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Making progress by keeping at it

Posted by Koosje Koene in ArtJournal, sketchbook on June 24, 2019

The other day I was asked the question:

“How has Sketchbook Skool impacted your drawing skills? If you went back, before SKetchbook Skool, to a scene you thought at the time was complicated, could you draw it now with much more confidence in your abilities?”

I love this question, and here is my answer:
Sketchbook Skool has a big impact on my drawing skills, and I love it! I think one of the biggest learning curves has been drawing people.

I did this one 5 years ago. I was totally uncomfortable drawing people (and that’s why I did it anyway! Because: how else do you learn?

Proportions are off, the watercolors are a bit pale, and I remember that every time I started drawing someone, they left. Just seeing this drawing, I can feel my frustration again. Still – I ploughed through and then kind of disliked the page – but hey, I just turned the page for the next drawing, and after all, I had enjoyed sitting in the sun, watching people and playing with the art tools I had in my sketch bag!

This is at the same place, about three years later-  a bit more of a confident line and better proportions:

With each drawing I make, I become a little more confident


In the beginning, I was very afraid people would notice me drawing them, but now I am actually really happy when people come up to me and ask if they can see my drawing. I don’t mind if I didn’t make a very flattering drawing, and it turns out that they don’t either!

And with each new tool, I learn more too!

Here’s a very recent one I did with colored pencils, applying new techniques and ideas I learned from our teachers in the Colored Pencils kourse.

Looking back at where you came from, and then looking where you are now, is very encouraging

It reminds you of the experience you’ve been building, the confidence that you’ve been growing. It’s not really about the results, although it’s great to see drawings turning out better thanks to a confident line and a sense of trust in your own abilities.

And then just take a moment and realize – this is all YOU. You made this development in skills and confidence happen, by keeping at your creative habit.
And then, celebrate it by making a drawing!

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.