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<<November 2014>>
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1. Art Journal Pages

 These are the art journal pages I did in Clermont-Ferrand last weekend:
The flight took about 1.5 hour, so I had a nice pocket of time to draw my surroundings. I felt the guy next to me eying the pages curiously, but he didn't dare saying anything. I wonder if he would have, if I had also added colour, pulling out waterbrush and mini watercolor kit... The flight was a bit bumpy at some points, so here and there the lines are a bit wobbly, which, in my eyes, adds character to this drawing.
Haven't worn any other shoes since buying these - I totally love them!

What a treasure, this small tea shop around the corner of the Cathedral! I came back the next day again to warm up after spending several hours outside, and chatted with the owner and her daughter. I Showed them my sketchbook and talked about the event 'Rendez-vous du carnet de Voyage', which I was there for.
Stopped for a quick coffee here and drew the people. When I left, I discovered the bar was called 'Bar Des Beaux Arts': Bar Of Fine Arts. Perfect for this weekend full of inspiration and art.

A quick drawing I did while waiting for my lunch. I used one of those multicoloured pencils, I found at a museum shop when I was in Madrid this spring.

I just had to stop to draw this cute cafe in the middle of Jardin Lecoq from the 1930s. There were so many bright reds there, that contrasted wonderfully with the green window frames. I limited myself to a red, green and blue pencil.

I hardly ever do this: take a photo of a building, view or street, and then draw from that for reference. But now I did. I had a lovely walk around town and took some pictures on my way. Then it started to get dark and wanted to enjoy a relaxed last evening in my hotel room. There, I used the photos for reference, and really enjoyed the different way of looking at shapes and shadows, then when drawing 'live'. I added the drawing of the door the next morning, in the train. Again, it was a bit of a bumpy flight, and it came out way wobblier than I intended.
...and a drawing on the flight back home to Amsterdam on Monday morning, where a pile of work was waiting for me!

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2. Travel Journal pages

Yesterday, I posted that road trip drawing I did in Switzerland. Here is a bunch of other drawings I did during my stay in Switzerland in October:

Sketching Family

Out for lunch in St. Gallen on a rainy day. The women who owned the place saw what I was doing, and she kept grabbed my Sketchbook (while I was drawing!), bringing it to the back of the restaurant to show her employees. It was very funny and it was lovely to see how impressed she was with this mediocre sketch.

The longer I looked at this church, the stranger I found its architecture, with unexpected corners everywhere.
My husband's feet and a pot of tea back home.

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3. Trippin'

At the moment, I am using a canson sketchbook. I often use Moleskine books, because of their wonderful quality, and because they are easy to find here in the Netherlands. 
But every now and then, I want an extra challenge, and when I find new sketchbooks that look and feel right, I buy and try them. 
In fact, when I was in New York a few weeks ago, I visited 3(!) art supply shops and came back to Amsterdam with a huge stack of sketchbooks, so I have a supply for quite a lot of months to come.

Back to my Canson sketchbook. I'm not too fond of it. The paper is a bit too thin, so watercolorus make the pages wrinkle. I don't mind that really, but somehow, the book and I haven't become the best of friends, even though often, when I try a new book, it takes a few pages of getting used to each other. this one: not so much. Maybe it's also because I've been in a rollercoaster of things happening in my life, and many pages in this sketchbook are filled with half-hearted drawings or hasty sketches. Which is a shame. 
On the other hand, it's a reflection of my state of mind as well...
And then there is this unwritten rule I keep: I need to fill a sketchbook before I start a new one. So I keep on going, taking the challenge.

Anyway, this drawing here, is my favorite drawing in this sketchbook so far.
It was in Switzerland. We (my husband, his cousin, and I) had a few hours drive from Bern to Davos. Road trippin'!
I requested to sit in the back ("are you sure?"), so I could retreat a little to do some work on my laptop without being anti-social, with a rewarding amount of time left, to make a drawing of my travel companions. Glad I don't get car sick! Lucky me.
 Done with a brown fineliner and a pentel brown ink brushpen.

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4. Nothing to draw? Look out of the window!

Art Journaling can be about ANYTHING.
You think you have nothing to draw? Look out of the window and draw.

My online workshop 'Awesome Art Journaling' starts TODAY. Join me in 4 weeks of drawing fun and a little kick-in-the-but to make awesome art every day.

4 weeks. Tips, tricks, videos, supportive class mates, and personal feedback from me. For only $69
What are you still waiting for? Click here to enroll now

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5. Ready for Take off?

Draw Tip:
No time to draw? Draw while you're travelling!

What do you do when you are on your way somewhere? Stare out of the window? Playing a game on your phone? Text messaging? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram? Great ways to spend your time, but why don't you consider taking your sketchbook with you when commuting? It's a great excuse for people watching, and to get some art journaling done. 

Just a 10 minute train ride can get you going and give you great practice. Long distance flights are perfect to really take your time to study shapes, gestures and forget about everything else.

I teach an online workshop to get you going on your daily art habit. "Awesome Art Journaling" starts TOMORROW, costs $69 for 4 weeks of videos, my personal feedback and support, and lots of tips, tricks and extras! What are you waiting for? Join me in a month of Awesome Art Journaling by clicking here

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6. No inspiration? Sit down and draw!

So you have your sketchbook or artjournal with at all times, just in case. But then, you hear yourself think: "I have no inspiration." or "There's nothing to draw."

Well, think again. Or better yet: Sit down. And draw.

This drawing, for example, was done on a lazy evening when visiting family. Videos were playing, every now and then a music instrument was picked up and played on, we were laughing and chatting. I sat in the corner of the couch and simply drew my surroundings.
That's it. We need to stop thinking and just do it. Sit down. And draw.

With that attitude, you can create pages in your art journal that contain great memories that photos could never cover. In each page, you will learn new things and make progress. Some you will like more than others, but whatever the results are: your life is SO worth journaling about!

You can make it a habit, and in my online workshop "Awesome Art Journaling", I guide you through 4 weeks of drawing fun. You'll get tips and tricks, and a push to make awesome art every day.
It starts this Monday November 17. Warning: it's quite possible you will catch the sketchbug!
Join me for only $69 by clicking here.

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7. No time to draw? Then MAKE time!

"I love drawing, but I just don't have time for it"

It's quite possible you say this, or a similar version of this sentence, every so often.
I will be the first to admit that I make a complaint like this regularly. As soon as I hear myself saying this, I tell myself to stop complaining and to just MAKE time.
It's not that hard. I get my daily drawings done during my lunch break, or when going out for a coffee-break.

And in weekends or evenings, instead of watching crappy tv shows, I will take time to make more time consuming drawings.
I'm just saying, do whatever you want with this. But I know you can do this too. You just need to be a little clever with your schedule and time.

If you need a little kick-in-the-butt to get that creative habit going, you can join my online workshop 'Awesome Art Journaling'. For only $69 you will drawing for four weeks and get those creative juices flowing! It starts November 17. Click here for more info and to enroll now

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8. Draw Tip Tuesday - some basics

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!
Just touching upon a few basics for you today.

If you want to learn more, you can still join my online drawing course 'Just Draw It!'
Click here to enroll.

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9. Going out? Take your sketchbook.

Did you know that bringing a sketchbook with you to a cafe or restaurant is a fantastic excuse to spy on people while you sip your drink? meanwhile, it is also a perfect practice to draw people and study proportions, gestures and postures.

Do you feel intimidated by drawing in public? Or do you feel uncomfortable drawing people? I can help you with that!
This Monday, my online drawing course "Just Draw It" starts: it's a 5-week course with drawing techniques and simple approaches to tackle your fears and flaws. Let's do this together!
For $99 you are in for lots of drawing fun with guaranteed feedback from your teacher: moi.
What are you waiting for? Click here for more info and to enroll today!

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10. Green Light for My Urban Sketching Book!

This morning I got some great news - the Urban Sketching book that I am writing, about how to sketch people, has got the go-ahead! 

If you remember, at the beginning of the summer, I was commissioned to write a proposal and then create several sample spreads, to be used by my publisher as a presentation, to show at Frankfurt International Book Fair. They needed to get a US co-edition signed up, to make the project financially feasible and yesterday the US publisher Barrons signed on the dotted line, so we're off!

Which is fantastic news, but of course it means I am going to be pretty busy very soon, because it will be running alongside the mural project. They are both going to keep me out of trouble right through until next summer.

I will of course keep you posted about how it's all going, but the proposed schedule for the book is amazingly quick - the idea is to have it out by Christmas 2015. So, Christmas pressies all round?

These people sketches were ones done yesterday on a train to Wakefield. The quotes are snatches of conversation I was ear-wigging, from a man behind me somewhere. Surreal stuff!

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11. Mondays

Me and Mondays, we often aren't the best of friends.
Instead of  'Ahh, Monday, a fresh start!', it often feels like: I have a huge to-do list and are already behind on it during breakfast.

What's your least favourite day, and why?

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12. People!

When I used to work for a boss, in an office cubicle, not so long ago, I used to commute to work. I took the subway and always carried a sketchbook with me to study and sketch the people around me. Waiting on the train platform or minding their own businesses in the carriage.
I don't miss that job. But sometimes I do miss the people-drawing-practice.

So, together with my sketch pal Yvonne, I went on an adventure to the Amsterdam Central Station and found a great spot on the first floor, right next to the monitors with the time tables for the departing trains. And drew this:

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13. Creative entrepreneurship

One of the benefits of being an entrepreneur, is that you can work whenever, and where ever you want. That can also be a bit tricky, because that may result in not really having a start or an end of the working day. But overall, since I invested in a laptop, I am quite enjoying the freedom. So now I am 'testing' places in Amsterdam for good coffee and/or food, and a good wifi connection - a rare combination.


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14. the ghosts of night, the dreams of day

Had a lovely day yesterday, drawing for the love of drawing rather than for work. I always love catching up with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire, my sketchcrawling buddies, too. We spent the day at the National Emergency Vehicles Museum in Sheffield. It was right up my tree. Loved the subject matter. I could spend another day, or ten, there. And, maybe even a night; apparently there are many ghosts in this former police and fire station. If you believe in that sort of thing, of course. I don't but I'm willing to have my mind changed.

 There was a very specific colour scheme too. Reds, blacks and a little yellow were the colours of the day. I managed to not take seventeen pencils cases, which is an achievement for me, and narrowed it down to just the three sketchbooks. I always try to take some tools that I wouldn't normally draw with at home. I try and play a bit more on sketchcrawls. It feels like the right place to do that as you often encounter subject matter you wouldn't normally choose to draw. The red Bingo dabber was an inspired choice of pens.

 Here's something I've noticed during October, as I'm participating in Go Sober For October, I do a lot more with my weekends. It's much easier when you're not factoring in a 'big night' or a hangover. That's just another benefit to being sober; doing more stuff with your time. Just look at how my blogging has increased in the last month!

 The museum holds a vast range of fire service related memorabilia that had previously been sitting in attics and local fire stations all over the county and amongst the exhibits were prisoner files from the last century. I found these the most fascinating of all, and below are my drawings of some of the mugshots from around the 1940s. It's funny how just by drawing somebody, spending that time studying someone, you can feel a real connection with them. I don't just want to now more about the faces I drew, I feel an empathy, sympathy, for them. Protective towards them even, like I knew them. I guess what I'm trying to say was that I was touched by them. Maybe I do believe in ghosts.

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15. Terror at Dean Clough!

Luckily for me, it wasn't real terror, but Tales of Terror, a wonderful exhibition of beautifully detailed illustrations by David Roberts, which has just opened in the Illustration Gallery at Dean Clough in Halifax. John and I went along to the opening on Saturday, where we met the absolutely lovely David Roberts in the flesh (I think all children illustrators are lovely to be honest... but then, I am biased). 

I just love David's work and I especially love this series, because of the sinister edge to each illustration. It's often quite subtle but definitely disturbing. Wonderful stuff:

They were created for the Tales of Terror books by Chris Priestly, a Victorianesque series of horror tales for children. David explained that that's why the illustrations are created to look a little like the old etching plates from Victorian novels:

I also met up with my friends and fellow illustrators, Chris Mould and Lydia Monks. It was great to have a good old chin-wag. Chris has a permanent studio at Dean Clough (they do loads to support artists). I went to visit his studio a few years back: take a peek... Chris was also the curator of David's show (well done Chris - nice job).

Here we all are in the Dean Clough restaurant, after I had just finished scoffing down a rather yummy lunch (I was a little worried about my grin, visualising bits of rocket between my teeth and am very relieved to see that, if it's there, it doesn't show).

There are several galleries at Dean Clough, and all the exhibitions were opening at the same time, so we had a lovely afternoon, mooching around them all. I particularly liked Jo Brown's abstract paintings

Go take a look yourself. the exhibitions are up until January 3rd.

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16. The Art of Procrastination

What's the deal with this Procrastination thing?
Perhaps you absolutely love to make art, but the threshold you need to get over, to actually start doing it, seems sky high.
20141007 laundry
Your laundry gets folded oh so neatly, all windows are cleaned, your art tools are stored and archived in alphabetical order, your books now color-coded on the shelves... but still, you didn't put one single pen or brush stroke on your paper.
A friend of mine told me about her new resolution. She decided on it, after a very relaxing holiday. She said: "you know what? I am always cleaning my house in the weekends, but I want to enjoy my weekends and be free to do whatever I feel like, just like the feeling you have on vacation every day."
She came to realize that a clean house is important, but downtime is so much more important. Just sitting down and read, taking an afternoon nap, or going for a ride on her motorcycle. That's what it's about. It's okay to let the laundry basket overflow every once in a while. Or to leave the dishes in the sink when it's one of those beatiful sunny fall days. It's not gonna kill you. As long as you, instead, do what you love.
20141007 dishes
Procrastinate on your chores. Make Procrastination work with you, not against you. Stop self-sabotaging your limited art time!
And in fact, it's likely that the mess you are making, could even be a great excuse to sketch!

What do you procrastinate on, and how? How could you turn it around?

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17. Mini Sketches

These pages are done in a small sketchbook, it's 6x8cm, a.k.a. 2.3x3.4"

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18. the changing man

Here's just a little (it's all relative) something I knocked up in my sketchbook.
The story of the drawing goes a bit like this...
Sometime back in May I went to my friend, and Dr Sketchy partner, Lara Gothique's fabulous vaudeville extravaganza (I do love that word, extravaganza. In fact, I love both of those words; vaudeville and extravaganza) called Cupid Stunts. I sketched the whole show that evening. I came away with a load of drawings. Over twenty quick sketches.
One of the fabulous artistes that night was a Victorian strong man called Sir Leopold Aleksander. I got a good handful of sketches of him. They were pretty much all as below - simple line drawings.
Over the last couple of weeks, as I have been living a life of sobriety, I seem to have a bit more time on my hands in the evenings. Time to do the things I've wanted to do for ages but not got around to because wine got in the way. Time to go back through my sketchbooks and rework some of those quick sketches that needed a bit of the AJ treatment. So that's what I did with the, now, tattooed gentleman above, and, at some point, will do with the sketch below. Sure, they don't exactly look like the Victorian gent, but that's what happens when you a) sketch in the dark and b) complete the illustration using only your memory and a lot of imagination. And, that's what I love about drawing.
Thanks to Sir Leopold for the use of his body(?!)
Thanks to Lara for her fabulous show.
And thanks to Go Sober For October for giving me the headspace to draw instead of drink wine! 
If you can spare a bob or two please donate to my sobriety challenge. I am raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support. The most worthiest of causes. You can do that HERE.
And if you'd like to see a vaudeville extravaganza, and are in Sheffield next weekend (a long shot, perhaps), Lara is putting on another. Check it out HERE. Take your sketchbook!

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19. I visited a children’s book conference in the North of...

I visited a children’s book conference in the North of Michigan this past weekend and spent most of it sketching and listening. I’m not going to review the conference, but I’ve posted a few of the sketches I did (mostly of speakers but some audience members). You can also see the layout of my portfolio things which were on display during the weekend.

I really should mention though, that I did really enjoy painting in a butterfly garden (the watercolour & ink above) and getting to know a few really awesome people. 

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20. Small drawings, huge fun!

So a while ago, I bought this super mini sketchbook, and I have been carrying it with me, sketching in it a few times a week.
It's, 6x8cm, which is 2.3x3.4" Somehow, the little book is very accessible; the pages are small, it feels like you almost can't get wrong.

I draw small scenes in it, like this coffee sequence below (which by the way, fits right into my friend Suzi Poland's "Coffeeosophy", which you'll find a lot of at her instagram feed


Or I'll pick it up at the breakfast table, and draw what's in front of me:

When, a few weeks ago, I watched the news during breakfast and heard the sad news that Robin Williams had died, I drew his portrait.

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21. Draw Tip Tuesday: Hand lettering a phrase

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!
Let's do some hand lettering today. Pick a quote or a phrase and make it look pretty!

You can make awesome art!
And if you like my videos. you may also like one of my online classes: check them out on www.koosjekoene.nl

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22. Inktober Day 7

Inktober 7


Poor Mort, stood up again!

Micron Brush Pen Black & Graphite pencil



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23. and i say, it's alright

I always think that as long as I come away from a day trip or sketchcrawl or Dr Sketchy or any sort of drawing event or opportunity with one 'good' drawing, or, at least, one drawing that I like, then I'm happy with that. That's all I ask for. Just a memento of the day.
 By the time I was leaving London last week I still had nothing, apart from a few prosaic, pretty average drawings of people on the train there, and it was getting dark. I'd gone to the city with a drawing in mind. There's a sculpture I wanted to see and I'd packed the yellow and orange pens especially for it. But, our time there went so quickly that I didn't even get to see or draw it. But, that's okay, that's another trip
 .I didn't want to leave though, not without something, a souvenir, to take home. So, just before I caught my train back, I dived into a café on the corner of Tottenham Court Road for a cuppa and a draw.
 I missed my next train home. So, I had an extra hour to spend drawing the souvenir shop on the opposite corner. I got another cuppa.
 Is it a 'good' drawing? Do I like it? Not really. It's alright. Ish. But, I feel like that about a lot of my work. I need to close the book and put it away for a while. I almost always feel differently with time between it. Who knows, I might even like my souvenir from London in a few months time. Right now I doubt it, but you never know.
 And here's a couple of prosaic, pretty average sketches of people on the train...

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24. Hot Rides!

My husband played with his band, 'Dirt Road Music Band' on an Old Timer Festival.
Of course I enjoyed their gig, but what I was most interested in, was to take out my sketchbook and draw beautiful old timer cars! There was a huge terrain with cars from the 20's to the 80's. I picked a few to sketch, while enjoying the beautiful sunny weather and chatting with the proud owners.

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25. Selfies, yo.

Check it out! Deborah, who is an artist, a writer, and student in Sketchbook Skool, wrote an article about Skool, and what it's all about! Click here to read the article.

Well, Deborah says I'm known for my selfies. Wow, well, if she says so.
It's true, I do love drawing self portraits, and I feel very inspired too, after visiting Marlene Dumas's exhibition here in Amsterdam in the Stedelijk Museum. Amazing!
I am keeping up the habit, and to prove it to you, I am sharing a few selfie pages from my mini sketchbook here:


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