Category Archives: ladder

MRBW Day 9

Melbourne Rare Book “Week” actually goes for 11 days, culminating this weekend in the  ANZAAB Australian Antiquarian Book Fair (Melbourne Rare Book Fair), held in the University of Melbourne’s historic Wilson Hall.

I am flying to Manchester for the Urban Sketching Symposium tomorrow and will miss the two days of the Rare Book Fair.

Today I sketched at two events.


State Library Victoria

Des Cowley

22Jul2016 MRBW Day 9am

Despite there being no agreed definition of what an artist book is, it is generally defined as a book made by an artist and intended as a work of art. This session looked at a selection of books made by artists, drawing from State Library Victoria’s collection of over one thousand artists’ books


Law Library of Victoria

The Law Library of Victoria brought together eminent members of the legal community to share their passion for books. Held in the iconic Supreme Court Library, the session celebrated the importance of the written word and the beauty of the book in people’s lives.

 22Jul2016 MRBW Day 9pm

It seemed very fitting for my final sketching session documenting Melbourne Rare Book Week events was held in my workplace, the Supreme Court Library. I have sketched in the library in the past. But they are more detailed studied drawings of the books, shelves and ladders of this beautiful space. They are available as Greeting cards from my Esty online store (I am away until 17 August and will take orders after then) or at stockists around Melbourne

IMG_001622Oct14 shelves229Oct14 old Commercial law bookalissa duke library shelves




The past 9 days have been a wonderful experience for me, as a sketcher and book lover. I have met an amazing array of people who are passionate and generous in sharing their knowledge of their specialist area of books. Thanks to everyone who has discovered and followed my blog, some who have introduced themselves to me at events. A special thank you to Kay Craddock, Chris Browne and the people who worked so hard to produce this event. It was humbling and exciting to be involved.  See you all next year.

My first solo art exhibition

My first solo art exhibition. It is small but it is all mine.L1100034

My local East Melbourne Library provides display cabinets for residents to book for a month at a time for exhibitions. With the encouragement of friends, I booked a space for August. Then, with the incredible guidance and assistance of my good friend Louise, (curator and exhibition designer) we planned and then set up my display.


joined images1

This took many hours and the time that we spent planning paid off.   I learnt that there is a lot involved in finding a theme, keeping focus and using the space of the  glass cubes that make up the cabinets. I cut 12 squares of 30 x 30 cm paper (the number and size of each shelf) and spread them out over the floor at home . I then decided what should be placed in each shelf. We took it all down to the library last Saturday, making slight alterations on the day .

All along, I had visualised how I wanted my feather and nests sketches to be exhibited, and the final display exceeded all of my expectations.

The theme of the exhibition was based around the drawings I have had printed as Greeting Cards and envelopes (which are available for sale on my Etsy site). They include feathers, nests, library books and ladders and snails.


L1100010 - Copy

There is one display cabinet featuring library books and ladders.

I tried to add as many relevant sketchbooks as possible to the display as well as the finished drawings  on loose sheets of A4 paper as I am really a sketchbook artist.

joined images3


I also wanted to include some of the original objects that the drawings were inspired by.

joined images2


I have already received some lovely feedback from the library staff.

I hope that you have enjoyed strolling through my first solo exhibition with me today. It is very big event for me and I very proud of my exhibition.

ANOTHER Library ladder

Another beautiful library ladder and bookshelves in my workplace (see my previous library ladder sketch HERE)
This time I wanted to include a bit more context, with some of the surroundings.
I drew this in my lunch breaks. Five days, of half an hour each for drawing time.  
As a work in progress….

You might be able to see a second ladder in the foreground in the drawings below. While I was drawing the first one I decided I could not draw another – too much perspective and counting. I was a little tired of library ladders by then.

I drew light lines and marks in pencil first to get the perspective right.
The following watercolour pencils colours were used to draw this . All are Faber Castell except where noted.
and a waterbrush
Madder Carmine(Derwent)
Burnt Carmine
Payne’s Grey
Schwarz Black
Light Yelow Ochre
Burnt Ochre
Walnut Brown
Burnt Umber
Raw Umber (Derwent)
I will give ladders a break for a while and go back to drawing books

a library ladder – a work in progress


I work in a law library. As well as up-to-date legal databases in our beautiful old 1884 building there are shelves of old books and tall library ladders to reach them. Yes, I have had to climb the ladders to get books down!  

I have been drawing this scene at work in my lunch hour, over four days (a half an hour each time). Here is the final (most probably) version.

These are sketched in my Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook with my lovely watercolour pencil.

Stage one

Stage two

Stage Three

Some lovely old books