Sketching the stars

It started with a New Year’s resolution but for Dr Waratah Lahy, BA (Visual) (Hons) ’99, PhD ’07, sketching some of the most high profile speakers at ANU has earned her a healthy social media following.

The idea was to draw something every day for a year but it quickly turned into sketching scenes from the ANU/Canberra Times Meet the Author series and showing the results on Instagram.

“My New Year’s resolution sounds easy but it’s harder than it seems to find the time in each day to actually do it,” Waratah, who works as an Outreach Administrator at the ANU School of Art, says.

“I’ll take time out to think of some aspect of my day and make drawings from that, which is how I ended up drawing the lectures.

“I enjoyed hearing Jasper Fforde, Stan Grant and Alan Alda speak at ANU. I draw while I’m listening.

“I try to be quiet with my pencils and people around me don’t pay any attention.”

Using the same square 8.4cm by 8.4cm format, Waratah largely uses water colour pencils limited to four colours – cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

“I’m mindful of looking at other things in the room, the different patterns and rhythms of the furniture and the shapes they make, the light and dark shadows,” she says.

“When Stan Grant spoke at Llewellyn Hall, he was standing in a spotlight.

“I kept working on the drawing when I got home and thought the way the colours broke up between the stage curtain and spotlight looked like the Aboriginal flag, so I exaggerated the colours to enhance that idea.”

Waratah’s resolution continues a pace and the drawings will continue until the end of 2016 and an exhibition of her work is likely to take place in 2017.