TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen

A new pen….early Christmas present…. TWSBI Eco fountain pen with Extra Fine nib….with a black cap as they always get inky over time (see the Lamy cap below).

The previous UWA sketch is made with my new TWSBI Eco. I prefer to sketch with my pens un-posted (with out the cap on the end) but I’ve put pictures below of the pens I use most often above so you can see how they compare for size and line weight…(all pens below are filled with my favourite De Atramentis document black ink except the ball point).


This pen is really lovely to write with…very smooth when used the “normal” way and very fine and smooth when used upside down. It also feels very comfortable in my hand….some people really dislike the triangular grip of the Lamy pens – that has never bothered me -but the Eco somehow just feels “right”.

The Eco is a piston only fountain pen – it does not take ink cartridges – simply dip the nib into a bottle of ink and twist the end of the pen to operate the plunger and suck in the ink from a bottle.

I personally prefer bottled ink….in the long run it’s cheaper than buying cartridges, they don’t create landfill (most ink bottles are glass and can be recycled) and there’s a massive choice of ink colours to choose from or you can mix your own ink colours if using the same brand of ink (check with the manufacturer).

Lamy bottle ink = AUD 0.57 per ml

Lamy cartridge ink = AUD 1.16 per ml.

BUT….what really makes the Eco different is that it can hold a “bucket load” of ink in its belly….the Eco holds 1.7 ml of ink compared to 0.6 ml for the Lamy and Pilot = Fewer pit-stops for re-fueling!!!!

I think the TWSBI Eco may replace my much loved Lamy Safari….have to do lots more sketch to find out……..

Old Shanghai Food Court, Northbridge

The Urban Sketchers Perth met this morning at the Old Shanghai Food Court in James Street, Northbridge for our monthly sketch-meet. We started with some blind contour drawings of each other to warm up (and have a laugh at the results!!!). I think it’s really important to warm up before starting sketching….it loosens the fingers and relaxes the mind before starting a “proper” sketch.

20161211-old-shanghai-food-court-heatherThis is my blind contour sketch of Heather…it has some elements of her character (except that she doesn’t have 2 noses!). To do a blind contour drawing there are only 2 rules…..don’t look down at your paper and don’t take the pen off the page….try to slowly follow the outlines and form changes with your pen/pencil and feel your way around the object you are viewing. Invariably it won’t be accurate but it is a lot of fun and always brings laughter from the sketcher and the subject.


This is my quick sketch of the interior of the food court…quite dark except for the lovely bright red paper lanterns and the neon signs of the food vendors. We arrived at 10am when the place was empty of customers…only the cooks preparing the delicious foods.

This is the honey chicken, rice and spring roll that I enjoyed….sketched first…about 20 minutes…yum.


These three images are of a guy checking his phone whilst waiting for his food to arrive. I drew on location with my trusty Lamy Safari fountain pen and De Atramentis black ink. The watercolours I added later at home from memory in stages, taking photos in between to see how the colours changed the feel of the sketch I can’t decide which version I prefer the original pen only sketch or the final with the red cup…..

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Last but certainly not least…..everyone’s sketches from this morning….what a variety of different scenes that everyone chose to draw….we were all sitting around the same table but focused on different things….


Sunset Hospital Dalkeith


Cycled around the old Sunset Hospital site on the foreshore at Dalkeith this morning, it’s just been opened to the public having been closed and fenced off for over 20 years. Built in 1904 as the “Claremont Old Men’s Home” it was renamed as “Sunset Hospital” in 1941 when it became a hospital for returned servicemen and later a public hospital for men and women. Most of the 13 buildings are still fenced…. off presumably awaiting renovation. There are new BBQ facilities, children’s adventure playground and good seating underneath massive Moreton Bay Fig trees which overlook the Swan river. Current renovations have been financed by selling off part of the land to the Sultan of Johor, the long term plan is to preserve the heritage listed buildings for future arts, culture and community use.



Finally….. a quick sketch of the Perth skyline from Matilda Bay Tearooms (which have also been renovated).

Shipwreck Galleries – Fremantle

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The Urban Sketcher Perth met up yesterday morning for our monthly sketch-meet, this time in Fremantle at the Shipwreck Galleries.

I arrived a little early on the train and had time to scribble this quick sketch above from a conveniently placed bench in the shade. This solid limestone building sitting on the corner of Cliff Street and Croke Lane was built sometime in the 1850’s as a government stores. At that time the seashore was much closer and a jetty allowed large ships to offload their cargo into this building….supplies for the new settlement of Perth had to be carried by smaller boats as the Swan river was not navigable for ships until after 1897.

It turned out to be a hot (38’C) day so most of us sought sanctuary inside the Shipwreck Galleries museum which has lovely air-conditioning!


There’s quite a variety of artifacts in the museum, from the infamous “Batavia” to lesser known but equally fascinating brig “Stefano” which sunk in a storm after hitting Ningaloo Reef south of Point Cloates in 1876. The 3 masted barque was carrying 1300 tons of coal from Cardiff (Wales) for Hong Kong with crew of 17 (16 Croatian, 1 English, the master of the ship was the oldest at only 25 years old!). Seven crew drowned, the remaining crew made the 6km distance to shore on flotsam and headed South towards Gascoyne River. Here they met the local Aboriginal people who though they could not converse were able to get some directions and were given a map that had washed ashore. The survivors of the storm then tried to find their way south but became disorientated in the desolate scrub-land and blinding sand/salt lakes. The crew scattered in desperation searching for water and died of exhaustion and thirst….all except for 2 lads (16 year old Miho and 20 year old Ivan) who headed inland and found the Aboriginal mob again. The Aboriginals were very humane and nursed Miho and Ivan back to health, looking after them forr 3 months, teaching them about the land and animals, Aboriginal  language and culture. A passing cutter later picked them up and took the pair to Fremantle where they were treated as marvels for their survival. The two returned to Croatia but stopped on the way to give gifts to the Aboriginals who had saved their lives. The wreck was discovered in 1997 between 2 and 9 meters deep.

20161126-samuel-plimsollThis is a fountain pen sketch of the Samuel Plimsoll figure head that once gazed hopefully from the bow of the ship the “Samuel Plimsoll”.

Samuel Plimsoll (1824-1898) was failed coal merchant who experienced hard times and later dedicated his life to improving maritime safety. At this time shipping was largely unregulated, overladen and unseaworthy ships were commonly known as “coffin ships”. Plimsoll became an MP and campaigned against the wealthy and powerful shipping magnates to introduce the Merchant Shipping Act enforcing maximum load levels – the Load or Plimsoll line is still on every ship today.

The passenger clipper “Samuel Plimsoll” was an iron hulled 3 masted full rigged ship built in Aberdeen in 1873 as an emigrant ship for the colony of Australia. The ship’s owner (Thompson’s Aberdeen Line) named the ship in Plimsoll’s honour (and invited him to the launch) after Plimsoll mentioned the Aberdeen company in parliament as an example of a reputable shipping company who never overloaded their vessels. It seems that the ship had a number of collisions and lost its gear quite frequently but was surprisingly fast when all was well …. in 1878 sailed Plymouth England to Melbourne Australia in 86 days. Catching fire in 1899 on the Thames in London and scuttled was the end of passenger days, re-floated in 1900 intended for New Zealand service the ship was dis-masted off the NZ coast. Not worthy of repair the ship was used as a coal hulk for the next 40 years before finally colliding with another ship “Dalgoma” in 1948 in Gage Roads shipping lane just outside of Fremantle.



The UsK Perth group sketches, 7 of us in total, great sketching everyone.

Perth Skyscrapers from the Urban Orchard – Black Swan Prize Plein Air paint-out


Local artists gathered this afternoon in Perth’s Cultural Centre organised by the Black Swan Prize people and Leon Holmes. It was a casual plein-air competition with around 40 local artists painting for a couple of hours. Lovely to get out and paint again….I really enjoyed catching up with art friends and making new ones. Above is my view of William Street (over the horse shoe bridge next to Perth train station) towards the city tower blocks. The redbrick building in the foreground is the State Heritage Office….an old building squeezed in between all the new angular office blocks.

Copyright sketchbookblue
Copyright sketchbookblue

Claremont College


A quick, 10 minute sketch of the grand old Claremont College in Claremont, Perth….it was the only senior school teacher training college between 1902-1981. When it opened there were separate wings for male and female students with a matron who occupied a room positioned over the main entrance to the building – separating the two wings. It is currently owned by UWA.

William Street, Northbridge

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Little sketches of the colourful shops along William Street, Northbridge this morning. Lots of people about shopping and visiting the many cafes for lunch, Viet Hoa above.


Another sketch above of the Long Hua seafood supermarket, which has been extensively redecorated by someone other than the owner (lots of large graffiti). Next sketch below, a row of bright vases and pots outside a shop on Forbes Street awaiting new owners.

20160924-chinese-ceramics-william-st-northbridge20160924-william-st-northbridge-photo-320160924-william-st-northbridgeThis last little sketch is William Street looking towards the city, I ran out of time and energy for this one….4 sketches in 2 hours is tiring…..lots of concentration…. but a successful morning.

Old Perth Observatory – Havelock Street (not Gingin!)


Dumas House – Western Australia government office block built in the 1960’s on the site of Perth’s first Government Observatory, currently being renovated so lots of scaffolding on one side. It sits at the top of Mount Eliza overlooking the city and consequently was cold and windy when we were sketching !



20160906-old-perth-observatory-photoAbove is one of the entrances to the remaining building built in 1896- Old Perth Observatory – Government Astronomer’s Residence (currently the home of the National Trust of Western Australia). Red brick with ornate plaster work and a rounded roof section on one side. The Government Astronomer had 2 important roles in addition to star gazing and weather forecasting……aiding with time keeping for the early Perth settlement – sundials were generally used to mark time but could be inaccurate by over 20 minutes. Therefor the Government Astronomer fired a cannon at exactly 1.00 pm everyday so that people could set their watches and clocks. Also having prime position over the city mean that he kept an eye out for bush fires which being so close to Kings Park were fairly frequent.

Plastic Plant Pots

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What to do with 10 minutes…….waiting for a friend to arrive….quick sketch of a neighbours pile of empty plastic plant pots lying on the verge awaiting collection by the council (I would have taken them but I’ve already got my own stack).

A6 Clairefontaine note book, Lamy Safari fountain pen, DeAtramentis Document Black ink. Various watercolours with Pentel waterbrush (drawing took 10 minutes, watercolour added later from imagination).