Spent a couple of hours in Antwerp. Not far from Amsterdam and the car journey was good. Amazing skies and clouds. Pinks, blues and smudgy greys. Then walked the old streets. Alot of regeneration work going on and it was really cold so ended up relaxing in a great 30’s style cafe next to the river Scheldt. Enjoyed drinking coffee and drawing. It was interesting sketching the reflections in the mirrors /windows and the passing waiters and visitors. There’s also an impressive spiral staircase and central bar. I could have sat here all day but it was just a brief visit. Will be nice to return for lunch sometime.

Amsterdam Central Library

Not quite so windy today. Started off at Princes Island. I love this area of Amsterdam. So much character with converted warehouses, pretty bridges and boats on the canal. Sketched quickly before a downpour of rain. I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired to draw but I sat down on a bench and looked ahead of me. I love sketching because it makes you look and you start noticing things that you would normally overlook. When I started drawing I sketched the houses and then noticed a heron and a coot. Then a pigeon appeared. Not very prominent in my drawing as I dashed off to take cover. Will return.

Rain subsided and sketched towards the station.

Then walked to the central library. Laptop in bag too and took a few breaks to draw. I sat in the library cafe on the top floor. There’s a  bar near the food area and so I sat on a stall with a coffee, listened to Goldfrapp on my ipod and sketched the food on display and the visitors. A few people even ducked when they saw me sketching as they didn’t want to get in the way!  I enjoyed sketching the rows of milkshakes with straws and the surrounding fresh fruit.

The library and cafe was really busy today. I quickly sketched a group of students reading on a table. As soon as I started drawing, half of the party got up and left so I drew from memory.

Happy New Year!

Here’s to a great 2012!

As an early Christmas present to myself I bought an etching press. I’m enjoying getting to grips with it. My friend James asked if I would do a print based on a couple of my Brighton sketches. My first print on my new press is a view of Marine Parade. I’ve combined a linocut with a monoprint. This is the result.

James Fraser is a great sketcher, artist and book designer.  Please check out his website: