Sunday, June 24, 2007

Make your own view frame

I sometimes enjoy using a view frame when I´m drawing, I find it easier to discover a nice composition with these little thingies. Usually I just cut out a tiny frame in black or white paper and carry along when I go out to draw, or I do as many others, and keep an empty slide in my pocket.

The problem with a slide or a piece of cut paper is that they are one format only. If I want the view frame to fit the size of my sketchbook I have to cut myself a new view frame every time I use a different sketchbook. And besides, I don´t always use the whole pages in my books, I usually make several drawings on the same page, so I´d need several frames, which of course is too much trouble to carry along all the time. I wanted a frame that can change it´s format to my liking.

I know there are ready made view frames to buy, among others Dick Blick in USA has something they call View catcher where you can change the format of the frame, but why pay for something when you can make your own for free?

The images show the materials I used, just two empty slides where I cut off one edge, and two pieces of plastic strip for framing posters. I think the photos speak pretty much for themselves.

This view frame is held together simply by the poster strips, so it´s easy to take it apart (whatever I should need to do that for), and it´s easy to change the format by simply sliding the slides (ha!) to the position I want. It goes all the way from a small square to the whole landscape spread of a Moleskine watercolor sketchbook (you can spread the slides even further apart than shown in the photo). Works like a dream, and it´s got it´s own place in my pen case now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Les cowboys de l´asphalte

When I and my dear M went to Paris little more than a year ago, we spent a rainy evening in our hotel room watching French TV. One of the channels showed a documentary about some asphalters, you know the kind of program where you get the feeling that the guys and gals (if any) doing this tough job are true heroes. We laughed hard when the narrator called the people in the film "les cowboys de l´asphalte" in a grave voice and a strong French accent. The phrase comes up every now and then, as a joke between us.

This morning we had all reason to bring it up again, when we woke up to a horrendous noise below our windows and discovered that the whole neighborhood had been invaded by les cowboys and their machines. Man, those things are loud! Especially at six thirty in the morning.

Anyway, no matter how loud they were, these cowboys de l´asphalte were very welcome. Their work, asphalting some parts of the yard, was the finishing touch to the long and tiresome renovation of the street where we live, and we look forward to a summer of peace and quiet. Beginning tomorrow!

14 x 16 cm and 14 x 11 cm, Lamy Safari, Noodler´s Black and Lexington grey, and watercolours on Arches hot press watercolour paper.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Took a coffee break in town today, and drew two stores across the street. Sitting in the shadow of a tree, with a nice cafe latte, drawing away - isn´t that a great vacation thing to do? :)

11 x 7 cm, Lamy Safari, Noodler´s Lexington grey on Arches hot press paper. Watercolours added afterwards.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stormy skies

Did two quick watercolor/ink sketches of the view from our kitchen window tonight. There´s a strong wind blowing, and dark purple-grey clouds are moving fast across the sky. My tiny sketches don´t make the scenery any justice, but I had to give it a try. I find skies and clouds extremely difficult to capture in watercolours, but they have promised this weather will stay on for a while, so I guess I´ll get plenty of practice!

Oh, and this is the first drawing in my new sketchbook.

15 x 21 cm, Lamy Safari, Noodler´s Lexington grey and watercolours on Arches satin watercolour paper.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Some fast sketches

I haven´t had time to post lately, because of the workload at the end of the spring semester. Now, on the other hand, there is no more work until mid August. Sometimes I love my job! :)

I have done a few quickies though, trying to live by the wisdom I gained from the Everyday in May challenge - it is ALWAYS possible to find a little time for drawing, even if you are busy. The top one is not really finished, and I will not finish it, but I think it turned out ok anyway. I have been wanting to draw this part of Stockholm for a long time, and I will probably go back there and draw some more, I only caught about half of the view I had from where I was sitting.

Been making a new sketchbook too, the one I had just started drawing in fell apart - my own fault, I did a lousy job trying to save a book that wasn´t too good to begin with - so now I have the great pleasure to start on a new book again! :)

Apart from drawing, these first few days of my vacation will be spent on screen printing, we´ll see what comes out of that.

The big drawing is 18 x 15 cm, the others about half that size. Lamy Safari, Noodler´s Lexington grey and watercolours in a now fallen apart sketchbook.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


We went to Djurgården in Stockholm today to check out Gärdesloppet, a veteran race for cars older than 50 years. There´s a great event around this race, gathering cars and car enthusiasts from all over Scandinavia. If you like old cars, this is one grand feast for the eyes.

As I have a plan to start learning how to draw cars this year, I had to go see all these beauties and try to capture a few of them on paper (though I have to admit I captured a huge amount more of them with a camera...).

I hesitated for a bit at first, since there are immense crowds of people in this place and you feel like you are in the way wherever you choose to sit, but eventually I sat down and started drawing in front of this Volvo. I drew directly in ink, so mistakes and mis-measurements that got caught on the paper stayed on the paper. I can see clearly that the poor Volvo doesn´t quite look like itself here, but I´m still happy with two things about this drawing:
1. The vehicle is still in fact recognizable as a Volvo, and
2. I actually drew a car!

The other fella is a Mercedes, though that isn´t very easy to see, because the owner got in behind the wheel and drove off before I even got to the emblem... Oh well. Still, I think I got the angle and the wheels pretty right. (I just discovered today that wheels in perspective is a huge challenge to draw! Practice, practice...)

I love old cars and I must say they give far more inspiration for drawing than modern cars. These oldies have soul, they have design, they have history, they have style, and thanks to the enthusiasts that keep them alive, I´ll bet these veterans will still be rolling when today´s cars are long gone.

Volvo: 19 x 13,5 cm, Mercedes: 15 x 8 cm, Lamy Safaris and Noodler´s Lexington Grey and Black, in sketchbook with unknown paper.