Drawing with mittens

vantar_slussen_1feb2013 vantteckning

I have given myself the challenge this winter to find ways to sketch with mittens on, and today was the first time I gave it a serious try. For some reason I have super sensitive fingers, I lose all sense in my finger tips if I get cold for too long, so I usually wear huge double mittens during winter – which of course makes it complicated to sketch with fountain pens and fineliners…


Today it was about -3° Celsius – not the coldest day of the year, but still – and I tried sketching with PITT artist pens Big Brush, in three shades of grey. I figured I can´t use small tools with my mittens on, so I went for the sturdiest I could find in my drawers. It worked out quite well, even if I couldn´t really control where the lines were going. I had to draw and re-draw just about everything, but I got the hang of it after a while.

Top sketch: 13,5 x 18 cm, lower sketch 18 x 13,5 cm, PITT Artist pen Big brush on folded sketchbook with Plano drawing paper.

22 Responses to “Drawing with mittens”

  1. Laura F. says:

    Just excellent work! Great idea to use the big Pitt brushes, too. I love what you achieved.

  2. Thanks a lot, Laura! It was fun, and I´m definitely doing more of these.

  3. Lovely drawings, especially as you had mittens on! Wonder if your fingers go so cold do you have Raynaud’s disease. Very common and causes the fingers to go so numb and cold….just wondered.

    • Thanks for your concern, Ann, but no, I don´t have Raynaud´s. Had to google it, and it is very extreme compared to my hands. I´m just a regular cold-fingered lady. ; )

  4. Suma CM says:

    Ah, this is a timely inspiration, as I’m off to Ottawa, Canada, in a few days and will be attempting to sketch in very cold weather there. Like the idea of working with large tools when wearing gloves – I might try my Caran d’Ache Neocolor II crayons.

    • Nice to hear, Suma. I´m planning to make use of my Neocolors too, though their back ends will probably leave a lot of colour on my mittens… Will have to figure something out there. Let me know if you do try them, it would be nice to see how it goes!

  5. Jen Appel says:

    Looks great! I guess it’s another variation on imposing a limitation to inspire creativity.

    Montreal is around -6°C this weekend, I should take some inspiration and try a mitten-sketch too!

  6. i enjoy these a lot.

    i value this immediate attempt, of exposing oneself to the weather you draw. i think, drawing winter through a window is kind of first step towards drawing from photos….

    the soft lines and tones capture a mild winter-feel so well. and your line control with mitten is admirable.

    • Thanks Rolf,
      that´s what I have been thinking too. It is so much more direct and down-to-earth if you can go out and draw, not matter what weather. The only kind of weather I think is a bit too much to bother with is heavy rain or snowfall.

      • i am afraid i got to agree on those two – but we should keep on researching, there will be a way….

        • Hehe, I agree. I have been thinking about a joke umbrella I saw once, it´s quite small and you can wear it on your head like a hat, but there are two problems: 1. you look like an idiot (which I can live with) and 2. it will inevitably be lifted off your head by even the slightest breeze… : )

  7. Filipe LF says:

    Congratulations Nina you’ve handled exquisitely the weather issue, one can feel the cold in these great sketches!

  8. Isa says:

    oh tu es bien courageuse Nina ! Je n’essaie pas de dessiner quand il fait aussi froid dehors, aujourd’hui nous avons beaucoup de vent et je me trouve aussi des excuses … ;)

  9. Don Colley says:

    Super drawings Nina! Especially given you were freezing. The drawing of the transit tunnel is so magnificent in conveying a sense of place, and weather. So much of the effectiveness of your drawings comes not just from a great feeling for perspective and accurate contours, but from great judgement in just exactly how much is necessary. Have you tried self warming sticks or pads? You could put one in each of your gloves to see if that could help with the numbing feeling from the cold exposure. It’s always rewarding looking in on your site. Cheers.

    • Thanks Don! Yes, I do have those self warming sticks, even a tiny electrical USB-charged one, but they are kind of bulky in the mittens. You get even less movability of the hand, which is kind of frustrating for holding the pen. But I will bring them along when it gets colder.

  10. These are quite wonderful. The value changes and the thickness of lines really make these very solid compositions. It’s probably a lot warmer in New York, but we have totally given up going outside.

  11. I don’t know how you can sketch in such cold weather and have it turn out with great perspective and detail. Thanks for sharing

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