Today I met up with a group of sketchers in Stockholm to draw at Riddarholmen, a small island connected to Old town. This place always feels a bit strange to me, because there are no apartments on this little island, only offices and courtrooms. What you get is a place full of really old, beautiful buildings, windows everywhere, some tourists strolling around – but not really much life going on. You will possibly have a tourist bus or two parking right in your view if you sit down to sketch here, but they won´t stay for long, and neither will their passengers.


There is a nice outdoors café here, though, which is usually quite calm this time of the year – perfect for a group of sketchers pausing between drawings. And in sunny weather, as today, the quay is the perfect place to bask in the sun, and enjoy the smashing view of Stockholm surrounding you across the water.

I am still getting used to my new Daniel Smith watercolours, and using mixes that I usually do with my Winsor & Newtons does not always work as expected. I do mix quite a bit of mud these days, but I´m thinking it will get better soon – we´re just getting acquainted. :)

Both drawings: 18,5 x 19,5 cm, Namiki Falcon with Platinum carbon ink, UniPin fineliner and watercolours on Fabriano NOT watercolour paper in handbound Russell Parry sketchbook.

11 Responses to “Riddarholmen”

  1. David says:

    Hi Nina,

    Great sketches, well done. I love the boat. I’m not so happy with my own attempts but I did learn a lot today. I’ll be back painting that town hall again very soon, and I’ll keep returning until I’ve mastered it, I’m such an art-nerd. :)

    • Thanks David! That´s the spirit – attack it again and again! :) I think you did good, though – that last one was great in my eyes.
      I was a bit surprised that the UniPin fineliner ink was not quite waterproof in this boat sketch. It usually is, but not on this paper, for some reason. Oh well, now I know.

  2. Rob Weaver says:

    I love both but more especially the boat sketch – the background is so good, too.

    Like you, I am switching to DS watercolours. I am doing it gradually – using them as replacements as my existing colours get low.

    • Thanks Rob. Probably a good idea to switch little by litte, I just bought a whole bunch of tubes and dived straight in – and it takes a bit of time to get used to them.

  3. Zoe says:

    Always great drawings, Nina. Love the light in the ship(boat).

    There is a new watercolour coming out here in the States in a week or so, QoR from Golden Paints. I tried it and think its transparency is terrific. I believe Cathy Johnson (Kate) is reviewing them.

    Have a good Spring in Stockholm.

    • Hi Zoe, I saw something about that on Facebook, followed a link somewhere and checked them out. Sounds interesting, but knowing how long it took for Daniel Smith to become available in Sweden, I guess I´ll be waiting to try these guys for a while.
      It´s quite expensive to order materials from the US, because you always end up having to pay customs for them, which adds a lot to the cost. So I´ll just stick to the DS for now, and have another brand to look forward to in ten years or so. ;)

  4. Isa says:

    Deux très beaux dessins, l’ambiance très calme du premier avec ces magnifiques tours et l’esprit voyage du deuxième, qui donne envie de partir :) . bravo !

  5. Russell Parry says:

    Hi Nina, Lovely sketches on the NOT paper; hope you like the effect as much as I do.
    I don’t think I’ve ever used Unipin fineliner, but I’m interested to hear it seems less ‘waterproof’ on the NOT paper. I usually draw with Faber-Castell PITTs, or occasionally Sakura Pigma Micropens. Neither of these seem to bleed with watercolour, even a minute or two after drawing. I’ve gone off the Pigma pens ‘cos they seem to splodge ink everywhere when shaken around or particularly when in an aeroplane.

    By the way, has anyone tried the ‘Acroball’ pigment ink ballpoints? I really like them so far, but they need about a quarter hour to dry or they will smudge, and they completely dissolve and separate with ethanol-based fixative; reminds me of those primary school chromatography experiments!

    • Thanks, Russell! I do love the NOT paper, it´s got just the right tooth for watercolours.
      I have never EVER had UniPin bleed ink like this, and I usually never have to wait at all for it to dry before I add watercolours, so this was a surprise. Not that I mind too much, but it´s strange.
      I had never heard of the Acroball pens, they look like regular gel ink pens? Never tried those with watercolours either – and I´m not one for waiting for lines to dry much before splashing paint on my drawings. ;)

  6. Russell Parry says:

    The Pilot Acroballs were advertised as a “New range of hybrid ink ballpoint pens, combining the best qualities of gel ink and traditional ballpoint ink. Super-smooth writers with good dense colour, Acroball ink is archival-quality – light-fast and waterproof.” I found them on the Cult Pens website (which you probably know?) They are certainly dense, and don’t ‘blob’ much. The smudging within the first few minutes that I mentioned is really when they are rubbed; I don’t think a watercolour wash disturbs the ink much. The ink is insoluble in water as far as I can make out, it just takes a little while to dry. I’ve never used a gel pen, so I thought it handled more like an ordinary ballpoint than anything else.

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