Friday, October 20, 2017

Frida Hammar -- a Sketchbook Conversation

Today's Sketchbook Conversation is with Swedish illustrator Frida Hammar. I think you'll enjoy her colorful, whimsical artwork.

Here's Frida's story:

When I was little I kept a diary, and I used it as a sketchbook. I have been drawing in sketchbooks my entire life. I feel I need to approach each artwork with the feeling of "it is just a sketch" attitude, and if I like where the sketch is going, I might work on its context, meaning or purpose. 


Frida Hammar, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry, Sketchbooks, inspiration, artists

Whether it turns out good or bad, it has gone from sketch to artwork. And I can't go back to the "sketchy mood" again. 


Frida Hammar, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry, Sketchbooks, inspiration, artists

I think all artists have a personal take on this matter, and believe it reflects on the actual artwork, and that is interesting to me. This spring me and some fellow artists had an exhibition about this, where we showed our sketchbooks and work processes, and how different we work, and that there is no right or wrong way. You just have to figure out which way that works best for you.

Frida Hammar, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry, Sketchbooks, inspiration, artists

I tend to work in themes. I make up a theme as I go along. Let´s say I draw a hand. Then I have the theme "Hands". 


Frida Hammar, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry, Sketchbooks, inspiration, artists

This way I trick myself, thinking this hand doesn't have to be that good because I am going to create many more, at least 6 more hands, and maybe the next one will be better. This way I can stay relaxed and have fun instead of focusing on the quality and that it has to be good...Sometimes I work inside a theme for a day, sometimes a month.

Frida Hammar, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry, Sketchbooks, inspiration, artists

For me, the best way is to start out a process is with the intent to make a quick sketch, but I do prefer to sketch on quality paper. This is because I understand my process, that my sketches might transform into an original. 


Frida Hammar, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry, Sketchbooks, inspiration, artists

So, my sketchbook, in reality is a block of aquarelle paper. I like Canson, 200g, maxi pack (100 sheets). Of course I don´t always have the opportunity to work on high quality paper, so, then my sketchbook is actually a sketchbook.

Frida Hammar, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry, Sketchbooks, inspiration, artists

I love working with gouache because it gives me the freedom to draw and paint with. I like gouache because it can be transparent like watercolor and it can be opaque as acrylics. What I love most with gouache is that it always can be re-activated. On my palette and even on the paper I am working on. 


Frida Hammar, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry, Sketchbooks, inspiration, artists

So, me being a parent, (which means I am always interrupted) I can just stop working, knowing I only need water to activate to color pigments again. I like Winsor & Newton, gouache for professionals. On top the gouache I often use watercolor pencils or colored pencils.

Frida Hammar, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry, Sketchbooks, inspiration, artists

I feel like I get work done by staying motivated. And for me, motivation means setting aside time to draw. Usually, I draw after dinner and on the weekends I draw in the morning. Every time I have an idea, I write it up in my phone. I have a long list of stuff I want to try out. The list is basically just words and sentences that I would like to visualize. I am never going to be able to finish my list, it just keeps getting longer and longer, its purpose is to make me think I always will have something to draw. 


Frida Hammar, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry, Sketchbooks, inspiration, artists

For inspiration I been taking some online classes (makeartthatsells.com) because learning new stuff makes me stay curious. I also like Instagram challenges, that is a great and cheap way to stay inspired.

Frida Hammar, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry, Sketchbooks, inspiration, artists

If you are just starting out with a new sketchbook my advice to you is to give it a theme. Maybe to study flowers, or drawing for 30 seconds on each side, or just using the color blue, the possibilities are endless. Hopefully you will enjoy keeping a sketchbook as much as I do!

Frida Hammar, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry, Sketchbooks, inspiration, artists

Thank you, Frida, for sharing your sketches and your story with us today.

Dear reader, you can connect with Frida:






Missed the other Sketchbook Conversations posts? It's easy to catch up at the series web page.

And for even more inspiration, check out my Artist Interviews




*Photos in this post ©Frida Hammar. Used with permission.

2 comments:

  1. Great idea to have a theme for your sketch book Frida. I had one which I themed 17th Century Designs. Unfortunately I haven't moved on from that just yet and my work has dried up! Thank you for reminding me of themes again. I love your 'hands' sketches! :)

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    Replies
    1. Glad you're inspired by this week's post, Simone! Themes can really help drive our sketchbook work. The nice thing is that we can change our themes. I remember when Dana was working in a daily sketchbook she had themes that she changed weekly, or more/less often according to inspiration. http://www.danabarbieri.com/category/daily-sketchbook/ Helps when we don't know what to work on!

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