Happy birthday Rosso ♡

Yay Rosso!

This little monkey-pig turns 8 today! Wow. 8 freakin’ years. Already. Can’t believe how fast time flies. I was like.. 22 I think, and I had just got my first job as an artist. I can pretty much count my professional years of experience in Rosso’s age.

My flares

Allright, back to Rosso. Speaking of him, I wasn’t even a cat person back then. I dreamed about owning two dogs – a Bullterrier and a Dachshund. To be frank, I actually thought that dogs(and ferrets!) were the ultimate pets, and cats were just.. Boring and mean.

Cats suuuck

Ironically, I’ve never even had dogs or ferrets… But I’m definitely never getting a cat, ever… 

Cats suck

Pfft yeah right!

It was my boyfriends fault actually. He just moved out from his parents and absolutely LOVED cats. Grew up with them, and now he was aching for a new kitten. Not any kitten, but a Persian… I thought it was a cat for old ladies.

Browsing...

I supported him in this(I was curious, ok?) and started browse for available kittens online. I mean, pets are pets, right? I wanted pets!

Then suddenly, I saw this:

Baby Rosso

I surrender. Can you blame me?

He was available, we visited him, got hooked, my dignity was shattered and the rest is history. Rosso has soon been sticking around for 8 years, and letting him live with us has after all, has been the best decision ever. I guess I won’t have to mention twice that I’m definitely a cat person today ◠◡◠

The cosy toad himself

Sunday recap No. 3 and a weekly unseen sketch

This week has been awesome. Short week at work, due to holidays on Thursday, so I took a shorter vacation. Spent it on the countryside to hang out and watch the pets. Boyfriends mom and hubby was out of town, so we got to help out while they were gone ◠◡◠  And the weather! Ghah, the weather… Spring (or summer?) is officially here in Sweden and everything’s in bloom in romantic  Disney’s Bambi style. I think that time of the year has started, where you actually feel guilty for staying inside and working. Heh.

4 highlights from this week:
Week highlights

  1. This was an epic one. I finally used my license to the max and drove a car on my own. We got to borrow it, in order to drive from town to the house. I had a personal goal: drivers license before 30(I procrastinate a lot). And I got it earlier in.. February I think? But this was the first time that I actually tried it on my own without assistance from someone with a license already. VICTORY! I think I got this.
  2. Sheep! They just had a bebby, he’s adorable and his name is Otto. He was such a show off.
  3. I found my first four leaf of the year, while walking boyfriend’s sisters bunny. Will be interesting to see how many I can collect this year! Those who know me, are aware of my total obsession with four leaves ◠◡◠
  4. Anemones. Those and lilies of the valley – prettiest spring flowers ever.

Oh yeah! I also made a short visit for that Comic’s Festival today, here in Stockholm! Caught up with some friends, made new ones and peeked at all the cool comics displayed at the booths. Hopefully I can exhibit too next year! Need some new work to showcase first….

Speaking of showcasing new work, here’s a weekly unseen sketch!

tiger sketch

It’s another one from that previous project that I quickly mentioned in this post. Still trying to figure out personality and design. I have a vague story for them, but there are still some pieces missing, in order to go all in with the visuals… Storytelling is hard!! Character design is hard too….

Thoughts from the past week

I’m getting a new bike tomorrow! Been thinking about that a lot. Haha. I haven’t ridden a bike properly since I was 13, so I’m super excited to do that again. Especially when I see the current weather outside. My plan is to start biking back and forth to work, I’m super excited to see if I can pull it off.

That I want to learn how to master gouache and watercolors properly. I made an attempt a couple of weeks ago, but failed miserably…

Next week will probably be fun as well. I’ll start on a new a tutorial post on how I paint trees, and hopefully some other stuff too. Speaking of tutorials – if you have any requests, any levels, feel free to let me know and comment below ◠◡◠

Hope you had an awesome week!

Try to put your eraser aside to improve your sketches

I rarely use an eraser nowadays when sketching and drawing. I currently  have two: a kneaded eraser that I use to lighten up bold pencil strokes after inking, and the other one is a tiny eraser on my favorite mechanical pen, which I never really erase with.

It wasn’t intentional to stop using erasers a couple of years ago, it just kinda happened. Due to laziness  ◠◡◠ And after a while, I actually started to see the benefits with this while sketching. Who knew!

Below are some of the perks I’ve discovered:

Cat sketches

 

You get bolder

Just like with sports and music, or gaming, the more you repeat and practice, the more confident you’ll become! I wish I understood this earlier, especially as a kid.

You’ll end up with more sketches to pick and choose from

This is awesome. If you repeat and redraw your sketch, instead of erasing and correcting an actual one, you can actually compare and pick out the nice parts from each sketch.

Repeating instead of fixing helps you loosen up faster

Try it out next time you’re taking a figure drawing class. For instance, say that the model will hold the same pose for 5 minutes, I often draw two or three sketches of the exact same pose during this time. The last one often turns out to look the most confident.

You start using the same approach when sketching digitally

Yes, definitely. When I moved to digital media, I actually started underestimating making art the traditional way. Photoshop felt limitless. It can be both good an bad though. I actually thought that if I learn to master digital media, I’ll become a better artist. Well, it was very humbling to realize I was wrong. I was forgetting about the fundamentals, and that it applies everywhere. Nowadays I actually prefer trying new ideas by scribbling on paper first, before diving into the digital part.

Cat sketches

For me, a physical sketch isn’t really a final product or piece. I treat my sketchbook as a sand box, it doesn’t even have to be pretty!  Thinking that way, helps me take away the pressure of creating something perfect on the first attempt, or at all. It allows me to work fast and experiment, knowing that with enough attempts, I increase my chances to end up with a final result that I eventually like!

What do you say? To erase, or not to erase? Challenge yourself and try to toss your eraser for a week, and see how it feels. Be brave, and have fun!  ◠◡◠

Sunday recap No. 2

This week has been pretty productive! Got a lot of work-related things done, and feel pretty inspired right now. Good times! I also discovered an awesome way to organize my notes in a journal, I’m kinda blown away. I love lists and I’m proud of it ◠◡◠

I also started working out again. Been on a break more or less for a month, due to being too busy(not good at all, I wanna be able to relax have a life, and not just work. Hard to balance everything sometimes)

Other than that, not much else has happened. This is a quite typical week in my life. I love staying home after work and just relax, as if I’m already old and retired… We were thinking about going out and watch the fire yesterday, but then I though “nah”. I’ll just enjoy everybody else’s pretty pics from the evening! Many other blogs are currently exploding with beautiful photos of fires and spring flowers. And it’s easy to get caught in that wave, feeling the pressure to do the same, so I had to stop myself and say Nope. Just no. That wouldn’t be me. I should focus mainly on art in my blog!  And be myself. There’s nothing wrong with just lying on the couch all weekend, eat chocolate and watch documentaries with your boyfriend and cats! Maybe I can paint some spring-themed illustrations instead ◠◡◠

4 pics of the week:

Sunday recap No. 2

  1. A typical morning view in my kitchen. Z sunbathing on the table.
  2. Sketch tuesday! Met up with some artist friends at Magnolia to hang out and sketch. It occurs every week, but I haven’t joined in a while. Nice to be back, and catch up. And they had vegan snacks! Yay!
  3. I kept practicing taking photos. So tricky. I often practice on the cats, and yeah, they’re not the easiest subject to capture sometimes ◠◡◠ 
  4. Z explored the balcony for the first time. We tried to walk him outside on a leash, yesterday, but he totally freaked out. Such a chicken. So slowly introducing him to the outside world will probably help, haha.

And here’s this week’s unseen sketch!

Fox sketch - noukah.com

Another fox that I’ll be using for a different idea. Took the opportunity to sketch in grayscale to practice values!

Tips and thoughts

Am I “HSP”?
Saw some posts from Agnes, who mentioned that she’s HSP(Highly Sensitive Personality), which made me curious. After some research, I actually realize that maybe I’m HSP too..? I recognize myself so much in the descriptions. Lots of things make more sense, feels like I know myself better in some sense. This has occupied my mind a lot this past week.

The Bullet Journal
I’m probably quite late to the party, but I came across this awesome way for rapid logging through Atilio this other day(Haha feels, like I’ve lived under a stone, where did all the awesome bloggers come from? Where have I been?!) Anyway, it’s called the Bullet Journal, if you love making lists and being organized, you’re gonna love this. Try it!

Hope you all had a nice week! Let’s see if I can pull this off next week as well ◠◡◠ 

Things happening in May

Ah, today is Valborg. It’s a tradition, where we kinda.. Scare away winter with some big ass fires(Fingers crossed that no hedgehogs got harmed!! They like hiding in the big pile of twigs… ) to welcome spring.

May is probably my favorite month of the year. I like all seasons, but spring is special. I get all hyped and stuff.

Here are some things happening for me to look forward to:

  • Stockholm International Comic’s festival, 7-8 May. Not having a table this year, but I still wanna go and catch up with friends.
  • I’m turning 30, 20 May. Having mixed feelings about this, I still feel like 25…
  • Schoolism Workshop here in Stockholm, 28 May! I went to the one in October, and it was aaaawesome!
  • BBCcon, 28 May. I accidently double-booked this with the Schoolism one, so I need to figure out which one to attend, hahaha. I realized they occured during the exact same weekend the moment I booked my ticket. WHYYYYY???!! Me in a nut shell…

Busy month! But it’s nice to have an overview like this, and be prepared. I’m also a social introvert(Not really shy, and like hanging out, I just need some alone time afterwards), so knowing things ahead helps me a lot ◠◡◠ Will you go on any of those events? Feel free to let me know, I’d love to meet!

Do you have any plans or things happening in May? Looking forward to spring?

Have an awesome evening and Valborg!

I’ll leave you with a sketch I made earlier this winter. It’s for another story that’s brewing in my head. I currently have about 3 story ideas, waiting to get developed.

Tiger sketch

Working on a Cintiq: Pros and cons

To get, or not to get a Cintiq? I get this question quite often ◠◡◠ It may be a big step for the hobbyist, but a nice investment for a professional artist.

I recently got this question:

What do you think about the differences between using a Cintiq and not using this tool? I’m an illustrator and I have some difficulties illustrating some of my works digitally.

I work with web design, but that is not what I want to do for live, you know? And I feel that my pencil & paper works so much better than my Illustrator/Photoshop techniques (even with years of experience on this programs, it isn’t as intuitive as using a pencil or a pen). It was a big step, talking about money, for you to get one? Do you think that investment comes back after increasing the illustration qualities with the Cintiq?

I’m trying to convince myself with the cost x benefits. It’s a big step for me buying one, but I think there is some future for me on this field.

Hey, thanks for asking! For me, it was definitely worth it. When I gradually moved from traiditional, to digital art, I started out with a mouse at first(Yikes!). Then with a Wacom Intuos2. I loved it, it was awesome for painting, but my hand wasn’t really steady for drawing line drawings. So in 2009, I decided to invest in a used Wacom Cintiq 12WX(I prefer the smaller models) And till this day, it still works like a charm  Actually took a while before we became friends(I almost sold it again..!), but today I’d say that it’s been a life saver! At least for me, been using one ever since ◠◡◠

Here’s my experience of pros and cons working on a Cintiq.

Yours truly, Z and my Cintiq

Pros:

Precise sketching

Most of us probably know the difference between fine lines, and shaky lines. I find it extremely hard and time consuming to draw finer sketches or line art on a regular Wacom tablet. So when it comes to sketching, you can guess by now, which one I’ll prefer using ◠◡◠ 

You speed up and save time

Just sketching itself will become so much more efficient, once you get used to it. For instance, transferring to a Cintiq, I don’t even scan my sketches anymore. I just scribble down the ideas on a piece of paper, and then I just draw it again using the Cintiq. I love shortcuts!

Cons:

The display is not quite there yet

For rendering and painting, an additional regular monitor is still a must. Since Cintiqs(in my opinion) don’t really have the capacity of showing accurate colors and contrasts… Yet! It’s getting there, though ◠◡◠ 


So yeah, hope this answered your questions!
If you ask me then YES. It’s a great investment. If you aim to draw and paint for a living, then this will definitely make your life easier. Oh and no, I’m not sponsored, in case you wondered ◠◡◠

If you’d like to keep track of more posts like these, feel free to subscribe on Bloglovin’

Thanks for reading! 

I painted a tree

Some pine trees made by yours truly

 

I love forests. And I love trees. Wish I had a small cottage in the woods, with a secret little lake and a meadow nearby. Even though I love living in the big city, I’ve always had this little dream of living in a house one day. I envy the ones who do, but don’t know if I would be able to pull it off myself? Am I in love with the idea itself, or would I actually enjoy maintaining a house? Hm.

Here’s a pine tree study for you. It’s a nice complement for that short comic thingie I’m working on, the one with the fox, hence the loose little fox in the thumbnail seen above ◠◡◠
Done in Photoshop using a Cintiq. The colored version may have turned out a little flat, not sure yet. And the shapes are pretty much the way I always draw pine trees. Probably because I didn’t really use any references other than googling forest real quickly. I’m bad with copying photos, I wish it wouldn’t bore me.

Making some further style explorations would be smart I think.  And I wanna be a smartist, not just an artist. Hehehe ◠◡◠

Hope you’re having a nice evening ♡
I just got home after Stockholm Sketch Tuesday, which I can tell you more about in another post. Now I’m off to chill and cuddle some kittehs!

Sunday recap No. 1

I came across this neat idea that I saw at Nevnarien and Rowantree lately. They’re making these awesome weekly recaps every sunday, so I thought that I wanted to give it a shot myself! Could be a neat way to get momentum, creating content for this blog on a regular basis, now that I’m slowly getting back on track ◠◡◠

Let’s start by having a look at 4 images from this past week.

Pics from the past week

  1. Some sketches from the life drawing session at work. Yes indeed, we actually have a forest in the studio ◠◡◠  More about that later!
  2. Freelance mornings with my ehm.. Totem? I had a busy week, since I still had some work left on those illustrations for KP. Zimba was a pain in the butt as usual. He’s in my face as we speak, while I’m trying to write this blog post…
  3. Morning routines, and I can’t even be alone in the bathroom. I swear I’ll end up severely hunchbacked because of him constantly wanting to ride on my back or shoulders, haha.
  4. Been picking up the camera again, to practice taking nicer shots. I tried shooting some photos for this blog, but ironically, I still ended up using the ones I took with my phone instead… Most of my photos were out of focus. Ghah. Needs more practice, I guess.

Here’s also a weekly unseen sketch made by yours truly!

Fox sketch by Andrea Femerstrand

Foxy ◠◡◠ It’s an additional sketch to the one I showed earlier this week. I’m meaning to make a short motivational comic with these, hopefully you’ll see it soon! Done in Photoshop with a Cintiq.

Tips, inspiration and thoughts of the week:

⋙ This girl singing “Defying Gravity” in Britain’s got talent. So good! I’m a huge fan of Wicked, probably my favorite musical ever ♥
This eyebrow blog post written by James Gurney. He writes about his new discovery, about eyebrows, and how much more important they are for face recognition. Who knew! I always thought it was the eyes, but nope! This will come in handy when drawing portraits.
⋙ I’m getting hyped over my own work again. Feels awesome, after my unwanted a 2-year break. There’s so much I wanna do, and so little time! I wanna do everything at the same time right now, so I guess a proper list of goals and ideas would be in order. Otherwise I’ll either do too much or nothing at all. Haaa…

How has your week been? Any highlights to share? ◠◡◠ 

5 tips: How to approach a freelancing artist

Some of my tools and a sketch from 2013

There are plenty of blog posts and articles out there, that tell you how to write the perfect e-mail to clients. We’re shaped and trained to become the perfect freelancing creative, to always be available, always be polite, on time and clear. But what about the other way around?

I’m one of those who recieve tons of work-related e-mails, sometimes several ones per week. I’m super grateful and I’ve landed some really fun and exciting jobs through the years. But some dialogues could’ve become so much more effective. Many e-mails may actually sound something like this:


“Hey, I’m looking for an artist for my project, what are your rates?
Best regards// Unknown”

Awesome, good for you! No, seriously though.

It’s very hard to give a straight answer out of this, since we have no idea what the job should be about. We may not even know who you are. So I’ve made a list for you clients out there. If you’re an artist , feel free to share or refer to these if you get an e-mail from a client that’s not clear enough!

Introduce yourself

What’s your name and title? You don’t have to tell me your whole background(unless you want to of course) but at least let us know what your title is and the company you belong to, or own.

Describe your project already in the first e-mail

This would save so much time on both ends. Tell us as much as possible about your project, and think about what’s needed. How much work is actually required? You don’t have to be precise, but a rough estimation is always great to have!

When is the deadline?

This is super important. Most creatives have a rather tight schedule and we need to know whether we can plan your project in properly. The sooner you know this, the better! Time is precious ◠◡◠

Do you have a budget?

What’s your budget for the project? This can be really helpful, since we can see whether it’s doable at the moment. If it’s way too low, then I at least, may be open for negotiation in some cases. Perhaps getting paid in both salary and royalties? Never offer exposure as payment. Because really, most creatives can get that on their own, and bills still need to get paid. So, royalties or other perks might be interesting!

Do your research

I go by the titles illustrator, concept artist and character designer. My portfolio is stuffed with work that’s geared towards those areas. So in this case, I wouldn’t be the right person to design your logo for instance, since that’s not exactly what I’m showcasing or do on a professional level. Plenty of kickass freelancing logo designers may be available for that. But if you have a project that involves cute characters and storytelling, hmmm, then I may be able to help out!

 

That’s what I had to say about clients and e-mails! Is this worthy enough, my fellow freelancing, creative amigos? Should anything be added? What are your thoughts? ◠◡◠

Casual sketching while it’s raining outside

Evening sketch

Yay! I finished the illustrations last night, so now I’ve finally got time for my own stuff again ◠◡◠
I’m celebrating with lit candles and my sketchbook, getting all cozy sitting on my couch. And it’s raining outside. Mmmm… Usually I’m scared to light candles when I’m home alone, (what if I forget lighting them out.) so this is actually the first time that I do it, ever. Hard to believe, since I’m already turning 30(in 19 days, ahh holy crap!) Yeah baby, I feel so brave right now.

So what am I sketching tonight? Well, you can have one guess…

Points earned if you guessed “Foxes”! Haha. Ohh I love them, they’re so adoreable. I started coloring this sketch a while back :

Fox sketch by noukah.com

But I had to pause and focus on my freelance gigs for a while. I just got back to it, and got some more ideas that I’d like to add. So that’s pretty much what I’m doing tonight! Jotting down thumbnails and notes for some additional sketches to this current one. Don’t worry, he may seem sad, but I’m meaning to add a happy ending to this!

What’s up at your end? Hope you’re having an awesome evening ♥