Dec 31, 2016

Inglewood Columns

Here's another one from Inglewood. In between these columns is a view of people sweating while trying to finish off their Christmas shopping. We like to get ready for the holidays early, so I have lots of time to sketch the last-minute desperation.

Dec 15, 2016

Colourize Project: Rangimarie Paritutu

Here's another from what I call my Colourize Project, which is taking previous sketches, usually going back to where I drew them, and giving them the watercolour treatment.
This is of the Rangimarie Arts & Crafts Centre with Paritutu in the background. This has been in the news lately since it is to be moved from the port area to allow for seaport expansion.

Dec 8, 2016

Len Lye

After one year, it's still quite popular to take a selfie against the stainless steel walls on the Len Lye Centre.


The local government is using a few of my drawings to promote interest in a plan for the future of the region. One thing that was said was that I should get out of New Plymouth more and get the neighbouring towns. So I did a sketch of Inglewood and Waitara and they are being used too. I figure I could still do a few more in each place as well.

Dec 1, 2016

Colourize Project: Chaos Cafe

If I have the time I've started to add watercolour to sketches. Some of my older ones are getting the colour treatment too.

Oct 14, 2016

Taranaki Seaside Market

The first Sunday of every month at Ngamotu Beach is the Seaside Market. Although there's lots of stuff for sale, I usually just go down for the food. Although last week, I went down for the sketch and the mild sunburn. I guess summer's coming!

Sep 28, 2016

2011 Dodge Challenger at Port Taranaki

Late afternoon sun on a car parked down near the breakwater at low tide. The days are starting to get longer now.

Sep 27, 2016


Here's a sketch of a 150-year old creepy looking tree. The hotel, where it's at, was somewhat built around it to keep it. It's actually a NZ Registered Notable Tree although when it was listed the site was still a church property.

Sep 15, 2016

Time for a Haircut

A sketch at the barbers that I go to. I like how the decor is a bit old-timey - a real barbershop. Snip snip, chop chop, talk some shop. Pitter patter, a bit of banter, and you're done.

Aug 31, 2016

Walk to Work Wednesdays

In August, New Plymouth organised a promotion to get people to walk, cycle or take the bus to work during this winter month. You could apply for a card from several cafes, and, each of the five Wednesdays, get a coffee for a dollar. Since I bike to work pretty much every day, I signed up and figured I'd just carry on cycling... but then, I hurt my back. It took a few days just to stand up so I wasn't doing anything for quite a while. The irony is that during this campaign to get people out of their cars, I've haven't driven to work more all year.
I'm on the mend now as long as I take it easy. I caught the last two Wednesdays and came away with this sketch of the inside of a cafe called Joe's Garage.

Aug 4, 2016

Rainy mornings in New Plymouth

More wet weather this week. This drawing was started last month. On a busy corner in New Plymouth, there's a cafe that looks out into the intersection. Since it's winter, it's still dark before work and the wet roads have lots of reflected light. I get a drink and sketch for about 15 minutes at a time. Now that it's August, I've noticed that I've filled up half a coffee card.

Jul 21, 2016


Here's a sketch from a Classic Motorcycle Show. Although there were some very old and rare bikes here, I chose some from the early 80's. These three bikes all have 'Turbo' decals at least once on the outside. Of course, this is short for the Turbocharged engines that they had. This term is a bit spoiled to me and seems slightly kitsch now. Back in the 80's, there were so many things that were said to be 'Turbo'. Bicycles, Gobots, washing machines and pretty much any other home appliance at the time.
I also liked how one of the bikes had Turbo written in reverse on the front... as if someone has good enough eyesight to look in their rear-view mirror and can read that while driving.

Jun 9, 2016

Hockey: India vs The World

Occasionally, we'll go down to the hockey arena if there's an Inline Hockey tournament on. Earlier this year, there was an International Regional Qualifier Tournament. The best of this part of the world were fighting for a spot in the tournament with the big hockey-playing nations. When we first got there, a team from Taipei was playing India and up 8-0. Then noticed that the first digit on the score was dim and it was actually 18-0. The game finished 26-0 and India looked pretty shell-shocked. You might expect a team to let another up for air after a certain number of goals, but not this time. In this competition, if there was a tie it would go to points scored so all the teams were playing pretty hard against India. I just felt awful for them. I later learned that New Zealand beat India 37-0 and Japan went all the way to 42-0. On the good side, at least India didn't have to play anymore games this year.

May 24, 2016

In Memoriam

I went to the ANZAC dawn service this year again. It was another large turnout of people paying respects to those lost during different wars. I liked the darkness of the pre-dawn night together with the bright spotlights. It's hard to draw if your page is in a shadow so I found it more difficult than last year. (2015's is below)
Both of these were inspired by the 2014 sketch by Auckland's Murray Dewhurst. I really liked the blackness of the night, the strong shadows and the bright coloured spotlights on the monuments. This drawing of his (below) made me want to try my own:

Also, fairly recently, an urban sketcher from Germany, Florian (Flaf) Afflerbach, passed away. He freely admitted that he was starting to be known as 'the car guy', but didn't seem to mind. (I'd be okay with drawing cars like him too!) They were usually European cars in a three-quarter view with a slight 'fish-eye lens' distortion to the middle/closest area of the drawing. When our local sketch group was invited to draw a local car collection, I tried to draw a 1973 Triumph Stag in his style as a sort of tribute. (See Florian Afflerbach's sketches here.)

May 3, 2016


Paritutu is a 150 metre tall volcanic rock on the coast of New Plymouth at Port Taranaki. It's a pretty weird mix of nature and industry here. You can climb the thing and see Mount Taranaki, the Tasman Sea and the natural coastline of cliffs and black ironsand beaches. Then turn around and you get the start of the port and tank farms. The smokestack that's there is from an old gas power station and is taller at about 200 metres.

Apr 1, 2016

Waitara Kids

Here's a group of kids in the town of Waitara at the end of summer. They came over and kept turning the pages, wanting to see my previous sketches. Then everyone wanted to pose on the large rock except I'd already drawn that bit. One of them soon had the idea to pretend to climb up the fire escape on the building. After almost 10 minutes of uninterrupted drawing, the mob was back to have a look. Everyone liked seeing themselves in the drawing except Mya, who was on the ladder and half hidden. She convinced me to put her in again, beside the tree in the background.

Mar 25, 2016

Taranaki Multi Ethnic Extravaganza 2016

This sketch was done when we were watching the performances at the Taranaki Multi Ethnic Extravaganza. The group performing on stage was a mix of Maori and Irish musicians. The songs with the Maori vocals of Morgana James sounded really amazing.

Feb 29, 2016


Even with a bit of rain, the final day of the Americarna festival was still popular. I had a prime position on a bench with a view of a massive 1959 Cadillac with huge fins and rocket engine tail lights. When it started to look like it was going to start getting wet, that all went out the window. I didn't wait for a clear path and just drew everything. What you see is a Star Destroyer sized Cadillac with three people and four cars in front of it. (For the enthusiast, a 2008 Mustang Shelby, 1934 Chevrolet, a 1970 Rambler Hornet, and like last year, a 1956 Chevy Belair.) A special shout-out to the several people I met from Wanganui who are waiting for the final version of this one.

Below: Last year's Belair

Feb 25, 2016

Taranaki Flying Boat

We were invited to draw a Catalina flying boat in one of the hangars at the New Plymouth airport. It was a pretty crazy old plane. It had quite a few things that looked weird but then became normal when you remembered that this is also a boat! Those little T-shaped bits near the nose where you would throw a rope around... Boat! Landing Gear folds up on the side... Boat! Door opens on the top of the plane and then you climb down into it... Boat! 
The inside was really cool too. When you climbed in, you found yourself in between 2 sets of 2 facing seats. Across a mini hallway in the middle of the plane was another cabin with 4 facing seats. In this hallway you could either climb a few stairs and be in the cockpit or go into another room where the landing gear indentations were. You could climb up to the wing area and there was a window up there. Lots of hydraulic pipes here too. Past that was two more cabins of 4 seats. After that was one last room near the tail. It had 2 sideways bench seats that allowed you to look out these bubble shaped canopies. We all agreed that this must be the first-class lounge.
The older guy sweeping in my sketch joked that when he was an apprentice, he started out by sweeping, and look where he is now! 

Below: A progress pic from about half-way done... The large wingspan wouldn't fit entirely in the hangar.

Feb 2, 2016

CC Ward

There's this building on the main street here in New Plymouth that has this large white box on top of it. I'm guessing that it's supposed to be part of it but I don't know what the deal is really. Weird. Beside it, is an old department store with plaster fancy plaster ceilings. I think it was a family owned business for nearly 100 years but it wrapped not too long ago. Now it's empty and I wonder if it's going to get another chance. It's an E Grade (Earthquake Survival) building which is as low and as expensive as it gets.

Jan 27, 2016

Boat Launch

It was early morning down at the port and there were non-stop boats being launched. These crusty sailors have serious skills. I was watching them back a trailer into the water, dump the boat with a pilot on board and go park... all in one motion. It was like scrambling a squadron from the deck of an aircraft carrier. I drew the dock first and then was going to draw a launching in behind it, since they were mostly going in the water on that side. When it came time to sketch the boat, I started to notice how little time I had for each one. The good news (for me) was that this one boat had engine trouble. They had to put it back on the trailer and have a look at it. Without a motor it actually took quite a while to get back on to land. When I finished the dock after that, the same guys put the boat back in the salt water and they were away. All's well that ends well.

Jan 23, 2016

SketchCrawl 50

New Plymouth seems to have a reasonable amount of public art around the place. For this sketchcrawl, we tried to have a theme of the art that is around but to also try to show it in it's context. Try to visually describe where it is. I also brought some paints out this weekend. I'm a bit of a watercolour noob, but it turned out okay. I did a second quick one with a pen from the other direction.
The alley that I was in is on the left of this photo: