From sepia to black, gamma to alpha and trees to buildings

October 25, 2021 | 10 Comments

I’m doing so much sketching at the moment that I’m finding it hard to keep up! So today this is a long article with lots of sketches from the last few weeks in both my main sketchbook and my Greenwood.

As mentioned previously I decided to use a Gamma 8×10 sketchbook and switch to Sepia ink in all my pens. This was a fun change!

I loved using Sepia ink but didn’t really enjoy the cream paper of Gamma. Still, I managed to fill the sketchbook and now I’m very happy to be back to my favourite Alpha. I also realised that using little areas of spot black is important to me so that I can achieve a full range of values… so once I ran out of ink in my pens, I replaced the sepia with black. I still have a few pens with sepia ink and will continue to use them… but I just missed black!

I’ve also started sketching more buildings and it’s been just so wonderful to be out sketching architecture on location again (as mentioned last week). I’m still doing my daily bush visits (it’s now been 7 weeks in a row that I’ve done this Mon-Fri) but I’m also carving out more time to sketch my local areas. Last week I sketched three churches in three days – as part of the Buildings Lesson 1 exercise. Ah! it’s SO good to be going through this course again!

In addition…

  • I’ve started a new Palladio project (see more here) but that will be done at a very leisurely pace. My priority is to get out sketching before the weather starts getting too hot.
  • I’m continuing to sketch teacups – it’s become part of my daily routine now so these sketches are happening effortlessly at the moment.
  • I intend to keep doing my bush sketching. I’m still super inspired by Lane Cove National Park – finding different views to sketch every visit. I’m just so happy to have a location that I can return to every day and do the same type of sketching without having to bother without finding a new subject matter. Even ifI sit at the same picnic table, just shifting my position slightly can mean a totally different composition to record.
  • I’m slowly exploring the fun new watercolour paints from Deep Deep Light.

Okay, enough preamble, here are most of my recent sketches…

Sketches in my Gamma 8×10 softcover

Sketches in my Alpha 8×10 softcover

Sketches in my Greenwood Journal

These are approximately 10-minute sketches done during my afternoon walk. The idea is to explore possible views for future watercolour sketches in my main sketchbook,


Hmm, maybe next time I will weave these Greenwood sketches in with my main sketchbook pages so you can see what I do each day and how my Greenwood sketches are different from my watercolour ones.

So how is your everyday sketching going at the moment? Writing articles here on this blog is such a one-way form of communication… so I would really love to hear about your sketching in the comment section below.

(If you are reading this via email, please click on the article title link below and add a comment on my blog. Thanks!)


  • Rob says:

    Lovely extensive blogpost. Really love your tenacity of finding your subjects and sticking to it. I always find excuses not to sketch a certain subject. Above all finding subjects keeps haunting me which leads to empty pages at the end of the day. So my deepest respect to you!

  • Sydney Brown says:

    I am taking your Foundations course and your Buildings group run-through, and really enjoying both. I loved this long post. It is fun to see your sketches with markers – they are even more energetic than your ink and wash! It is helpful to see how you sketch trees.

  • Jamie C says:

    I love this post! So much goodness, I’d write a novel to share all my joy at these sketches! I was intrigued by the profile view of the tea cups, and the fun of showing what you used those days. (Particularly that cheetah one, as I’ve been hunting for it online, and you’ve now confirmed for me who made it! Ha!)

    I am currently struggling with my everyday sketching. I dream of flowing in my sketchbook, and documenting my days, but I’m still… blocked. I keep returning to it, and trying to give myself permission to sketch fast, sketch badly, sketch boring, just to build the habit. I think the habit of showing up at the page is missing for me. I think about I should sketch that, or I should have sketched that, all the time. All that said, I’m wrapping up my 9th sketchbook, and getting closer to my vision of sketching daily, and documenting the daily things. (I appreciate you asking! It feels good to share with someone who gets the urge to want to do this every day!)

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Jamie – thanks so much for sharing and congrats on wrapping up sketchbook no. 9! yay! well done!
      Your struggles are so real… and I’ve been there myself… in fact even for me now, even though I’m sketching a lot, I still don’t feel as if I’m documenting my days well enough. Food for thought and a future blog article 🙂

  • Prashanta says:

    I echo some of the other comments here Liz, I’m struggling to make sketching a habit. Many times when I go out I carry a pen, and a little pocket size book – just in case- but it comes back in tact. Maybe your next class can be about discipline & habit forming? 🙂

Leave a Reply