Nina is an avid urban sketcher. Coming to Portugual to draw was an irresistible challenge.
Nina Johansson lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and is a teacher, illustrator, and painter. She teaches informative illustration and graphic design at Mälardalen University in
Eskilstuna. She is an avid urban sketcher, and her preferred subjects are urban environments and everyday life. Drawing is an essential part of her life. No subject is unsuitable for analysis in her sketch pads.
Nina tackles every step and every glance with the utmost intensity. Her interest in the world around her is insatiable.
What surprised you on this journey?
What surprised me most was the coast. The dramatic rock formations, often overlooking beaches of fine sand, which clashed with the relentless Atlantic waves. Sometimes the rocks were black, sometimes green, yellowish, purple, or blue - and sometimes all of these colours - all depending on the light conditions. So beautiful! And for someone who likes to mix colours, they were a real challenge.
Tell us something you saw that you had never seen before.
The muddy banks of Aveiro Lagoon. I'd never seen anything like it. Walking barefoot along the bank, feeling the mud between my toes, and seeing clams, crabs and other animals there in their natural habitat, as well as the diverse birds that could be seen from the boat... it was a memorable experience.
What was the greatest challenge of this experience? And the greatest reward?
The same thing: drawing. Drawing for me is much more than scribbling something quickly on a piece of paper. It's not just about producing images. It means seeing, and really seeing, what is happening around us. It means taking time to sit down and feel the atmosphere, sounds and smells of a place, looking at the customs of a neighbourhood, seeing how animals behave, observing the movements of the sea -perhaps even starting up a conversation with a passerby. It's a way of getting to know the world around us, and a sure way of creating memories that will last forever.
If you had to recommend this region to your friends, what would you say?
If you travel to the Center of Portugal, take your time. There are so many places to discover, and so many experiences to enjoy. Don't stop where everyone else stops. Go further, absorb the beauty of the landscapes and the sea, look at the little things, try the cuisine, and talk to people. And bring a pen and paper, and some marvellous colours. You'll need them.