Category Archives: flickr

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. 


finding my sketches

A bit of a different blog post this week.

I am spending a lot of this weekend cleaning my apartment as I am renting and have an inspection by the property agent next week.  So some of my sketching plans have disappeared. I thought about sketching my cleaning tools, but realised I would not be getting any cleaning done if I did that !

Instead, I have added any drawings that I have done in the past in relation to cleaning and they are the images scattered through my blog today.

Today I am writing about how I locate those drawings and sketches from the last 10 years in over 63 sketchbooks that are sitting on top of my mantle piece.

The answer is Flickr. Have you heard of it? Flickr (owned by Yahoo) is an online photo management and sharing website. You create an account and upload your scans/photos and it also allows you to organize your images. It was around before facebook, many other sites today.

I joined as a member in 2008, mainly to share my sketches with my family interstate. My sketchbooks are often my daily journal, so my family could keep up to date with what I was doing in Sydney .

 I scan all of my  sketches and upload them to Flickr. I have over 4600 images on Flickr . I then add “tags” which are descriptive keywords.  The tags are the key to finding images.  I can do a search through the archive of my “Photostream” and locate any drawings that match that search term. For example, for this page I searched for the words  housework, dusting, cleaning, tools, broom and dirt .  


Once I have found the image I can see the date I sketched it and find the original on my computer or in my sketchbook. I  decided early on to include the date in the title eg 18Feb2017. My early scans are not great as I had not really learnt about scanning and I did not have Photoshop. Now, I have access to Photoshop software and I use it can ‘clean up pages’ ie. remove the edges of the sketchbook, remove scratch marks and make the background paper lighter (scanning often picks up every mark and distorts the colour a little). I do not do anything to the sketch. I sometimes remove the words so that the images can be used in another context on a website on printed ( such as on a birthday card).

Of course, searching through the tags is only as good as the information that I put in the description or tags in the first place. Gosh , do I sound like the Librarian that I am?  When I started I was not very consistent with my tagging and now when I am rushed, or lazy I forget to add tags. 


A small part of the floor where the dining room/living room meets the kitchen. Hmmm another part of the house that needs cleaning

Some of my  early Flickr friends are still on Flickr, others are on other sites including  facebook , instagram, websites.  I post some of my drawings on the  various sites (below) but  everything goes onto Flickr, as it is my archive and database.



Instagram : alissaduke1

I also have organised some of my Flickr sketches into”Albums’ .  Albums are a great way to keep  sketches grouped by topic or theme. Some of them are :

My family history project drawings. 

My hospital stay 


Coffee and tea and cups

curious about Albums  ? See them all

There are many ways to organise and locate sketches so that you or anyone else can search them. What do you do?