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Why drawings of feet tell a story

Posted by Koosje Koene in ArtJournal, Draw Tip, sketchbook on April 8, 2019


I have a lot of drawings of my feet. I like drawing them but there’s another reason too.

Our sketchbooks tell the stories of our lives. Even the quickest drawings of perhaps uninteresting things become valuable, because they are part of your life.
Over time, your pages will be filled with sketch adventures done on location, on holiday or at home. But also drawings of mundane stuff; your keys tossed on the table, your coffee cup on the kitchen table, the soap dish next to the sink in the bathroom… My motto is “everything is interesting when you draw it”(great hashtag too!).

It’s so great to look back on your pages and ‘read’ your story, built in small steps, captured drawing by drawing, page by page.
I can recognize busy periods in my life when I look through the pages of my sketchbooks. How? Many feet drawings!
I only got my sketchbook out when I finally had a moment to myself, feet kicked up, taking a deep breath. Looking at what’s in front of me and drawing just that. Sometimes they are well dressed in shiny shoes, sometimes they are wearing fluffy slippers, sometimes they pose for me naked.

And my inner critic will tell me: “you should have taken the time to record some more significant moments.” Even at the very moment I am drawing my feet, the monkey tells me: “well, what’s so interesting about your feet? Couldn’t you come up with something more exciting?”
Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

It’s really not about the drawing itself, it’s about the act of drawing.

Looking at a shape with your eyes, following with the pen in your hand. Enjoying the flow of ink on paper, you are using another side of the brain than you’ve been using all day. Also, each time I draw my feet, I am learning. About my line, about the technique I use, about shape and proportion, and maybe even about my big toe or my little toe. Today, have a look in your archive. Flip through the pages of your sketchbook, ro go through drawers with art you made, and see if you can find any patterns and what you can learn from them.

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.