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Christmas is coming

When I am not sketching I am drawing. Over the past nine years that I have been sketching almost daily in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbooks ( I am sketching in my 71st at the moment). More recently I have become involved in other sketching projects that are  not recorded in my sketchbook. They involve drawing on loose sheets of paper. This change in my habits and time spent putting pencil to paper requires an entire blogpost of its own. 

Today’s blog shows what I have been working on over the last month. I plan to have a new range of greeting cards printed in October. There will be five or six. Two are Australian animals which can be given at Christmas, but also used throughout the year. 

 

Taken at angle . This card will be in landscape format . This is what he looks like now. Needs a bit more work

Here is my possum with gumnut leaves and blossoms. He is not finished yet, as I still need to add his little claws, finish the blossoms and add a bit more depth to the leaves. We have a few difference species of possums in Australia. They are not all this cute, and anyone who has one living in their roof will not think possums are cute at all !

These photos were taken with my camera, when I remembered.  Hence, the strange angles and shadows on the paper. I will show you the finished drawing and cards when he returns from the printers. 

And here is how he came into being. Last year I had comments asking for Australian drawings. I have a cute squirrel, and Plum Pudding and Mince Pies, but nothing Australian. I originally planned the two cards as Christmas cards, I wanted something Christmassy in the drawing, but wanted to avoid putting Santa hats on them. I also thought about the red and green Australian flora we have .

 

These two concepts combined to create the idea that I followed through with . 

 

 
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Drawing the little possum with his cute pink nose and big eyes. 

impromptu singing sketching

Some of my sketchbook pages are at planned events and other sketched are taking opportunities when they arise.

On Thursday night I met Judy, Lionel and Angela (non-sketching and sketching friends) for dinner at Chloe’s Bar at Young & Jackson in Melbourne CBD. I arrived early and sketched. 

I knew that we would sketch and was disappointed that the iconic Flinders Street station was covered up with scaffolding. The room was quite busy and I grabbed a table for four in the centre of the room, but that meant that we did not have a view of the Cathedral – oh well , I figured we would sketch the interior, the people the food – there is never ‘nothing to sketch’!

AND then… 

About 20 Men In Suits descended on the room moving tables and chairs so they could sit together. …. www.meninsuits.com.au . Who are they?

In their own words

      ” Blokes who sing like blokes who can sing, together”

      ” We specialise in uninvited appearances in unexpected places at unscheduled times singing         inappropriate songs to unsuspecting audiences.”

AND then they started to sing acapella- and continued for an hour ( or was it more ? ) known and known songs.

Listen to them here   

We did not know how long they would be there. If I had known it was that long I would have taken more time building up the sketch and trying to capture more character of the singers – and they are all such individual characters !!!!

 

An unexpected, thoroughly entertaining evening .

They just kept singing and singing. So we kept sketching !

Lionel, Angela and myself, Photo by Judy

 

Some patrons thought they got great value for money  – singing and sketching as entertainment !

 

CRAFT Victoria HATCH markets

 

I wrote about my previous CRAFT Victoria HATCH markets in May this year.

Craft Hatch program supports emerging makers and who have never had their own market stall before. The program includes mentoring and professional development guidance, and is a perfect way to get a face-to-face experience.Once again it lived up to all of that . 

It was held at the same venue as last time, in inner city Melbourne, which was good for consistency for me. 

Here is an overview of my day. It is mainly photographs and few words and sketches this week. I did not have time and forgot to take photos during the day or of my own stall. This blog post and my memories are my record of the event.

Saturday morning

All packed up and waiting for my taxi to arrive. I have figured out how to carry this on my own, However, it is too awkward for public transport .

everyone setting up at the  venue

These photos were taken from my table looking at the room as the other stallholders set up

My own space.. starting to set up. Set up began at 8am.

The Markets were open to the public from 10- 4 and then we packed down. There was a constant flow of visitors through the day .

There was a guitar player/singer for a few hours and he was set up just around the corner behind me. The subtle background music was lovely and created a warmth through the room . 

 

Some of my cards and my full up banner, I am SO pleased that I invested in this banner, I very proud of it and it does define my stall. 

sketches of the day 

I was able to do a few quick sketches during the day. There was a very quiet time after lunch.

 


I made some sales and had some wonderful conversations with customers. I also learnt a lot from other stall holders. There a was a wonderful vibe to the day . 

 

sketching musicians

This week I had two opportunities to sketch musicians.  

You would think that musicians would be easy to draw as they don’t move much.

But, I find that they are difficult as it is hard to capture the flow of movement of the body with the instrument . When an instrument is being played the upper body (if it is a stringed instrument) they do move a lot !

Of course, like anything, this would become more comfortable for me if I practiced drawing musicians more often. There are enough buskers around Melbourne, so I have no excuse not to. 

I feel as though I need to choose between featuring the musician or the instrument, the individuals or the group. Sometimes the instruments will be the only colour as the musicians will be in black. 

 The quick sketch of the jazz band (above) was done at the end of the evening, most people had left the event, and the band, The Tom Barton Group  was on  their last two songs. This is why the singer and last musicians are not completed.  I did not have my sketchbook and pencils with me, but there was a pencil on the table and some programs that were blank on the back. I could not help myself but to start sketching. 

Once a month the Supreme Court Library hosts free Lyrical Lunchtimes, with the Bottled Snail company playing instruments  or in this case singing. Bottled Snail (named after a famous legal case) performers all work in the legal profession in Melbourne and also have amazing musical talents.

I don’t normally sketch at these concerts, as I am at work. But today I was able to stand back and listen and sketch. The first sketch was of the choir (above) was sketched on their last song . I knew I had to be quick and not mess around with too many colours. Today I felt like using watercolour pencil and not ink.  I could have added water after I finished, but decided I like the mark of the pencil here. 

The last performer played the piano (beautifully) . I started by sketching his head and body stance, as I was not sure how long he would keep his head down. I could have featured the piano with its wonderful warm wooden colours. However I wanted to set the context by sketching the background – the portraits and bust of the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of Victoria . 

Books, music and sketching – perfect !

Urban sketching with watercolour pencil

Thanks Tina for the question about using watercolour pencil on location as an urban sketcher.  (in comparison to drawing at object in front of me, often with a more controlled situation and time) 

I had a look though my sketches that I have completed out and about on location.

Many are with ink only or ink and then watercolour pencil added as highlights. The times I  draw with watercolour pencil  I use the same technique as  still life at home. 

It all depends on the time available and situation . I have selected a few sketches completed on location in watercolour pencil. 

If there is a major colour in the building I am going to sketch I use the same technique as at home with an object in front of me. That is, to  draw the outline,/ structure in the colour of the building. I then use this become the colour as I add water to the page and drag the colour across the page.

The examples i have included in this blog range from really quick – capturing the moment to longer sketches of 1/2 hour to an hour. I hope that this gives you idea of how I use watercolour pencil on location. 

Very quick sketches

 

OR use the sky (it it is blue ) as the outline, Sometimes the sky is the feature – the fact that the sun is shining and it is a beautiful day. The Sydney Opera House (above) and Cruise ship in the Harbour (below) were very quick sketches. 

 


 

Thirty minutes to one hour sketches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longer on location drawings 


Newcastle wharf graffiti – sunburnt and dehydrated but I wanted to finish it

 

Ba

 

Barcelona in the residential backstreet in the city. The day after Urban Sketchers Symposium 2013 . I  sat quietly and happily drawing 

Please let me know if this has been of assistance or if you have any other questions

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 !

drawing a coffee step by step

Mary asked me about my method with watercolour pencil.

The easiest way to explain it to show you. I have not attempted filming a work in progress yet  so I have taken photos along the way  and made lots of notes.

Drawing my coffee this morning at my local George Street Cafe in half an hour today . Jenny did an especially fancy design on top of the cappuccino that was a challenge to draw !  I also ordered a second coffee to drink , as I knew that this one would get cold by the time I finished.it. 

 

Photos taken every five minutes

 

 

 

 

I start the initial drawing with the watercolour pencils, drawing the outlines and contours. I usually don’t use a pencil (HB) to put in lines unless I am trying to figure out where/how big to draw an object so that is fits on the page. (it not cutting off the top of the Eiffel Tower) 

The cup will not change, but the coffee pattern will  flatten as the chocolate sprinkles sink into the milk  (and I may want to drink it!) so I start drawing the coffee first.

If there are solid areas of colour I  draw the areas of an object in the actual colour of object. Ie Ultramarine for the coffee cup and Raw Umber for the ellipses of the coffee. This means that when you add the water from a waterbrush or paintbrush the outside lines can be softened and almost disappear. Then there is no issue of having an ‘outside’ line or the pencil mark on the paper.

I put the lightest colours in first (Ivory)  and leave the shape of the white areas of the froth by outlining it in dark (Walnut  Brown) . I know my pencils well and the colours that they produce when water is added (sometimes they can change, becoming more intense, bringing out the yellow, or green in a colour.) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tend to move all over the page, adding colour here and there, building up colour and trying to be patient to allow the page to dry before adding more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The more colours you add and the more you drag colour across the page, the muddier it can become.
  • sometimes I draw on the page, sometimes I take the colour of the tip of the pencil with the waterbrush and paint it onto the page
  • remembering to sharpen pencils along the way to get hard lines for edges and fine lines

I hope this explains my process and provides an insight into the way I construct a drawing.  Another person will do it completely differently. 

Enjoy !

how do you use your watercolour pencils?

this weeks sketches

Today I have uploaded the sketches I have done this week. 

I am working ( that is not the right word as it is NOT work) on a few external projects on separate sheets of paper, so my sketchbook journal is not filling up as quickly as usual. 

I did manage some coffees, commuters and today’s breakfast.

 

I also drew on an envelope to send to my family who visited me recently and went to the mountains to see the sled dogs. This drawing on the envelope is from a photo they took 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

drawings from my project – still a work in progress, 

 

Have a great week everyone, with lots of sketching.

 

Please let me know if there is any thing you would like me to talk about or explain or explore about my watercolour pencils and sketching.  

quick sketching and slow drawing

This blog was prompted by a conversation with one of my work colleagues and a sketcher about the time taken in completing a drawing.

The quickest is sketching I have ever done is as I walk behind someone  – it is done  real time.

Drawing is usually more studied –  at home , can be in one sitting or over several evenings.

(I have my own mental distinction between sketching and drawing which is highly subjective and changeable.)

Sketching while walking to work through Fitzroy Gardens. I’ve talked about sketchwalking  on my blog

The other quick sketching that comes to mind occurred in Barcelona at the Urban Sketching Symposium in 2013 in Richard Alomar’s workshop on Sketching Urban Place: People, Space and Street   You can read more about it on my blog at the time .  

 

Here are some of my notes at the time:

                quick!  quick! quick ! ” (it was a fast paced workshop)

                   “1 pencil , 1 sketch book – what‘s that in your hand ?–a second pencil – put it away!” 

                   We walked along the street  and told to stop, draw a Thumbnail square in sketchbook                  then have 30 seconds to draw the streetscene  we are looking down

                wow !  But after a few of these, my mind started to get into thinking  and seeing in that                 mode. So instead of spending the first precious 15 of the 30 seconds in a “mind freeze”                 when we stopped, I could look up and see the street scenes as major shapes and lines                 and shadows. I started to learn to see what is important. We also added notes around                      the thumbnail sketch – street names, feelings, colours of buildings etc

                  We repeated this with two minute sketches 

                 We then looked at the difference between two  sketches how much difference                              between the 30 sec and the two minute sketch?

                 how much more or less was capture the second time ?  

 

DRAWING 

The longest drawing was done over a long time. It was actually on my table for months as a still life as I  attempted to figure out how to draw light lines over dark back grounds with my watercolour pencils. It involved experimenting with masking fluids, Click on the photo to read the process’

From still life – drawing a hat with some eggs in it in watercolour pencil on an 40cm x 55cm watercolour paper.

Creation of a birds nest hat

In everyday life my sketches take from five minutes to one hour.

I do drawings at home over a few evenings.  As they are in my journal, my sketches are part of my journalling process.

For example, here is this morning’s coffee drawn in about 20 minutes, with details added as I chatted to friends. I will not be going back to ‘finish’ the plate, teaspoon, background or any other details. I usually decide which part of the image is going to be the feature (in case time does become an issue).

 

MRBW day 4 – end

 Melbourne Rare Book Week continued …Monday to Sunday

Today I am continuing  last weeks summary of the first three days of Melbourne Rare Book Week (MRBW).   On this page are a selection of my sketches from over the past week. 

All of my MRBW sketches can be seen in my flickr album here. I still have a few more to add from the final day at the Fair. 

I attended 23 of the 60 events held in MRBW. The talks covered a wide variety of subjects. All of the speakers were so knowledgable about their topic and passionate about sharing their knowledge with the audience. I started to see familiar faces in the audience of some events at the week progressed and we talked about which events we had attended and why we were there. 

I have been thinking about how I approached the challenge of capturing these events on paper.

I had not been to many of the buildings or spaces that events were held in. And if I had, I did not know how they were going to set up on the day. I had between 45 minutes and 1 1/2 hours to sketch, with my watercolour pencils, Lamy Safari ink pen in my Moleskine Watercolour sketchbook.

I wanted to make each page unique, as each event was. I planned to do this through the use of colour, my position in the room or features of the room itself . I needed to make these decisions within a few minutes of arriving and take my place before the talk began. As part of MRBW , I did not book for any events so that I would not be taking the seating of a registered attendee. Many events were fully booked with a waiting list. 

I was fortunate to have access to a few places before hand and was able to access the collection and use some of the objects as background to the page. The books above are in the Melbourne Cricket Club Library. I could not resist the wonderful illustrated spines. 

It was an exciting and interesting week of sketching and book – my favourite combination !