A fistful of cafes

I have been refining my coffee sketching process this year, applying the KISS principle (‘keep it simple stupid’) to what I carry in my bag for impromptu sketching sessions. A test card of watercolours, a pencil, a pen and a waterbrush and a ‘book’ made from one sheet of A3 watercolour paper. Both the book and the colour card fit into a plastic sleeve from an old bank passbook (gosh, do you remember those?). Here’s a shot of the set up.

Each A3 sheet is folded in half horizontally to make two panorama style pages. These are folded in half then sewn together through the fold. Each side of the panorama is the folded in half again (as you can see in the photo above), which means the final size all folded up fits in the plastic sleeve.

The completed booklet

Here are sketches from my latest book. What I really like is that, depending on your layout you can sketch over part, or the full stretch of the page.

Cafe sketch, watercolour and graphite

Celebrating ‘National (read USA) Pencil Day’, the day the first pencil with attached eraser was patented in 1858

Inspired by the woman with the red hair, watercolour and graphite

Reading the papers with the rest of the retirees, pen and ink

Arborists clearing our trees from the powerlines. The left hand page of a full spread.

Shredding the prunings, the right hand page of the full spread

At the markets, pen and ink with watercolour

A final cafe sketch for the week. Watercolour and ink.

Ultimately I plan to bind these booklets together into a single book.


  1. I love the contrast between the active tree clearers and the more numerous coffee drinkers. Capturing them in one sketchbook must highlight the comparisons and themes. Perhaps collected into different months we could watch the year change through them? A lovely set.

    Liked by 3 people


    1. Thanks Outside Authority. I have 4 completed booklets so far and think I might bind them in 3 or 4 month blocks. One of the best things is that I feel happy to play in these books. Hence the various styles. Reminds me to ‘stay loose’.

      Liked by 1 person


  2. Great energy. I do remember bank books. What a great use for them. I like the idea of making your own pad of paper because I had so many sketching books that I start and then leave half empty. The only books I fill are those full of written notes or diaries.

    Liked by 2 people


  3. Love your lively use of line and colour; and capturing it all in this beaut little book! I was recently thinking about sewing together a little sketchbook…may try doing it this way…. a great post, thanks Leonie. All the best, Janette πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person


    1. Hi Jennifer, I find the water brushes good for things like a wash for my quick pen and ink sketching, but when it comes to doing a ‘real’ watercolour, then I would prefer to use proper watercolour brushes. It is very difficult to control the water flow with these brushes, so I can get quite frustrated when I can’t achieve the result I want. Specifically it can be hard to get a ‘luscious’ dose of colour onto the page as most of these brushes, in my experience, put out too much water. I hope this makes sense to you.

      Liked by 1 person


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