Sketches from Scotland

Home is so lovely, being away for three weeks I forgot how beautiful ( parts ) of our house are. It is still very much a work in progress and it’s pretty special.

I unpacked the very next day after arriving back to Australia. Very keen to unwind, get the washing done, settle back in. It’s just over a week now and I am still waking up at 4am but no matter. I think it is harder to adjust when home because now it’s quite dark and the adventure is over. It’s school drop off, pick up, grocery shopping and vacumming. It’s avoiding my studio and worrying about the too many houseplants I have to keep alive.

The last month has been a transformative. I’m dropping a few habits and some decisions have been made for me so I’ve just got to go with it. But doesn’t travel do that for you? Give you a bit of perspevtive and a shove into another direction. I planned a lot of this trip which I’ve never done before and boy I got a lot of things wrong but I learned a lot.

We were in Edinburgh for less than 24hours, which was my first mistake. Edinburgh is an amazing city, and being the end of spring it was very green and exciting to be there. We were originally meant to stay a couple of nights however I had wanted us to go to Fair Isle, but accommodation was only available for two days after we landed. I switched up our plans to stay in Edinburgh and Inverness one night each and then head out to the Isle. I knew it was a lot but Fair Isle is remote and you’ve just got to go with it. I’d wanted to stay at the Bird Observatory as my reasons for visiting was to see the wild life. Sadly earlier this year it burnt to the ground. I am truly sorry for them and I hope they are able to rebuild. I re routed our adventure to visit Orkney Island, which was a little easier to get too and had more options of places to stay. I can’t even begin to describe our time there, Gene had found an Inn and it was a unique experience in the best kind of way. One that I am grateful to have had. I don’t think our stay on Orkney would have been quite as special had of we not stayed there. I will post some drawings about this place in future.



Museum of childhood, Edinburgh


View of the Scott Monument, Victorian Gothic style. Dedicated to Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott.

Before we departed Edinburgh we visited an art store because that is important and behind it was the Greyfriars kirkyard. It was very pretty, filled with community herb gardens, birds, squirrels and full of dark history.


The Witches’ Well

Then things were a little less fun because there was miscommunication. We got lost so I won’t write about that day though we did end up having a comfortable sleep and that is important.

Orkney! I have so much more to say about this place but as I said above, I’ll write about that later as I have more little drawings to add. I will say though that I got to see some puffins! It was at the end of our second day, and I admit that I had been dragging the family about, combing the seacliffs looking, looking, looking. Bloody bugs in our faces, hot sun on the backs of our necks and wind that could steal your breath right out of your mouth. I was really enjoying the different kinds of seabirds and coming to accept hey, we weren’t going to see the puffins when, like a gift, a little pair landed on a rocky ridge right beneath me. First thing I thought was that they were so much smaller than I had expected, I couldn’t believe they were real. Then, as in most of my dreams, I reached for my camera and couldn’t get a good shot, but no matter. I whispered for my daughter to come quietly and oh the joy of pointing them out to her. Not long before this sighting I had been talking with her about patience; ” bird / animal/ nature watching requires a lot of patience and respect“. We then got Gene to come and see and I managed to take some OK photos. A razorbill also decided to join them, which is another magnificent sea bird.

What a goddamn gift.

Next stop was Ullapool, we were so tired and very lucky to be staying with a lovely little family so Kidlet got to spend most of the day playing in the trees with another little girl. There was a very special tree I have done a few sketches on, again, that’s another post for the future.

Ullapool is a beautiful town; red squirrels, purple flowers and bumble bees, beautiful loch views and the seafood shack. Again I wish we had stayed a couple of more nights!

We moved onto the Isle of Skye. Which was a place we were told to go but definitely didn’t expect it to be as beautiful as it is. How can you when you’ve not seen it before.

I drew this there. I didn’t walk up to this area. I should mention that I was still really sick with whatever this nasty virus is. I thought that that would be the death of me but then we did an accidental hike afterwards and that well and truly took the life out of me. We walked ( most of ) the Quiraing. Oh my goodness, words will fail me so I’ll post drawings.. again, another post.

I sketched this in the car from isle of Skye to Oban.

Last stop in Scotland was Oban. Such a great town, we had a good time looking around and went on a little boat trip and saw some seals. On Isle of Skye I had wanted to do a wildlife boat tour but as I read about them it talked about how they fed the wildlife. I’m unsure if that that is ok? So because I wasn’t sure I decided not to do it. This little trip we just observed the playful and very pregnant seals. That is more than enough.

Anyway, there’s more to come as we stopped in England for a couple of days and Wales for the best part of a week. Also there were more drawings but I didn’t include them as there’s just so many. I’ll break them up into different posts when I can as I very much want and need to Get Back To Work.


Speak soon and thanks for reading

Lily Mae x



Sketches for drawings

Been collecting reference material and making a bunch of sketches and there’s more than this but thought I’d share these as they are pretty exciting and I love drawing forever and ever and ever.

sketchone I used a mechanical pencil for this one. I usually H A T E pencil but enjoyed this very much, until I tried to load up a new stick of graphite and it got stuck and then my husband spent some time with it with pliers and fixed it but it’s put me off. Good for sketches though!








Drawings from the sketchbook, drawing on the drawing board

Quick drawing I did of a beautiful teddy bear my Grandmother made before I left Brisbane last week.

Blind contour line drawing of Jeanette Winterson when I saw her a couple of weeks back.

Growing my hair out, sort of like a hair helmet at the moment! I am thrilled about it, as you can see 😉

Quick sketch I did at the dinner table while waiting for the vegan red beans and rice to cook down.. Kidelt drew next to me.


More naked!

Today I found a wooden toy phone for $1, it’s pretty cool and kidelt loves it.

This is a very large drawing I have been making a start on this week.. It is so hard but I am really happy with how it is going/ growing.

Sketches, Clunes Bookstown


This weekend I saw April out and May in at Clunes booktown. Clunes is a town I like to visit regularly because it is *so* beautiful, and book town is something I didn’t get to experience until last year and then only very briefly.

I went to many things. The launch of Goldfields and the Gothic – edited and compiled by David Waldron, Writing Goldfields History, Mad Poet’s Tea Party, Ordinary Places with Cate Kennedy chaired by Michael Williams, ( This was the absolute highlight of the whole festival, Michael and Cate were warm and generous ) The Mothers with Rod Jones chaired by Jo Case – ( I purchased the book after this and have read quite a lot of it already, what a truly touching talk and book ) and finally Infidelity, Open Marriage and Journeys Through Time and Place.
That’s incredible for $10 over two days.






bclballaratcreswick_lily_mae_martin Blind continuous line drawing on the train from Ballarat to Creswick

pen_lily_mae_martin The Empty Chair“Since the 1980s PEN International has used the Empty Chair at events to symbolise a writer who could not be present because they were imprisoned, detained, disappeared, threatened or killed. The Empty Chair often represents a specific case, rather than all writers at risk, and regularly takes centre stage at such venues as the Melbourne Writers’ Festival.”

book_earrings_lily_mae_martin Book earrings!

home_lily_mae_martin I had a magical, meaningful weekend and I am so grateful for Clunes Booktown and the amazing people who made it happen. Thank you.

Françoise Mouly, Art Spiegelman, comics and sketches

What a week!

Monday morning Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly visited Squishface studio – along with a number of Melbourne’s finest comic artists, cartoonists, illustrators – magic makers. I was absolutely star struck and honored for the conversations, advice and encouragement given.

I think this photo, taken by Gregory Mackay, sums it up rather nicely:

That’s Mandy Ord, myself, Ben Hucho and Art.

I slipped off after the coffee as I was so overwhelmed and inspired and also – I had to get daughter from daycare. But wow – what a Monday. WHAT A MONDAY.

The next evening I attended the event ran by the Wheeler Centre at Melbourne Town Hall and had my mind blown again with meeting more amazing people and hearing Art speak for some two and a half hours on the history of comics, his experiences and inspirations. The passion and humor of this man kept everyone quite and attentive throughout the entire presentation.

Nicki Greenberg did an amazing job hosting the event and so I drew her and Art’s hands while they were talking.

During the event I also drew the back of Nicki’s head and then realized Oslo Davis was sitting across from me – so I drew him too.

I’m still trying to find the words but I just feel so lucky – so lucky – to have had these expereinces and meet these amazing and inspiring people.