Prince Henry s Print

Prince Henry’s Print,

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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..

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.

Chicago symposium 

Later in the year I am off to Chicago & New York for the Urban sketchers Symposium. I knew very little about Chicago.

I knew there was a major fire, they have an elevated rail, they are on a lake….. and the music scene, autos etc. 

so I have been reading Donald L Mille’s book city of the century, the making of Chicago, first 100 years.  

Certainly a go getter place with many firsts, with a bevy of people who came and made their mark on a frontier town which grew into the symposium hosts (and a lot more). It’s a grid city just like Melbourne, so it’s nice to compare the layout to my capital.

I have sketched a few of the personalites, the grid city and a few other things that have tickled my fancy about Chicago.

 I am going to mark the map where I have been during my trip, although I will still get a few maps when I’m there. It looks like I’ll be around the “loop” for most of the time. 

But what of chicago have I noted. Quite a few firsts, including sky scrapers and the use of concrete over metal to strengthen it . The Pullman carriages, I thought were whole trains but they only built carriages…and strangely a town. Sounds like George Pullman was bit of a control freak, I think he meant well but….. so here’s a quick sketch of him from a photo.
Burnham & Root were involved in building the first skyscrapers and then Burnham ran the Columbian exposition, and then died I quickly after…. it was called the Columbian for the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery. 

Here’s Burnham and Root.

The elevator was shown to be safe at the expo by Mr Otis. and sales took off allowing skyscrapers to be built as they were now scalable. Root and Burnham considered the first skyscraper architects. Looking forward to seeing the buildings of theirs that are still there.

The first Ferris wheel was built for the expo. And melted down later…….each car held 60 people. Still the worlds largest Ferris wheel ever built!

The first ever Ferris wheel, built by a young Ferris, to rival the Eiffel Tower, made with similar amount of metal.

Many women were involved in the development of Chicago ( later in the 1800s), as business women and philanthropists. I loved this pic and had to draw it of Bertha who some called the socialite queen of the expo. She also had the first ever “brownies” made for her to entertain guests.

In her husbands will, he was leaving a fair amount of money to whoever her next husband was going to be…….”because he will need it!”

Bertha Palmer

The Pullman sleeping carriage was a first which went from Chicago to the world. Melbourne had 3 Pullman carriages for the southern aurora, but they were too heavy and were kept at Newport workshop in storage for years. 

There is a heck of a lot more so more later.

Smuggling? Love. Racism ? In Melbourne 1878? Sketching in 2017 resurfaces it

Sketching an old building that I admired in 1983 when I worked around the corner, made me look further into its history. 112 Little Burke st in Chinatown looks a little unloved now, but holds a lot of history around it. Now the dumpling village the building was completed February 8 1887. Designed by the architect DeLacy Evans who designed Melbournes Parliament House!  It’s called the Sum Kum Lee building and was built for Lowe Kong Meng who at the time was a wealthy businessman, ship owner and philanthropist. 

The Argus newspaper of 1882 wrote a story of smuggled goods (including 250,000 cigars, spirits &Amore) being found on the property of the first Sum Kum Lee building, goods stamped with SKL on them. But no one owned up to them so no charges were brought about……..it was the times of the gold rush, and the north eastern end of Melbourne was ” well known for its criminal elements “! Squizzy Taylor was based in this area at later dates

I don’t know why Lowe Kong Meng named his buildings Sum Kum Lee… but he had the £ to have the best known architect design his second building for his wife that he married in Tasmania, (he got around), Mary Anne Prussia. The SKL building was “first class” with thought regarding shade and lighting. ” a beautiful building in an unfortunate location” one newspaper said. 

It is supposed be a western interpretation of Chinese style. It took me a lot to see the Chinese influence…..

Before SKL building was completed Lowe Kong Meng was already influential, and was co author of a pamphlet regardng “The Chinese Question in Australia “. Upon reading today I can see ripples of the present! 

He later became board member of the Commercial bank of Australia. Research on Lowe Kong Meng
But now I am puzzled Lowe Kong Meng died 1888 yet this building finished 1887, yet he brought his wife here in 1860 and was said to have brought her to SKL building…. and he died at his Malvern home in 1888  which was two homes after SKL….?…I think the heritage base may be wrong….Ballarat times mention the house/building in 1863

Examples of Work thus far


Although some sketching, in fact quite a bit is done inside, I like to get out and use my own outdoor experiences at least to get the sketch down. And see the poeple walking past. Or like the guy in the red shirt below, sitting and having a drink (can of alcohol at 0800am)


Brisbane Old treasury building, Now a casino, no irony in that??? June 16


Errol St North Melbourne, not so lively at this time of the morning, the characters were looking at my shoulder asking me,  “is this some sort of art class?” May 16



Or sketching where we have been from a photo, I dont think I am losing my hair but in this sketch I appear to be??? August 16

Version 2

Flinders St station Maybe its about capturing Icons, such as FLinders st, whilst there is a wedding going on in the church behind me. Well, it was about to go on, but Grandpa hadnt arrived yet. It was very entertaining trying to sketch whilst evesdropping on phone conversations about where grandpa was. He was only 10 minutes kater than the bride. Apprently it was a bathroom malfunction…..need I say more.  Feb 2015


I drew the central part of the theatre on site and realised I should have gone smaller. Jan 15

Outside scenes


I couldnt draw this one live, I’m also on the back of a vespa but there is my wife red helmet and son orange helmet, heads swivelling like tourists do. Feb 16


Wife and daughter on the quiet street(?) of Hoi Anh Nov 15


Food stall HoChi Minh Drawn feb 16



Model T at Penlink. Some people put a lot of money into their vehicles. Me? I am attracted by the shiny bits, perhaps I was a magpie in a former life? Jul 16


Drawn on the ferry , wedged against the ships rail, but I wanted to capture it. Feb 16


Drawn Easter 2016 at Pakenham car display for RCH


The Winey Cow MorningtonThe Winey Cow Mornington. Sometimes its the happy waitering staff who eventually cotton on to what I am doing and want to be in the picture Dec 15

Laneway Espresso Dromana

The Laneway Espresso, and the Barfly, a fellow I see usually on the stool. Do all barristas ghave beards??? June 16