There's not actually a whole lot of sketchbook in this post -- mostly torn-out sheets that were scanned and digitised for commercial work and jobs... So this is really a sneak-peek at what I'm working on when my sketchbook and social media goes quiet. 

It's also an absolute celebration and worship of springtime sun in summer country. Sure beats the hell out of an extended Melbourne winter!

Also appearing on the fringes of this post is Rusty Rose bandana, available here, Ironlak markers and pens, and a little sneak into my upcoming release on Lake Coloring app, which is an incredible digital colouring app with artwork from a whole bunch of artists and illustrators from around the world!




For my last sketchbook post for 2016, the stills from my little flick-through video, just for a closer look... Hope you all have fun sparkly brilliant new year celebrations, and lots to look forward to in 2017. 



Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to stretch my brain a little bit, to let new ideas flow in, to wander down different avenues. It’s relatively easy, once you find the ‘thing’ that works for you, to stay within the safety of that thing, producing facsimiles of the same idea or style repeatedly. 

I remember being told once that the only thing worse than imitating others is imitating yourself. I’m not really sure about the veracity of that little aphorism, and it’s also kinda hard to distinguish self-imitation from plain straight consistency. Sometimes I can tell; sometimes I know I’m just reproducing an idea and I don’t feel any kind of way about it. Other times I feel that kinda high bright buzz that tells me I’m working on a piece that means something, at least to me. 

But whether it’s self-propagation or just sticking to style, I guess the sentiment is something about not being a hack. 

So lately my pages have been about trying to stretch and grow and till new soil within that ‘thing’ that works for me. It also feels like it’s a preparation for those few weeks over Christmas when I’ll go home to my heartland and all those drawing synapses will recharge, reconnect and resurge. When I’ll sit on my parents verandah in the humid heat and tap my bare feet on the familiar concrete and drink beers at midday and watch for the afternoon storms and listen to the young hawks fighting and draw for madness, freedom, fun… which always brings the best out of anything.

Waratah necklace by Whiskey and White. 


This little A5 sketchbook (for those of you who have been asking, I dig these Quill journals from Officeworks: casebound because I hate spiral binding, and 125gsm pages so markers and paint don't bleed) is the most packed sketchbook I've owned in a long time. 

It's full of scraps of paper, little loose drawings, pressed flowers and leaves, stationary samples, stickers, and little reminders of whatever I've been up to lately. And it's crazy crowdedness makes me happy, because it's a very true reflection of my collecting and cluttering and examining and recording. 

It seems like a very honest little book. 


Lately I've been working on some out-of-the-ordinary creations: gluing thousands of beads to skulls, filling mini-bar bottles with flowers and resin, sticking little glittery jewels on the inside of abalone shells... Creations that might be an attempt to communicate magic; to share the way some things resonate and hum; to make literal the special significance that embellishes every day objects when seen through my eyes. 

So, with my brain three-quarters consumed with thoughts about the realities of magic, here's what's left: some colourful pages in my sketchbooks, and some half-hatched ideas for the upcoming Curvy exhibition in Sydney later this week.  It's going to be pretty awesome, so if you're in Sydney, come along to aMBUSH Gallery on Thursday night!

I'm also part of the Volcom School of Cool panel and workshops on Friday – which is day one of the Curvy Conference – where a whole bunch of talented women will talk about their work and careers. After the panel discussion, I'll be painting up a denim jacket while Gemma O'Brien runs a short typography workshop. So much fun stuff happening this week!



I'm trying to wrap my little brain around a whole bunch of exciting things that are on the horizon... events and travel and making things and moving around; there's lots to look forward to. So, while I'm in this little pre-fun-storm lull, I'm trying to crank out as much preparation as possible for what's to come... I'm going to be super primed and ready for whatever weirdness comes along next. At least, that's what I like to tell myself. 


This is at least a month's worth of pages -- in and out of sketchbooks, drawn at home and on the road, for myself and for other people. They document a frantic attempt to pin down ideas, before they're forgotten, discarded, discredited, or they simply float away. It's a search and a seeking, an attempt to build, make and bring to reality. 

And it's a reminder: Don't forget to rock 'n' roll. 


Joe Cocker and John Steinbeck, Jenny Lewis and Charles Manson biographies. Ciders and sketchbooks on a picnic rug in the dappled shade. Coffee at 5am watching the sun rise, walking with bare feet across the dewy lawn to get a better photograph. Watching the neighbour brush her graceful black horses in the soft light of a crisp evening. Tiny nieces and nephews. Mandarin and lime-scents, fresh off the tree. Pandanus palms and pale pink barnacles, collected among the rocks on a lagoon-like beach. Pitch-dark nights and soft beds, and more than anything, peace. 


So, it's been a long time since I've provided a comprehensive run-down on all the things that receive my love and appreciation. And it's important to show appreciation, right? 

So, firstly, massive 90s-nostalgic, lazy X-files series binges are my hands-down favourite thing right now. But there's also smoothies (did I mention I work for a frozen fruit company?), Thao and the Get Down Stay Down always on the radio, lemon-and-hot-water before sunrise, this golden wonder-piece from Lenni, killer earrings, killer rings, opals, sadness over boots that I cannot afford, a warm Humble dog on a cold morning, gum blossoms starting to peek out, sunshine appreciation in the lead-up to winter, my tiny niece's lounge room ballets, ambitious and audacious plans, talking to old friends about going home and growing old, Link Wray, amazing American road trip stories, heavy sleep and weird dreams, fruit wine by the campfire, and solitude but not loneliness. 

I'm sure there's more, but I'll save them for next time. 

Crochet dress by Spell and the Gypsy Collective, rug and swimmers by Volcom, rings from Rejoice the Hands, Southset, Lo & Chlo, and Millie Savage.


Some days in the sketchbook are more optimistic than others (see: damn good). But to be honest, lately I've been feeling pretty discouraged about the whole drawing/design/being an illustrator thing. A little directionless, unmotivated, perturbed, unimpressed. 
Which, anyway, is usually the way I feel before I spur off down a hyper-motivated manic-driven tangent of ideas.

Hopefully that's what's coming. 


A few months back, I took off for a few quick days in Auckland with the other Volcom ambassadors and some lovely friends, including Seb Zanella from Desillusion mag, and his incredible wife Marie from Le Monde Est A Nous. We were managed to fit in a whole lot over the few days -- from a 'School of Cool' evening meeting lots of lovely people, to volcano cocktails and a bit of denim jacket painting.

My Auckland travel diaries are up on the Volcom blog here...


It's been a long time since I've shared what's in my sketchbook, so here's a huge collection of ideas, musings, work and play. And some photos of my dad in the seventies, which were used as a colour reference in the 'Out of this world' pages. 

Also, last week I finished up my full-time job as a writer/associate editor/general communications human, and this week I started an intensive three-month graphic design course. Quite a strange and scary thing to do at this point, but I thought I'd get it out of the way so I don't wind up cranky and regretful later on. 


Things I loved in April:
These Valley Cruise Press pins; Eden adventures on Australia’s south coast – that means dolphins, penguins, squid, diving, octopus, waterfalls, beers, and the best vegie burgers at the pub; celebrating five years of good years with my partner; winter vegetable gardening; Easter daisiesand flower collages; sunny days with threatening afternoon storm clouds; making crazy variety salads to fend off winter sickness; forcing others to listen to the B52s and MJ in the car; Lester Bangs’s biography; lemons slowly turning yellow on our tree; Woody Guthrie wisdom; fireside drinks with friends; CobraCult pieces like this; back-veranda-studio days; and scary future plans. 


We landed in Brussels half-delirious and totally over it … the 30-hour long-haul flight from Australia was replete with all the usual horrors: loudly airsick person across the aisle, hysterically crying child a few rows back, water doled out in tiny drink bottles begetting perpetual thirst, weak sleeping pills, weird food options, bad rom-coms …
But looking out the window on the way down and seeing all the funny neat houses with their austere-middle-management-type architecture, all the green fields and white wind turbines, all the crisp early light, was a new kind of radical. That’s fucking Belgium down there! We’re going to be in this place, the opposite side of the world, where we don’t know anything, and hardly anyone.
It was probably seven or eight in the morning by this time, and we were met by two friends in a turquoise-green van, papered with DIY skate company stickers and harbouring a case of warm Jupiler tins. This van – along with another of the same make and model, only red, and with a better built-in fridge – would be our home for the next week, as our gang of eight drove from Antwerp to Malmo, questing for skate parks, sunny days and strong beer.
All of which is a fun idea until you’ve built up five days’ worth of hangovers, food poisoning and skating sweat without any showers.
But whatever, the highlights were things like …


Antwerp was one of my favourite cities on our whole trip – the first place we went into was a shop with skulls and urchins, but I didn’t buy any because I still had to pass customs in five or six more countries. And the last place we went into was essentially a beer café. I have never drunk so much beer in my life. I also didn’t drink beer again for the rest of the trip, and probably not for another three months once we were back in Australia.  

Doel is an abandoned town/doomed city in East Flanders. It’s supposed to be demolished en masse to expand Antwerp’s harbour. But it’s got this beautiful thing happening where colourful street art is climbing the walls of all the empty houses and shops like rough Ironlak ivy. There was also Roa artwork and a windmill, all of which I was impressed by. And no venomous snakes or spiders in any of the overgrown houses (natural Australian instincts were in overdrive).

Things like driving on the Autobahn, spotting deer and buzzards, keeping an eye out for wolves, collecting wild poppies and acorns in a vacant lot, photographing nature collections, finding the odd jellyfish, the best spiced whiskey I've ever had (can someone in Europe send me a box of William Lawson Super Spiced Whiskey?) …

The DIY camp in Hannover, Germany gave me a taste for year-round Christmas decorations in outdoor trees, as well as fortresses made of pallets, fake plants, and plastic jewels.
Hamburg was colourful, dirty, scary and cool – we parked the vans in the parking lot, got drunk and barbecued bratwurst … I probably laughed the hardest I’ve ever laughed in that city. I was also the second-most scared I’ve ever been when I was trying to sleep in the van while a homeless man circled outside, muttering and yelling into the night. And in German, no less.   

In Copenhagen we slept in the vans on the outskirts of Christiania, a ‘free town’ that to my Australian mind was just completely incomprehensible. And before we slept, we trekked out to a little beach on the shore of Christiania’s lake – past beautiful handmade houses and strange rambling constructions – built a fire and drank beers and laughed until the early hours.

There was a festival in Malmo, Sweden, when we got there – we caught the end of a Graveyard set, ate burritos and drank Coronas, somewhat culturally inexplicably. We walked for miles through the rain to some scary-loose pub to find two ex-pat Australians, who would lead us through the city and the bars and eventually get us so dead-lost we ended up on the grounds of what was possibly a mental hospital, carrying a cardboard cut-out clown, all arguing about how to get back to the hostel. I also remember laughing a lot playing a weird board game in a pub in Malmo – I think it was called Caromse or something, going by the drunken scrawling in my notebook.

And after all that, we waved to the guys in the vans at Copenhagen airport and turned our sights to Iceland … with the hope of a big of rehab and rest, and whatever the strangest place in the world had in store for us.