Sketching Iceland

My family and I spent a wonderful time in Iceland last week! I was a first-time visitor, and determined to capture as much as I could in sketches. I used a 5.5″x5.5″ Zig Zag (concertina) sketch book by Hahnemuhle and filled both sides over 7 days. I sketched on location with a Sailor Fude pen and Platinum carbon Ink, and occasionally a Faber-Castell Pitt Pen. I took photos for color references and added watercolors, stickers, text, and other stuff back at the Air B and B or after the trip.

Here is a video for the first half of the sketchbook:

As I was traveling with family, I tried to find things that I could sketch fairly quickly so that I didn’t slow us down too much. We landed in Keflavik, about 45 minutes from Reykjavik. I liked the idea of starting the book with a boat sketch, and with jet lag, that was the only sketch I did on the first day. On our first day exploring Reykjavik, I just had to sketch the statue of Leif and the large church that towers over the city– Hallgrimskirkja.

After a day at the Blue Lagoon Spa, we drove around and stopped to see these rock formations and lake. While my family explored, I sat down and sketched the view. Iceland has stunning landscape and geological features and is a feast for the eyes!

Another day found us traveling “The Golden Circle”. This famous route can be completed in a day and takes you to many stunning sites. I captured Gullfoss (waterfalls), the Geysir hot springs area, and the Kerid crater.

We also had a tour of a geothermal baking experience in the hot springs area. I was captured by the idea that one can bake bread in a pot by burying it on a sandy beach of a lake (hot spring fed), so I documented the process on the beach as our guide showed us how it was done.

These next sketches show some of the museums we attended, as well as amazing sights on the southern coast of Iceland. I was not able to sketch on the ATV tour we took (too bouncy and windy). You have to know when to put the sketchbook away!

We went to the Maritime museum in Reykjavik and afterwards looked around the marina at a variety of boats. I liked this boat with its yellow hull.

Probably one of the most difficult sketches I attempted was on the south shore in Vik, on the black sand beach. It was cold, very windy, and I had on gloves, a hat, and layered jackets. I sketched these famous rock formations sticking up out of the ocean, but kept the line work very simple.

On an easier note, we spent time shopping in Reykjavik and I was able to capture a street scene. The man in the lower right corner was standing and talking to a police officer in a car. I omitted the car, but kept the man.

In the finished sketch, I darkened shadow areas behind him to bring attention to him in the foreground.

I’m a big fan of using a zig zag sketch book to tell the stories of my trips. I hope you’ve enjoyed some of the sights and stories I’ve shared from Iceland. We did much more than I was able to sketch, but this gives me a nice souvenir from a wonderful trip, and I’ll remember it forever!

Leave a Reply