My trip to South Portugal – Algarve

Those are my pomegranates from my front yard lost on the Algarve hillsthe litle church of Cachopo- Tavira at the Praia-Verde beach after a visit to a village near by. Was so hot and I needed fresh air.what better to eat on a hot, hot day. This is real Portuguese summer food and I so love it lost on the hills with my litle dog I sat and sketch the view

Reviewing Stillman & Birn square sketchbook

I finally got this sketchbook on my hands, after being sold out everywhere online. I want it so badly that I wrote to mr. Stillman on Facebook and asked him to put it back available at Amazon or eBay or anywhere else and he answered me ! He advised me a French online shop where they have some sketchbooks available. Great, a shop on the same continent as me! So now I have three of these sketchbooks to fill with daily sketches. Yay! They are Beta series, premium sketchbooks, dry and wet media, watercolor and ink , soft cover and they are square. Paper inside is high quality for watercolors (270 gsm), cold press which makes a wonderful soft texturized surface paper , I love it. The square format ( 19x19cm ; 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches) it’s a lovely compromise between an A4 and an A5 sketchbook, it allows you to compose different sketches on the same page , something I couldn’t do on a A5 format.

At Sintra on a beautiful cool day . I walked almost 2 km just to sketch that castle, only possible because was such a fresh day.

A picnic at the forest and time to sketch again

At Oeiras harbour with my new pen, Confucius fude

Why all the fuzz about sketchbooks

I started sketching on cheap plain white pages sketchbooks. At that time my sketchbooks were a mix of planners and sketchbooks , I put everything on it, stamps, addresses, phone numbers , sculpture projects, collages, reminders, you name it , I sketched with the same pen or pencil I wrote. But one day I bought a watercolor case at Venice/Italy and then visiting Toscanny , I tried to use watercolor on my sketch of the leaning tower of Piza and it was a disaster, I had to start the sketch again because the paper waved so much and was so soggy that I had to eliminate the page.

Cheap plain sketchbook, black fineliner pen and color pencil

Bic pen o n A5 cheap sketchbook

Back to Venice I bought a wire bound , 170gsm, Canson sketchbook but still I didn’t like the paper too absorbent , and too thin, it waves with the watercolors, and that wire and all those holes made the pages very easily detachables. Anyway I fulfilled it until the last page. After that I bought all available watercolor sketchbooks brands ( as you can see on my previous article on my blog) after all I need my gear work with me , not against me. That’s why all the fuzz about sketchbooks.

HB graphite pencil on a A5 cheap sketchbook (all sketches from 1994 and 1997)

By the way I’m waiting for a stillman &birn wet media, square sketchbook , these days at the mail, and I ‘m so excited about it 😜👋

Paula’s Aquatints -Copper etching

copper strong acid etching- aquatint

Silencium I - with pommegranit Paper Dim:


copper strong acid etching- aquatint

" Still-Life I " with peache and courgette


copper strong acid etching- aquatintaquatint on 50% cotton paper Paper Dim: 70 cm X 50Cm Plate DIM: 39cm X26,5 cm

aquatint on 50% cotton paper Paper Dim: 70 cm X 50Cm Plate DIM: 39cm X26,5 cm


Do you want start sketching?

Some people I met while sketching usually says “I wish I could sketch like that” . Well, you can. Really ! Once, a little child , maybe 5 or 6 years hold, asked me how I did that sketch, she was looking to the sketch and the real view at a time, she was really admired. I answer,saying that I just look for what’s in front of very, very carefully. And that made sense to her, I could see that on her eyes.

This is what I was sketching

A5hand made sketchbook, Namiki Falcon fountainpen, Sennellier watercolors

All you need is paper , a pen or pencil and the will to put on the paper what’s in front of you or those things who made you stop and look more carefully. Looking carefully mean, if that horizontal line of that wall seems to you as an oblique, draw it oblique, sketch what you see , not what you think it should be, if that tree has that strange branch or if you see the tail of that slipping dog right on top of his head, draw like it is and not your idea of a tree or of a dog. Sketch with your eyes not with your mind. That’s called perspective.

In this sketch there’s only one horizontal line ☝️

A sketch doesn’t have to be a work of art, it’s even not meant to be seen if you don’t want it. Sketching is a form of meditation. It’s having fun. I start sketching at school, very young, then at art school my teachers wanted every student had a sketchbook where you draw everything, without to much details, just fast and easy drafts . It could be a flower, a group of trees, a sitting person on the subway or a building. Doesn’t matter what.

A5 hand made sketchbook, Namiki Falcon fountainpen, fabercastel pit pen.

A5 Hand made sketchbook, Namiki Falcon fountainpen, Daniel Smith watercolors

At first my sketches didn’t reached the quality I wanted, I still struggle to make a decent vertical, but I insisted over and over until I said to myself It’s okay, this drawing It’s good enough to give me an idea of what was catching my attention on this day, I can improve on the next one.

A5 Hannemuhle sketchbook, Hero fude fountainpen

It’s important never give up on drawing or on a drawing, we must always go until the end even you don’t know where it leads you. Even I know the foundations of perspective and colors , I had and still have difficulty on representing the reality of my surroundings, but I’m learning and remembering what already know. I search on internet for other sketchers sketches and I try to understand how they solved on paper that perspective, that volume or that sky, I browse on YouTube how to paint with watercolors, because there are some tricks on the technique . Just tricks. Sketching or drawing accurately something it’s the sum of some little drawing tricks and looking with attention to the subject. To learn the tricks it’s easy, you just have to search on internet how to do it, there lots of art tutorials and artists work to study and learn, paying attention it’s more difficult in my opinion .

A5 stillman &birn alpha series sketchbook, 0,3 micron pen

At first can be a bit disappointing all the struggle to put in two dimensions what it’s in three dimensions on reality , but after a while things tends to came together and then it’s a joy when you say to yourself, I did it! I like it! It’s done. And most of all, I had fun.

Please go outside, or if you are to shy yet to do that, seat at home and draw whatever it’s in front of you. Try. Don’t be to hard on you, allow yourself to make mistakes, but never , never give up, and learn. Me, I’ll keep improving my vertical lines 😉

A5 Square sketchbook, Namiki Falcon fountainpen, white nights watercolors

A5 Hannemuhle sketchbook, Namiki Falcon fountainpen with Atramentis documents ink, faber castel colorpencil.

A5 hahnemuhle sketchbook, faber castel fineliner, Namiki Falcon fountainpen with Atramentis document ink