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Fearless Sketching!

Posted by Koosje Koene in ArtJournal, sketchbook on March 11, 2018

Art crushes

Have you ever had an art crush? I have them pretty often – and sometimes they last for a very long time.

A few years ago I was lucky to meet and film Spanish illustrator Miguel freekhand‘ Herranz in Barcelona for Sketchbook Skool. I happen to have had an art crush on Miguel’s work for years, and still do. So can you imagine how happy I was to hang out with him, talk with him about art, illustration, sketching and drawing? I held his sketchbooks and flipped through the pages in awe. I watched him work, looking over his shoulder, and was able to ask him all the questions that popped into mind.

I learned so much from looking at his work and also from watching how he does it, and the many people who took his klass in sketchbook skool have experienced the revelations of a simple approach towards drawing complex scenes. Miguel’s klass is part of the ‘Urban Sketching’ Kourse in Sketchbook Skool, in case you’re interested.

That first time I met Miguel, I asked him about his inspirators and influencers. He mentioned his good friend Inma Serrano, as one of the most brilliant sketchbook artists he knows. And I have to agree with him.
Inma Serrano’s work is so expressive, colorful and seems very intuitive and that makes each drawing breathe so much life and personality.

Since I tend to often choose a clear black line and then add hatching lines, working very neatly, I didn’t think I would ever accomplish a colorful and lively style like hers.
But the past few months or so I have been loosening up a bit more. I often use a Pentel brushpen which helps me to make my lines more playful (and sometimes kind of out of control), to let go of perfection, to let go of trying to represent exactly what I see. To find a way to tell a story in my sketchbook too.

Last summer when I took a weekend workshop in Rotterdam, learning from Spanish artists Isabel Carmona, Miguel Herranz and Inma Serrano, I was very happy to mix things up and try the many approaches they showed and taught. And I fell in art love once again – I have a huge crush on Inma’s style.

Then when Inma asked if anyone in the workshop group was interested to come to her city Sevilla in Spain for yet another workshop, I raised my hand. And many of us did. And so it happened that 15 people signed up and booked a flight for a weekend workshop called ‘Fearless sketching in Sevilla’ in February.
Booking for Sevilla was like buying myself a present. Sketching in a beautiful city for days in a row – nothing else to do than absorb the city through my drawings and explorations!

Long story short

So blah blah long story short –  this weekend in Sevilla happened a couple of weeks ago so let’s look at some drawings shall we?

When traveling, there are always so may sketch opportunities. Starting on the plane. And when the plane trip takeslong enough (Amsterdam to Sevilla about 2 hours), you might even fill not one but two double pages. 

…Or even three.

The day I arrived I wandered through the city to feel the city’s vibe, the people’s style, and also (big bonus!) the sun on my face! I had lunch outside on a terrace and pulled out my grey toned sketchbook to capture the lines of the parasols, the buildings and the colors.

I would be meeting some other sketchers near the cathedral, and while waiting I sketched the view from the Plaza del Triunfo.

We went for drinks and I drew everyone around me using my rainbow pencil.

Next day I had all day to spend in Sevilla because the workshop would start officially on Saturday morning. At night we would meet and introduce, and go to a Flamenco performance.

So I took my time to drink cortados while sketching one of the many little squares surrounded by beautiful architecture and people.  And at the end of the day I sat on another square again to draw. In the morning I had prepared my page with a bright watercolor wash which works really well as a background to represent the sunny city:

I explored the city by taking a long walk, then sat down to draw a very impressive and overwhelming view On Plaza del España.

In the evening, while waiting for the Flamenco performance, we sat together and chatted, drew each other and the people surrounding us at the theater slash bar.

Once the Flamenco performance started, I was mesmerized by the music and singing. Even though I didn’t understand a word of it, I could feel the heartache, the passion. And the dancer was amazing. So powerful, so elegant, such strength and storytelling in her moves! I tried to draw her but was kind of paralyzed by the quick movements and just sat there open mouthed looking at her performance.

This all happened even before the workshop had started. I’ll share the workshop drawings and my experiences in a next blogpost!

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.