Sunday, December 30, 2007

Getting messy

I´ve decided to go out of my comfort zone even more these last few drawings of my December challenge (to draw from imagination every day). I am going to try a few landscapes in a very limited palette, plus I´ll be working with Neocolor II crayons dipped in water to try to avoid my usual controlled details.

I chose five light colours today, plus white, which made it kind of hard to achieve any real contrasts, but since the colours are very different from each other I thought I´d be able to get a feeling of light and shadow anyway. Sadly, the blue turned into green everywhere, since I didn´t manage to keep it clean from the yellow and yellow ochre, but I liked the exercise anyway.

I particularly like that this is more like painting than drawing. A Neocolor II crayon dipped in water gets very blunt after a while, so you have to lay down the colours in patches rather than lines, and you feel like you´re painting with a huge brush rather than drawing with a crayon. I also like the feeling of these crayons when wet, it´s like smearing melted butter. :)

15 x 20,5 cm, light grey Pitt brush pen and Neocolor II crayons on drawing paper.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tired of the reindeer?

I didn´t know Santa´s sailing to get around these days, but here he is. He turned up on the page as I was drawing, don´t know where he came from, don´t know where he´s going.

I know the streamer is going one way, and the sail another, and the waves a third, but who said you have to be logical when you draw?

15 x 20,5 cm, Pitt brush pens on drawing paper.

Friday, December 28, 2007


I didn´t draw much during Christmas, with all the socializing going on these days. I had this page going on for some days, and finished it yesterday.

Going back to socializing a bit more now. :)

15 x 20,5 cm, Lamy Safari with Noodler´s black ink on drawing paper.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Next 14-page sketchbook

I haven´t had time at all for drawing during the last two days, but this evening I finally grabbed the other 14-page sketchbook and a pencil and just doodled while watching TV. I HATE hard pencils. This was drawn with an extremely hard mechanical pencil, must have been at least... 27H or something, there´s absolutely no black in the picture!

It will be exciting to see if I manage to fill this book too before the end of December, since I have missed a few days. No big deal, really, if I don´t, but I´m going to try.

15 x 20,5 cm, pencil on paper.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Last page of first December sketchbook

When I started this December challenge of drawing something from imagination every day, I made two 14-page sketchbooks especially for this month. This drawing is the last page of the first of those folded books. Don´t know who it is, I just drew this face as an excuse to play with patterns and colour.

I thought I´d show you what the sketchbook itself looks like:

And, if you unfold it (it´s made by one single big sheet of paper), it looks like this:

I´ve been thinking that this would be a great way to fold, say, a watercolour paper if you´d like to make a bunch of smaller paintings during a journey, for example. It makes a sketchbook that´s easy to carry around, has fourteen pages, and when you unfold it, the paper is painted only on one side - i.e. you could easily cut loose the single paintings and frame them or send them as postcards or just... fold paper planes with them or whatever. :)

15 x 20,5 (x a bunch, to get the size of the large sheet of paper...), pencil and watercolour on drawing paper.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pencil - now with colour!

I decided to try one more of these, but add a bit of colour. Don´t know if I think the colour actually added anything, it got a bit messy.

Just for the fun of it, I took some snapshots while doing this. You´ll have to excuse the crappy quality of the images. The photos were taken under a tiny table lamp, which doesn´t do artwork any justice, and I didn´t lay much time on fixing them in Photoshop...

20,5 x 15 cm, pencil and gouache on drawing paper.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More pencil

I had to try this again. I think this one turned out a bit too controlled compared to the one in the previous post, but it was still fun to do.

15 x 20,5 cm, pencil on paper.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Paint with pencils

I don´t know if you can call this a painting, but I tried to treat the pencil as a brush instead of a drawing instrument in this, to see what happened. And well... this is what happened.

15 x 20,5 cm, pencil on paper.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Doodling During the Day

I drew this now and then during the day, with nothing particular in mind. I kind of like these untamed, no-composition, no-meaning doodles, I often get good ideas from them for paintings or other drawings. It works best to do them while the brain is busy doing other stuff, such as sitting in a meeting, listening to radio, talking on the phone...

20,5 x 15 cm, pencil, Lamy Safari with Noodler´s Black, Faber-Castell Pitt brush pen on drawing paper.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Drawing again

The Christmas cards are finished, so I´m back to drawing in my sketchbook. I´m actually starting to itch for some of my ordinary drawing habits, i.e. not drawing from my imagination so much, but I´m going to stick to this for December. I feel that it´s doing me good, not depicting stuff but actually making it up instead. It´s way out of my comfort zone, and I think that´s good.

I don´t know what it is with all these people with the eyes far apart. They don´t look much like the doodles I make when I´m not actually concentrating to doodle. They must be smart, there´s gotta be lots of space for brains in there...

This was actually drawn today, not on the 10 of December as it says on the drawing. I am totally lost in time, which is kind of strange, because I KNOW that I have written today´s date (the 11th) on lots of papers at work today. The Brain works in mysterious ways...

20,5 x 15 cm, pencil, Lamy Safari with Noodler´s Lexington gray ink, and watercolours on paper that doesn´t take as many layers of watercolours that I want to force it to.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas preparations

I did a different take on the imagination drawing thing here. I took one day off the sketchbook plan, to make my Christmas cards. I figured since those are drawn from imagination too, they kind of fit into this December scheme of mine, even if they don´t end up in the sketchbook.

I make a batch of Christmas cards every year, and I used to make them with lino cuts, but I grew kind of tired of printing so many, since I don´t have a press. Lino cuts are fun to make, as long as you don´t have to make over 40 copies by hand... The last few years I have used stencils and Copic Airbrush instead. It´s an easy and fun (though not very cheap) way of multiplying an image.

What got me started with stencils in the beginning was the street artwork of such amazing artists as Banksy and Shepard Fairey and others (see links for inspiration below). With spray cans and stencils you can make amazing stuff, but it´s not very practical for making a few cards, what with the solvents and smell and all, so the Copic airbrush is a good replacement for the spray cans. You get kind of the same grainy spray results.

I usually make some tiny thumbnail sketches first, trying out different compositions. When I´m satisfied, I make a more finished drawing of the motif, in it´s right size, and then I trace it on to plastic films to make the stencils - one film for each colour. Then comes the most boring part - cutting out the stencils. It takes some time and patience to get a good result here, but once you´re done you enter the fun zone. Now you just spray away and the finished cards start piling up!

For some nice stencil inspiration, check out
Shepard Fairey
Logan Hicks
or check out the Off the streets gallery over at Stencil Revolution.

9 x 16 cm, Copic Airbrush on card stock.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Alien models?

I´m guessing a Star Trek fashion show. What do you think?

...I´m pretty sure men in white coats will come to take care of me now...

21,5 x 15 cm, Lamy Safari with Noodler´s Black, Black Faber-Castell Pitt brush pen and pencil on drawing paper.

I´m sure he´s a gangster

I don´t know him, he just turned up on my paper, but I´m sure he´s up to no good. And I also think he´s a ladies´ man. A heartbreaker.

15 x 20,5 cm, gray Faber-Castell Pitt brush pen, and two Lamy Safaris with Noodler´s Black and Noodler´s Lexington Gray in a cheap homemade folded sketchbook.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Day six - Portrait

Felt like doing a portrait today, sort of like a Mona-Lisa. I don´t mean to say that this is anything like La Gioconda, only that I was a bit inspired by her. You know, an attractive chic with a strange smile and a landscape in the background. :)

15 x 20,5 cm, pencil and watercolours on same useless drawing paper as yesterday and the day before that and...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

That tree again

Uhm... well, I don´t have much to say about this. I just kind of liked the tree from yesterday, and decided to let it grow.

15 x 20,5 cm, Lamy Safari with Noodler´s Lexington Gray ink, pencil and watercolours in very cheap sketchbook.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A bit scattered

I didn´t have much time to draw today, and no real good ideas either, so I just doodled every now and then, and I started on something new each time. Strangely enough, the fuller the page got, the more ideas I got, and I couldn´t fit them all in in the end. So now I know what to do every time I feel a bit uninspired - just draw! If I had kept going here, who knows, maybe something great would have turned up eventually! :)

20,5 x 15 cm, pencil, Lamy Safari with Noodler´s Lexington Gray ink, watercolours and white gel pen on drawing paper.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Third day of December challenge

Today a bunch of cartoony kids popped out of a whiteboard marker that I happened to hold in my hand. Afterwards, the Lamy Safari felt like adding some details, so I let it.

20,5 x 15 cm, whiteboard marker and Lamy Safari with Noodler´s Black ink on some drawing paper.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Miss Darkness

Who the **** ruined this page for me?! I was just innocently going to do my second drawing from imagination here, when something happened. My hand and the old Fibracolor pens that I found in a drawer today just went berserk.

She looks kind of hairy too, with all that hatching... yikes.

20,5 x 15 cm. Fibracolor pens, pencil and watercolours on crap paper.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Doodles in December

In my art plan for 2007 I stated that I wanted to draw more from imagination instead of just depicting stuff, but did I? Nope. Almost nothing. And that is not good, since 2007 is drawing to it´s end. So I decided to do something about it.

I have given myself the challenge of making one drawing from imagination every day in December. I made two simple, easy, cheap sketchbooks especially for this, folded from one piece of huge paper each. They´ve got 14 pages in them. Of course that makes 28 pages only, which I couldn´t help, since the way you fold these thingies only gives you 14 pages. So since December has 31 days, I have the possibility of giving myself some slack three days. Might come in handy. :)

Feel free to join me in this - imagination is fun, and I for one could use some more of it!

20,5 x 15 cm, pencil and watercolours in cheapo sketchbook.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sketching with Ronell

I belong to this online drawing community, EDM, with members from all around the world. It´s a great place to discuss drawing and general art issues with like-minded people, and to get some inspiration from other people´s work. I am one of few members in Sweden, though, and seeing how others on the list living close to each other go on sketchcrawls together every now and then, I feel a little off here in Stockholm at times. (A sketchcrawl is like a pub crawl, only skip the pubs and bring a pen.)

But sometimes life is so full of surprises! The other day I got an email from another EDM member, Ronell of Africantapestry, asking if I wanted to meet her in Stockholm, since she was coming up here for a few days. How likely is that to happen? Someone actually coming from France to Stockholm - in darkest November - wanting to meet and draw?

We decided to go get a coffee and do some sketching together Sunday evening. We talked a lot, and browsed through each other´s sketchbooks (hers is fantastic with glowing watercolors flowing freely over the pages - yummy!), talking about what we saw in ways that only initiated sketchbookers can, and had a great few hours at Café Gråmunken in Old town. We made a sketch each too - no, actually Ronell made two - from the interior of the café.

The internet is great. There´s a lot of nonsense out there, but here and there you´ll find real gems that make your life a little richer. Ronell is definitely one of them.

Ronell, it was so great to meet you and have a real art-chat and share some drawing time! I hope we can do it again some time!

17 x 22 cm, Lamy Safari with Noodler´s Lexington Gray and watercolours on Arches Satin paper.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

30 minutes by a zebra crossing

I seem to have taken to quick sketches lately, I don´t know why but I really enjoy trying to capture people in motion. These are from ten days back, I was sitting in a café overlooking a zebra crossing right in the heart of Stockholm, and I couldn´t resist making use of my sketchbook and a pen.

Unfortunately winter is here (well, I like winter, actually, but drawing-wise it´s a drag - either your fingers freeze or your ink does...) so it´s getting harder to find good places to draw in town. I like being outside. In-door shopping malls are always an option for drawing people, but I get so de-inspired (is that a word?) by the surroundings...

Oh well, I´ll get by.

16 x 21 cm, Lamy Safari with Noodler´s Lexington Grey on Arches Satin paper.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

One minute sketches

I and a friend of mine went to the most unusual life drawing session I have ever been to the other night. The model was a man who practiced tai chi, karate, and an African form of yoga.

He divided the drawing session into three half-hours with one practice each, and he changed into the proper clothes before each half-hour. Then he moved around, stopping for one-minute poses every now and then.

We had our hands full trying to capture his poses. In the beginning I didn´t succeed at all, I got all stressed out by the short poses. But after a while you kind of get the fact that you only have one minute, so you have to speed up. After a while I managed to work up a drawing speed that was just about enough to capture the main lines.

After drawing one-minute poses for two hours I was exhausted. It was difficult, but really fun, and I got loads of incredibly good practice.

Cretacolor NERO pencil sketches on A3 cartridge paper.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Inspired by Anita, I borrowed a skull from the school where I work, just to practice drawing something that I´m not used to. I put it in my bike bag on my way home, and it struck me what a funny sight it would be if I fell on my bike and a skull rolled out on the street. :)

Anyway, a skull is really interesting, once you start trying to capture it on paper. We´re so used to seeing skulls as symbols of things, meaning poison or death or heavy metal or whatever. An actual skull is much more intricate than a symbol or a logo, with shadows and strange shapes both on the outside and inside. And the whole time you have the thought somewhere in the back of your head that "this is how I actually look, too, on the inside"... Strange.

The first image is made without drawing, I painted directly in gouache in my Moleskine. The second one is funny - that crease between the pages in the sketchbook made my eyesight go wrong - the book was at a slight angle on my lap while drawing, and when I had finished I noticed that the eyes of the skull are completely out of line. The right (or lower, in this case) eye is way too far down. Guess I´ll have to lay the book flat the next time I want to draw across a whole spread...

Top drawing: 13 x 21 cm, gouache. Lower drawing: 26 x 21 cm, pencil and gouache. Both on Moleskine sketchbook pages.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Life drawings

I went to a life drawing session last week, the first of this season. I felt all rusty, but after one and a half hour (e.g. just before the session finished...) I started to get a grip of things and my drawings started to shape up a bit. I did these two seven-minute poses in my Moleskine, and played around with the background afterwards.

I find that there´s a tremendous difference between models, some are easier to draw, and some take some time to get used to. It´s as if your eyes have to adjust to how the model´s body is built. It´s fun though, no matter if it´s a model you like or not. There aren´t many other moments during a normal work week when I am so totally concentrated and in a "zone" as during these life drawing sessions. It´s a bit like I imagine meditation. After a drawing session it´s like waking up to the real world again, as if I´ve been somewhere else for a while.

13 x 21 cm, pencil, coloured pencils and Copic marker airbrush on Moleskine sketchbook pages.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Concert drawings

I went to a concert last night, and brought my Moleskine with me (yes, I´ve bought a large Moleskine sketchbook, even though it´s not very useful with watercolours - I figured it´s time I work in some other techniques too, so I might as well try one of these and see what all the fuzz is about).

Our seats were slightly above the orchestra, which gave some excellent views of both audience and musicians. I filled two pages and added some coloured pencil when I got home.

I can really recommend drawing at classical concerts - people sit still for very long, and as long as you don´t sit way down in the back of the concert hall, you´ll have plenty of subjects to study.
13 x 21 cm, Lamy Safari with Noodler´s Lexington grey ink, and coloured pencils in Moleskine sketchbook.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Going grayscale

I´ve been busy busy busy at work the last few weeks, as always when a new semester starts up. This means, of course, a bit less time for drawing right now, but I try to do some little thing almost every day.

I drew this guy yesterday when I was in town to run an errand. He stands there every day, all day long, holding a sign pointing to a restaurant situated in a back street off one of the main shopping streets in Stockholm. I wonder what perception of time a guy gets after standing there for a few weeks? I´d go crazy, but I guess there must be tricks to get through the day with a job like this... The drawing would have been just about 100 % more interesting if I had included his sign, but unfortunately there was already a drawing on the sketchbook page, right above this one, so I skipped it.

I decided to use the drawing anyway to make some value studies. I scanned it and printed out four copies and tried out a few different solutions with five Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils, ranging from black to very light gray. I´m way out of my comfort zone with coloured pencils, it´s been years since I´ve used any. Bought a bunch of Polychromos a while ago to give them a try, and I like them, as long as I don´t have to use them every day.

The original sketch contains no shadows or colours at all, which gave me the freedom to try any solution I wanted. Very interesting way to work, I think I´ll have to experiment with this some more.

7 x 10 cm, Lamy Safari with Lexington Gray (scanned and printed four times), coloured with Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sketchbook drawings

Two more drawings from the same bike ride as in the last post. This is the first house I ever drew starting at the bottom and drawing upwards. Sat in a lovely little park near the Johannes church in Stockholm and drew and painted for about an hour or so. Finished some paint details at home.

Did another café drawing as well. The guy in the cap had such an interesting face and style, I just had to draw him. I don´t particularly like drawing in cafés, though, I often feel they are too crowded. It´s easier in the summer, when many cafés and restaurants have tables outside, often with a little more space around them. Not that I mind so much if people see me drawing, but I know I would feel a bit uncomfortable if I saw someone obviously trying to draw ME in their sketchbook, so I figure others feel the same. I don´t want them to see me looking at them.

Top drawing 8 x 20.5 cm, café drawing 16 x 12 cm. Lamy Safari, Noodler´s Lexington Grey and watercolours on Arches Satin paper.