Just a few weeks ago, social distancing was a brand new term (at least to me), and now, it’s become very familiar to all of us.
As we’re all trying to stay safe, inside our own homes, while worrying about the many unknowns, about those who have been getting sick, and those who are losing their jobs, we all are figuring out our own ways to cope with all of it.
I find it hard to concentrate. On anything really. I feel like I want to do all the things. And at the same time, I don’t want to do any of them.
It’s not like I am distracted because I am checking the news all the time – actually I am limiting that to a couple of times a day, to reduce stress and anxiety.
I am just restless. I keep getting up to do something, but I don’t know what exactly. Opening the door of the fridge to look inside, even though I am not hungry. I noticed that my husband does it too.
I have a new live workshop idea, which I am quite excited about, but it’s hard to concentrate and focus enough, to figure out the curriculum for it.
This is probably all normal, when trying to get a new routine in a limited space, and when the world has suddenly changed so drastically. So the past days, for me, have all been about accepting.
Even though my studio is just a block away from my apartment, and we don’t have an official “lockdown” in the Netherlands (yet), I am staying at home as much as possible. As I am a workaholic, I could just open my laptop and start diving onto my to-do list, right after waking up. Instead, to stay sane, I start the day with a freshly brewed coffee and a drawing. I have always liked drawing in the morning, but the past week I have done it even more intentionally, and then found myself most of the days drawing the same corner of the living room.
You might think that drawing the same thing over and over again is boring. On the contrary: It can be very exciting. You will notice different things each time, and if you choose a different technique or approach every time, it can be really exciting to draw the same familiar subject.
Well, I think the drawings here are living proof that when you draw the same thing over and over again, the outcome is never once the same. For each drawing session, I picked up a different pen or a completely different art material. I tend to be biased to using pen and watercolors, but really enjoyed the limited palette version using two colored pencils. I may choose a drasticallIy different approach: paint only, perhaps? Or maybe I want to use crayons, just because I don’t use them that often.
Looking at the drawings here as a collection, I notice that every day, I zoomed in a bit more. Maybe the next drawing I make of this corner in the living room, I can zoom out again. I may move on to a different corner in my home – I am not going to set any rues for myself. There are enough rules right now we need to follow. There are no rules for making art, and that makes it so joyful. Even in desperate times.
Wherever you are, stay safe.
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. View all posts by Koosje Koene