MyLGA2021: A two-week break and two new sketchbooks

August 30, 2021 | 10 Comments

When I realised in August that I wouldn’t be able to go on my two week road trip in early September I started planning an alternative that would fit within our lockdown restrictions. And that means for the next two weeks I’ll be exploring my own LGA (Local Government Area) as part of my exercise for each day. I’m not sure how much sketching on location I’ll be able to do so I have a two-sketchbook plan – one for quick thumbnails and notes on location and another bigger book for mostly at-home work.

I’m really excited about using the two sketchbooks I have chosen for this ‘trip’. (BTW this trip is officially called ‘My LGA 2021’)

  • Greenwood Journal – for my notes and thumbnails. This notebook (Melbourne based company) has a gorgeous vegan leather cover, smooth paper that is great for writing, dry media and a little water, and opens totally flat. Sam from Greenwood sent me a journal with my name on the cover last year and I’m excited to finally have a great project to use it for. More about this shortly!
  • Clairefontaine Goldline Natural sketchbook in the large square format 30x30cm. I used one of these sketchbooks last year and enjoyed it. So I’m really looking forward to trying it again and experimenting with a brand new format. This size is big!!!!

Here is a photo to show you the size of the Goldline book in comparison with an A4 portrait Moleskine – it feels huge. This photo also shows the branding on the back of the Greenwood Journal.

Last week I did a few tests in my Greenwood – a few rough thumbnails during my Saturday morning walk at Davidson Park, and then a few thumbnails before a zoom catchup with Paul.These tests helped me decide that I want to do simple sketches with a little bit of colour. Hmm, maybe it would be fun to use dry media only – coloured pencils or watercolour pencils (without adding water). But I have a feeling that if I use WCPs I will find it hard to resist adding a little water to my sketch.

I spent a few evenings last week going through my CP and WCP collection. I have an old Derwent Artists set from university days, a Colorsoft set (part of a USK symposium goodies bag?) Caran d’Ache Museum pencils (from a sponsorship in Amsterdam 2019), Inktense pencils that I purchased in 2009 (and hardly used since), a few random Prismacolor Premier pencils. and Faber Castell Polychromos versions of my Albertch Durer set.

It’s been a little overwhelming to have so many options but as I’m not leaving home, there’s no need to make any decisions before the break starts. I’m just going to have fun experimenting with some different colour schemes.

I’m not sure if I’ll post much here in the next two weeks… but if I feel like it, I will. The goal of this two-week break is to have a break from my computer and to try some new things.


  • Kimberly Ester says:

    I enjoy hearing about your plans. The 30 x 30 is huge! I just measured the new sketchbook I’m using, which is also a square format and it’s 22cm x 22cm. It’s my first time working in square and I like it so far. It’s the handbook journal. I think you worked with this before, so I’m going to go read your review of it. I’m finding the paper quite nice. Enjoy your break, Liz!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Kimberly – yes 30×30 is huge!!!! but so far I’m loving it! Enjoy your handbook… many people love them!

  • Rob says:

    Hi Liz, just curious about your two sketchbook policy. Do you always carry a separate thumbnail sketchbook with you? I remember from one of your lessons where you had these tiny Moleskine fieldnotes for thumbnails. Or do you normally add them together with your line drawings to your carry along sketchbook?
    Looking forward to your ‘trip’ emails.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Rob… well I don’t have a policy yet as this is brand new for me! 🙂 But my goal is to have my Greenwood with me always. Stay tuned for more.

  • Julie Kok says:

    Hi Liz, I like the look of the Greenwood journal. Good size. Does it take water easily or do you just use dry medium? I love receiving your inspirational blogs. Thank you. Julie

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Julie – it takes a little water (ie. activiating some WCP and some light watercolour washes) but I’m mainly using for dry – which is a lot of fun!

  • Maria Lopes says:

    Hi Liz!
    Happy 2 weeks of holidays and new experiences!
    I leave you here my last work I did for your Watercolor Course, W411 Exercise2. I hope you enjoy.
    I learned several things with this Course of yours and so, now, I can enjoy watercolor painting much better.
    It was very interesting and very, very, technical. There are things that I will revise again when I need to, but in general, I understand the use of watercolors much better. I’m very happy 😉
    Now, I’m going to train a lot more to put into practice what I’ve learned 🙂
    Good vacation! Stay Safe!
    Maria Lopes

  • Jamie C says:

    Great way to adapt your trip to your current circumstances and rules. I’m looking forward to seeing your trip sketches!

    I too have all thos brands for pencils over the years! It does get overwhelming! Especially as each one is ever slightly better at this or than than the other! My favorite right now is Polychromos and Albrecht Durer. Hard to beat colors matched in water color pencil plus non water.

  • J s May says:

    Back here on the Camino in Portugal and hearing all theexperiments with coloured pencils and so on. I’m in the process of finally repacking befor rereturning home to the Caribbean. I have used WCP’s a water brush and Rapidograph tikky pen, and though I brought a lot of stuff with me, that and my landscape 9×20 sketch books is all. Ihave to remind myself not to take so much when travelling but always do. Simplifying I am less confused andmore focused on thepainting.

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