Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sydney sketching

A day out sketching at Kirribilli on Sydney's North Shore with Liz.
Beautiful houses and gorgeous architecture. Where to begin ? somewhere in the shade with a place to sit

 LUNCH , of course, and the view from the café


Friday, February 21, 2014

USK SYD event on Saturday 8 March - St Peters

Special thanks to Rod Byatt for offering to host March's USK SYD event in St Peters. 

Sydney Park is like no other park in Sydney (its stark contours are used for tv adverts) and the Graffiti Zone is not to be missed -  it is the best in Sydney and amongst the work are examples by artists who have gone on to become international prize-winning artists outside the graffiti field. I personally don't know this area well and whenever I drive past the bricktowers of Sydney Park have always wants to stop and sketch…so very excited at this chance to have an opportunity to do so.

Saturday 08 March
Meeting Point: The meeting point at 9.30am is the Sydney Park carpark off Princes Hwy, Note: The carpark is nearly full by 8.45am on Saturdays given the popularity of the park, so arrive early or look for street car parking in nearby St Peters or the carpark off Sydney Park Road.

Two sketching options for the morning
1) to stay near the brickwork towers and parkland beyond, OR
(2) spend half the time at the brickwork towers/Sydney Park and half at the May Lane graffiti zone.
If anyone's interested in more sketching options than just the bricktowers and park, they can join Rod on a quick 20min walking tour (9.40-10.00am) covering the local built environment in nearby streets (pointing out subject matter used by other artists), ending up at the graffiti laneway and Sydney Park. This will be a quick walk-around with no time for sketching: individuals can return to locations if they want - they're all just 5mins away from the Brickworks.

Please note: Sydney Park is very exposed so please bring adequate sun protection(sun screen, hat etc) and your own seating!

More details: Sydney Park (

Getting there:
If you’re heading to the park by public transport, St Peters train station is just across the road. There are also a few bus routes that stop nearby, such as the 370 and 422. Look for routes that travel down Sydney Park Road, Princes Highway and King Street. Three car parks are available but as mentioned above fill up quickly.

Everyone is welcome - no need to RVSP. Please invite anyone else you think might be interested.

Mark the date: Saturday 21 March we are planning an evening public sketching event at Cockatoo Island 4.30-7.30pm at the end of the Expressive Urban Sketching 2 day workshop. It will a be great opportunity to sketch the island, visit the Biennale exhibitions and meet other sketchers that are visiting for the workshop. We have people coming from regional NSW,Victoria, South Australia, Queensland AND Canada coming - not to mention the guest instructor Paul Wang from Singapore.  More details will follow shortly.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

ANZOL factory in Mortlake

The abandoned ANZOL factory in Mortlake was once a paint manufacturer but has been disused for years. Seems to be a favourite haunt now for graffiti artists and has just been passed for demolition to build over 400 units in high riseL

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Stressed out sketching


I got some unexpected time to sketch the other week when my car died as I was rushing around doing a few chores. It wasn't broken down as such... I have a problem with my fuel gauge and know not to trust it when my trip computer says 150km left...but this time it was reading 194km and I was heading straight for the petrol station. Only a few metres to the crest of the hill and I could have cruised to safety!

Needless to say I am finally getting around to getting that gauge fixed now!

I love the way that sketches can express the mood you are in...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sketching at the City Botanic Gardens with members of Urban Sketchers Brisbane, and the U3A Group

USK SYD group photos

Here are the group photos from Saturday - really great bunch of sketchers and work done.
Next month we will meet on Saturday 8th March - more details soon

Monday, February 10, 2014

Urban Sketchers Event in central Sydney

Urban Sketchers February Event was on Saturday and I wouldn't miss it. We met at the Town Hall steps....right in the centre of Sydney. Lots of concrete and HOT. Next to the Town Hall is St Andrews Cathedral and that was what I chose to sketch first, due to the shade and my current predeliction for doors.

I chose my new purple Copic Multiliner (anny opportunity) and the way it works with the sandstone colours amuses me. I guess purple is the complement of yellow ochre, or close enough.

The sketch of 149 York street was done while perching on my small stool in the doorway of Citibank, shrinking back from pedestrians. Lots stopped to look, but I was engrossed.    Buses hampered the sketching while they idled at the traffic lights blocking our view, then they went off with a roar. I hadn't realised how noisy the city is because I am normally not sitting in one spot with the noise washing over me.

I was going for a  more organic style...well, no, not exactly going for it. It seems to have taken over me.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sydney Town Hall

On Saturday the Urban Sketchers Sydney group gathered at Town Hall. Sydney Town Hall is one of Australia's finest examples of French Second Empire architecture. Designed by architect J H Willson in 1868, it is said to be inspired by Hotel de Ville in Paris.

In anticipation of Paul Wang and Liz Steels' expressive sketching workshop in March, I tried a loose watercolour sketch with some parts wet on wet, others wet on dry. The iron work at the top was too pretty to not attempt with more detail, so in between layers drying, I made a second sketch of the top with a new Hero pen Liz picked up on her Penang/Singapore trip.
 I love the varied lines from this bent nib pen. They lend themselves well to the intricate forms. This separate sketch was also helpful to determine what features to add in the watercolour only sketch.
If you are travelling to Sydney to sketch, this area offers more grand buildings nearby such as St Andrews Cathedral and the Queen Victoria Building. The difficulty is in choosing what to leave out.

Sketchcrawl in Richmond (Dimmeys)

A group of USkers met at sketched along Swan Street, Richmond. We had plenty to sketch, and there are public benches on just about every corner so we didn't have to sit on the concrete (for a change).

Dimmey's is a century old landmark in Richmond. It is being developed into a supermarket and appartments. It's a hertitage listed building, and until recently the shop stocked super cheap products. 

I found a nice spot sketching from a cafe called 'Meatballs'. Interestingly the clock doesn't work. The hands are set to midday, and there are no numerals on the face, instead it reads 'D I M M E Y S S T O R E'

We met at 1pm to share... and as you can see from the collection of books below I hadn't started painting when we met. The globe/dome on top of the clock has these wonderful turquoise colours. Does anyone know those why green/turquoise domes look that way? (Is it something to do with copper?)


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wednesday afternoon boat race in Port Melbourne


This is Port Melbourne, and every Wednesday afternoon there is a boat race. I love the colourful spinnakers balloon out as they catch the wind, especially on a sunny afternoon.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sketching at the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens with the U3A sketching group

My friend Janina

One of the many water features

Expressive Urban Sketching Workshop - 21-22 March at Cockatoo Island

I am VERY excited to announce our first official Urban sketchers workshop in Australia - a 2 day workshop with Paul Wang from Singapore at Cockatoo Island.Fri 21- Sat 22 March

More details here
To register email uskaustralia(at)gmail (dot)com

Monday, February 3, 2014

Urban Sketchers Sydney event this Saturday 8 Feb

Details of Urban Sketchers Sydney event this coming Saturday 8th Feb - all welcome!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Australia Day sketches

Australia Day falls on 26 January. There were many events around the city on that day. I sat under a tree at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne - a memorial of those who served and died in the Great War of 1914-18. There was an impressive airshow of 6 red planes which got everyone’s attention for about 15 minutes. It was a warm day and many people were out enjoying the events and the sunshine.


I am including the sketch of Flinders Station below, which has an Australian Day banner, although I did not draw it on Australia Day.


For many, it was also a celebration of a long weekend. Australia Day fell on Sunday this year, so Monday was a public holiday.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Looking back on the USK Barcelona Symposium

Hi my name is Shantele and I discovered urban sketching during a backpacking adventure in 2012. To be able to combine travelling and sketching was a great gift and has made my travelling experiences so much more enriching.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the USK symposium in Barcelona in July 2013 and meet and sketch with so many of the talented artists that I follow online. The symposium was an amazing experience and at times overwhelming, I probably did the worst drawings that I have ever done but had the most fun doing them. Which makes sense given that the workshops are there to challenge you out of your comfort zone into using different materials and techniques, whilst drawing in public.

I attended 5 workshops with some fantastic artists that I really admire. Some take home tips and messages from each workshops are outlined below.

Inma Serrano - Buildings are like monsters and can have personalities as well and movement.

Lynne Chapman - I learnt so much about using colours that aren’t necessarily realistic to add more interest and that you don’t need to draw exactly what’s in front of you to make it an urban sketch...

Virginia Hein - to think of landscapes as blocks of shapes and try to look at the scene in terms of values to capture the lights and dark's.

Sagar Forniés- how much perspective and depth can be created with a Bic 4 colour ballpoint pen!! by using the green and red instead of black...

Luis  Ruiz - to build a sketch from the center to the edges and start at the background objects and work towards the foreground.
The symposium was a great way to see a different side of Barcelona from a local's perspective. I have learnt so much since the trip by putting the skills I learnt into practice. 

I continued to travel around Europe for 8 weeks after the symposium and kept a travel journal to document the trip. I have recently started a website and blog at and have been slowly adding posts from my sketchbook and previous holidays.