Monthly Archives: May 2015

Sketchy Breakfast

Banksia Flower Journal Page Water colour pencil and ink

Banksia Flower Journal Page Water colour pencil and ink

I am minding a friend’s house while she and her partner go touring around the Kimberly (Outback Northern Australia) in their 4WD.  An amazing trip through the wilds down the Gibb River Track from Kununurra to Derby.  So while being envious of their trip, I am enjoying some inner city living.  The house is in Northcote with plenty of great food and coffee, if you can get past the hipsters.  Lots to smile about here.

So to get into the lifestyle I have been going out for breakfast on the weekend and taking my sketch book with me.  Today as I was walking to the café, I passed this lovely Banksia tree and the lemon yellow flowers had caught the autumn sun.  So I stopped to snap a couple of pictures to draw.

Banksia in the autumn sun

Banksia in the autumn sun

I wanted to try a looser and quicker style, as I had slowed down again with all the cross hatching I had been doing.   I decided to start with the colour and map out the main areas then go over them with ink for some loose details, but first where is the coffee?

The banksia flower

The banksia flower

Adding in the leaves

Adding in the leaves, water colour pencils before the addition of the water.

It is fun to just lay the colour down and not get to fussed over the precise layout of the leaves and great to work quickly.

First ink outline

First ink outline

Once the paper had dried I added the first inky outline.  I was a bit nervous opening up my pencil case, as I had just flown to Sydney and back for a quick work trip and realised that my fountain pens were in the case.  I had only cabin luggage so they were pressurised, but I was bit nervous on how they had made the trip.  The Lamy safari with the EF nib had no leakage at all and worked just fine.  The Noodles Ahab did leak into the cap, but cleaned up ok and no spillage.  Felt lucky at that moment.


Slight break for breakfast. Yum, avocado, feta, bacon and poached eggs on sourdough

After contemplating the drawing through breakfast and discussing it with the wait staff, (also artists as well, most of Northcote is creative), I went back in with some more coloured pencil and then thickened up the outline in places to give more variety to the line.

Finishing off the drawing with my last coffee.

Finishing off the drawing with my last coffee.

Not my greatest drawing ever, but a fun and quick exercise that played with a few techniques.  Took me about an hour, food included and such a fun thing to do, hope you enjoyed coming to breakfast with me.



Collaboration 2 – The Circle of Life

The Circle of Life - Karen's Spread

The Circle of Life – Karen’s Spread Ink and Coloured Pencil

I have finished my part of Anna Warren’s book in the second collaboration that I am part of.  The theme for Anna’s book was the circle of life and, as I am in a vegetable moment, I went for the life cycle of the pumpkin.

The Circle of Life - Cover

The Circle of Life – Cover

Anna’s book is beautifully crafted , you can see that she has printed the cover and her attention to detail is fabulous, it must be all that miniature work that she does.  I wanted to snatch my book back from her so I could finish it better, but for better or worse mine is on its journeys and I won’t see it back until it is full of fabulous drawings from the others.

The Circle of Life - First Page

The Circle of Life – First Page

This is the first shared page on which I have scattered pumpkin seeds and then followed it with the image of the pumpkin flower.  Aren’t pumpkin flowers just fabulous, the colour and the shape, plus the fact they are so fragile, when they grow into such big sturdy fruit.

The last page has the pumpkin of course and although I have been buying all these weird shaped pumpkins, I went for the traditional ones.  This is taken from some I bought on the weekend which have the most wonderful pumpkin shape, but are really only tiny about 8cm tall.  I scanned the image but Anna’s delicate pencil drawing has not come up well. See the link at the bottom of the page to her blog to get some lovely images of her work.

The Circle of Life - Shared spread

The Circle of Life – Shared spread

This book will now wing its way across to Cathe in the states, as I await Gales to arrive here.  For those of you who want to see what the others have been doing here is the links to their posts on their blogs.

Anna Warren’s Book – Circle of Life

Gale Everett Stahlke’s Book –  Water

Cathe Jacobi’s Book –  Collections

Karen Bailey’s Book – Patterns in Nature – Forest

I cannot tell you how much we are all enjoying this and being able to share the process with each other and our blogging friends.




Vegetables and Experiments

Bok Choy Farmers Market ink and watercolour pencils

Bok Choy Farmers Market ink and watercolour pencils

Still having fun drawing the produce of the local farmers markets.  This last couple of weeks has seen the addition of Bok Choy and I just finished the Cumquats yesterday.  I have been snuggling down on the coach with my heater and little Hannah as company as the rain comes bucketing down outside.  You can tell she is working hard and clearly having a bad hair day.


Hannah supervising the writing of the post

Experiment 1

I have been experimenting with different waterproof inks for my Lamy safari pen.  I had been using Noodlers black ink, but it isn’t as waterproof as I would like.  These two drawings were done with Platinum Carbon Black.  I did notice an improvement with this ink, it is smoother in the pen and is much more waterproof.  The down side is that it does have carbon particles in the ink and they might block up my pen, (though it hasn’t done so in the  three weeks it has been in there and I haven’t used it every day, I don’t want to mess up my new pen).  I have just ordered some De Atrementis black archive ink which is also supposed to be good so I will see how that goes.


Cumquats Ink and water-colour pencils


Experiment 2

I have also been playing around with gessoed boards to try to find some different ways to present this work.  I love working on paper, but I am not as happy with framing and putting the work behind glass. I would like to find a way to present the work similar to how oil paintings are with thick sides that can be hung on the wall.

When I did the  pieced patterns, I covered them with a varnish that had UV filters.  I am conscious of the fact that some colour pencil colours are not as light-fast as needed and that water-colour pencils are worse.  These UV filter coatings are getting very sophisticated so I am confident that the combination of varnishes from Golden will give me the dust and UV protection I will need.  I used Golden Gel Topcoat w/UVLS which I brushed on and Golden Archival varnish with UVLS which is a spray.  I used a combination of Gloss and Matt as the gloss gives a stronger finish and the matt top coat stops it being too shiny.

There is no doubt that these varnishes change the way the work looks and gives it a slight plastic finish and I haven’t decided if I can live with that yet.  I will take some photos of the process as I go along with these different experiments and of course share the outcomes with you.