Archive for the ‘travels’ Category

Puerto de la Luz

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014


One last sketch from Las Palmas. I spent a few hours drawing in the harbor on our last day there. There is something about worn down industrial environments and big rusty ships that is so tempting to draw. I wish I could have come closer to some of these boats, but most of them were off limits for pedestrians. It would be great to be able to go onboard one of these old workhorses and draw what´s on deck up close.

Approx. 18 x 13 cm, PITT artist pen and watercolours in Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook.

Iglesia de San Juan Bautista

Sunday, March 16th, 2014


Not far from Las Palmas, there is a small town called Arucas, where there is this huge black church, looming high over the rest of the buildings – quite a sight. There are big churches all over Europe, but to me, this one is really special, because it is so fantastically big in comparison to the surrounding buildings. It´s as if it was built to the wrong scale!

I had to draw it, of course, and sat for about an hour and a half trying to do something to convey the feeling of standing in front of it, but honestly – this church is too much to fit on a sketchbook page.

(Click image for bigger view.)

21,5 x 14,5 cm, UniPin fineliner and watercolours on Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook spread.

Plaza de Santo Domingo

Sunday, March 16th, 2014


After some trouble finding a better layout for the home office, I am back on track with scanning the sketchbook.

My walk around Vegueta (see my previous post) also brought me to this calm, almost sleepy, little square – Plaza de Santo Domingo. Two or three people and some pigeons were my company here on this warm early afternoon.

20 x 14,5 cm, various ink fineliners and watercolours on Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook page.


Sunday, March 9th, 2014


While in Las Palmas, I spent a few hours walking around Vegueta, the oldest part of town. Stopped at Plaza Santa Ana to do some sketches from the square in front of the cathedral, then strolled around for a bit, enjoying the calm narrow streets, the nice atmosphere and the warm sun.

Then I went to look for the tiny Plaza de Espiritu Santo after a tip from local urban sketcher Ale. It turned out to be a beautiful little oasis, squeezed in between two streets. I sat there drawing for a while, listening to some kids playing and the water splashing in the fountain. And when I left, I discovered that I was right back at the cathedral again. Walking in circles…


Both drawings: 21,5 x 14 cm, various waterproof fineliners and watercolours on Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook pages.

Drawing old cars in Las Palmas

Saturday, March 8th, 2014


Who knew Las Palmas had an antique car museum! Thanks to Pedro Villarrubia, local sketcher from Las Palmas, I had the opportunity to sketch a few old cars in Las Palmas.


We had to wait for a while for the little Club de Automoviles Antiquos de Las Palmas to open – a great opportunity to grab a coffee and compare sketchbooks.

drawing_old_cars2_las_palmasThen into the museum for some sketching action. I think this museum is one of Las Palmas most well kept secrets – I tried to search for it online before going there, but couldn´t find it, and we were almost the only visitors during the evening. But oh the cars they have here! I get all soft inside when I see old beauties like these, and I really appreciate that there are dedicated enthusiasts who keep them alive.

And among all the classic Fords and Jaguars in there, suddenly there she was – an old Renault 16, same as my first car that dad gave me some time around 1990. I can still remember the comfortable soft suspension, the column shift and the little mono radio… Ah, the nostalgia. I also learned a few new bad words listening to dad trying to mend it when it broke down little by little the following years… ; )


Pedro´s drawings from the evening are here, if you scroll down a bit:

Both drawings: UniPin fineliner and watercolours on Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook.

Off to Las Palmas

Friday, March 7th, 2014


Of course a journey that includes flying has to include airport drawings. It´s a must.


I had the opportunity to meet with local Urban sketchers Pedro Villarrubia and Ale on our first day in Las Palmas. We started out with a fantastic lunch on Sunday, together with Pedro´s family and my dear M (who held the camera here) and then went out to sketch for a couple of hours. We were joined by Marie Carmen too, another local sketcher.

It really is great to be part of the big Urban Sketchers community when traveling – it is such a treasure to find new friends and sketching companions wherever you go. Thank you guys for joining me and M on this and following days, taking the time for sketching and showing us around town – you really enriched our stay in Las Palmas! :)


After lunch we sketched the obvious thing in front of us when we came out from the restaurant – Las Canteras beach. I was the slowest sketcher of the bunch. ;)


See more of the other sketchers´work and posts about our sketch outing here:

It was a lovely feeling to be able to sketch outdoors in the sun, as a contrast to the grey and cold Stockholm views I´ve been surrounded by the last few months. And the greenery! Coming from bare winter trees in the North, to the parks of Las Palmas is fantastic. I spent the next morning sipping a nice cappucchino while drawing this amazing huge tree in Parque Doramas.


All drawings: 21,5 x 14,5 cm, Namiki Falcon with Platinum Carbon ink, various fineliners, and watercolours on Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook pages.

Long flight home

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014


Sketching is a foolproof way to keep you from getting bored, even during a long flight with a wall in front of you. I´ve been on a one week trip to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, with my dear M and the in-laws, enjoying lots of sleep, good food, plenty of time for drawing, just the right amount of sun and warmth, one dip in the Atlantic (cold but quite enjoyable) and some very inspiring meetings with local urban sketchers. More sketches are coming out fresh from the scanner shortly.

21,5 x 14 cm, my dear M, the in-laws, UniPin fineliner and watercolours on Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook.

Flying home

Friday, August 30th, 2013


I have had pencils with mixed colour leads in them before, but not this kind, where the colours are neatly placed next to each other. I found it in a bookshop in Barcelona, and used it for parts of this spread from El Prat and Frankfurt airports on my way home from the Urban sketchers symposium in July.


Exciting with a mixed colour pencil where you can almost control the change of colour by rotating the pencil while drawing.

27 x 21,5 cm, Black Pal mixed coloured pencil, various ink pens and watercolours on Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook spread.

Last day in Barcelona

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013


So, I finally scanned the last few spreads from Barcelona, drawn the day after the Urban sketchers symposium in July. This was on a calm Sunday, I took a stroll through the Barri Gotic, and made a sketch here and there during the day. Had a few interesting conversations with passers-by, and got a calm day of relief after the hectic (in a good way!) symposium days.


Met with some other sketchers in a bar in the evening, and had an early dinner with them before heading back to the hotel to pack my bags.


All spreads: 27 x 21,5 cm, fountain pens with Platinum Carbon ink and Platinum Pigmented Sepia ink in Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook.

Barcelona symposium workshops, Part 2

Monday, August 26th, 2013


So, a long post to finish up the workshop pages from the Urban sketchers symposium in Barcelona this summer. The left page is notes from a demo of digital sketching on iPads, by Josú Maroto and Monica Cid – interesting and fun to watch. I use an iPad at work, but never really caught on to sketching on it. It was interesting to see how these guys go about it, made me want to try it too.

The right-hand page above, and the spread below is from Sagar Fornies workshop Lighting the City: Lights and Shadows amid Excitement and Serenity, in which we worked a lot with light and shade, more than local colour. Sagar also works a lot with coloured lines to strengthen the feeling of light and shade, warm and cool, foreground and background, and we were all sponsored with a 4-colour Bic rollerball pen to try this.


The concept of coloured lines isn´t new to me, but I always used the same colour for all lines in my drawings. Sagar uses different colours depending on if he wants a warm or cold impression, or if things are close or far away in the image. This is something I have to try to work on more, it does give a stronger effect than I would have expected. I can´t decide whether to keep these pages like this, or to finish them a bit more, to really try the concept… Unfinished pages are good for the memory. We´ll see.

The next workshop I took was James Richard´s Life between Buildings: Capturing the Energy. James managed to put into words things that I have been doing without really thinking about it. For example, during our first exercise, we drew a crowd on Placa Catalunya. James explained how your eyeheight hits all the people in the crowd at the same height of their bodies. So, if I´m sitting down, for example, I´m at the height of everyone´s waist (see sketch below), which means I know that I have to put all the waistlines on the same height to make a convincing crowd.


I have been drawing crowds before, I know this is the way it works, because I can see it when I´m out sketching. But MAN, is it good to get things into words sometimes, to become aware of what you are doing! For some reason, I drew this crowd quicker than I ever have, because suddenly I had a more conscious way of thinking about what I was doing!


We tried doing quick thumbnails too, and a full spread sketch of the whole place. This workshop was such a treat (well, they all were, but for different reasons…) for putting into order what was laying around in a mess in my head before. : )

Inbetween workshops I also caught Ch’ng Kiah Kiean´s demo on how to draw with a twig and ink. It was fascinating to watch him work, and I shot a little video of the demo here.

I will only post one page each from the last two workshops I took, because I did most of the work there in a sketchbook that is too big for the scanner, and those pages are even less finished than the others, so I´ll save them for myself.

Veronica Lawlor´s Designing Barcelona was a treat to the eye and the mind, both because of her fantastic teaching, and because the workshop took place in front of four of the most famous modernist buildings in Barcelona. Drawing these masterpieces is of course a challenge, but Veronica made it feel like a possible task after guiding us on how to simplify and pull out the most important features of each building.


One thing that I will always bear in mind from this workshop is Veronica´s demo on how she works with thumbnail sketches. She examines a subject by feeling her way around it with the pen (or whatever tool she chooses), almost trying on the language of shapes in the subject, to find a way to capture it and really express what it is all about. Impressive.

The last workshop I took in Barcelona was Capturing Space through Form and Color, with Marion Rivolier. I admire Marion´s way of capturing vast scenes directly in watercolour, and trying out her way of working was a real eye-opener, so interesting and inspiring – though very difficult. I use watercolour in a very different way than she does, and it was hard to look away from my own habits while trying on hers.


One of the things I really appreciated in this workshop, was that we were working with the exact same scene in each exercise. I think I may have heard a few participants whispering that they would have loved to change scenes between the sketches, but actually, I think it was brilliant to do the same scene over and over. That way I could see more clearly the difference between the exercises, what the change in colours and shades really did. I had some serious problems with my watercolours not drying fast enough, so I didn´t manage to finish any of the sketches. Should have brought one or  two more sketchbooks to this one…

All spreads 27 x 21 cm, various pens and watercolours in Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook.

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