Searching for "urban sketching"

Urban sketching at the Lismore Museum

Lismore museum building sketch by shantele iannaOne rainy day in Lismore I decided to sit out the front of the museum and do some more urban sketching. The building itself is the old municipal building. It was built in 1928 and housed the council chambers until 1991 when it was turned into the museum.

I was born in Lismore and grew up here and am ashamed to say that I have never been inside this museum. I have visited museums all over the world, and often look for them when heading to a new country or town. But it took me 14 years to visit the one in my home town!

Lismore museum watercolor sketch by Shantele iannaThere are fantastic exhibits inside that provide information about the regions local aboriginal culture, European settlement, and shipping history. The Wilson River passes right through the town so there is a lot of information on the regions history with flooding and shipping. There is a fantastic display of animals and shells also.

I just wandered around and drew a few things that caught my eye. I was the only one there so I didn’t have to fight for space to sketch. There is a fascinating “sea medicine chest” full of lots of lotions and potions for all sorts of aliments. The chest was used by a surgeon on the steamship SE George in 1895. It was fun to walk around and sketch and for just a gold coin donation it is worth the visit.

Sketching birds

birds at Evans Head by Shantele IannaI want to start sketching in the small towns around where I live more these days. So when I was in Evans Head the other day with some free time I thought I would do some urban sketching. Evans Head is a small coastal community in Northern New South Wales that is surrounding by national parks and beautiful beaches.Kookaburra at Evans Head by Shantele Ianna

As I was wandering around looking for something to draw I kept noticing birds rather than buildings. There was a Kookaburra on a post, not trying to fly away, and as always lots of Ibis and pelicans. So I grabbed out my journal and started sketching. I only had a few tools of a graphite pencil, waterproof pen, and three watercolour pencils. I am not usually good at quick sketches but with a live animal you are forced to be. I quickly added some outlines of the kookaburra and also took a quick photo with my phone just in case it flew away so I would have a reference for later.  I then added a little bit of colour and detail with the watercolour pencils.

Sketching at the Qld museum

Spanner crab and jelly fish by Shantele IannaLiving in a small regional town I often have to travel a fair way to get to urban sketching events. Brisbane is my nearest capital city and closest urban sketching group. So when the Brisbane urban sketchers organised a meet up at the qld museum I jumped at the chance to meet and sketch with the group.Muttaburrasaurus by Shantele Ianna

There is so much material to draw at the museum. There are lots of animal skeletons and a great display of marine animals and invertebrates. So next time you visit take your nature journal and do some sketching.Curlew by Shantele Ianna

New blog categories and archives

archvies by category 4I have recently been doing some housekeeping on the website and trying to make it more organised. There is not a huge amount of content yet but I was surprised when I went back through that there was a decent amount to be archived. I have added archives on the top menu bar with images and have divided the posts up into the different categories that I have written about so far. These images and categories make it both easier for me and the reader to find old posts and content. archvies by category 1

There has been a travels category for a while now, located in the top menu bar (now located in the sidebar). This is a round up of all the posts I have written about our adventures and holidays with info, tips and photos from the places we have been. There are posts from our trips to USA, Mexico and Europe and I plan on adding posts from out honeymoon in Borneo and Thailand soon.

archvies by category 2I have also had some buttons in the side bar that link to; sketching tools and posts related to urban sketching and nature journaling. This is where the travels category is now located.

archvies by category 3And finally I have a page dedicated to all the posts from field guide Friday (my latest project). Ideally this page will be added to as my posts go up and as the project continues.

archvies by category 5

So far I have categories for urban sketching, nature journaling, paper projects, travels, shop and our wedding. I will change or add categories as I write about new things (farm life in the future) but for now it feels a lot more organised. I hope this makes it easier for you to find stuff and enjoy reading the blog a bit more.  Thanks so much for reading and for your support!!



Emperor Gum Moth watercolor sketch by shantele ianna 1
Emperor Gum Moth
dolphin fish watercolor sketch print head close up
Dolphin Fish
bull ant watercolour sketch by shantele ianna
Bull ant
robber fly watercolor sketch 3 by Shantele ianna
Robber Fly
lionfish watercolor print by Shantele IANNA v
Lion Fish
Watercolor sketch by Shantele Ianna
Redhead Cottonbush
Stick insect
Blue tiger butterfly
field guide to the farm gumnuts by shantele ianna
Common farm weeds
beetle sketch by Shantele Ianna
Monolepta Beetle
birds at Evans Head by Shantele Ianna 2
Sketching birds
Sonora desert museum















Altered book travel journal
Blurb square book review
USA and mexico mini book cover
travel journal mini book
summer mini book by shantele ianna
Summer mini book







sketching Lismore museum
Sketching @ Qld Museum
Dolmite mountains italy
Sketching Naples
Rome at last
Sketching Manarola
Venice sketches
sketch_basilica del pilar Zaragoza spain by Shantele ianna
Zaragoza, Spain
Sketching Granada
Barcelona sketches
USK symposium
Carry on packing list
Pima Air and Space museum
Playa del Carmen
Merida, Mexico
Anthropology museum Mexico



















Relaxing in Cinque Terre
Venice, Italy
Albir, Spain
Adventures in Tuscany
Villajoyosa Festival Spain
Exploring the Dolomite Mountains
Hiking Cinque Terre
A heartfelt journey to Budoia, Italy


Saguaro NP, Arizona
Arionza Meteor Crater
Petrified Forest NP, Arizona
Grand Canyon, USA
Xumal ruins Mexico
Celestun, Mexico
Oaxaca Mexico
Teotihuacan, Mexico City
Mexico city post
Mexico City






















engagement photo shoot shantele ianna 5
Engagement photo shoot
DIY rustic wedding chalkboard 6
DIY wedding chalkboard
Mr & Mrs Meagher_wedding signage 2
DIY wedding signs
Mr & Mrs Meagher_333
Our wedding reception
Mr & Mrs Meagher_ 1
Our wedding ceremony


Reflections on USK Barcelona symposium 2013

I discovered urban sketching during a backpacking adventure in 2012. To be able to combine travelling and sketching was a great gift and has made my travelling experiences so much more enriching.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the USK symposium in Barcelona in July 2013 and meet and sketch with so many of the talented artists that I follow online. The symposium was an amazing experience and at times overwhelming, I probably did the worst drawings that I have ever done but had the most fun doing them. Which makes sense given that the workshops are there to challenge you out of your comfort zone into using different materials and techniques, whilst drawing in public.

I went to 5 workshops with some fantastic artists that I really admire. Some take home tips and messages from each of the workshops are outlined below.

Inma Serrano – Buildings are like monsters and can have personalities as well and movement.barcelona_sketch_buildings_watercolour_USK_symposium
Lynne Chapman   I learnt so   much about using colours that aren’t necessarily realistic to add more interest and that you don’t need to draw exactly what’s in front of you to make it an urban sketch


Virginia Hiem   to think of landscapes as blocks of shapes and try to look at the scene in terms of values and capture the lights and darks

Sagar Fiornes   About how much perspective and depth can be created with a bic 4 colour ballpoint pen, by using the green and red
instead of black…Barcelona_usk_symposium_university_workshopLuis Ruiz – to build a sketch from the center to the edges and start at the background objects and work towards the foreground. barcelona_sketch_watercolour_USK_symposium_2013

The symposium was a great way to see a different side of Barcelona from a local’s perspective. I have learnt so much since the trip by putting the skills I learnt into practice. barcelona_usk_symposium_July2013_watercolor_sketch

I continued to travel around Europe for 8 weeks after the symposium and kept a travel journal going to document the trip. I will be adding my posts from my sketchbook and Europe trip in the coming weeks.

Merida, Mexico

Merida was the next stop on our journey. Merida is a beautiful colonial city with narrow cobbled streets and big tree lined plazas to sit and sketch and people watch. Below is a sketch of the Cathedral de San Ildefonso and the Palacio del Gobierno which surround the Zocalo in the centre of town. sketch_of_Cathedral_de_san_ildelfonso_merida_mexico

watercolor_sketch_palacio_del_gobierno_merida_mexicoDoing these drawings I really felt like we just blended in with the locals. Some people came and had a look at what I was doing but I generally wasn’t hassled to buy anything and was left alone to draw. Urban sketching is a great way to experience a different side of travelling. Rather than just taking a photo and not really connecting with the place or thing I am photographing, I can look at these sketches now and am taken straight back to street, the colours, the smells (unfortunately the memory of deep fried saveloys) and can remember exactly where I was sitting and what was happening around me.

We really loved Merida we even ran into an Australian couple that were from the town that we both grew up in (small crazy world) while we were there. I would love to go back one day and fill a sketchbook next time round.

Mexico City

Mexico City really surprised me.

This was our first totally independent adventure and was a trip about getting out of my comfort zone, trying new things, and taking leaps of faith.

While researching for our holiday to Mexico in 2012, I came across a lot of information about how dangerous the place is, and that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that you were going to get shot as soon as you stepped out of airport. We flew into Mexico City from LA, and apart from the flight attendant having a personal joke and seating us at opposite ends of the plane (with the plane being half empty and Chris having a row to himself) the flight was fine. Chris got to spread out and I got to chat to a lovely Mexican lady who helped me fill out my entry card, bonus.

Needless to say we didn’t get shot and met a lovely taxi driver who persevered with my terrible Spanish. I had been taking night classes before we left and really thought that I would be able to get by with my Spanish, but I never realised how many different ways there is to say “where are you from?” so most of the time I looked like a deer in headlights and didn’t communicate well.


With a population in one city equivalent to the total population of Australia, and a bad reputation and definitely dangerous areas, I admit I was scared. But we had a great time, managed to get around the transport system, did a few city day tours and headed to the well known museums around the city. It was a fantastic city to just wander the streets take photos and people watch. Aztec-dancers-mexico-city


Hospital-de-Jesús Nazareno-Mexico CityWe stayed at the Mexico City Hostel which is right near the Zócalo in the centro historico district. It was close to a lot of the sights but, it was very, very noisy so we didn’t get much sleep. We did entertain ourselves staring out our window in the night viewing bribes, drunks, those extremely annoying yapping toy dogs that flip and jump and general city life. Next time we would stay in one of the quieter districts. mexico-city-street



I took a moleskine watercolour sketchbook and a small watercolour pocket box to do some urban sketching throughout the holiday. I managed to fit in a little bit of sketching while we were sightseeing and drew the cathedral and a taxi cab. I didn’t sketch as much as I would have liked but it is nice to have a few drawings from the trip. Mexico-City-Beetle-taxiMexico City has been one of my favorite destinations, it is colourful, full of art and culture, history and beautiful buildings. There are still so many things we didn’t get to see and I would love to go back one day.


sketching-ponte-vecchio-florence-italy-Hi my name is Shantele and I am an artist, an environmental scientist, a world traveller, a blogger and a dreamer. I am on a journey to reconnect with my creativity and I hope to inspire others to pick up a paintbrush, a camera or do that thing in their heart that they have always wanted to do.

I blog about sketching, travelling, DIY, crafting, my art and the creative process.

My Journey so far

I stopped listening to my heart and threw myself into getting a job and ended up not using my creativity for a long time.

 “There are far far better things ahead than any we left behind.” CS Lewis

Throughout this time I travelled the world. During my travels, creativity started to rise back to the surface through urban sketching and travel journaling.

Now I am usually seen carrying a camera and a sketchbook to document and celebrate the everyday moments.

I savour the simple things in life. I am passionate about living more sustainably. I love photography, nature, travelling, art journaling, hiking, camping and all things hand made.

Trying again – travelling to europe in 2013


In 2013 we went on a backpacking trip to Europe which included me attending the Urban Sketchers symposium in Barcelona.

If you have just read my last post you might be thinking that I am skipping over a (crazy) years worth of living and recovering from getting sick in 2012, but I wanted to share about our Europe holiday and my travel journal.

Our itinerary was worked out around the symposium which was in July 2013 so that meant a summer in Europe. We landed in Paris and then made our way south to Avignon in France. We found the French people to be so friendly and helpful even though I only spoke a little bit of French.

We didn’t book anything before we left, except for our accommodation in Barcelona for the symposium and our first 2 nights in Paris. In hindsight it probably would have been less stressful to have booked a few train tickets in advance, but if we had we never would have randomly found out about Bla Bla car from the receptionist at our hostel and we never would have met strangers that have touched our lives with kindness and laughter and friendships. It is so easy to have your guard up when travelling (and I normally do) but this trip was different, I let my guard down and let people in and had the most amazing experience’s because of it.

We used Bla Bla car a lot for transport on this trip. It is essentially a website that hooks passengers up with drivers with empty seats who are heading in the same direction for a small cost to cover fuel. It’s good for the environment and your wallet.

We were nervous the first time we used it because we didn’t know what to expect and hadn’t talked to the driver or seen any photos of him (the receptionist actually set it all up for us). But Emmanuel was so lovely and even bought us some local produce to try on one of our stops, and taught us some French along the way. We loved Blab la car and would recommend anyone to use it and meet some locals while travelling.europe_france_travel_journal_by_shantele_ianna

I loved Avignon, the town was crazy with people because the festival de Avignon was on while we were there though. But the town had a nice feel to it and the atmosphere was great. We didn’t try to see all the sights while we were there and just did what we normally do, wander the streets, people watch, and sample local food. I didn’t even do any location sketching, but I did put together a cartoon of some of our adventures. Next stop: Barcelona…..