Sketchings from Cozumel, Mexico

As I’ve learned in the recent weeks, sketching real life people and buildings are much harder than sketching by imagination.

There is something about getting the movements, perspectives and proportions right that can be a bit baffling sometimes.

So, I figured that is something I should do more of. How else would you get better at it, right?

Well, to make it all a bit more interesting (and easy to manage), I decided to start sketching scenes from my travels the recent years. It’s fun to look back at the photos, and I really get to relive the feelings being there as the sketching goes along.

The first one I did is from Cozumel, Mexico, which is one of the most colourful places I’ve ever visited. There were exciting buildings and sceneries everywhere you looked, and one of them were a roofless house with a tree growing out of it.

It looked like this:

Roofless house in Cozumel, Mexico

Pretty cool, right? So, I started by doing some pencil sketches, to see if the perspectives and proportions came out right.

When it looked ok, I drew in the lines I liked best with a marker pen, before removing the remaining pencil lines with an eraser. This being done, I had this piece of paper in front of me:

Drawing from Cozumel, Mexico

As you can see, the wall of the house behind the tree is still visible. This was a mistake, but I’ve come to term with the fact that it’s part of the whole sketch now. Maybe also liking it a bit, to be honest.

I added some graffiti of my own to the walls, just playing around with it, and did a few twerks to the scenery to have some fun.

This being done, it was time to add some watercolour. I decided I would make out the colours as I went along, not being tied to the real life painting but doing my own thing. This may have disrupted the whole idea of painting based on real life scenes, but I just got to excited…

After about an hour of painting, this was the finished product:

Cozumel, Mexico Sketch

A comparison:

Dancing around with anatomy

As a way of becoming a better painter and drawer, I bought some tutorial books to study. One of the assignments in the books is to draw people dancing.

By catching a moment of a dance, you need to get the movements of their body right. It becomes really clear if you mess it up, since the whole body usually gets pretty unproportional.

Anyway, since nobody was dancing anywhere in my nearest surroundings, I decided to use a photograph I took on a trip to America four years ago.

Walking around in Central Park, New York, we came over a huge group of people dancing together on a big, open space in the middle of the park. Just people coming together to dance with each other, not knowing one another beforehand.

So, I decided to use a photo of a woman in a pink dress, dancing around with a man in a yellow shirt. I thought their movement, especially the one of the woman, was an interesting and challenging one to try and catch on paper.

So this is the picture, and how the sketch turned out:

I think it went ok, but there is A LOT to keep working on. And by the way, I don’t know how the guy ended up having the worlds biggest nostril…. 🙂


My first sketchbook

In the spring of this year, after two years of oil painting, I decided it was time to expand my repertoire when it came to painting and drawing.

Partly because I think it will help me become a better allrounder, but also because doing oil paintings demands a certain amount of free time.

A pen or pencil drawing you can leave and get back to at any time. The same goes for a watercolour painting, where you also need a lot less time cleaning up.

I have made it a goal to manage at least 15 – 20 minutes of painting/drawing a day, which has gone well so far. Some of the work has been done in my brand new sketchbook.

I bought it in july, but haven’t gotten around to start using it before now. But, from some of my quick sessions, this is the work that got added to the first pages:


Getting into the sketching

I’ve been visiting the Urban Sketchers site a lot lately, simply because I really like the whole style of drawing and painting.

There is something really energetic and lively about a quick pen stroke, which I think can end up looking even better than a carefully selected one.

So, in my last post, I thought I would have a go at the whole sketch style myself, and drew up a kind of suburban, worn-down street.

I wanted to have a lot of grass, some old houses, a ruff road and some telephone poles, which I ended up painting a lot of birds on (I really love drawing telephone poles with birds on now!).

So I just went about it, really. Choosing my perspective and letting the pen do the work. For the drawing I used a 0,1mm Pigma Micron, before adding Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolor paint. Like this:



I was quite happy with it actually, and it was so much fun making them that I decided to have a go at another one right away. It ended up looking really similar, but with some improvements, I think:

Suburban housing

Suburban street 2

I also tried painting the hospital in the town where I live (my first ever real life sketch!), and found that having to deal with real life shapes and sizes, instead of just making them up in your head, are quite a bit more challenging.

But, this is how my sketch of Sykehuset Levanger ended up:

Drawing of the hospital in the town where I live

Pen time!

After trying out the pencils in my last post, it was finally time to pick up the pens. And in this case the pens were different sizes of Pigma graphic pens, 0,1mm and 0,2mm I think.

Anyway, it was so much fun painting street views with pencils in my last post, so I just wanted to try out the same kind of sceenes using a pen, actually.

I have been trying to get into the whole “sketch style” lately, and I think I may be getting closer for each painting/sketch (although there is still a long way to go).

The first sketch was of a windmill on a field, and looks like this:

Windmill field

It’s no masterpiece, but I think the lines of my pen are getting better. I also tried painting a suburban street on watercolour paper, finishing it off with a light stroke of paint. Like this:

And to finish up with something really random, I also made a sketch of old Uncle Sam…

Uncle Sam

Testing out the pencils

As I’ve recently decided to try out new material and techniques, such as pencil drawing, pen drawing and markers, I decided to have a go at the pencils in my latest session.

The thought of it all is that becoming better in the different fields will help me develop my skills in each and every one, and to use the different styles and techniques in different types of work.

So I decided to have a go at a dinghy on a lake with some mountains in the background, using a 2H-, HB-, and 6B pencil.

I used the 2H pencil to draw the outlines of the boat, water and mountains, and then drew over the lines i wanted to keep with the HB pencil. I then used the 6B pencil adding shadows and dark areas, rubbing it in with my fingers where I wanted the surface to be smooth.

So, this is how it went (and I’m quite pleased with it):

A dinghy on the lake

I also did a couple of perspective drawings to get some practise, which went like this:

“I’m talkin’ about like a big bear”

Sorting out some storage boxes in the attic, I came over this old, illustrated version of “The Jungle Book”.

It was quite fun to read again, but most of all I enjoyed all the cool illustrations in it. So I decided to have a go at some of them myself.

I first chose one where Baloo teaches Mowgli to growl like a big bear, as I thought the grimace of both their faces was very interesting. So I sat down with the book in front of me and had a go at it by free hand.


First I did a pencil sketch of the outlines, trying to make the sizes fit, and getting the expressions of their faces right.

I then did the contouring with a 0,1 mm drawing pen.

The colours are added by Pro Markers, testing out the colours on the paper before deciding which to use, as you can see in the top left corner.

I think it came out really nice. The left leg of Baloo got a little to small I think, but apart from that I am quite pleased.

I'm talkin' about like a big bear


The second one was an illustration of Shere Khan lurking in the bushes (I used the same technique on all the sketches):

A lurking Shere Khan


The third one was an illustration of Kaa the snake holding Mowgli in it’s grip:

Kaa the snake


And the last one is a dancing session in the jungle with Mowgli and an ape:

Dancing in the jungle


I really enjoyed making them all, and in time there might just be a couple more 🙂