Back to Work: Starting and planning my 2017

January 19, 2017 | 9 Comments

It has been really wonderful to have a proper break over summer, but it is a bit of a shock that January is so far through.

It feels a little strange to be starting my work year so late but yesterday I was back into it, writing 2 long articles (if you missed yesterday’s Reflections on our NZ trip click here), planning out my year and restarting my morning cafe visits.

As it was already 30C at 7am in the morning and my normal cafe receives morning sun, I went to an alternative cafe that has good air conditioning. I love their cups!

This sketch was done in the sketchbook that I purchased in Auckland. It is called a Fabriano Watercolor Book and it has paper that is similar to that in the Moleskine watercolour sketchbooks. I am still in the process of testing it, but so far I am really loving it. Why? Well because it is creating lots of lovely marks and textures! If you are a beginner then this paper might not be the best – I think it will be harder to achieve a nice smooth wash on it. But for the way I work it is great. Look at all those crazy back runs! I will do some more testing and write a detailed review (such as this on for the Pentalic sketchbook). Note: the paper is very different from that in the Venezia book.

Anyway, time to get into work, Day 2. I still have lots of detailed planning to do, to reduce my big projects into smaller actionable steps and then to allocate them evenly throughout the year. It is going to be another busy year with dedicated blocks of time to work on specific projects. I also need to create some measurable check-points for my yearly goals.

What about you, did you set some goals for 2017? It is a list of things and do you have a plan how you will achieve them?


  • Linda Barnhill says:

    The year begins with a journal page dedicated to an “action” /motivation word for the year, along with a list of goals. Some goal are simple, others more complex. As the year progresses I add to the list art related technique that intregue me (and the teacher) . Many of these flow over into the next year

  • Kate Powell says:

    I am convinced that the Fabriano watercolor books purchased outside the USA are a different quality, because mine were so bad I wrote to Fabraino showing them how they pilled (no scrubbing, just two layers of watercolor). The USA division sent me two more books! And they are the same! Yet I’ve discussed this with several fans from South Africa and Italy and Australia and they are their go-to book. I now have a whopping FOUR and really hate them… that expensive book will become a color testing book and I have enough for several years….

    I’d LOVE to hear about folks in the USA who love them. Usually reviews are nto so far apart.

    Goals, yes. Sketching every day no matter what, anything, whatever. And some personal goals.

    • Liz Steel says:

      thanks Kate- that is a real worry. I would love to see if I can get hold of a US version to check as I am happy with mine.

  • Fenne says:

    i like the energy of the sketch, like a vibrant day is going to start.
    Strict goals are not for me. Moving to another country already feels like a reset-button right now. Perhaps one important goal is mastering the language. The rest is exciting explorations, meeting people, drawing, photographing and living life :-).

  • Ann says:

    My creative goals for 2017 are to 1) clear the visual and task clutter and other impediments to daily sketching, 2) keep up with my daily online classes to keep learning EVERY day (including reading and learning from Liz’s extensive material!), and 3) sketch EVERY day if even only for two minutes (I have a demanding day job). Even though I am focusing on figure drawing, and not architecture/urban sketching – everything Liz posts has merit and relevance to me! The same principles apply…feeling edges, fast sketching, learning the abilities and limits of your tools, and so on. Thank you Liz, your incredible amount of output – the commentary, analysis and examples of your work is extraordinary. I learn every day from you. Many thanks!

  • Kristy Brenner says:

    I just discovered this posting in my email “pile,” and I’m so glad because I just love this beautiful sketch.

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