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A Sketchbooking Retreat- part 3

Posted by Koosje Koene in ArtJournal, sketchbook on September 9, 2017

This is the third blogpost in a series of 4. In this series I’m sharing my experiences and drawings of a workshop I attended in Rotterdam a couple of weeks ago. You can read the previous post here.

Drawing People

After a restless night, with dreams in color pencil lines and blobs of paint, I was eager to learn more on day 2 of the ‘Pushing Your Sketch Boundaries’ workshop. Before the workshop session started, at breakfast I filled a page using watercolors with color pencil lines on top.

During the morning session, Miguel Herranz was teaching our group a bit of theory about drawing people.

Biggest takeaways:

-forget about proportions, it’s all about the gestures.
-when you’re standing, all people’s heads are more or less on the same imaginative horizontal line
-when you’re sitting down, all people’s rib cages are more or less on the same imaginative horizontal line. If you sit down on the ground, it’s the hips that align.

Then he brought the storytelling element in and he sent us to draw people interacting with each other and study their body language and movements. Find interesting postures that could tell a story.

Biggest takeaways:

-I enjoy this so much, I could do this ALL DAY
-people are so intriguing

Now that we tried our hands at telling story with those people’s body language, we were going to crop and frame our views. Focus our views and see what we could leave out to four even more on what you want to tell.  I get the idea and I love it but I need a lot of practice.

Biggest takeaways:

-Less is more.
-Even the smallest detail can tell a bigger story

During lunch I didn’t stop drawing


In the afternoon, Isabel Carmona told us to take out ALL of the art materials we brought with us and first choose a building and draw it a few times – each time with a different tool. After that we should pick a view and draw it using any materials of choice, adding personality that way to each building. I don’t know why but I skipped the first exercise and started drawing my view right away. I used masking fluid  for the first time ever and kind of like it – and I managed to draw two different views. When I wondered if I could use my glue stick (as we had to use ALL our drawing materials), Isabel suggested I could use collage – so one of the buildings is a piece of paper taken from her workshop handout.

Then we moved to a different location to all draw the same view, using a different tool for each building.

Biggest takeaways:

-SO much fun to work wth so many materials – I felt like a kid again. Play!
-No way I’ll bring all of my materials on locations often – I like to travel light.

Determined not to stop

At night we all gathered for dinner at the market hall, where I bought herring (it’s typical dutch) for our Spanish guests (the teachers and a bunch of participants). They loved it.
By now I was determined not to stop drawing after the workshop sessions, so I drew the group sitting at our table:

Koosje Koene

Hi I'm Koosje. I'm an illustrator and art teacher in Amsterdam, where I was born and raised. I went to school to study graphic design, then worked for ten years as an award-winning professional photographer. But eventually my love of drawing and painting took over and I became an illustrator. My illustrations have been published in many Dutch magazines and in 2011, I began blogging and started developing and teaching online art classes. In 2014 I founded Sketchbook Skool, which is a flourishing community of artists from around the world of all skill levels.