honor of being invited back by Erin to show her current Sketch class how I use my pencils. I decided to also use it as travel journal day, as I knew it would be a full day out and I may have the opportunity to capture moments on my day. This is all in planning for my very upcoming holiday to the UK.

I filled 8 pages of my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. You will notice that there are a few different styles. Each is suited to where I am and the time I have, and how I feel.

I started my day on the bus into Sydney city and was not planning to draw, but the man in front had a hair “style” worth drawing. I knew I had 20 to 30 minutes to draw him, until the bus reached the city. When I got home at the end of the day I realised I had not  left a page for a map for my travel journal day , so I squished it in on the page around him.

On the ferry from Sydney city to Manly I had 30 minutes to draw something. No one else was outside where I was sitting, so I drew the scenery and me.  There is never nothing to draw! When I got to Erin’s class, one of the other students had also drawn her crossed legs on her journey in


At Erin’s class this week the theme was glass bottles and jars and she had them set up on the tables. I choose these old pottery bottles. I drew them once and then a second time to show the class of 10 how I use watercolour pencils. As you can see from the second drawing, there is not a lot of marks on the paper, bit there was a lot of discussion and questions. I hope that I opened the students eyes as to the different ways watercolour pencils can be used to make marks on paper and how I use them. It was inspirational to talk with them.

Erin has Thursday Friday and Saturday classes and the students glass bottles and jars drawings from those days  are here. A wonderful variety of styles, line work and colours !

We then walked a short way to a local Art gallery “Raglan Gallery” to sketch. They had some lovely glass and ceramic bowls and jars, but I chose a small alabaster classical statue.





 After about  30 minutes we went next door for lunch and more sketching . Although we were eating in, I noticed that their takeaway cups were blank – a ready made canvas.   I have only recently “discovered” this,  and have drawn on coffee cups at Cockatoo Island and  RPA . People have been doing this for ages and there a entire blog using them as the canvas for New York City.
At lunch I sketched y lunch, some of our group. Some of them also sketched on a cup  
After a few lovely hours with fellow sketchers, I made my way back to the ferry terminal, to discover the next ferry was not leaving for another 30 minutes. Time for another sketch! I drew the view across the water to the beautiful buildings . Then I saw the ferry pulling in, so quickly went through the ticket gate to join the queue. I was at the back of the queue, which didn’t move, as we had to wait for all the passengers to come off –  so I sketched the people !

 And then finally – a VERY big swell saw the ferry moving up and down in the waves as we left Manly Harbour. I could see how much we were moving as the horizon moved from the top of my line of vision to the bottom. A man stood on the side deck enjoying it all.
I think sketching the scene may have stopped me from getting seasick
A very big, long day, but I was immensely pleased with what I captured in my sketchbook and the opportunity to sketch with other motivated people

St Andrews College, RPA