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1. Travel sketch pages

Okay so these are not from my actual art journal, but they are done during my vacation in Thailand and Cambodia.
I like my art journals to be not too small, so I have a bit of space, but certainly not too large eiter. I need to be able to chuck my journal into my bag and walk around with it, without it being to large or heavy. So 15x21 cm, something along those lines, will be suitable. To challenge myself though, I also brought a larger sized sketchbook with me. To see how I would feel about larger sized drawings. These are pages I did in a 21x30 cm sketchbook. Not THAT large, but a fair step larger than what I'm used to.
This is the first page i did, and after finishing, I felt rather proud:

Then, on a different day, i sat down with the book again and started drawing without thinking too much, ending up with very small sketches! Huh, interesting. 

Interesting how much chaos can be created in just a couple of days. As my husband was packing his bags (mine were done, I brought less than he did), I drew a quick sketch of my view from the bed.

I also tried a bit more detailed pencil drawing:

During a lazy afternoon in a cafe, I made these drawings. Which I like a lot. By looking at these, I can remember exactly where I was sitting, how the people moved that I was drawing, the colours, the atmosphere, and even what I drank: An iced coffee.

And one more bed-view sketch, this time in another room. The night before leaving to fly back home.

Since that last drawing, I haven't touched the sketchbook. Okay, first of all because I've been very busy and hardly had time for my daily art journal entries. But also, could it be that the book is too large? It does take me a little bit out of my comfort zone. Which makes me not really want to grab it yet, when I want to draw. But maybe, now that the weather in Amsterdam is getting better, I may take it outside to try some urban sketching and make sure I won't come back with just a couple of thumbnail sketches of the coffee I drank.

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2. Travel Journal - 7

So these are the last pages of my vacation in SE Asia. That very last day, I found a spot at Wat Bo, a serene temple complex in the middle of the city. I really took the time to make this drawing and enjoyed it immensely:

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3. Travel Journal - 6

Not each journal entry can be perfect. And it doesn't have to be. I don't like this drawing very much. But still, it reminds me of the wonderful guesthouse. I can hear the sounds in the hallway again, and feel the smooth tiles on my bare feet again. That's what art journaling is for. Documenting fantastic memories.

And yes, in case you're wondering: I really DID eat intestines with red ants.
Guess what? Red ants taste a little bit like lemon!

I don't eat sugar, but in Asia, palm sugar and condensed milk are used for many things. In Cambodia at the guesthouse, they served boiled Taro with condensed milk for breakfast.

Have you ever seen Prashant Miranda's night sketches? (he's one of the teachers in Sketchbook Skool this semester!)
I thought it would be interesting to do night sketches too, then kind of forgot about it. But in Cambodia, I wanted to try my hand at night sketching, which in fact isn't much different from sketching during day time actually. it did feel a little festive, as it was my very first night sketch ever, and I was surrounded by colourful lights and busy sounds of a night market behind me. 

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4. Travel Journal - 5

Is it hard to draw bikes or cars? Well, why would it be harder than drawing anything else? When I draw, I look at the shapes and the colours and try not to think about what I am actually drawing. For instance: I draw a rounded shape. Not a wheel.
The only problem you could have drawing one of these rides, is that they move. Or you are taking your time to draw a parked vehicle, and then suddenly the driver decides to take off with it!
The Tuk-Tuk driver decided to do so, but luckily a new one parked at the same spot, so I combined the two, to finish the drawing on the left page.

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5. Journal page

Sometimes you need new shoes. Because on the trip you're on, you only brought superwarm winterboots and it turns out to be warm, with unexpected spring weather at your place of destination... and yeah it helps if they're brightly coloured and affordable too...
Sometimes you have a friend over. Who loves sweets. Who has to have something sweet after dinner. What do you do if you don't have much time to bake, and don't eat sugar at all? Well... you dig into your cupboard to find some superfoods and some favourite flavours and chuck them all in the blender.

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6. Journal Page - a Swiss trip

I went to Switzerland for the wedding of my brother-in-law. On the way back, I drew this in my sketchbook (above), with a felt pen I had bought at the airport. Ahh yes, the best way to spend waiting time is a. sketching, and b. shopping for art supplies.

On the way to our destination in Switzerland, I sketched in the train: 

We could include some sightseeing to our program while we were there, and for the drawing below, I took the time to take everything in and see the many details. Like a monk, in fact, I sat near a desk where monks used to write page after page for this library... A very impressive sight, and an almost meditative drawing:

Here's a sketch I did of the married couple, with a photo for reference

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7. Life in Amsterdam

I tend to forget how remarkable it can be for tourists, how we Amsterdammers do most of our traveling through the city by bicycle. Just the other day, I talked about this with a friend who lives in Texas. There, even if you wanted to, it's just something you don't do. Not just because of the large distances, but also because of crime. Huh, I have to say I'm a happy cycling Amsterdammer, even more now.

Although I don't even need to get onto my bike when I have to get groceries. Just around the corner there are many shops with lovely stuff. Like this pomegranate. Makes my mouth water just thinking of it.

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8. Mismatch

... seriously. They did.

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9. Travel Journal - 1

Maybe you noticed. Maybe you didn't. I went away for 3 weeks in February. I know, that's already a while ago, but I haven't gotten round to post my drawings I did during this vacation, and 'digital detox'. During which I caught my breath after juggling many, many projects at the same time. 
Here on my blog, I have kept posting happily though: pre-scheduling is a life saver! So while traveling, there was no need to think about any online places, projects or work. Okay, I did check my email every now and then (because wifi appeared to be available everywhere I visited - even on far away beaches!)
So. Anyway. Even though I have been sitting on my butt for about three weeks, sipping coconut water straight from the fresh coconut, I didn't really sit still. If you know me just a little bit, you know I just can't.
Of course I took my art journal with me and drew every day. It was awesome to have so much time each day. Some days, I did elaborate drawings, other days I did more quick ones.

As the flight from Amsterdam to Bangkok takes about 13 hours, I started my first journal page while on the plane. Agreat way to spend the first hour of the long flight, before watching Last Vegas, Men in Black 3, trying to concentrate on a book, and trying to sleep.

I'll be finally scanned my journal pages to share them here. I hope you'll enjoy!

While trying to shake off the jet lag, we enjoyed the heat, a cooling iced coffee, and of course: the wonderful food! Both me and my husband love cooking (and eating), and are very eager to taste new things and learn about exotic kitchens. At home, we prepare Thai food often, but there's always more to learn! So I decided to add a little daily project to my art journal during our vacation: 'what we ate today'. This way I would document what we ate, and remember the taste of it, so we can try them out back home. Also, it would be a great way to use different techniques to illustrate food. 

Tomorrow, I'll be adding more travel journal pages.

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10. Travel Journal - 2

I just filled the last pages of the sketchbook in which these pages are. Great memories in this precious book.
The intention of our three week (!) vacation, was to totally relax and shake off any work stress of the past weeks, or well, let's be honest: months.
So, we took the boat to the beautiful Thai island Koh Chang. 
This Island has gorgeous beaches, but also a large area of jungle... if you ever watched 'Lost', some parts of Koh Chang look a bit like the island in the show, only without the creepy stuff.
We found a great place to stay and rented a little bungalow, at a 'lake'. Well, it was more of a big artificial ditch, but the place was gorgeous anyway, and very peaceful. As you can see in the drawing I made of it.

Oh and here's the 'what we ate today' page of that day.

When you take your time, to look around you, you will notice so many details! On Koh Chang in Thailand, my husband and I explored the Island by motorbike and found a beautiful place on the beach where we sat down for a banana-coffee shake (oh my gosh that is such a great combination!), surrounded by hipsters. 
I really enjoyed the chatter around me, the smell of fantastic Thai food, and the sound of the waves on the beach. I took my time to make this drawing. Some of the people in the drawing left before I finished drawing them, so I had to make up some bits. Doesn't really matter, as I was concentrating of the interior of the shaded pavilion.

Another lazy day: dozing off at the beach after a jungle hike...
As you can see, I started drawing my husband in the deck chair next to me, but then he went for a stroll along the surf to play his mouth harmonica, so I ended up drawing just part of him, and then the empty chair.

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11. Draw Tip Tuesday - a shoe

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!

Last week I promised you to sketch shoes, so... here they are!

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12. Just 2 more days....

Oh boy oh boy, I am so excited!

It's hard to believe that it's almost 'D-Day'! This Friday, Sketchbook Skool is opening its doors and there is an overwhelming amount of students about to burst in! In fact, I think there's actually some of them already in front of the doors in sleeping bags, waiting to get started.

We have worked really hard to get everything up and running and the past months have been kind of crazy, but this week, for the first time in a long time I haven't had the feeling of being a few steps behind of my schedule. While checking and double-checking all of the klass content, I am so amazed and excited about the videos the teachers made! It'll be awesome and Danny and I can be proud of what we have accomplished so far. Fact is, we just dove into this without knowing what exactly we were getting ourselves into. We've learned a lot, and now we can focus on getting in place for the second semester (the teachers we got together are again, awesome!), improve our website workflow and planning strategies.

So here's what we got in store for you this first semester, starting Friday April 4:

Danny Gregory on why we need to be creative and what happens if we suppress the urge. How to draw expressively and yet accurately. How to choose art supplies. And much more from L.A.!

Me on taming your inner critic. On drawing better with colored pencils and on braving the frigid outdoors. And a whole lot more from Amsterdam!

Prashant Miranda on 20 years of journaling, on travel, on watercoloring and on discovering your family history through your sketchbook. And much more from all around India!

Jane La Fazio on mixed media, on how to uncover beauty and on turning sketchbook pages into developed works of art. And much more from sunny Southern California!

Roz Stendahl on how to draw animals of any kind, alive or dead(!), and what are the best media to use and why. And loads more from snowy Minnesota!

Tommy Kane on how to turn mistakes into masterpieces, and how to combine ink, watercolors and colored pencil to make rich, beautiful journal pages. And heaps more from deep in Brooklyn.

I'm not sure if I will be able to sleep, because of the excitement! Will you?

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13. The Coalman

The latest page from my Memoirs.
Paper53 on iPad. Click to enlarge.

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14. four drawings, three places, one sketchbook

Four drawings, three places in one sketchbook.
And, a shedload of different pens and pencils.
Red marker pen, two red ballpoints and two red pencils.
Various green pencils.
Blue fine liner and blue brush pen.
Whaley Bridge
Black fine liner, 3B pencil and various colour pencils
Blue, pink and yellow fine liners.
Blue, pink and yellow pencils.
All made in the small Moleskine sketchbook. I was never that interested in using such a small sketchbook before I got this. It took a few years of drawing before I bought it and I still wasn't convinced. It sat on my shelf for another year or so. Now I'm coming close to finishing this sketchbook - just a few pages left. I really must get a new one in because it's become one of my favourites. A sketchbook I wouldn't be without.

3 Comments on four drawings, three places, one sketchbook, last added: 9/11/2013
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15. Drawing buildings

Not so long ago, I thought I wasn't any good at drawing buildings. I liked drawing objects, in which I could draw all kinds of details. I liked drawing people. But somehow, I avoided the surroundings - buildings, street views. I sort of wasn't interested, and told myself it wasn't 'my kind of thing'.
I remember telling my friend Yvonne this on one of our very first sketch dates. She draws buildings in such a confident way. With big eyes I watched her drawing the lines into her sketchbook with black pen and I gasped: 'you don't even sketch your lines in first with pencil?' She said: 'No, even if a line isn't quite accurate, that's just how the drawing is going to be'.
That day, I carefully drew the detail of a building, using her brush pen (which also was new for me). After drawing the lines with pencil first that is...
I said to Yvonne: 'I'm just not good at drawing buildings'. Her reply was: 'Of course you are!'
She was so right. In the back of my mind I knew that I could do it. In the online drawing course and workshop I teach, I always tell people: 'you can learn to draw anything, as long as you practise a lot'. Because I know it's true. I experienced it and I am still learning.
It took me months before I started getting more comfortable drawing buildings. I got very interested in urban sketching and I've always loved drawing outside. So I practised. I found out drawing buildings is not much different than drawing anything else. It's all about looking at negative spaces, keeping the right proportions and angles. The great thing is - you can take as much time as you need,they don't move like people do. The only thing that changes is the light. I still sometimes sketch the basic lines and proportions in with a pencil, to erase those later, but I actually like diving in with pen directly now. The thing I dreaded most at first.
Learning and developing skills is so much fun!

I did this drawing after dropping off a batch of greeting cards and stationary in a wonderful shop in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. They are a 'creative warehouse' and my stuff is for sale there now. It's a 1 1/2 hour drive from Amsterdam, so before heading back, I treated myself to a cup of coffee and a drawing.

3 Comments on Drawing buildings, last added: 9/15/2013
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16. could be in a dream

Here's another sketchbook that I've just about finished. I'm not sure of the brand, I bought it because I wanted a different page shape and size from the Moleskine and this had nice thick paper too. I've really enjoyed working on a more panoramic (?) page and will need to replace it with something similar if I can't find another of these.

I made the top drawing at a field day that had all sorts of events going on. I'm really happy with some of the lines I achieved in this drawing. I used a fine liner and a calligraphy pen to get them. And, the one below is from one of our Dr Sketchy events.
The rest of the drawings from this book can be viewed HERE.

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17. A Preparatory Sketch

A preparatory sketch for the Japanese album.
Procreate on iPad. Click to enlarge.

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18. Cliché

It's a cliché, and I am guilty of using it a lot: simplicity is key.
It's just true. Sometimes, all you need is just a few things to make something really good.
Like when cooking, make sure your main ingredients are of great quality, you can't really go wrong. It's a fact that pumpkin and feta cheese just love each other and they will feast on your plate on a bed of lettuce.
Join me in the online workshop on drawing food and illustrating Recipes!
It starts March 3
That's this Monday! 
Just sayin'...

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19. Oranges

'Insalata di Arance'. 
I remember reading this on the menu of a terriffic restaurant in Palermo in Sicily. It was a hot summer day and I was about to order a copious lunch involving fresh fish and pasta. As a side dish, 'orange salad', sounded refreshing and sweet.
This was the culinary discovery of the decade for me. The juicy orange slices were simply tossed onto a plate, a generous amount of olive oil poured over it, and sprinkled with course sea salt and chilli flakes. Quite a surprise and sensational for the taste buds! Since then, I've prepared it many times and enjoy eating it immensely, both because of the memory and the fabulous taste.

Would you like to learn to draw your food, or how to illustrate a recipe? 
You can join the online group workshop 'Draw It Like It's Hot'. 
It starts this Monday!
Click the logo for info and to enroll

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20. Twoodle: Raccoon + Windy

©copyright Alicia Padrón 2014

Mindy and Moe decided to go on a picnic 
on a beautiful August day.

Playing with the new style. :o)
It's been a while since I twoodled! 
Usually the posting days are Wednesdays 
but I decided I would work on it today since I had a chance. 

So here is my #Twoodle for this week using the words:
Racoon & Windy

If you want to participate, here's how.

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21. Twoodle: Sheep + Jump

©Alicia Padrón 2014

Some sheep like perfecting "the jumping".
You know.. getting ready for people's dreams. ;o)

This is my sketch for this week's #Twoodle using the words
Sheep and Jump.

If you'd like to learn how you can participate, click here.
Make sure to check out peeps' great Twoodles on Twitter

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22. Meeting My Beloved and his Black Leather Gloves...

Despite my occasional moans about the early trains I have to catch, I do enjoy the March school visits season.  I love interacting with the children. The one big drawback to being an illustrator is that it is easy to spend far too long on your own in the house.

Before the days of school visits, when I worked as an editorial illustrator and in the early days of doing the children's books, I used to get a bit stir-crazy. Being an illustrator might sound glamorous, but mostly it's just day after day in four walls, with only a computer and a drawing desk for company. In fact, I first met John because I decided I needed to interact with the world, before I lost the power of speech! 

I'd not long moved to Sheffield, so didn't know many people and thought teaching at the local art college might be fun and help me make new friends. It was actually pretty scary to start with, but I muddled through and ended up lecturing for about 7 years, going from 1 day to 3 days a week. 

I taught all sorts - Printed Textiles (that's what my degree is in), Life Drawing, Print-making (a lot of learning as I went along), Photoshop (even more learning as I went along!) and, of course, Illustration. John and I shared an office and discovered we were living on the same side of Sheffield. I had to get 2 buses to the college, so John started giving me a lift home after work and the rest, as they say, is history. 

I think this is one of the first paintings I have of John, from those very early days in the 1990's. We'd not been married long:

We've been married for over 20 years now, so some of it is a bit hazy, but I do clearly remember fancying him in his black leather driving gloves, during those lifts home from the college!

I didn't used to keep a sketchbook as addictively in those days, so this is a much later sketch: the slightly older model, with a few more dints (don't tell him I said that, will you?).

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23. Barking Mad

Two dogs bark at the moon.
Left: Adobe Ideas on iPad
Right: Sketches/Artset/Snapseed on iPad
Click to enlarge.

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24. Niganigashiku

Another sketch for the Turning Japanese series.
Ink and gouache A4 size. Click to enlarge.

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25. Journal page

Is it spring yet?

Oooh, Yay! It actually is!

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