Imaginary Karin - Personal blog, art, and pixel art by Karin Persson

My grandmother’s drawing

Apparently a house in my part of town burnt to the ground last weekend. I didn’t notice a thing, no smoke or smell or sirens or anything so it was quite the surprise to read about it in the paper afterwards.
On the other hand it’s not at all unusual for me to be absent-minded and miss current events…

Thankfully none of the residents were harmed in the fire, but the house is completely gone. Everything they own has turned into ashes. Of course this has sparked a lot of serious, but also interesting, thoughts.

What happens when you loose everything you own?
Which things are superfluous and which are truly irreplaceable?
If my house caught fire what would I try to save, if anything?

I love my books, but I don’t own any super rare editions, so they can all be replaced. I mean, it would be a pain in the behind, but it wouldn’t be impossible.
I love my computer and my phone, but they don’t have anything on them I haven’t already backed up online or can’t stand to lose.
My clothes are nothing special and can be replaced, same goes for my jewellery. Sure I have some nice pieces that holds some sentimental value, but nothing I’d linger in a burning house for.
It would be sad to lose the toys and photos from my childhood, but in all honesty how often do I actually look at those things?

Actually, I think I’d save this:

Imaginary Karin - granny's drawing

Imaginary Karin - granny's drawing

This is a drawing made by my grandmother, and without a doubt the most unique and irreplaceable item I own.
At the bottom, barely visible, is my grandmothers signature and a year: “Hennie Olofsson, 1940″. She would’ve been around 20 years old then.

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, especially after my parents divorced. Granny lived in the next village over, in a little yellow house close by a lake. She would come up with “adventures” for us to do whenever I was there, some place we needed to explore and some treasure to find for one reason or another. As I got older I would help her with chores around the house and listen to her tell stories from her youth. And she always always always encouraged me to keep drawing.
I remember her as a very clever and ingenious little woman, and I loved being with her.

After her death, when we went through her things, we found a handful of drawings like this in a box in a closet. My mum and aunt remembered that she used to doodle on random pieces of paper when she was younger, but they didn’t know she had saved any of them.

My mum and aunt kept two other drawings for themselves, and gave me this one.

“This is where you get it from”, my mum said.

I’ve framed the drawing and hung it on my wall (in a spot where the sun can’t reach it) and I love it so much. The stains and tears were all there when we found it, and if you ask me they only adds to its beauty. Somehow it’s like this old piece of paper is her more than any of the photos I have of her.

Imaginary Karin - granny's drawing

Thing is though, me and grandma aren’t the only artists in the family. My mum can draw too. I’ve seen her doodle while talking on the phone, or during commercial breaks on telly, and she’s not all that bad.
For years I’ve been asking for a drawing every time she wants to know what I want for Christmas or my birthday, but she just refuse to acknowledge that she’s any good.

“Oh, but I can’t draw. Granny could draw, and you. Why don’t you draw me something instead.”

I really hope she comes around, as I would love to have a drawing from both of them. And I would prefer it if I didn’t have to wait ’til she’s dead to find her drawings hidden in a box somewhere…

If your house caught fire and you could only save one thing, which item would you pick?
(For the sake of discussion, let’s assume all living residents are safely outside, so don’t pick your spouse or dog or something like that.)

I left my heart in Gothenburg

So I’ve been travelling again. This time it was a week long trip with work to Gothenburg! It’s on the middle of the west coast of the country, and is our second largest after Stockholm. It was my first time there, and let me tell you… I’m in love.

Gothenburg May 2015

View over the amusement park Liseberg. That tower thingy is AtmosFear, the tallest free fall attractions in Europe. They put you in a basket, lift you up to the top, and then drop you.
I didn’t go on that monster, just looking on from the ground was more than enough, but I did ride one of the roller coasters.

Imaginary Karin - Gothenburg Gothia Towers pool

The hotel next to Liseberg had a glass elevator on the outside of the building. And also an outdoor pool. Also on the outside of the building.
It seems beyond creepy to be swimming in a glass jar 16 stories up in the air… We’ve already decided that next time we’re in town we’re going for a swim in that pool, as a dare.

Imaginary Karin - Gothenburg May 2015

Imaginary Karin - Gothenburg May 2015 HMS Småland

Down by the harbour lies an old barque from 1909. It’s sailing days are over and it now serves as a floating hotel. It’s very pretty, and huge!

There’s also the Swedish war ship HMS Småland from 1952. She was nowhere near as big as the HMS Belfast that I visited in London, but it’s still an impressive ship.
Just like Belfast, Småland has been retired and turned into a museum. We were allowed to explore it from top to bottom, all the way from the captain’s quarters to the machine room. Even if you’re not into military history, it’s still pretty cool to see how the ship worked and how people lived on it.
And it’s quite the workout too… climbing all those steps and ladders and whatnot is not for the lazy.

Imaginary Karin - Gothenburg 2015

Imaginary Karin - Gothenburg seals
Imaginary Karin - Gothenburg penguins

Imaginary Karin - Gothenburg deer

One of the most beautiful areas has to be Slottskogen, a large park close to the city centre. The landscape is hilly, just as the rest of Gothenburg, with massive leafy trees and lots of little ponds and rivers.

The park is home to many farm animals (they have a petting zoo for the children… and for certain adults who doesn’t have children but still want to pet baby goats) and even some deer. On the top of the highest hill they have a moose pen, but moose are common where I live so we didn’t bother going up there. We see enough of them on the roads here.

A bit more interesting were the harbor seals and the Humboldt penguins. The seals were super cute! They looked so soft and round, I imagine petting one of them would be like petting a hairy balloon.
Lucky for me, the penguins were all gathered inside their house so I got to see them real close. Now I know they look just as adorkable and awkward irl as they do on TV.

Imaginary Karin - Gothenburg

Apparently you can’t come here without seeing at least one concert, so Friday night we went to see Blind Guardian playing. The band was amazing and the audience was engaged and energetic, it was magical! Unfortunately I was too excited to remember to take pictures though…

Gothenburg is a great place to be if you like alternative music. The genre of melodic death metal was largely developed there, and people still talk about the “Gothenburg sound”. A whole lot of metal music in general is coming from Gothenburg.

After the concert we popped into one of the many rock n’ roll themed bars to round off the evening. That alone seems amazing, that there isn’t just one but multiple places to go if you want to listen to metal!

Imaginary Karin - Gothenburg May 2015

Stockholm is perhaps more beautiful in general, with the castle and Old Town and the water right in the middle of town, but Gothenburg is a lot more… charming. I think that’s the word. Charming, and artsy, and a bit weird.

The cold winds coming in from the sea, the trams rattling along their tracks, quirky little shops in winding alleys, beautiful old houses clinging to the rocky hills, and hundreds of voices chanting “Valhalla” in a darkened room…

We’re going there again in late September, and I can hardly wait! Next to London, I think this is my new favourite city in the world.

Blue hair highlights

Imaginary Karin - blue hair

Imaginary Karin - blue hair

blue hair 3

Looks like a Smurf threw up on me…

I’ve been dying my hair red for almost 2 years now, and I finally got tired of it. It’s a nice colour, and I think it suits me, but I wanted something new. My hairdresser suggested blue (she’s cool like that) and I was like YES PLEASE!

She couldn’t get all the red off in one sitting, so only the tips are blue for now, with some purple over the “reddest” parts. But it’s a beginning. In another couple of weeks I’ll go back and we’ll see how much more blue we can squeeze in.

How about you guys? Have you tried any unusual hair colours, or do you prefer a more natural look?

Double drawing – digital and traditional

This past Christmas Markus gifted me with a brand new Wacom tablet. I haven’t had one for years and now I’m trying to re-learn how to do digital drawings.
It’s fun, and a bit tricky. My hand knows what to do, as does my eyes, but looking up at the screen instead of down on a piece of paper somehow makes it weird. Like the eye-hand coordination gets muddled up.

Anyway, recently I made something decent enough to show people:

Imaginary Karin - green-eyed elf digital drawing

Hey, look! A green-eyed monster!

Used mostly watercolour brushes since I like the textured look. Don’t ask me what happened with the background, I just splashed some colours around and hoped for the best.

Imaginary Karin - green-eyed elf sketch

I started out with a regular pencil sketch on regular paper since I’m not confident enough to make lineart directly on the computer.

What’s funny is how I always start out with a regular human being, get super bored half-way through, and then end up adding pointy ears just so I can muster enough interest to be able to finish. Humans are boring, elves rock. Deal with it.

Since I already had the sketch done I, of course, had to bring out the coloured pencils and do a traditional version of her too:

Imaginary Karin - green-eyed elf traditional drawing

Imaginary Karin - green-eyed elf drawing

I think we can all agree which medium I’m more comfortable with. Couldn’t be arsed to do a background though…

Drawing on the computer is a lot of fun so I’ll continue to practice with it, and the tablet is working perfectly. A lot of the time I’m using it instead of the mouse, it’s quite comfortable to hold a pen instead of a mouse. It was a very good gift.

My Favourite Things: April 2015

my favourite things linkup

My Favourite Things is a monthly linkup hosted by Raisa and Eirene. Head over there to participate!
Below are some of my favourite things right now:

Music: The Distillers

An old punk rock band that isn’t even making music any more, but still my current obsession. Their music is really great and I have developed a bit of a crush on singer Brody Dalle!

If there is one thing that ALWAYS works for me music-wise is dark, deep, gritty voices – especially female ones. I can’t resist the sound. I even listen to Cher sometimes just because of her voice. And now The Distillers have been added to my list of bands with interesting vocals.

Design: Dust Furniture

Imagine if Dr. Seuss decided to make furniture? It would probably look something like this. I don’t normally care that much about interior design, but these are the weirdest book cases and cabinets I’ve ever seen and I love every single one of them! The designs are wonderfully whimsy and truly unique.

If they were available in Europe I’d buy this piece in a heartbeat, but sadly it’s a North American company and I don’t even want to know how much shipping and customs would be for me.

Geekyness: Bilbo’s Contract

Imaginary Karin - Bilbo's contract

Imaginary Karin - Bilbo's contract unfolded

Imaginary Karin - bilbo's contract detail

It wasn’t just Zappo’s birthday last month, I had mine at the end of March too and my boyfriend presented me with this wonderfully nerdy gift: Bilbo’s Contract. It is exactly that: a copy of the contract he had to sign before joining the company of dwarves set out to reclaim The Lonely Mountain.

It’s really long and detailed, I haven’t even read the whole thing yet because it’s just so much text. It’s kinda hard to tell what it says in some parts too since it’s “hand-written” and the paper is “damaged” in some places. I’m going to try my best to decipher all of it though.

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