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.



20 responses to “Sketchy Breakfast

  1. I like it, Karen! This is definitely a looser style for you, but I like how you have laid in the color and then gone in with the ink, using the ink to get some value into the form of the yellow flower without diminishing its brightness. The inked in leaves in the back give a suggestion of background without overpowering this delightful flower.
    Thanks for sharing your breakfast with us!

    • You are welcome Ruth, I am so pleased you like the quick sketch. It is fun to mix things up a bit. Karen

    • Hi Ruth….are you at all related to Karen? I have only recently discovered this blog but have been unable to find anything in relation to her since October 2016. I am particularly interested in purchasing one of her works but cannot access any information. Are you able to throw any light on why there is not any more of Karen’s work since 2016? It seemed to stop abruptly.

  2. Very nice ! I liked reading about your process and your food, and seeing the work in progress shots. Your techniques yield fine results!

  3. Now that is my kind of breakfast, sketching and eating, two favorite things. An Inspired drawing, you have capture the yellow flower beautifully.

  4. Karen, when I saw your flower in my blog feed I was immediately curious as to how you created this beautiful image. I greatly appreciate you breaking down the steps of development. Your line work looks so free and energetic. I have been feeling the same way about cross hatching and all those techniques to add value. You’ve really inspired me to think differently. Your final image is very beautiful and perhaps is paving the way to a new approach.

    • Thanks Cathe, I do not do this style of drawing often enough and get caught up in the detail of my subjects. It is fun just to let loose and play sometimes, and take my blogging friends along for the journey. I posted Anna’s book on Wednesday last week, so it should be with you in 14 days. Wait until you see Anna’s delicate drawings in person they are just gorgeous.

      • Thank you for taking me on your journey! Your creative hand is so inspirational and opens my mind to new ways to approach subject matter. I’m very excited to see Anna’s book. Gale ‘s book set sail about 8 days ago. I’m so concerned that I should have put more plastic wrap around it. Hopefully it will be with you very soon. Gale ‘s creative touch is amazing !

  5. What a great progression Karen, and such a good way to depict a banksia. They are HARD!! All those twisty little stamens. You have captured the essence of it this way. They are such exuberant flowers. Your breakfast looks delicious, my mouth is watering! Good to know all the books are on their journeys – I sent yours on to Gale earlier in the week. So many ideas swirling in my head for subject matter for the next two!

    • I agree, banksias are hard, I tried to do one when I was doing the big coloured pencil flowers, but the dog chewed on that drawing, so I called it fate and gave up, this is the first time I have tried again. It is so exciting to know all the books are winging their way around the world and nice to have some time to ponder on what to draw in the next two.

  6. Yeah, I am still mesmerized by the yummy looking breakfast…..and reading about the traveling Lamy pen…..hadn’t thought about exploding pens while traveling… I will. Your flower is very nice…and it is a skill to represent something with so much detail without actually drawing every detail….and you pulled it off.

    • Hi Rebecca, the breakfast was super yummy. I had trouble once with a ink pen splurting all over a page once in a plane, thank goodness it didn’t get on anything else. I have since heard horror stories of fountain pens leaking over clothes etc. I was lucky this time, next trip I will put them safely into a zip lock bag- or 2.

  7. The banksia flower looks daunting (I wouldn’t have known how to start!) and you captured the essence beautifully. I really love the overlay of fountain pen that helps pull the work together. Lucky you to get away from the normal surroundings! We’re all looking forward to more sketches and even the lovely foodie images…. the eggs looked scrummy!

    • Lots of fabulous food and I can’t tell you how good the Sicilian chocolate and Rosemary ice cream is from the other cafe 2 doors down. Glad you liked the banksia, I have seen others done like this, the only way for these type of flowers can be drawn and maintain sanity. Karen

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