Prince Henry s Print

Prince Henry’s Print,

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Urban Sketching a great way of making your own record of what you see

On Saturday night I was drawing cars, (as is my want), and one chap came up and said it would be faster if you used a camera. Ha haha. I just laugh now and play along but it made me think about what I am doing.

I’m interpreting what I see my own way, not a perfect picture but what I see. He did say he liked what I was doing and asked if I would draw his car.


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I am lucky and grateful, my wife allows me time to sketch when we are at places. In Europe recently she allowed encouraged me and made me feel no need to rush. Thanks TB.

I sketched all over the place.

p1020371Buckingham PalaceP1020382

IMG_2635.jpgimg_3329-3At the Sherlock Holmes Pub

IMG_6543.jpgp1050056On the French Rivieria in Cassis


p1050092ON the Mediterranean St RaphaelIMG_2384.jpg

img_3327Trafalgar SquarLondon Europe 18

eimg_3568Gardens of Luxembourg Parisnew black whites 1.jpgimg_3915Venice


A rural life of dreaming

Let’s face it I live almost a rural life anyway. I have had chickens (now replaced with feeding cockatoos and galahs and pigeons!) , numerous cats and dogs, I have to use my own chain saw occassionally, and I can burn my own wood (preferrably if its dried out not like my fiftieth,, oh the smoke!). So I do have a semi rural existence.

I was fortunate enough to rent a little place in rural France , Les Arcs sur Argents, where I convalesced a little after hurting my knee during our trip last year.

Fortunately having to rest up meant lots of sketching opportunities, and since then I have been able to add a few more at home.

Like many places there were some requiring a bit of work.Mind you I loved the patching up of the old buildings, the addition of new wiring was haphazard, especially for TV aerials, satellite dishes and external lighting. IMG_6108.jpegles arcs door.jpeg



They don’t have to worry about mosquitoes so the shutters are for security and sunlight, there were a few times in Europe I worried about T falling out the window to bring them shut!


Coming back from getting our baguettes.


This was our place, (not lower apartment). three levels the balcony was above the roofing clay you can see. Had to crawl through a door1/3 size of normal to get out, not easy with unbendable knee! I banged my head every second time!new black whites 3.jpegThis was from our bedroom window listening to ABBA music being played from somewhere below,, on and on and on……..

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Another from the balcony, sitting under the umbrella drinking local french wines! (well tehy told me they were local)

IMG_5601.jpegThe fountain above was at the bottom of our one lane one way dead end street. I am unsure of its purpose but the local kids had fun in it unless their soccer ball rolled into it. The creperie was very nice. The whole place ahd a very relaxed atmosphere except when the fun run came to town.

We seemed to draw fun runs/triathlons, there was one in Berlin, and Salzburg when we were there too.

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Our place is on the right. An ancient bell tower at the end of the street, and clock on the wall. I did try to turn car up top of the street like the locals but alas I reversed down in the end.

Using a pen brush

I love line work. The function of putting the ink down on the paper gives me the most pleasure. Although adding the colours does give me satisfaction in the end , the line thrills me most.

I don’t usually use pencil first. I just “go for it” with ink. Mistakes I make along the way, I live with. Although I sometimes regret my drawings of people if I make an error and can’t fix….

Generally though the ink line goes ok. I have gone to a thinner line and then a dude nib and now more and more a brush pen. Although I still don’t go back and review my pics very often and add more depth, I find I turn to the brush pen mostly at the moment, even with fine work…

I am looking and noir sketches at the moment, trying to get more atmosphere in. And also adding more background, such as the characters above.

The brush is handy for moving things like seagulls..

England, the mother home?

The European migration of Australia may be a mute point in some regions, and I have learnt quite a bit that you main language could have been Dutch if dirk Hartog and Abel Tasman 1642 and others had stayed and maybe even French even Spanish ( reading David Hunt’s Girt funny and factual). Alas we are a British colony and I have these links. But most of my links are from TV. British TV. Many of the places we visited were things we knew of, but one of our favourite spots was StPauls Cathedral. Inside and out. We breakfasted nearby, then went in, under and up to the top. I drew it during breakfast and fell in love with cafe pret a manger granola yoghurt breakfast.

I drew. Took some photos for later sketches. At lunch under it.there we were around the side in a lovely garden central London and not many people around. They were around the front!

Then we walked the streets past the treasury exchange, and windy streets with buses and taxi filled streets. And bike riders. Crazed people with death to the pedestrians on their mind!! I’m sure I saw one with little human symbols on their cross bar!

So my message today is the abuse and cabs you may hear but the stalking London cyclists might getcha!

London, capitol of England, Rainy one day warm the next.

Many people not from Melbourne often say it has four weather seasons in one day. Sometimes I am inclined to agree. While we were in London it felt pretty much the same in April  but we were prepared forit. Sketching also required a little forethought, such as fingerless gloves to keep warm but allow a grip on the pen and brushes, and make sure my journals were in plastic bags. They survived pretty well and I didnt allow them to get damaged or lost. Unlike a pair of sunglasses and two sim cards....

The first day it was rainy, but just brought many images seen on TV of wet London (unfortunately the spooky days of a pea souper fog are apparently over…). It didnt pour on us and it didn’t inhibit our walking . It did give me memory of the walk to out hotel from Earls court to the Ibis via a real crescent.earls crt unground sign copy.jpgibis hotel earlscrt.jpgearlscrtcrescent.jpg

Chicago, great place, greater people

One of the advantages of going overseas is that you as the tourist are usually happy. You look around at everything and everyone, looking for new views, differences to your normal environment.
The airport is one of the first melting pots of difference. You have happy families, angry families , sleepers, walkers,

One thing you notice is everywhere, is the ubiquitous eyes on screens, tablets, phones, games, laptops or screens.
Even when there are friends with people, they still have their faces in the screens. It was nice to see some reading books, magazines etc, perhaps their screen things had run out of battery.
And when you had too much screen time you would take three seats and sleep! The woman sitting up watching the sleeper looked as sick as…. i thought i was going to have to resuscitate her. Judgemental aren’t I?

And how do you cope with going to the warm northern hemisphere when you are leaving cold Melbourne? You wear your puffy jacket and shorts! Onto the plane. The girl wanted to chat but her companion was playing games, so she grabbed her food and ate. I felt sorry for her.
In LA airport I changed planes for Chicago. There was this bloke over from me wearing Pluto ears, smiling, laughing and having a good time. Although I was surrounded by eateries and bars with sport on all the screens, this bloke kept my attention, so i drew him. I couldn’t see the plane so people sketching it had to be.

Here is the A380 I caught (yeah someone threw it to me….oldie but a goodee) from melbourne.

Up, Up and away (soon…)

aeroplane in hobart 2Some people hate flying! Not me, I like it soooo much I don’t usually sleep on long hauls. I don’t want to miss anything. even just sitting there with my block out headphones listening to the comedy audio station when I cant keep my eyes open.

aeroplane cabin 1

The meals, I love the little packets, I’m lucky if I don’t drool when they are being dished out. And if the family don’t finish something, I will! This trip I’m on my own so better not ask the person next to me if they are finished or not!

And waiting at the airport is no longer a problem, I can sketch the scene around me. Although drawing the other people is a little more difficult as they are often tired and testy and wondering why i keep looking at them. This is easier on public transport as there are more distractions for them but in the airport they tend to keep looking in the same direction!aeroplane cabin 3

And then there’s the plane on the Tarmac. some airport vantage points are better than others.

flight plane to GC

The vehicles are a little harder to sketch as they tend to move off just as I get warmed up.


I haven’t drawn an a380 so I hope I get a good vantage spot.

Origins of Chicago

Like Melbourne, Chicago was swapped from the first peoples. Not only did they both lose their “rights” they were moved off by the newcomers……..

It appears the Native Americans called the area ‘shikaakwa’ which may have meant smelly skunk, or smelly onion (which they now call ramps?). And the French explorer Robert de La Salle  translated to Checagou.

We have “onion weed” here, I wonder if it is the same thing?

chicago sb3

Twinkies are not a huge thing over her. Sure I have heard of them and even tasted one and thought, “gee how did this survive the trip and still be ‘edible’?”.

I found it interesting the original filling was banana flavoured!


Chicago Symposium part 2

I have booked a few things in Chicago to do first up, dot he tilt on The 360″ view . I’m not so worried about the wind of the windy city. I have also learnt  it was called the Windy City because the people  from other states of the US felt Chicago bragged about itself so much. Seems fair enough that they bragged about their city.

The way it grew, then aftet he city destroying fire grew up again. But I was going to put string on my hat to keep it on when the wind came from the prairies.

But the bragging worked, they got the Columbian Exposition, where the first successful zipper was released, even if poorly drawn. 

More wind would alos have been produced through blowing bubbles in Chewing gum. Didn’t everyone start chewy with juicy fruit (or as I drew juicy frutt!)? Then you grow up and try PK.  I nearly forgot the And I am also looking forward to going to watch the baseball at Wrigley stadium. I nearly forgot about the spearmint sticks wrapped in alfoil. and then the kids who tried to trick you with the fake chewy packs with the mouse trap like contraption that hit your finger when you pulled it out…….

Although I could have drawn Walt Disney, but the first animated film was Gertie the dinosaur, by Winsor McCay a silent film you can see on the internet, and compare my drawing… although it looks dated you have to remember it was revolutionary and is highly regarded by the people who came afterwards.

Also Chicago was the place of the first McDonalds franchise. NOT the first store….
McDonalds was a treat place when it first came to the suburbs here. The store I went to as a kid is still in the same place, but changed building completely. Don’t remember muchat 15c. Since then I have had McDonalds in every State of Australia, Singapore, USA, Thailand, my son was a very picky eater….(well that’s my excuse..)

Version 4

I grew up with only 5 TV stations, Donald O’Connor (from Chicago) was always on (OK…often…) when the movies were showing, on weekends or during the week when I was sick at home as a kid or no school was on etc. I loved his humour, non offensive, he wasnt the lead good looking guy but I still related to him. Another TV icon from Chicago was Raquel Welch. My dad loved her so if she was on , we saw her…..He also loved the Lone Ranger……..

Bob Newhart was also a comedian I related to, he didnt have to be rude, oftne he didnt need another actor. His driving instructor sketch is one his more famous.

Harrison Ford is also from Chicago. I am a huge fan, Star wars, Indianna Jones, Blade Runner and I can’t read a Tom Clancy “Jack Ryan” book without seeing Harrison in the role.

Down the bottom left of the above page I drew quickly the “Raising of the City”.  Now I think of it as Reblocking but instead of reblocking your house they raised WHOLE buildings, at times with people in it ……They had hundreds of workers helping to slowly rise feet off ground (below water ) level, while they tried to reorganise the cities drainage, sewrage etc. in 1857!!!!!

And as someone said, I put the weiner mobile in as well. I am looking forward to trying my Chicago Hot Dog- WITHOUT sauce/Ketchup!!!! and it makes sense why they don’t add it. NOt sure why? Apparently suace is a combination of all the flavours they already put on their hotdog so why spoil it……

2 months 7 days……..until I fly in.