Category Archives: urban sketchimg.

Exploring for a travel sketching workshop

I am very excited to have been asked to hold a Travel Sketching Workshop by Sarah at Arts On Burgundy in Heidelberg, Melbourne. 

On Friday I took a day off to meet Sarah, discuss the January Workshop and explore Heidelberg, as I have never been there. I wanted to see where I could take the Travel Sketching group on a walk on the day.

I will base it on the very successful plan of my East Melbourne Library Travel Sketchwalk except this is a full day workshop, not just an afternoon. 

I am not teaching how to draw, but how to see and to sketch an impression of your moment. No erasers or rulers,  wobbly lines are  just fine. Nothing matters but enjoying what you do. 

I also want to introduce people to watercolour pencils as a everyday art medium or a travel sketching tool. 



I also took the opportunity to catchup with sketching friend and artist Jodi Wiley. We started the day sketching our food and talking a lot.  I got a lot of ideas for where to sketch locally from Jodi and then Sarah.

I walked around and around the streets of Heidelberg.  I stopped at three places and did two 15 minute sketches at each.

This will hopefully give the participants an idea what can be sketched at each. I  looked for places to stop where we could stand or preferable sit for 15 to 30 minutes.

I need to know about the potential for shade as it will be January in Australia. However it is Melbourne – so who knows what the day will bring.  


My day ended at Heidelberg Railway Station, knowing that I had just missed a train and had 19 minutes to wait. Time flies when you are sketching !!!

Sketching Mum’s favourite London

I have almost finished scanning and uploading my three UK holiday sketchbooks to my flickr website. Every sketch holds a memory of a time and place and I feel like I want to show you them all. These blogs have been more of a ‘holiday snaps’ than art talk. I did not know where to start and stop sharing my English holiday sketches on my blog.

However, my mother (and travelling companion) has recently mentioned a few places and events that express what London means to her.  I have taken her suggestions to form the basis of my blog this week.


Mum & I in Regents Park, London

I have taken Mum’s words and added my sketch


  •  the green spaces, so many lovely squares. We were using our Oyster Card just like all the locals and other tourists – Russell Square, King’s Cross, Jubilee Line, Westminster!!!!



the places to visit like British Museum and Library





  • then there is beautiful Regents Park, an oasis in the busy streets around Baker Street. Pity we had a little trouble finding our way back to Bloomsbury


  • London is the red buses, telephone boxes and post boxes


  • not forgetting that time we sat eating lunch after hearing the ‘Bells of St. Clements’


  • and looking down the street at the Royal Courts of Justice.

London is all that and more……………



sketching York Minster – fast and slow

We stayed in the wonderful city of York for 5 nights. During this time, we walked passed by York Minster everyday and explored the interior twice. This blog is a collection of the sketches of this magnificent cathedral. They range from 10 minute to 2 hour sketches.  Some were planned sketching sessions and others were unplanned, taking opportunities as they presented themselves.


a very quick 10 minute sketch with my Lamy Safari Joy ink pen

This was an unplanned 10 minute sketch on the way to our day tour pick up spot. I was unsure of the time I would have and just started at the top and just started getting crazy lines down on paper. I could see the tour group gathering, so finished up. It is not really recognizable as York Minster, but for me, it captures the moment. As I scan the pages and write my blog I am immediately transported back to that time and place


This was sketched on an excellent tour of York Minster. There is so much history and the guides are so very knowledgeable and love to share that knowledge. He thought that I was taking notes.


The arrow is pointing to me (the little black splodge) sketching outside York Minster on our last morning. Our suitcases are next to me.


And this is what was sketching with my watercolour pencils in that time. This was planned as we had checked out of our lovely Palm Court B&B and had time before our booked train to London.


There are some beautifully carved monuments, sculptures and tombs throughout the Minster. Some were on the ground or at eyelevel and there were some magnificent marble medieval tombs. I was tempted to draw them for the purity of line and the wonderful marble folds of dress and gowns. However I decided on the tomb of a significant person in the history of York Minster – the founder of the Minster as it is today. I am glad that I wrote down on the page how long each sketch took, as I would have no idea if you asked me now.

After our first visit and tour of York Minster I knew that I wanted to return. I wanted to draw more, but when we returned I was not sure where to begin. There were so many beautiful architectural features. York Minster is the second largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe The present building was begun in about 1230 and completed in 1472. The stone used for the building is magnesian limestone, a beautiful creamy-white coloured rock. So different after the red brick of Manchester.

I decided to take a deep breath and put some of the techniques I learnt in Stephanie Bowers “Soaring Spaces” Urban Sketching Workshop at Urban Sketching Symposium the week before.

I spent two hours on this sketch and am really pleased with the result. I don’t think that I could have added any more .  It was a peaceful time, as the tourists walked around me. No one stopped and talked. I could quietly sketch in the serene surroundings and beautiful inspirational space.


Manchester Urban Sketching Symposium 2016

It has been four weeks since I returned from my UK holiday and even longer since I attended the Urban Sketching Symposium in Manchester . I am still slowly scanning my sketches .  I feel the need to catch up and share my experiences from the Symposium before it becomes a distant memory. To do this  I plan to post a blog one day a week this week on the Workshops I attended.

What is the Urban Sketching Symposium

The Urban Sketching Symposium is a three-day event where people from around the world meet to draw and learn together in the host city. (This year it was Manchester). It includes on location sketching workshops, activities, lectures, panels, exhibits and artists demos. Symposium participants get one-on-one interaction with local and international workshop instructors. We got to choose urban sketching workshops out of a rich menu that covered a wide range of subject matter, including perspective and architecture, picture design, storytelling and reportage, colour techniques and more. This year there were 478 participants from 44 countries !!!!

Who are Urban Sketchers

Urban Sketchers, is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the artistic, educational and storytelling value of on-location drawing, promoting its practice and helping sketchers around the world connect with each other.

USK in Manchester

In October 2015 when the location of Manchester was announced, I booked my flight. In January  I successfully registered for a ticket and in March chose the workshops I wanted to attend. I registered for 4 workshops of 26 on offer and 3 activities of the 9 . I did not go to any Lectures or Demos , which was just as well, as I don’t think I would have had the time or energy.  Today I am reliving the excitement of the event itself. Tomorrow the Workshop blogs begin.


Just some of the wonderful sponsor products in the Symposium goody bag.

My extraordinary experience

Registration .The Wednesday day before Symposium I joined other Urban Sketchers and collected my Symposium sponsor (ie goodies) bag and necktag with name in BIG LETTERS from the Manchester School of Arts Benzie Building. This building would be the starting and ending venue over the next few days. With the name tag on you could spot a USK-er in the street and chat to them. Once again, I really didn’t get a chance to look though the goody bag properly until I got home. I had decided to use my usual Moleskine watercolor sketchbook everyday and my watercolour pencils (the known) while learning the unknown. I did not want to challenge myself too much at once !

27Jul2016 Symposium opening event

The Opening Reception at Manchester Town Hall . Sketching from the back of the room.



The string quartet were surrounded by about 20 people sketching them

The Opening Reception was held on Wednesday evening in the magnificent 19th century Neo Gothic Manchester Town Hall with its crystal chandeliers, mural walls and organ . An grand venue to start our four day adventure. We were met by waiters bearing trays of wine glasses. There was an amazing buzz in the room as people met, chatted, mingled and talked (and sketched too). I felt that this set the scene for the collegiate and welcoming feel of Symposium.


Each morning would begin at 9am with a half hour morning meeting, which was a lovely way to bring people together, continuing that ‘buzz’ as well as providing any practical updates.

It is exhilarating to be with so many like minded people and to see sketchers everywhere  – and for those of us who had travelled (the majority of us) it was all in a new exciting city .30jul2016-usk-morning-meeting1
Over the next three days I drew the grand Midland Hotel (where I was staying) each morning from 8.00 for about 15 – 30 minutes. I sketched at the morning USK meeting, ending the day with another Symposium event (Peveril of the Peak or the Closing Ceremony). There were morning and afternoon Symposium Workshops and Activities which were challenging as I tried to absorb new and different concepts or techniques in just three hours.  During this time I was also meeting new people and seeing friends. All of this time I was carried along my the excitement and energy of the people and the event.

If you are curious about what actually happens, there are a number of videos online
A five minute  video  by Urban Sketchers

or 5 , 15 minute videos by Parka as he travels with his camera around various events. Capturing snippets of the day.

 Day Before USK Symposium in Manchester (26 Jul 2016)

USK Manchester Day 1 (27 Jul 2016)

USK Manchester Day 2 (28 Jul 2016)

USK Manchester Day 3 (29 July 2016)

USK Manchester Day 4 (30 July 2016)


Over the next week I will be sharing my experiences of the following Urban Sketching Symposium events

  • Cars in the City Workshop
  • Hunting and Gathering : Sketching Vignettes and lists Workshop
  • From  Macro to Micro- a visual story of  building Workshop
  •  Soaring Spaces Workshop
  • Recording a musical city Activity
  • Making time for postcards Activity
  • Pub crawl- Draw if you’re sober Activity
  •  Lettering, Line and Balance Activity






MRBW Day 3


Melbourne Rare Book Week hosted six events today. Some were at the same times, so I had to make a choice about which ones to attend and sketch at. The decision was made easily, as one, A Walk on the Mean Streets, was going to have more sketching potential than the others.

The day began at the Rare Book Discovery Day at Melbourne Museum. It was an opportunity for people to bring along their books, maps and prints to this Antiques Roadshow-style event for discussion and informal appraisals from a panel of leading antiquarian booksellers. I arrived when they opened the doors and sat behind the appraisers.

14Jul2016 MRBW Day Three merged

I immediately realised that my ink pen was empty so I sketched in watercolour pencil. Instead of a quick sketch I stayed there for about an hour, drawing the appraisers first and then adding some people who had bought books along. I was pleased when a family arrived with a stack of books . I had a wonderful time watching, listening to the interesting conversations and sketching.

14Jul2016 MRBW Day Three am merged


After rushing home to refill my ink pen I went back into the city for A Walk on the Mean Streets. I knew in advance that the two presenters were dressing in period costume, which is why I wanted to attend this event. We had a perfect winters day – clear blue sky and sunshine.

15Jul2016 MRBW Day Three pm1

This walk was hosted by Dr. Lucy Sussex, an expert on Australian detective fiction, accompanied by Professor Chris Browne. We walked for two hours, stopping at some of the sites of Melbourne featured in the books of Fergus Hume, the author of The Mystery of a Hansom Cab.


14Jul2016 MRBW Day Three pm214Jul2016 MRBW Day Three pm4 14Jul2016 MRBW Day Three pm3





14Jul2016 MRBW Day Three pm5



14Jul2016 MRBW Day Three pm614Jul2016 MRBW Day Three pm7











The walk finished at East Melbourne Library biscuits and coffee and with an interview with the ghost of Fergus Hume. We also viewed some early editions of the Mystery of Hansom cab and related titles and learned more about the publishing history.


my urban sketching weekend

My urban sketching weekend

Over this four day Easter holiday I had the opportunity to catch up with some sketching friends who I had not seen in a while. We originally met as part of Sydney Sketch Club and now have our own social get togethers as well, where we catchup on life, families, travel. And of course, we ALWAYS have our sketchbooks with us. On Saturday Kaz, Meegan, Lisa & I spent the day in the Sydney city, sitting in a well-lit area of a shopping centre food court, with views out to the park. We each brought along a sketching project we were working on and ate, sketched, and talked from 10 am to 3 pm.  It is great motivation and inspiration and fun.

My project that day was to do some Urban sketching. In the past week I have been doing a few more “studied drawings”, and wanted to use the time on Saturday to capture my day and my city in my sketchbook. 

(If you look at my flickr site you will notice that I have a few different styles of art, and it all depends on where I am , how I feel, how much time I have, as to whether I do a quick sketch or a slow drawing or combination of the two. Sometimes it just evolves! I enjoy both)
in the food court Westfield, Sydney CBD




On Sunday I met another sketcher, Kathy, for brunch. We are a very social lot!

 I know that I am very fortunate to have people to sketch with. I tend to take this for granted sometimes and when I  get a comment on my flickr site from people who live in smaller towns or do not know other sketchers,  it reminds me how lucky I am.