Finding my flow with my everyday sketching

April 10, 2024 | 10 Comments

I know that it will take a little time for me to feel settled after my big move and to find my flow again with my sketching. But one thing is certain… I’m very thankful for my morning routine of going out for a walk, picking up a takeaway coffee and doing a quick sketch. This means that no matter what is going on, most workdays I manage to do an urban sketch and that makes me happy.

I wrote the following in my newsletter/monthly digest which went out last week:

My new local area isn’t very pretty but it’s much more interesting than Lindfield (lots of street scenes to sketch) and I’m looking forward to the challenge of creating lively artwork in the future.

And indeed I’m very excited about the challenge of making beautiful images of ‘ugly’ everyday scenes… however I’m just not quite settled enough to focus on that. But I’m making a start and that’s what this blog article is all about.

The Lindfield Village Green which I sketched continually for a number of years was a comfortable spot for my morning sketch. It had a number of benches to sit on and a range of simple to more complex views. The familiarity with these options meant that
1. it was comfortable on days that I had a lot going on
2. it gave me the freedom to constantly experiment with new materials.

This second point was the way I prevented the boredom of sketching the same scene over and over.

I don’t have a go-to comfortable spot to do my morning sketch in my new local area yet. And while if I go out for a dedicated sketching outing new places and scenes are what I crave, for my morning sketches I need to have an easy option so that there is no barrier to attempting a sketch even on busy days.

So without any further ado, here are some of my recent sketches. Amongst the collection there is a street scene in Mosman and a few Lindfield Village Green sketches (as I’m still in the area from time to time.) Those of you doing Edges  at the moment will also spot a sketch I did as part of the Lesson 2 Outdoor Exercise with trees at various ‘planes in space’.





As you can see I’m mixing up my media but heavily relying on watercolour magic at the moment. And as for finding my flow, I know that it will come if I keep sketching!

How is your everyday sketching going at the moment? Do you have a routine that makes it easier to squeeze in a sketch even on busy days?


  • Ginie Udy says:

    Love all these sketches Liz, especially the first one. I think because of the wonderful watercolour magic and the beautiful, fun, lively line work. This afternoon, I watched Livestream Replay #3 for Lesson Two Edges, and getting those simple shapes of foliage in by using the side of the brush was very helpful advice!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Ginie – I was thinking about that tree shape when I was doing it. So glad to hear that you are enjoying Edges.

  • Carol Drummond says:

    You are an absolute delight. Your sincerity, work ethic and your beautiful spirit are such an inspiration. Your daily habit of sketching inspired me a few years ago to do “something” every day when I felt so stuck. Having been a productive artist for many years it was difficult to not feel like doing anything. I now have lots of sketchbooks with paintings due to the inspiration you and other urban sketchers provide. Wishing you many wonderful painting days ahead of you in your new location. xx

  • Laura Truffaut says:

    What a terrific way of making yourself at home in your new neighborhood. Finding the beautiful, or at least watercolor-worthy, in the urban “ugly” is also a goal of mine. My lovely neighborhood is not new to me but sketching in public still is and I have made a real effort this week of finding more benches and locations to work outside. Also starting to mutter to myself as I sketch the many trees around: don’t just dab, dab, dab, dab!

    • Ginie Udy says:

      Agree Laura! Even as I watching that Edges #3 Livestream replay and saw Liz’s example of those two ways of representing foliage I looked again at a sketch I was in the middle of in my everyday sketchbook and saw immediately how I could make some foliage into whole simple shapes and join up the ‘dabs.’ What an improvement!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Laura – yes it’s all about looking for beautiful compositions of edges and shapes. And great to read about the consciousness of the dreaded ‘dab dab dab’

  • Jamie C says:

    Very interesting collection of locations. I always struggle with “boring” and “ugly” scenes and is something I wanted to focus on for the upcoming Watercolor on Location so your observations and example are very timely for that!

    It’s so great to see your sketches and be settling in after your move!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Jamie – yes beautiful sketches of hte everyday (ugly) is my goal. Looking for beautiful shapes and compositions regardless of the subject matter

  • Linda Hackett says:

    Wonderful to “see” your new ‘hood in your sketches! Living in New York City I have been pushing myself to sketch more
    on location and now never leave home without my tiny A6 Moleskine zig zag book and a fineliner in my pocket to sketch people on the bus and in waiting rooms. Invariably everyone is staring down at their phones and never notice me looking at them. I get my sketching kick for the day!

    this way and any endeavor beyond that is a bonus!

Leave a Reply