Category Archives: laneways

Urban sketchers in Ivanhoe

About 30 people from  Urban Sketchers Melbourne  met at Hatch Contemporary Art Space in Ivanhoe, Melbourne at 11am, then once again at 1pm after the sketch to share. This event is part of 2016 Pinpoint Contemporary Art Fair held by Banyule City Council. We sketched for the morning on postcard size paper (and some larger) on location in Ivanhoe. group

The sketchers included Lionel King visiting from Sydney and a few newcomers, including Colin, a local, who could give us local knowledge of where to sketch – a big thank you !
It was very surreal to be with Angela Williams, Alf Green and Lionel King, as the last time we were in one place together was in Manchester, UK in July this year for the Urban Sketching Symposium.


looking down a driveway/laneway near Upper Heidelberg Road


War Memorial on Upper Heidelberg Road

Above are my two postcards from the morning.

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The sketches were laid out on the tables at Hatch, as we chatted and enjoyed their hospitality of tea, coffee and biscuits !
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The finished “Postcards from Banyule” were then put in a display cabinet at the Ivanhoe Train Station (work will be displayed for 2 weeks).It is in the area where people buy their ticket or shelter from the weather, so should get a lot of people looking at them. (Ivanhoe is a suburb in the City Council district of Banyule).

sketching a Melbourne laneway

Melbourne’s laneways with their street art and coffee shops are on the tourist ‘list of things to do’. They are great ! But I like these other older working laneways.

Cnr Little Collins Street and Baptist Place, Melbourne

Cnr Litte Colins Street and Baptist Place, Melbourne

I did some sketching when I had time to fill in before an appointment. I stayed around the area where I had to be and looked up, down, left and right for inspiration. And then I had to find a scene AND  with somewhere to sit and draw ! I sat on the  stairs of a doorway of a company that was closed on weekends. It was directly opposite the laneway I had been inspired by.

I knew that  I had 25 minutes to sketch and that I had to get the proportions and perspective correct quickly. Usually I start a drawing and measure  (holding pencil out in front of me) as I draw on the page directly with my watercolour pencils. However when sketching buildings I know I need to do a bit of mark making in HB pencil on the paper to note where important points are. Sometimes I end up with A LOT  of little marks on the paper. I often forget why I  have put them there.

Here is a rough overview of my thought process of sketching this laneway. (I wish I had taken an earlier photo, after about 10 minutes, instead, this is after 25 minutes.) It makes sense to me.

measuring relative proportions

I started with the parked van as the focus of my measuring . This was because I noticed that there were many similar measurements which I could use to mark out the paper. I have noted with arrows the measurements I used . After I made the marks I drew some horizontal and vertical lines, where tops/bottoms of some doors and windows were on the same line on the page.

Then the van drove away, so it was just as well I had got those lines down! These are the joys of urban sketching.

I started drawing the the vanishing point lines  for the angle of the windows and driveways.

I then finished with the HB pencil and used my watercolour pencils to build up the lines and colour. The main colour used is Faber Castell Light Yellow Ochre. The other colours used were Paynes Grey, Earth Green, Cool Grey IV and Schwarz Black.

I added water to the page with my Kuratake waterbrush, spreading out the colour.

My 25 minutes had flown by and I had to leave. I could have taken a photo and added more details and competed the sketch at home. However I really enjoy drawing on location and wanted to go back to my place on the stairs. Also, as an Urban Sketcher I follow these guidelines (when I want to post the sketch on the Urban Sketches online pages)

We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.• Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.• Our drawings are a record of time and place.• We are truthful to the scenes we witness.• We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.• We support each other and draw together.• We share our drawings online.• We show the world, one drawing at a time.

After my appointment I returned to the same place on the starirs and in the final 20 minutes  I  built up the page with more colour and added fine lines, without adding water. I reached a stage, where I was pleased with the result, colour, amount of detail and final scene.