Drawing Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Nearly every day for the last thirty years I have jumped on the number 11 tram to travel down Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. I have wandered along the shops, eaten kebabs, and enjoyed cappucinos and eggs benedict in the cafes. But it took a trip overseas for me to come home and truly “see” Brunswick Street. Now I notice the shapes of the rooftops, the ghost signs, the towers and the cast iron lace. I can’t believe all this beauty has been here in front of me for so long and that I have simply taken it for granted.

No longer. I have challenged myself to a very long term project of drawing the buildings along Brunswick Street. As a librarian I also want to research the history of the area so that I can learn more about the people who lived here in times past. I want to learn more about this local community of mine, and discover how I fit in. It’s going to take a very long time – years in fact – so that in itself will be a lesson in patience and mindfulness for me. If you would like to follow along with me you can keep an eye on this blog, or follow me on Instagram.

Acknowledgement of country

Before going any further, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land around Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, the Wurundjeri people, and to pay my respects to their ancestors and elders both past and present.

My drawings highlight a fairly recent urban history, only since the 1850s, and I’ll be getting my stories from passers by, vintage photos and old newspapers. The indigenous history of the area is much better described by people other than myself, and you can read more about it here –  https://aboriginalhistoryofyarra.com.au/ and https://www.wurundjeri.com.au/

The first six months

Instagram – #brunswickstreetsketchography 

Kimchi Asian Grocers in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, which I drew on location over a year ago but just painted. This was about where I realised the street was not as flat as I thought, and I had to start hoisting some of my rooflines up so that they stayed in the same scale.  #helendrawsbrunswickstreet #brunswickstreetsketchography #brunswickstreetfitzroy #sketch #archisketch #architecturesketch #melbourne #streetscape #fitzroy #cityofyarra #accordionsketchbook #watercoloursketch #shopfront #drawnonlocation #drawing #melbournearchitecture #victorianarchitecture #bockingford

Kimchi Asian Grocers in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, which I drew on location over a year ago but just painted. This was about where I realised the street was not as flat as I thought, and I had to start hoisting some of my rooflines up so that they stayed in the same scale. #helendrawsbrunswickstreet #brunswickstreetsketchography #brunswickstreetfitzroy #sketch #archisketch #architecturesketch #melbourne #streetscape #fitzroy #cityofyarra #accordionsketchbook #watercoloursketch #shopfront #drawnonlocation #drawing #melbournearchitecture #victorianarchitecture #bockingford ...

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Saint Porres Barbers in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. I'm a bit embarassed to admit that my eyesight is so bad that from across the road I completely misread the signage of this barber shop when I drew it over a year ago now. Obviously covid had appeared because the barber and customer are masked behind the window. I draw these long streetscapes over many weeks so things change as I go, and boy has covid changed our world as we know it. #helendrawsbrunswickstreet #brunswickstreetsketchography #brunswickstreetfitzroy #sketch #archisketch #architecturesketch #melbourne #streetscape #fitzroy #cityofyarra #accordionsketchbook #watercoloursketch #barbershop #shopfront #drawnonlocation #drawing #melbournearchitecture #victorianarchitecture #bockingford

Saint Porres Barbers in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. I'm a bit embarassed to admit that my eyesight is so bad that from across the road I completely misread the signage of this barber shop when I drew it over a year ago now. Obviously covid had appeared because the barber and customer are masked behind the window. I draw these long streetscapes over many weeks so things change as I go, and boy has covid changed our world as we know it. #helendrawsbrunswickstreet #brunswickstreetsketchography #brunswickstreetfitzroy #sketch #archisketch #architecturesketch #melbourne #streetscape #fitzroy #cityofyarra #accordionsketchbook #watercoloursketch #barbershop #shopfront #drawnonlocation #drawing #melbournearchitecture #victorianarchitecture #bockingford ...

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Slowpoke Espresso in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, drawn on location pre-covid but only just painted. I have a big backlog of painting to catch up with. It would be so nice to sit in a cafe again but it isn't possible with current lockdown rules. #helendrawsbrunswickstreet #brunswickstreetsketchography #brunswickstreetfitzroy #sketch #archisketch #architecturesketch #melbourne #streetscape #fitzroy #cityofyarra #accordionsketchbook #watercoloursketch #cafesketch #drawnonlocation #drawing #melbournearchitecture #streetfront #victorianarchitecture #bockingford

Slowpoke Espresso in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, drawn on location pre-covid but only just painted. I have a big backlog of painting to catch up with. It would be so nice to sit in a cafe again but it isn't possible with current lockdown rules. #helendrawsbrunswickstreet #brunswickstreetsketchography #brunswickstreetfitzroy #sketch #archisketch #architecturesketch #melbourne #streetscape #fitzroy #cityofyarra #accordionsketchbook #watercoloursketch #cafesketch #drawnonlocation #drawing #melbournearchitecture #streetfront #victorianarchitecture #bockingford ...

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This has been a very extended painting of My Beautiful Laundrette in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. I drew it over a year ago while sitting outside the housing commission flats opposite with my fellow sketchers. It was in the days before covid. I was approached by a gentleman who said he painted the dragon on the walls - which I have to say highlights the building beautifully. I only just finished painting this week, attempting to create shadows without losing the colour. #helendrawsbrunswickstreet #brunswickstreetsketchography #brunswickstreetfitzroy #sketch #archisketch #architecturesketch #melbourne #streetscape #fitzroy #cityofyarra #accordionsketchbook #watercoloursketch #laundromat #drawnonlocation #drawing #melbournearchitecture @mbl_my_beautiful_laundrette #victorianarchitecture #bockingford

This has been a very extended painting of My Beautiful Laundrette in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. I drew it over a year ago while sitting outside the housing commission flats opposite with my fellow sketchers. It was in the days before covid. I was approached by a gentleman who said he painted the dragon on the walls - which I have to say highlights the building beautifully. I only just finished painting this week, attempting to create shadows without losing the colour. #helendrawsbrunswickstreet #brunswickstreetsketchography #brunswickstreetfitzroy #sketch #archisketch #architecturesketch #melbourne #streetscape #fitzroy #cityofyarra #accordionsketchbook #watercoloursketch #laundromat #drawnonlocation #drawing #melbournearchitecture @mbl_my_beautiful_laundrette #victorianarchitecture #bockingford ...

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The Magic Lantern Studio, 155 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. For years I admired this carnival and circus inspired studio with a puppet theatre in its window. I drew it on location before the first covid lockdowns in 2020, sitting outside the housing commission flats opposite. By the time I was able to return it had disappeared and been replaced with a for lease sign. What a loss to the community. #helendrawsbrunswickstreet #brunswickstreetsketchography #brunswickstreetfitzroy #sketch #archisketch #architecturesketch #melbourne #streetscape #fitzroy #cityofyarra #accordionsketchbook #watercoloursketch #magiclantern #drawnonlocation #drawing #melbournearchitecture #victorianarchitecture #puppetshop #bockingford

The Magic Lantern Studio, 155 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. For years I admired this carnival and circus inspired studio with a puppet theatre in its window. I drew it on location before the first covid lockdowns in 2020, sitting outside the housing commission flats opposite. By the time I was able to return it had disappeared and been replaced with a for lease sign. What a loss to the community. #helendrawsbrunswickstreet #brunswickstreetsketchography #brunswickstreetfitzroy #sketch #archisketch #architecturesketch #melbourne #streetscape #fitzroy #cityofyarra #accordionsketchbook #watercoloursketch #magiclantern #drawnonlocation #drawing #melbournearchitecture #victorianarchitecture #puppetshop #bockingford ...

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What to do during yet another lockdown when I can't draw in my favourite street? Painting the backlog it is then, and so good to get those watercolours sloshing. This is a process shot only to show how big it is, but I spent many more hours trying to get it to pop. From My Beautiful Laundrette to the odd building that used to house Umago cafe - with a power pole going right through the verandah roof. Drawn over many Tuesdays in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, starting before we went into our first lockdown last year. When I got back to finish it the puppet shop had gone.  #helendrawsbrunswickstreet #brunswickstreetsketchography #brunswickstreetfitzroy #sketch #archisketch #architecturesketch #melbourne #streetscape #fitzroy #cityofyarra #accordionsketchbook #watercoloursketch #wip #workinprogress #drawnonlocation #drawing #melbournearchitecture #victorianarchitecture

What to do during yet another lockdown when I can't draw in my favourite street? Painting the backlog it is then, and so good to get those watercolours sloshing. This is a process shot only to show how big it is, but I spent many more hours trying to get it to pop. From My Beautiful Laundrette to the odd building that used to house Umago cafe - with a power pole going right through the verandah roof. Drawn over many Tuesdays in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, starting before we went into our first lockdown last year. When I got back to finish it the puppet shop had gone. #helendrawsbrunswickstreet #brunswickstreetsketchography #brunswickstreetfitzroy #sketch #archisketch #architecturesketch #melbourne #streetscape #fitzroy #cityofyarra #accordionsketchbook #watercoloursketch #wip #workinprogress #drawnonlocation #drawing #melbournearchitecture #victorianarchitecture ...

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Brunswick Street prints

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2 Comments

  1. Dennis Toth

    I like your sketches

    Reply

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