Archive for the ‘Pencil’ Category

Rodin at Nationalmuseum

Monday, October 26th, 2015


Pencil special! I went sketching with some friends today at the Rodin exhibition at Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. We got a special permit to draw in pencil there, no pens allowed. So two challenges in one – pencil AND Rodin…


I tried out some Faber-Castell watersoluble pencils that I won (!) on an online giveaway a while back – super fun to use! Just a little waterbrush, the pencil and a little rag to wipe the brush, and you´re good to go!


I never looked closely at a Rodin sculpture before, but after today I am in awe over Rodin´s treatment of light and shadow. When trying to draw sculptures you notice these little things that sculptors do to make the light do it´s magic on the figures, and Rodin had such an eye for these details. Little exaggerations, little simplifications, all to make light dance.

(The portrait of Rodin himself in the top drawing was made by Camille Claudel, and the portrait of Ferdinand Boberg at the bottom image was made by Swedish sculptor Carl Milles.)

21 x 15, pencil, watersoluble pencil and waterbrush in Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook.

Sketching at IKEA

Sunday, November 25th, 2012


We now have a small sketching group in Stockholm, and we try to meet up the last Sunday of every month to do some sketching together. (Let me know if you are interested in joining us!) Last time, someone suggested we should go to IKEA to draw some time, which sounded like a crazy enough idea the month before Christmas, so today we did. Well, two of us did – unfortunately the rest were busy with other things today. Check out my fellow sketcher David Meldrum´s site!


IKEA turned out to be a blast to draw in (plus they have cafés all over the place). Lots of perspective going on, with layers of columns, signs and people everywhere, and textiles hanging down like foldable walls from the ceiling. Everything in there lets you work with scale and depth in your sketches, which is tricky but fun.

Of course I made use of the free art supplies in there – the little short pencils they hand out to take notes turned out to be great for sketching values (though it didn´t make any really dark shades).

26 x 13 cm, top sketch: Namiki Falcon with Platinum Carbon black ink and IKEA note pencil in HandBook sketchbook, bottom sketch: Duke fountain pen with Platinum Carbon ink and watercolours in HandBook sketchbook.

Slussen with a carpenter

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Another Monday off spent drawing. I went back to Slussen again (have been drawing quite a lot there before), this time with an updated carpenter´s pencil in hand. I was drawing with actual carpenter´s pencils this summer, but missed the real blackness of a good soft pencil.


Then I found this one in an art supply store here in Stockholm, the artsy alternative of the old trusted carpenter´s friend – it is actually a 6B! Much better.


I have been thinking that I need to start trying out tools that would work with mittens on, to be able to do some winter sketching later on. I think this pencil might be a winner. It´s a sturdy tool with lots of expression built in, and doesn´t involve any ink (avoiding freezing issues). And since it has such a clumsy point anyway, it should be ok that mittens are not ideal for delicate detail work.

17 x 24 cm, broad 6B pencil on lousy cheap paper in a folded sketchbook.


Tuesday, September 4th, 2012


Summer holiday is over in Swedish schools, and I´m back at work again. Last week I did a negative space drawing exercise with a few students. I brought into the classroom the most complex item I could think of that I had nearby – my bicycle – and told the students to not draw the bike, only the negative space in and around it. While they were at it, I gave it a try too, and lo and behold, this is the greatest looking bicycle I have ever (not) drawn!

I seldom draw bikes, I avoid them, because I find them incredibly complicated and they always end up looking strange and crooked. But it is good to see that a basic drawing exercise can work wonders on even the most complex subjects. Drawing negative space is a great way to avoid letting the brain draw what it knows, and instead concentrate on just comparing shapes, distances and relationships. I should do more of these.

Also, because I drew the bicycle, I noticed the left pedal is broken, have to fix that. (For some reason I didn´t even draw the right one… I wonder what condition it´s in?)

29 x 18 cm, pencil on regular drawing paper.

Drawing at the Mediterranean museum

Saturday, February 25th, 2012


I have been drawing with two friends at the Mediterranean museum today (or The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities, as they state their name in English). I have been working with some other techniques than ink pen lately, to try to get out of my normal routine for a bit. Today a mechanical pencil with a really thick lead was my weapon of choice.

At the museum they have a huge collection of antique terracotta figurines from excavations in Cyprus, and they are hilarious! If you ever go there to see them, I promise you will have the urge to draw them. They come in all sizes from tiny to human size, and they all have their own personality. Some are very elaborately made, with clothes and hats and patterns all over, while others are just thumbed clay in some sort of human shape. I love the ones with only a big nose in the middle of their face. So simple, yet so expressive.

13 x 22 cm, pencil on some sort of drawing paper.

Slussen IV

Sunday, September 19th, 2010


Slussen again. Down at water level – actually under the Underground level – there´s a bus terminal where you go if you´re heading east, toward Nacka and further out to the archipelago. Slussen is a worn down construction, and down here all you see is concrete, but the play of light is fantastic if you have time to stop and actually look.

I´m trying to draw as much as possible right now, because in short it will be too cold for drawing outside. I shocked myself by using pencil today – lovely tool, really, I should use it more often.

17 x 10 cm, pencil on Arches Satinée 300 gsm watercolour paper.

Life drawing session

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010


The life drawing sessions I often go to started again yesterday, after a holiday hiatus. They take place in a little 1930´s cinema theater near where I live, and even though it´s not perfect to sit in a cinema chair to draw (I usually stand up), and the lighting is less than great, it´s never crowded and the atmosphere is always nice.

This is a ten minute pose that I think turned out ok. I used watersoluble pencil and a waterbrush, which worked really well to get a little bit of shading in a short time.

About 24 x 10 cm, watersoluble pencil and waterbrush on cartridge paper.

Winter wonderland

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009


We drove 700 kilometers today, through a cold and snow-covered Sweden. I grabbed the opportunity to do some sketching in the car, since I was not the one driving at the moment.

15 x 8 cm, pencil on Fabriano Rosapina paper (sketchbook page).


Saturday, December 5th, 2009


Found a new toy today in a store, a water soluble pencil. I think I actually had one of those once, but I never really used it. I bought two, a 2B and a 4B, and played around a bit. I like the way the water smoothes out the graphite without rubbing out the lines completely. You can keep working on top of the washed surfaces with more graphite, getting much darker traces.

For those of you living in countries where poinsettia is more like a bush or a tree – in Sweden we buy them in December, in a pot, and every Swede get all Christmassy inside when these turn up in windows everywhere. People don´t usually keep them longer than a few weeks or until the red has disappeared – poinsettias do not fancy our climate, so the red leaves don´t come back.

17 x 18 cm, Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth “GIOCONDA” Aquarelle pencils and watercolours on Fabriano Rosapina paper (sketchbook page).

Model´s face

Monday, October 12th, 2009


Another week – another life drawing session. With rather poor results this time. The only thing I was remotely happy with was this – a fast sketch of the model´s face. Or half of it.

16 x 15 cm, pencil on cartridge paper.

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