A colourful JimmyB and a new realisation about how I see the world

April 17, 2023 | 9 Comments

It’s a little strange that in the 7 or 8 sketching trips to the City in the past few months I haven’t done a serious sketch of a JimmyB (James Barnet) building!

I think this is because I’ve generally been there at the end of the day in ‘peak hour’ (rush hour) which is a little harder to find a good spot to sit and sketch. Mid-morning sketching outings generally work better – more sun and fewer people!

Last week I found a comfy bench with a view of the Australian Museum and reached for my Neocolor II crayons. It felt a little strange to start sketching a crisp classical building with crayons but I really enjoyed it!

I worked the sketch up with markers and watercolour (no fude this week) trying not to fill in the image as much as I did the week before when sketching Susannah Place. I was also exploring what happens when I use a Salmon Neocolor (a hue of light value) for the shady side of the building.

Back home I decided for the sake of ‘sketchbook design’ to add some sky – but I accidentally used Neocolor I and ended up with a more solid sky than I had intended.

There is something inherently playful about using these Neocolor crayons! And as I mentioned last week, it’s a perfect approach for me at the moment while I’m so hyper-focused on preparing my Teacups course.

But it’s more than just being playful, these crayons are helping me to explore new mark-making, new colour combinations and new textures that better express how I see the world. Changing my media has helped me realise that:

The more I sketch the more colourful and textured the world appears to me. 

Expanding the range of colours and textures of my materials (especially in regard to opacity and pastel hues) is definitely giving me more options. I still love watercolour more than anything else but mixing it with other media seems to relate better to what I’m seeing.

Finally… just to let you know that I’m having a break from publishing new blog articles for a few days – so see you next week!


  • Ginie Udy says:

    This is lovely Liz. And seeing you explore the softness of the crayons, with more opacity is interesting. I’ve been adding a little gouache and white watercolour to my pictures, and I like it.

    I always enjoy following and hearing about your explorations of materials and the world.

  • Will you be at the Urban Sketchers symposium in Auckland? I’d love to meet up in person after getting to you through your classes!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Melissa. Sadly I’m unable to attend. Have fun!

      • Melissa Kuhnell says:

        Thanks! Sorry you can’t make it

      • Melissa Kuhnell says:

        I’m trying not to feel too nervous about meeting everyone. I have a little bit of imposter syndrome!

      • Liz Steel says:

        Hi Melissa. I understand but try to just think about being inspired and collecting new ideas that you can grow into. The energy of the symposium is electric! Cheering you on!!!

  • Jamie C says:

    That salmon really does make the shady side of the building sing, doesn’t it? Warm and rich and vibrant for such an alive building.

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