1880s Girl Sketch #8-An Exercise in Multiple Perspectives

A fanciful room by 1880s Girl Amber C Seah

A room harbouring a flight of fancy.

This is the first thing approaching an illustration, though what it is illustrating is anyone’s guess. I forgot how obsessive I can get about measuring and aligning when it comes to perspective. I think it will require a brush up on math skills to get a truly believable room.

Lessons Learned

  1. When drawing 3 point perspective on a small piece of paper it is imperative to have it mounted on a larger piece of paper in order to mark VPL and VPR off the paper.
  2. VPL=Vanishing Point Left
  3. VPR=Vanishing Point Right
  4. CV= Center of Vision (one point perspective)
  5. Must use Ruler! (now if I can only figure out where I put my ruler so Miss 9 can have her’s back.)


  • Graphite
  • Colour Pencil
  • On A5 150gsm paper

1880s Girl Sketches #6 & 7- Lessons on Perspective

#6 General Perspective

Pinnacles sketch by 1880s Girl Amber C Seah

Inspired by the Pinnacles at Nambung National Park in Western Australia

The only way to really learn anything is to start from the beginning right?


1880s girl has put her head down and humbly returned to the days of primary school drawing lessons on perspective and shading. It is time to start from the ground up and learn to sketch all over again.

This is not a sketch of an actual view at Nambung, it is inspired by my memories of it. The sketch really needs some emu tracks and a lizard trail to be just right.

Lessons Learned

  1. Simple drawings are fun.
  2. I love shading.
  3. Remember: Where an object’s base starts determines its depth, closer to the bottom = closer object; further up the page= further away.


  • Graphite
  • On A5  150gsm paper (I’m not very adventurous in the paper department.

#7 an exercise in 1 point perspective

1 point perspective exercise by 1880s Girl Amber C Seah

Flying objects are always fun

Lessons Learned

  1. Have a sharp pencil, the smaller your paper is the sharper your pencil needs to be.
  2. Use a ruler, always, always, always use a ruler.
  3. And yes you really need to mark the vanishing point


As above


1880s Girl Sketch #5-Gamboling Lamb


Gamboling Lamb in grassy pastures

Want to Play?

Lessons Learned

Some might argue I haven’t learnt any lessons yet. Is it unreasonable to expect improvement after 6 sketches?


The lessons might be slow but here they are.

  1. I should leave white animals alone until I know what I’m doing, but this lamb was just soooo cute I had to try. Won’t do that again
  2. I need to go back and do a lesson on perspective
  3. Shading around the nose and the shape of the eyes is much improved.


  • Graphite
  • Colour pencil
  • On 150gsm paper

1880s’ Girl Sketch #4-Smoot-hole

Smoot-hole and bunny by Amber C Seah

The very definition of a smoot-hole illustrated.

A hole in a stone wall large enough for a rabbit. Not a sheep.

lessons learned

  1. Bunny profiles at odd angles are difficult to proportion correctly
  2. I should have sketched the background bit in something erasable before colouring because the brown doesn’t suit.
  3. I need to do a refresher on perspective, 1 and 2 points.
  4. Drawing rocks is fun.


  • Graphite
  • Colour pencils
  • A5 150gsm paper


1880’s Girl Sketch #3

Two Sketches this week!!

Guinea Pigs are just so inspirational.

Guinea Pig by 1880s Girl Amber C Seah

Trying to capture Eloise

Guinea Pig by 1880s Girl Amber C Seah

Trying to work out the proportions of a guinea pig’s face

lessons learned

  1. I looked at the photo of a guinea pig and tried to break the face down similar to sketching a human face, drawing a line down the middle, then one for the ears, eyes, nose and mouth to get the proportions right.
  2. I am starting to get a feel for the different grades of graphite (would you believe that before this challenge had only ever used a standard school pencil, with a brief foray into charcoal?)

1880’s Girl Sketch #2

Rose Sketch by 1880s girl Amber C Seah

Unfinished Rose-yes I intend to post even if the sketch isn’t finished.

Lessons Learned

  1. Don’t draw in the dark. (especially if trying to follow a grid)
  2. Still not dark enough for the scanner
  3. I am starting to get a feel for the different types of lead, but still a work in progress


  • Graphite
  • A5 150gsm paper

1880s Girl Sketch #1

Lighthouse by Amber C Seah

Hmmm things look a little different under the scanner

Lessons Learned

  1. When drawing lighthouses use a ruler
  2. Make the lines darker than you think they need to be
  3. I really like how the texture of the paper shows  up with the shading

Medium used

  • Graphite
  • Colour pencils
  • A5 150gsm paper

1880s Girl’s- Sketching Challenge an Introduction


NPG P1825; Beatrix Potter (Mrs Heelis) by Charles King

One of my favourite Victorian Illustrators, Beatrix Potter. Photo by  Charles G.Y. King (1854-1937) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Everyone knows that sketching and watercolour are vital accomplishments for any Victorian woman with pretensions to class or education.

This 1880s girl has no pretensions to class nor is she extensively educated but I do like to draw and in High School showed some promise in watercolours.

The Dream


My original hero, Laura Ingalls Wilder (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

My childhood ambition was to either grow up to be Laura Ingalls and write the story of my life.

Or to be Beatrix Potter and write and illustrate picture books.

Or in the same way a child may want to be an astronaut and a ballerina, I thought I might manage to be both Laura and Beatrix at the same time.

The Reality

Then life happened and choices must be made, rent paid, children raised and there simply are not enough hours in the day to cultivate all our passions and interests.

For me, writing is a necessity. Art is a luxury.

Sometimes even working class 1880s girls get to indulge in a little luxury.


Inspired by the interview with Tania McCartney on episode 150 of the So You Want to be a Writer Podcast I toyed with the possibility of a weekly illustration. But where to find the time?

Enter Little Miss Seah…

The Plan

Little Miss Seah likes me to sit with her and watch Better Homes and Gardens on Friday night. I’m not very good at sitting still especially during commercials so I decided to sketch and watch.

A sketch is less intimidating than an illustration, just a bit of fun.

I will post a sketch every Friday with a brief commentary on lessons learned.

I mean everyone gets better with practice right?

Maybe when I’ve gained a little confidence I’ll take on the official 52-week challenge but until then I will aim to post one sketch a week to my blog.