VSW (Short for Virtual Sketch Walk): Amsterdam

W15  VSC AMSTERDAM 016A virtual sketch walk is one in which
you never leave your chair.

 The opposite of urban sketchers, which is all about sketching your environment
from real life, as a virtual sketcher you are sketching from your own,
another person’s (with permission), or Google map images.
I did my first one during the International Fake Journal Month,
when I took a virtual trip while recouping from surgery.
(Note all the writing was fakery too — part of the game of IFJM!)
All my travel was done from my bed (I was laid up) using Google maps and Google virtual street views, and an occasional Wikipedia Creative commons photograph.

W15  VSC AMSTERDAM 017As an Urban Sketcher, I enjoy getting out and sketching the city or my real travels.
And, I also work full time and often my sketching time is between 4-6am or early evening.
Virtual sketching allows me to continue to enjoy myself, hone my drawing skills, and basically do when I used to sketch at architectural lectures — draw from slide shows!

W15  VSC AMSTERDAM 001(All photographic images from Google maps.)


This virtual walk in Amsterdam was mapped by Rene Fitjen, an architect and artist,
and part of a small group of artists who sometimes play alongside each other in
sketching games that allow us to see how we handle the same basic images.

You can take any walk you want anytime you want!

My walk:

I love doing these exercises!

They are like a meditation to me, as I draw in pencil and ink.
After I play with watercolor at the end of my more sketching time.

W15  VSC AMSTERDAM 019I find a virtual image (this is from Google streets) and
sketch from it as if I am there in real time.
I can also use my own camera on a walk — or have a friend take a walk
and capture what they see — and then sketch it “as if.”

They are fast and fun and I can do them anytime!

W15  VSC AMSTERDAM 020I map out a page to allow for a certain congruity in my “walks.”

Depending upon the size sketchbook, your images will be small —
mine are in the 3″x3″ range, or double that for the long ones.
The size came out of my Moleskin Journal which is A4 landscape sized.

I lay in a pencil outline — a few lines — or not,
and then use ink, followed by watercolor — or not!

No rules except it these are virtual!

W15 7 VSC AMSTERDAM 024a W15 7 VSC AMSTERDAM 049aI also learn about the places I sketch.  I knew Amsterdam had Red Light districts,
and the idea that Oude kerk (one of the oldest churches) might be near the red light districts was predictable.  However, they had sculptures all AROUND
it that were celebrations of the world’s oldest profession!  Whoa!
Made me think about the Puritanical nature of the USA.

Some artists look down their noses at those that
sketch or paint from images. 

I don’t.

First of all, drawing and painting are drawing and painting, period.
You define if you are an artist or not.

W15  VSC AMSTERDAM 011 W15  VSC AMSTERDAM 022I also heartily encourage everyone to paint and sketch from real life whenever possible.
Images flatten out reality and influence the way you perceive and therefore depict images.

AND, this year I also learned what it is all about to be confined to an inner space,
be it a bed, a wheelchair, or a hospital —
or even keeping someone company daily in that situation.
Three months of virtual painting saved me from
going stir-crazy, as one can only sketch the cats, one’s toes, a stack of books,
one’s art tools and the items next to the bed or the room for so long!

W15  VSC AMSTERDAM 023I started a Facebook group page to allow everyone to comfortably post their virtual sketches, and also where we will, from time to time, take virtual sketch walks.  For a short time I am letting the group be public, so anyone can see what this might be about.
Eventually we will be closed to public viewing, and then you must play to view!

Why a closed group?

Sometimes you want to be able to experiment as an artist and it is nice to know that only the other artists who “have skin in the game” can see your experiments.  If you are interested, you can ask to be admitted after the group is closed for privacy.

I also created an accompanying Flickr group!

Come join us if you are inclined!

virtual sketch walk bannerMoleskin 8×11 watercolor journal, Pentalic HB woodless pencil, De Artramentis
Document Black ink and Platinum  Carbon ink; Daniel Smith and Holbien watercolors.


All my International Fake Journal Month posting are copyrighted.
It is unusual for me to not do Creative Commons but there is a reason.
My images/blog posts may be reposted; please link back to dkatiepowellart.

About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in architecture, art journal, creativity, drawing, graphite, pen & ink, pencil, sketchbook, virtual sketching, watercolor and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

107 Responses to VSW (Short for Virtual Sketch Walk): Amsterdam

  1. Lottie Nevin says:

    I love Amsterdam and I REALLY love your drawings and your virtual tour down the streets and canals. What a great idea. Maybe I should do something similar here amongst the olive groves. On second thoughts we might get a bit disorientated – one olive tree looks very much like the next and since there are literally millions of them it might start to be a virtual headache negotiating ones way through them. Looking forward to more of your virtual sketches, they are beautiful.


  2. Beautiful artwork and great idea!


  3. bevlangby says:

    Great post Kate will have to try this love your virtual walks….


  4. kaerucha says:

    That’s so funny ! Great way to practice 😄


  5. Sammy D. says:

    These are great, Katie! Love your attitude 😀. You artists who advocate broadening the boundaries of ‘what’s acceptable’ in classifications if art make it a much more welcoming world for everyone. I’m happy to know you won’t turn up your nose at a sketch from a previous image rather than actually being out in the world sketching.

    I love that you show your progression through these sketches – very informative for me. Your art always energizes me 💖


  6. rose says:

    Wow. I just love your sketches, Kate ~ every one of them!
    I’ve been wanting to do some local sketching for some time now. I need to be sure to visit you here more often, because you ~ and your work ~ inspire me!


  7. Absolutely beautiful. Love all the images, color and details. Simply awesome!!

    Have a great day!


  8. Wanda says:

    With your incredible watercolor talent, you reminds me of one of my favorites, Charles Reid. Love your work.


  9. mandysea says:

    oh my gosh!!! I’m just learning about this concept as I read!!!! I think I love EVERYTHING about it!!! I’d love to join, but I’d need to watch and learn for a while before I could even contemplating playing!!! (not sure if my ability would be up to it yet) WOW!


  10. Pingback: VSW: Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco | D.Katie Powell Art

  11. Pingback: VSW: Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco | D.Katie Powell Art

  12. Pingback: VSW: Angra do Heroísmo, 1 | D.Katie Powell Art

  13. Pingback: VSW: Angra do Heroísmo, 2 | D.Katie Powell Art

  14. Pingback: VSW: Angra do Heroísmo, 3 | D.Katie Powell Art

  15. Pingback: VSW: Angra do Heroísmo, 4 | D.Katie Powell Art

  16. Pingback: VSW: Holiday Memories | D.Katie Powell Art

  17. Pingback: VSW: Alberobello, Italy, 1 | D.Katie Powell Art

  18. Pingback: VSW: Alberobello, Italy, 2, Blocking the Trulli Homes | D.Katie Powell Art

  19. Pingback: VSW: Alberobello, Italy, 3, Full Layout | D.Katie Powell Art

  20. Pingback: VSW: Alberobello, Italy, 4, Silliness | D.Katie Powell Art

  21. Pingback: VSW: Burano, Italy, 1 | D.Katie Powell Art

  22. Pingback: VSW: Burano, Italy, 2 | D.Katie Powell Art

  23. Pingback: VSW: Burano, Italy, 3 | D.Katie Powell Art

  24. Pingback: VSW: Burano, Italy, 4 | D.Katie Powell Art

  25. Pingback: VSW: Chicago, 1, Newberry Library | D.Katie Powell Art

  26. Pingback: VSW: Chicago, 2, Fourth Presbyterian Church | D.Katie Powell Art

  27. Pingback: VSW: Hawaii, Oahu 2 | D.Katie Powell Art

  28. Pingback: VSW: Ucluelet BC | D.Katie Powell Art

  29. Pingback: VSW: Beach Palm Brazil and One-Liner Wednesday | D.Katie Powell Art

  30. Pingback: VSW: San Antonio, 1 | D.Katie Powell Art

  31. loisajay says:

    Oh, I love these drawings. I took art for one year in high school and pen&ink w/watercolor was my absolute favorite thing. I have no talent but I loved doing it! These are beautiful, Katie.


    • Get a sketchbook and give it a go! I nice and inexpensive Platinum Carbon pen (which is also good for writing) or a Uniball and a cheap watercolor kit is yoru only investment — art teachers can take it out of you, but finding it when you can tell them all to stick it is the best! I think I feel a separate blog post coming on, where I get on my soapbox!

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Pingback: VSW: San Antonio Zoo’s Dragon | D.Katie Powell Art

  33. Pingback: VSW: “Red” Barn | D.Katie Powell Art

  34. Pingback: VSW: Buddha | D.Katie Powell Art

  35. Pingback: VSW: Buffalo Cemetary, 1 | D.Katie Powell Art

  36. Pingback: VSW: Buffalo Cemetary, 2 | D.Katie Powell Art

  37. Pingback: VSW: Buffalo the Town, 1 | D.Katie Powell Art

  38. Pingback: VSW: Boyd’s Bread | D.Katie Powell Art

  39. Pingback: VSW: Pasadena Rose Bowl Parade | D.Katie Powell Art

  40. Pingback: VSW: Art Center, Craig Ellwood | D.Katie Powell Art

  41. Pingback: VSW: Max’s Car, 1 | D.Katie Powell Art

  42. Pingback: VSW: Max’s Car, 2 | D.Katie Powell Art

  43. Pingback: VSW: Oaxaca, 1 | D.Katie Powell Art

  44. Pingback: VSW: Oaxaca, 2 | D.Katie Powell Art

  45. Pingback: VSW: Dublin Black-and-White | D.Katie Powell Art

  46. Pingback: VSW: Constance Lloyd | D.Katie Powell Art

  47. Pingback: VSW: Dublin, with a Wee Bit O’Color | D.Katie Powell Art

  48. Pingback: VSW: Doolin | D.Katie Powell Art

  49. Pingback: VSW: Bear’s Tee Pee | D.Katie Powell Art

  50. Pingback: Tools: Hahnemühle Carnet de Voyage (Bamboo) | D.Katie Powell Art

I love hearing from visitors!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.