You Win Some You Lose Some

Not everything you create can be perfect. A big part of creativity is exploration, experimenting, trying new things, play.
Your sketchbook can be your creative playground. It’s where you take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them too. And like in an actual playground, sometimes you stumble and fall flat on your face. Well, let’s be optimistic: as long as you’re not bleeding, at least you’re moving forward!

The more mistakes you make, the more you learn. It’s true.

You’ll find better techniques to tackle the problem, or recognize ‘weak spots’ that you can work on.
20160929_winsomelosesomeI tend to mess up pages when I am distracted or rushed. Then what to do? Each time I see a page like that when I flip through my sketchbook, I cringe. That’s fine. But sometimes, it bothers me. Then I’ll try to fix it. Here’s a fix of a page I did while waiting for my train to come, and I just simply ran out of time. I just bought a set of new pens and I got overexcited and wanted to try them all. Didn’t work out. Ack.
Weeks later, I couldn’t get over it, so decided to simply practice Big Bold Lettering, smack on top. It worked out pretty well on this spread, especially because the ink turned out not to cover the golden gel pen lines. That was lucky! Then again, I couldn’t have made the page worse than it already was.

Below is another example. I started drawing my husband playing the mandolin, but he moved around more than I expected, and I totally went wrong with the proportions. I could have abandoned the drawing and just feel disappointed, but I know that there are always ways to fix things. Just like you can perk up a simple line drawing with a splash of watercolors, you can distract from flaws by adding shadows and hatching.
So that’s what I did, and while I was at it, I experimented with my hatching lines. Instead of drawing neat lines, I made them playful, in flow with both the mandolin music and following the fabric, and the shapes I drew. I might not have dared doing that when the basic line drawing had been more accurate – I would have been afraid to mess up the drawing. I just kept adding black and of course I was afraid I would overwork it, but at some point I saw how well the hatching actually worked. And by the time I put the last strokes onto paper, I had embraced the fact that the proportions were off, and liked the artsy feel of the drawing a lot.


No need to rip out a page from your art journal. You’ll regret that. There’s always a way out. No matter what your mistakes are. It’s just art. It’s fun. If you feel disappointed, fix it. Work harder to please your worst critic: you. Worst case

Worst case scenario, you make a collage on top of your drawing, or use gouache or acrylic paint, to create a whole new canvas on top, and start again.

Jazzy Sketches

The Amsterdam Urban Sketchers are a bunch of enthusiastic people who love drawing, and drawing together. We’re not that well organized, and I think we’re not the only group of urban sketchers who tend to do things off the cuff, go with the flow, and… work with the what the weather does. So we organize sketchcrawls every now and then, but there’s also this weekly thing that I’ve been attending every now and so often that I truly enjoy.

At Bimhuis in Amsterdam, each week there is a jazz improv workshop session. The people attending the session are practicing and learning to perform for an audience. It’s great to sit there in the theatre and see how each week the musicians are making progress and learning new aspects of improvisation, and it’s a fantastic way to practice life drawing. When people make music on a small stage, they will move around, but surprisingly enough, they don’t move THAT much, and they make many repetitive movements, which is very helpful when you’re drawing them. Sometimes I feel like my drawings are influnced by the music they play. Especially when the music seems to flow well and is a bit funky and you just can’t help that your foot taps along with the rythm, my pen seems to move right along with the tunes and rythm.
Each time I go, I try to pick a different tool, or combination of tools, to add to the challenge of drawing people during their performances.


Tools used: Moleskine sketchbook. Lamy fountain pen with Carbon Ink, Sailor calligraphy pen with water soluable ink, pink rollerball pen (no brand) with watersoluable ink, waterbrush.


Tools used: Moleskine sketchbook. Inktense watercolour pencil


Tools used: Moleskine sketchbook. Inktense watercolour pencils

20160927_bimhuis2Tools used: Moleskine sketchbook. Multicolor pencil and Inktense watercolour pencils

Oh, the risks you take when you’re an artist!

I am addicted to drawing. I can draw anywhere. Lucky enough I don’t get car sick, so I also draw in the car, on the plane, and if the road isn’t too wobbly, on the bus. It’s a great way to document moments, especially during road trips or exciting outings with friends.


Unfortunately, when you draw anything, anywhere, there’s a risk of losing your art tools, as they are not neatly organized on a desk. In just wto weeks  time, I lost two of my favorite pens. For a while I was hopeful they would turn up in a coat pocket, under a car seat, or at the bottom of one of my bags, but I think I should just embrace the fact that this is part of location drawing…

I wil; stop whining, and look at it from the bright side: it gives me a great excuse to go shopping for new pens!

Page 30 of 350« First...1020...2829303132...405060...Last »

Upcoming Online Art Classes

Receive my newsletter

Please provide your Email, First Name, and Last Name to receive news, tips and inspiration in an email every 2 weeks.



Welcome to my blog20150601_selfie kopie

My name is Koosje Koene. I am an illustrator, art teacher and online entrepreneur.
On this blog you’ll find my latest drawings, journal pages, sketches, inspiration and draw tips!
I appreciate your visit, and please feel free to leave a comment!

Get my book!


Are you in Europe? Buy ‘Food Ink’ here
In the US? Buy ‘Food Ink’ here


check out thousands
of illustrated recipes!