She experiments with new techniques, colors and tools, and generously shares with all of us on her blog--it's one of my favorites.
Nina records her travels in her journals, as many of us do...her skill really shows, and invites us right along with her.
I asked Nina to tell us a bit about herself...and here's her introduction:
”Hometown” is a tricky word for me. I was born in Gävle in Sweden in 1970, then then family moved north to Umeå when I was nine. If someone asks, I call Umeå my hometown, though I still have a soft spot in my heart for Gävle. When I was twenty six, I thought I knew Umeå by heart, and couldn´t quite find my future there, so I moved to Stockholm – a dream I had had for years then. Now Stockholm has become my hometown too, so these days it seems I am ”going home” no matter which direction I´m travelling in Sweden.
|This is one of the wonderful journal page sketches from Nina's kitchen window...she draws it in all seasons.|
Thanks, Nina, good to "meet" you! And now let's jump right into the interview...
How long have you been journaling? Did you always do an art journal, and how has it evolved?
No, I didn´t always journal. I would say I started journaling, or drawing in sketchbooks instead of on loose papers, some time in 2005. I have always been drawing, in pads, on loose papers, on big and small surfaces, even in sketchbooks, but I only drew a few pages and then went on to some other kind of paper. But in 2004-5 drawing became more and more important to me, and I had a feeling that I should start working more consciously, and collect my drawings in a better way, keep track of them, not spread them around so much. And as soon as I started drawing in a book, and jotting down the date every now and then, it became a journal, not 'just drawings'. It became in a way a chronological record of my days. Not every day, and not
everything I do, but still.
And as every other person I know who draws in a sketchbook, I remember everything around the drawings, like the place I did them in, the weather, the smell in the air on that day, what people were saying around me and so on. I also started drawing much more when i switched to books, because it´s so easy and fast to just do a little drawing and then continue later if I don´t finish it. Drawing on loose papers often makes me feel like I have to finish something, or that the result should be of good quality. My sketchbooks are very free from pressure, I don´t try to accomplish that much in them.
How does this kind of work complement your career or job?
I draw a lot of inspiration from my work, since it has a lot to do with art and creative processes, and the sketchbooks/journals let me spill all that out in a simple way. I try out different techniques, I sometimes do my student´s exercises just to try them out, and I also pick ideas from my sketchbooks to my teaching. But the sketchbooks are also a place to let off steam. At work I have to plan everything, prepare material and be ready when a class starts. In my sketchbooks I hardly plan anything, I just grab a pen and start drawing. In many ways my work and my sketchbook habit are opposites, and I need them both. They balance each other.
What do you enjoy most?
Oh wow, hard question... I think getting in "the zone" while drawing. You know, when you concentrate so much on what you do, that you loose track of time, it´s just you, the pen and that subject you are trying to capture. It´s very soothing, calming and afterwards I always feel like I wake up, or come back to the world, somehow. Must be what meditation is for some people.
Do you have a favorite medium or approach?
Ink pens, preferably fountain pens, and watercolours are my favorites. I love trying out other techniques and materials too, and I often do, but I always return to ink and watercolours.
You do these wonderful composite/montage pages when you’re busy—your vecka pieces, etc. (Does that mean “week” in English?) What inspired you to do those?
Simply lack of time. And yes, ”vecka” means ”week”. Sometimes it´s hard to find the time to do more elaborate drawings, because you´re swamped with work or whatever, and then I just thought it would be better to draw very little almost every day than drawing nothing for many days. And if I do that on the same page and keep to the same technique or some kind of theme for a whole week, I´m going to end up with something that looks very well thought-out even though it isn´t. And it´s really fun to see where you end up if you just keep on patiently working on the same page for several days.
You used stencils and texturing tricks in your paintings, do you ever use
them in your journals? (Any of the images you sent me?)
I haven´t used much of that at all in my journals, though lately I have put a few tiny simple stencils in a pocket at the back of my sketchbook to see if I can do something interesting with them.
My paintings are quite different to my sketchbook pages. I´m sure there are things in both that make them recognizable as my work, but they ARE different. And I have been thinking a lot about how to combine these two ways of working, either by bringing my painting manner into my journals or vice versa. I´m trying to experiment with that now that I´m working on a new series of paintings.
How do you decide to design a page?
I usually don´t decide anything, I just start drawing. After a while I might decide to have a line around the whole drawing, or a bit of text in it or whatever, but I never plan that ahead. Or at least very
Perhaps when you're as talented as Nina, design just happens!
As noted, Nina will be teaching at the second Urban Sketchers Symposium in Lisbon this July. She'll be giving a workshop with fellow urban sketcher José Louro --it'll we be terrific!