Monday, 18 July 2016

Drawing diary: June

In the early spring, my brother gave me his set of professional markers that he didn't use anymore. I had told him I had started drawing again and he was curious to see what I'd do with them. Frankly, I was, too. I had not used markers since I was a child and back then I hated the ugly lines they created when colouring something in. But these were professional markers, and I've seen a lot of fan artists do cool things with them.

For marker users this probably sounds stupid, but I just didn't know where to start! I'm so used to sketching things with pencil. So I went to "marker camp" (this is like boot camp, but in an Scandinavian forest, and you're only allowed to draw with markers for fun). The less cool-sounding version is: I went on holiday to Sweden and Denmark with family. So this will be a report kind of thing with drawings and pictures, and naturally I'll be fangirling about Sweden as well, because that's what I do.

Anyway, the boot camp result was way better than I'd dared to hope, so I can't wait to hear what you think!

It's a long drive to Sweden from the Netherlands. Luckily I managed to procure a seat at the front so I could draw! Which turned out to be kind of tough in a car (grrr, shaky lines). I decided to only use three colours for this one. As a result the scene looks a bit more depressing than in reality, but the colours do look balanced.

And then we were there: Sweden, the country of the cute little red houses. These were our neighbour's.

Unfortunately, my nerves hurt a lot after spending a day in a trembling car, so I couldn't really go anywhere the first day of our holiday. I didn't mind so much, though, because the view from our rented cottage was this:

Turns out the backyard of our cottage was a nature reserve! When I woke up and went outside, eleven birds of prey circled above the house, then started to disperse over the valley. I also saw a pair of ravens. This place was so cool.

I spent the whole day sitting in the sun drawing the view. It was so relaxing. The result is a bit cartoony, but I'm really happy with it.

The next day I felt much better and took a walk with Conrad and my brother. I drew the left picture during our break. I had only 15 minutes to do it, because the others were eager to continue. I didn't like the result, so I drew it again later back home, this time with thinner lines and from a slightly different perspective (picture to the right). Somehow I was really struggling with the lines for these drawings, while it came naturally for the landscapes. I don't know why. Argh.

In this part of Sweden most of the woods are mixed. I really loved this birch forest, it's so pretty! I didn't get around to drawing one, but I'm definitely planning to rectify that error in the future.

In total we walked five kilometers, which is huge for me. I haven't walked such a distance since I became ill in 2013, so it felt so good. Of course I was super tired afterwards, but screw that.

This walking stick that my brother found in the woods and cut me probably helped a ton with making those kilometers. 

The Swedish text with flowers surrounding it was drawn by me after a painting that hung in our cottage. It reads:

Good thoughts and good words
Spread happiness on our world

It's super cheesy, but I loved it because it was just the kind of thing you would expect in an old cottage such as ours.

This was said cottage. Including stealth poodle who is calculating the best way to get to those pancakes with wild elderflowers. We ate that a lot, because it's just so good (and no, the poodle didn't get any).

I would have stayed here for the whole holiday, but unfortunately we only had rented for half a week and had planned to go to Denmark afterwards. So back in the car it was.

I drew the left side mirror of the car on our way. I did a lot of shading with small fineliner strokes and it has a different style because of it. It was just something that happened, but I kind of like it. Another thing I learned was that I suck at drawing cars, but I had a solution for that, as you'll see later in the post.

There's also a drawing of a relaxing stealth poodle.

And finally, the bottle to the is of a Danish local brew. I liked it so much that I persuaded the others to go looking for the brewery on the Danish countryside. Turns out it was even made in a castle!

Unfortunately it was morning and it was still closed. /mood_sad

The surroundings of our Denmark cottage wasn't as pretty as in Sweden, but we had fun hunting for archaeological monuments in the neighbourhood, especially ring fortresses (which I wrote about in my bachelor's thesis). 

I don't really like what I drew in Denmark, though. The sunset was particularly hard: the blue and yellow are almost complementary colours and I think that's what's hurting my eyes. Unfortunately, they were also the colours that represented reality best. I don't know, sometimes I just give up.

The floating islands were really floating, though! Well, not really, but it looked like they were because of the reflection of the sky onto the water.

On the way home, I decided to redeem myself regarding the failed Danish car by drawing any car that would drive in front of us for a while. I allowed myself to relax by using pencils just this once. I had bought a white pencil in Denmark to try out making white highlights and I really like the result. At least after I found out you absolutely can't mix the white with the normal pencils. It really gives the cars extra depth when applied well (you'll see this more clearly if you click on the image to enlarge it).

Oh, and at the top left corner you see my brother playing Pokémon Ruby on the Gameboy Advanced. Hah, got a ninja Pokémon reference in after all!


  1. Absolutely love these illustrations!!

  2. Very nice drawings and photographs! :D

    Oh, wow, the ambience of the forests in the red house and birch forest photographs looks absolutely beautiful. I need to visit these places sometime!

    Incidentally, what was the wildlife like?

    1. Never mind; just caught the eleven birds of prey remark. It's always so fantastic to see several of them circling at once!

    2. I was so, so annoyed with myself having forgotten my birdwatching book! I had a suspicion of the bird of prey id, just looked it up and I was right: they were red kites! I'm absolutely fangirling over this, as I only managed to see one in the Netherlands once (they are really rare here), but they seem to be indigenous to Skåne (where we were in Sweden). And so many, too! Hearing their call in the valley each day was absolutely thrilling. (Don't take me wrong, I was fangirling over the ravens just as much, but at least I was 100% sure with identifying them.)

      Regarding mammals, there are no (European) elks or bears this far south, but I did see deer and a fox. I haven't found traces of boars or badgers, but they could definitely have been around in an area like this. And I saw many cool plants that make me want to revisit a bit earlier in the year (lots of early bloomers, wouldn't be surprised to find some orchids, too).

      Thank you for your kind words. :)

  3. I Go with Kayly: I absolutely love your drawings too. They keep reminding me of Van Gogh. Sorta childish drawings, but with eye for details, color (though I am colorblind), composition (is that a good English word? haha). And thus totally NOT childish.


    1. Raebidus, stop making me blush, dammit! :P I'm sorry to hear you're colour blind. These pictures are actually a lot of green, gray and (sometimes) red, so they must look a lot more boring to you! Maybe I should stick to gray and it will all of a sudden actually be exposition worthy. I don't think I am, now, but thanks a lot for your enthusiasm. It's very encouraging! :D

  4. I like your drawings a lot! be careful, tho.. drawing (or colouring) is an addiction -- I have about 150 pens, pencils & markers atm .. lol. Looks like it was a great vacation :)

    1. Ohhh, I'm jealous at your pen collection now! And indeed, it really was an awesome vacation. :) I'm keeping myself away from colouring: I want to spend the energy I have (it's not much) on creating new things and improving. Luckily I still need to colour in things even if it's my own drawings. ;) So glad you like my stuff! <3

  5. I love your drawings! They look like watercolor rather than markers, so sweet yet precise. The scenes are lovely, and I adore the tiny dog. I hope you'll share more.

    1. Thank you! It's funny that you say that: I do have experience with watercolor paint, so maybe I unconsciously applied things I know from there and it shows. The idea is that this will be a monthly recurring thing (to push myself to draw), so if I don't slack I'll definitely share more in the future. :)

  6. Seems like it was a pretty fun vacation! :)

    As everyone else I love the drawings. Specially the one with the red houses. All that green and the stone fences make it look like such a relaxing place to hang out and chill.

    1. It was! The red houses one is my favourite, too. It was very relaxing to work on it, adding more and more detail as the hours passed by (especially at the front, that suddenly gave it a lot more depth), so it's awesome to read that some of that carried on to the picture iself. ^^

  7. Looks like that was a great holiday! :D

    The picture with the empty bottle made me chuckle. :)

    Funny that you're not happy with the drawing of the sunset, because I would say that's actually my personal favourite of this lot, precisely because of the colours.

    And good job on those cars! I always found those things bloody impossible...

    1. Yay! I was getting afraid I had posted bad Rav humour. :P

      I'm glad I added the drawings I didn't like myself anyway. It's always cool to see how people like different things.

      And I usually suck at cars, too! So for me this was kind of a proud moment. (The fact that we had 3 hours of Stau in Germany may have helped, though. Plenty of opportunity to observe the backside of cars in detail.) These are just backsides, though. I don't doubt that if I have to draw them in perspective I'll probably suck again. -_- So if you ever want to practice in drawing cars, I can definitely recommend starting with the back sides. ^^

  8. Wow your holiday looks very awesome, and the drawings are lovely :D. I also like the drawing with the sunset, if only because Ammophila arenaria is present <3.

    1. It was an awesome holiday indeed, especially the part in Sweden! Those were the saddest "dunes" ever btw - it was more a huge lake still vaguely connected to the sea rather than the sea itself - but the sunset was beautiful to watch.

  9. Your drawings are really beautiful, I love your style! The landscapes in particular look great. And the walking stick, for some reason I really really like the walking stick. :)
    I mostly draw with graphite and coloured pencils, and while I do use markers occasionally they always scare me a bit. Guess not being able to erase my mistakes makes me nervous, haha!

    1. Thank you so much! It means a lot to me, especially since I admire the stuff you posted on your blog. :)

      And I was so, so nervous about the markers, too! That's why I basically forced myself to take them with me as the only thing. I like drawing with coloured pencils (or water colour), and then I always make a sketch underneath. But now I couldn't do that.

      I just remember I made a bunch of in progress pictures to show how I circumvented that problem (if only for myself to be able to look it up in the future, in case I forget), but I totally forgot to include them in this post. Sigh. Maybe I'll sneakily add them anyway, even though people are unlikely to read this post.

      I think half the trick of drawing is mentally. I'm always so afraid that it'll fail beforehand, even though it doesn't matter at all if it does. Still trying to get over that. :)

  10. I absolutey love your drawings - they're beautiful and fun :)

  11. These are gorgeous!! I LOVE the one of your view from the cottage. Such a lovely place<3 Bummer you guys didn't go back to the brewery when it was open! A brewery in a castle sounds like a good time:P

    1. Thank you, Ashlee! The cottage view one is my personal fav as well. It took all day to draw!

      Unfortunately we couldn't go back, because the point of that day was to get from Denmark to Sweden and we still had a few 100 kilometers to go. I was disappointed by the Danes not having their brewery open at 10 am, though. Not living up to their reputation! :P

      If I ever pass there again, I'll definitely make a stop at the brewery. Luckily I have a picture of the sign with opening hours now! ;)

      P.S. Local Danish beers were a lot of fun to taste. We bought more afterwards, but as I didn't draw them I left them out of this post.


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