Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Enrique Flores sketches everywhere!

all images copyright Enrique Flores

Enrique Flores has a simply amazing collection of travel sketchbooks - some of which are now listed on my playlist of other people's travel sketchbooks on my new YouTube channel which focuses on travel and sketchbooks.

I think Cin Woods (Learning Daily) was the first person to put me onto Enrique's work - but until I saw his his channel at YouTube I had no idea how many sketchbooks he'd completed - and has now videoed. Enrique's username at YouTube is acuarelista.

Enrique has travelled to some very interesting places (Nepal, India, Cuba Morocco) as well as countries in Europe (Greece, Italy, Portugal) and parts of his home country of Spain.

He produces an incredible quantity of watercolour sketches while travelling through a country. As you can see below his usual output is about 4-5 a day. I wanted to show some images with this interview and asked him for some sketches from Nepal which I found stunning.

Here's what I like best about his sketchbooks. Enrique's work is simple, clear and has huge impact. His sketches of landscapes and scenes are both big and typically well composed. He finds the big shapes in a scene and uses them well. Put simply Enrique makes pictures. He has a really good ability to leave a big empty space when that makes for an effective design. He leads you in and around the scene he's recording and also records small details and objects he saw. He uses saturated colour as required and I can't remember seeing anything which had been fussed and overworked. I like the way he attaches the small mementoes of a place - but without overdoing it.

I wrote to him and asked if I could interview him for this blog - as I very much like to promote travelling with a sketchbook and I thought we could all probably learn something from Enrique. So here's the interview - my questions and his answers.

What's your background in terms of training?
I spent five years at Fine Arts university in Madrid plus 2 years doing a Master in Arts Graphic Design at St. Martins, London. I worked in advertising (JWT) for a while before choosing the weird life of the freelance ilustrator.
How long you've been keeping a sketchbook?
I keep a day-to-day diary since I was 23 or so. Everytime I go on my travels I make sketches. My first one was a black and white Cuba on ruled paper, 1990
How do you manage to get so much done while travelling?
I consider myself quite lazy when travelling and I disagree about the quantity of drawings you think I make. I should do a lot more. None of them takes me more than half an hour and some of my travels are one month long. Anyway I´m OK when I do about 4-5 drawings a day. When I´m in ugly places I try to draw just to keep my hand working, no matter of the subject.

I use small sketchbooks for drawing people and writing and A4 for landscapes and architecture (as I said no more than half an hour sessions)
What sorts of sketchbooks have you have used?
Mostly Winsor & Newton A4, A5 and A6, 50 lbs. I know the paper is awful for watercolour but they have lots of pages. I have been using recently large watercolour Moleskines just to give them a try but I finish them in only five days (they have few pages because of the weight of paper). For a day-to-day notes and sketches I use ClaireFontaine A5
What sort of watercolours do you use/prefer?
I prefer Schmincke but for a long time I´ve used a plastic box of Winsor and Newton 14 half pans. It´s smaller and less heavy than the Schmincke metal box and more comfortable for carrying around.
What sort of brushes do you use/prefer?
Any brush is fine by me and lately I´ve been doing good watercolours with a flat brush intended for ceramics! I never use fine Kolinsky brushes as I´m very absent-minded and I lost them very often.
Where's the next trip?
Menorca, at the Balearic Islands after high season passes. I´ve been there already and it is a fantastic place for sketching. Great rocks and cliffs and turquoise waters.
....and which places do do you still want to visit?
I´m willing to travel in isolated and lonely places such as Patagonia and Tibet but I need at least three monts for doing it with no rushes and I´m still waiting for the appropiate moment.
I know I can't wait to see another Flores sketchbook. Please visit Enrique's blog and let him know what you think of his sketchbooks.

[Note: This post is also being posted on Travels with my sketchbook in...... ]