December ’23 sketchbook
This December, the holiday and festive spirit were the main focus of my sketchbook for several reasons.
First of all, with all the sh*t going on in the world, combined with the darkest days of the year, I needed an outlet and joy.
Secondly, I realized that in all the years I’ve been drawing, painting, and making illustrations, I never tried capturing the coziness or all the typical symbols or colors of this season. My original plan was to focus on drawing more humans in various ways, but I thought I’d just try adding some people to scenes now and then. And ugh, that was even more challenging than I thought. My biggest challenge was not going to children’s-book-style (I feel like I’m not made to draw cute round stuff), nor getting lost in details.
And being a bit of a Grinch sometimes, I even had to buy red pencils to get through the festive Zoom sessions 🙂 – But as a Belgian in Sweden, I went for reds that I could use in my search for the perfect Falu red (the traditional red of the Nordic houses).
Looking back, I wonder how |me| these sketches feel, but I can tell you that I’ve had a great time with all these festive drawing parties.
Festive shop fronts with Sarah Dyer.
I’m often overwhelmed by all the details of buildings, let alone perspective, cars, or streets, but shop fronts feel like a very different subject as the focus, to me, is more on the atmosphere, and mostly a front view.
A nice challenge was trying to capture a warm and inviting setting.
A fun surprise in this session was the appearance of “Bloemen van Cornelis“, an alluring shop in Antwerp. I don’t buy flowers, but I always slow down to look at this beautiful shop when I walk by. I even remember that the first time I saw the shop, I went over to the owner to tell them what a beautiful shop they had.
With limited time for each sketch, cakes and cookies turn into happy pink fluffs 🙂
For “The Creaky Shed“, I messed up the typography. I should have waited for a moment where I didn’t feel rushed- like more towards the end, for example. I do like that I kept the color palette rather minimal in this one. This last one, was actually the first one of the evening, and I can tell. That window display was a struggle. It was very busy in the image, but I couldn’t see what it was showcasing. The golden details are drawn with golden pens and markers- as this is the season to go all in, right? 🙂
Our holiday pictures with TJ Marston.
For TJ’s session, we could all send in our holiday-themed images, but when I sent some dog photographs, I clearly didn’t think we would actually be drawing them lol. Dogs are hard!
TJ’s timings are often rather fast, and every time I regret getting the paint out :-), but this session was super fun, even when suddenly all my snow turned green or I forgot the main character at a dinner table.
(if I remember, I’ll add some more sketches that I did on loose paper when the sketchbook was still drying, I still need to scan them)
The image with the boats was from TJ who lives in Miami. Every year they do a boat race, and I found it so funny to see palm trees and Santas in shorts 🙂
Kiki’s images were a feast for the color-loving eye. I had to search for something pink quickly, but oh boy I wish all parties looked this fun.
I don’t know whose image this was, but the expression of the whole setting was so funny. I tried some new markers here and combined them with gouache and pastels.
Santa Alan with Sarah Dyer and Emma Carlisle.
A special guest was announced, but we’d better put the kids to bed first, they said. I had no clue what we would be doing- was it even a drawing session or would it be an interview? And then we saw and heard him. HoHoHo! We did a few quick sketches of a few minutes and then a longer one. This was before I had any red pencils so I only had Vermillion red gouache that I tried mixing with watercolor and Artgraf 🙂
Other festive moments.
Found candle holders, stars in the window of my studio, making snow angels, warm mittens, knit sweaters, Christmas trees,… I gave it all a try.