Five Ways Paddington with USK SYD and my fude pen

March 7, 2015 | 4 Comments

Had a really great morning at Five Ways Paddington this morning with the Urban Sketchers Sydney gang. It is a wonderful spot, and after visiting in January, was looking forward to returning.

Before getting into the rest of the sketches a few general comments:
– A huge thank you all for all the comments on the blog this week. I have loved reading about your ‘cups of tea’ and I will get around to posting the wrap-up of the Castle Howard collection early next week.
– Some of the things that were in my head today are the direct result of my SketchingNow Foundations course and some of the sketching I did in Tasmania. I had hoped to blog about both of those during the week… so in a way these sketches are a little out of order. But I thought it was important to get back to blogging about fresh stuff as it happens.

USK SYD events are very ‘full-on’ for me – I spend a lot of my time talking to people and really want to make the most the opportunity to either catch up with the regulars or, more importantly, meet the newbies. We had a lot of new people today which was wonderful!

And we had a big group of about 27 people – we could see each other sitting on various spots in this intersection. It is a lively location, five streets intersecting, cars everywhere, many cafes and people walking through. It was all happening! And we had a special challenge “5 ways at Five Ways”.

I packed a number of different coloured inks, and had a lot of different ideas as to how to meet the challenge, but I was so distracted today that I knew I couldn’t be too adventurous. Funny that I ended up doing 6 complex street views, but made easier by just using one tool.

My new-ish Hero 578 pen with Super5 Frankfurt ink – and I finished up my Clare Fontaine Goldline book today as well.

I really wanted to record the sense of space in this intersection. Each street that meets at Five Ways has its own character I really love the change in scale of the buildings and the trees.

There has been a big switch in my work since my Tasmanian trip – I am no longer as interested in the individual buildings as I am in recording space, recording the city and its streets. I am also enjoying just using line and exploring ways of describing colour, value and texture through hatching, but not in the usual way of careful build-up of lines that many great artists use. Instead I am working loosely and sketching standing up (something I rarely do). I plan to write more about this in a future ‘Tassie post’.
These sketches were done without any setup, without any sight measuring using my pen, without any planning. I simply started with the prominent vertical edge of one of the corner buildings and worked everything from there. There is no doubt that my accuracy in drawing complex scenes like these has improved a lot through putting together the content for my online class.

Still lots to explore, but today’s sketches were very satisfying. This makes me happy! Often I don’t do my best work at sketching events like this, as the focus is on people, but when I am pleased with my work, then it is a bonus!

So here they are in detail:

And finally, a group photo (at least 5 people had already left) and a very special thanks to everyone who came and especially to the first-timers.

It was SO lovely to meet you all today. And wonderful work as always – such variety and lots of lively sketches of people at cafes, the buildings and the details.

Also, really finally, IT happened to me again. What is IT? I was sitting sketching in Sonoma and someone came up to say hello who recognised me and follows me on Instagram. So special hello to Mel! IT is fun to run into followers like that, but I am starting to find it just a little scary!


  • You are world reknowned, Liz. That is amazing. Love the sketches and I am always interested in the architecture. love this little town!

  • Liz Steel says:

    thank you Sherry!

  • Maria cook says:

    Hi Liz, is that a Sailor Fude 40 in the photo? I asked Santa for a 55 but received a 40. Should I try and change it or do you think the 40 is almost as good for sketching?

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Maria – 40 is good too and in fact a lot of people prefer the 40! So it should work for you. This is a hero pen – not sure of the degree of the nib.

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