Hello, everyone! Today, for the Inspiration column, we have Linda Rusconi – a freelance artist with an eye for detail and exquisite sketches. She’s also an avid painter and makes portraits too. What I liked most about her work, though- it has emotion. It speaks without saying anything, and even her line drawings are striking and expressive. I found her work both technically rich in knowledge as well as beautifully moving. Her art is contemporary and timeless.
Let’s hear what she has to say!
Please tell me a little bit about yourself.
Hello from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. My name is Linda Rusconi and I call myself a ‘beeldmaker’. That’s Dutch and literally translates to ‘imagemaker’. I have a website for commissioned portraits and I do illustration and graphic design. But mostly I just can’t stop drawing. I have the hypermobilitysyndrome also called Ehler Danlos type III – a genetic defect to my connective tissue that causes chronic pain and fatigue. Working from home allows me to be independent and do the things I love.
What motivates and inspires you the most?
The world around me. People, animals and houses. They are a never ending source of inspiration. The longer you look at them, the more details are revealed to you.
I also like to go to museums to wander and clear my head. Amsterdam is full of wonderful museums. My favorites are Het Stedelijk Museum (contemporary art) and Foam (Photography museum). It’s lovely to see other people’s work and to see how they translate the world around them into art.
I absolutely love your beautiful and thoughtful sketches! What is your drawing/painting process like?
Thanks so much. I love the possibilities the internet gives to share our art from our drawing table to the world.
My process in drawing commissioned work starts with getting clearly what the customer wants. Not everybody can imagine how their portrait or illustration should look like. I ask how they found me and what work stands out for them. And who will receive the drawing.
It’s very different if I draw a child for a mother or a dog for a pub. (Yeah, I painted a dog for a pub, they are called the Wolfhound). When we have an agreement on the materials and price, I start working. I send them a photo of the work when I’m done. At this moment, they can suggest small adjustments if needed. And when they are satisfied and I have received the payment, I send out the work. I like sending it carefully wrapped and always with a personal note.
My personal work usually starts with an idea. I see an interesting face or beautiful building and it inspires me to make a drawing. I take a couple of photos of the subject. And then I just start drawing. I never make sketches first. The little ‘mistakes’ that happen make the work more interesting. I also like to sketch outside. Sit on a bench and draw the dogs that pass by. Or sit in a cafe and sketch the bikes on the street. Every Friday I paint and draw form life. It’s in a gallery in my neighborhood- the Baarsjes. The model keeps the same pose for 3 hours. So I try to finish a painting in that time. It’s very good for improving my techniques.
How much time on an average does it take to create a piece?
It depends if I’m painting or drawing. And of course with size the works is. But I’m not the type to work multiple days on a drawing. So usually it’s between an hour to a couple of hours. Otherwise it gets too detailed and refined.
Just out of interest, what was the first (or your favourite) piece of art you remember creating?
Since I’ve been little, I remember myself drawing and painting. But the first work that stands out is a painting of a man in a yellow house. I was 10 years old and I just figured out how to draw a collar and tie. My mom still has this painting in her living room, haha.
Where do you see yourself in a few years?
Hopefully doing the same as I am doing right now. And maybe I finally started that graphic novel I want to create.
(writing her name for an art show)
Can you share a glimpse of a typical day in your life?
07:00 I usually wake up early. After breakfast and watching something on Netflix, I move to my computer. Still in pyjamas.
08.00 Check emails and priorities what I have to work on this day. I set an alarm for an hour so I won’t sit still for too long.
09:00 Stretch, maybe do a bit of the dishes or fold some laundry. Make coffee.
09:30 Work for another hour and a half.
11:00 Shower, do my Qi Gong exercise and meditation.
13:00 Work some more
14:00 small break to stretch again
14;30 Final work hours if needed. I have very busy weeks and very easy weeks.
16:00 time to relax. Sit on my balcony if the weather is nice or go for a small stroll
18:00 cook and Netflix binge
20:00 read or draw if I feel like it
22:00 I always go to bed early. I need my sleep.
How long has painting and art in general been your hobby? How did you think you could convert it to something more?
So drawing was always something I did. Just like eating or sleeping. I never saw it as a hobby, just as something I had to do. When I was 20 I had a boyfriend who did street art. That was the first time I met other people who had the same urge to draw and paint as I did. In my last year of art school in 2008, I got my first commissioned illustration-work. It was a series of drawings for a book about managers. It felt so good to be paid for drawing.
(Sketching at cafes)
What is your favourite travel destination, colour, food and flower?
I love city trips in Europe and just lingering in a town and watching people doing their daily stuff.
My favorite colour right now is turquoise.
Avocado in whatever shape or form is so yummy.
I like wildflowers, all messy and colorful!
What’s the importance of art in your daily lifestyle?
It gives me the freedom to keep earning money and be independent. It also helps me clear my mind and keeps me curious and wanting to grow.
What do you do in your leisure time? (apart from art, of course!)
It depends on how my health is. But I like to hang with friends, bike and walk or go for a coffee.
Some themes/ topics inspiring you nowadays?
One of my goals is to make a graphic novel. So I like to check out other novelists to see how they approach their subject. I would love to tell my story of living with a chronic illness and what that means in daily life.
What are your go-to art supplies and your preferred art media?
When I draw, I use Daler Rowney smooth heavyweight A4 paper. This paper doesn’t discolor and it’s great quality. I use a Bic 0.5 mechanical pencil. When I work in ink, I use my dip pen. My favorite ink-brands are Winsor & Newton and J. Herbin.
I paint with a local Acrylic brand. I prefer painting on thick cartboard. It sucks up the paint and that causes a nice pastel effect.
How did you discover your own style of drawing? Any advice for artists struggling with getting in the swing of things?
I’m still discovering it. It’s all about just doing it. Keep looking at other artists. Try to define for yourself what aspect of their work you like and what you don’t. Don’t let other people decide for you what to do. It’s your journey. I know it’s probably more profitable if I would choose one medium to work in, but I’m still learning much about them to choose just one.
Thank you for sharing, Linda! Find Linda here: