In a world of selfie sticks (*shudder*), one expat artist has found a creative way to capture the moments she wants to remember. Ieva Ozola, originally from Latvia, is studying graphic design at Prague College. She has committed to doing a sketch every day for a year – she is currently on day 124 – that captures some of Prague’s most famous places and quiet corners.
When did you first start drawing?
My mother told me about my first drawing, which she wasn’t very happy about. I was two or three years old, and I took red lipstick and drew all over the apartment, including her white sheets! I started at an art school when I was four years old.
When did you start this project?
It was July 19, 2015, after attending a yoga camp in Latvia. I was having a difficult time, after a breakup, and was really questioning whether I wanted to stay in Prague and continue my studies.
What inspired you to start drawing?
I realized that I wanted to do something for myself. On the last day of the retreat, I came up with the idea to capture that moment. It was a sunny day in a beautiful forest, and I just made a sketch. I told myself that as long as I was traveling, I would do one sketch every day, to be creative and keep myself motivated.
When did you decide to share it online?
I took a photo of that first drawing and posted it on my Instagram account. I started getting messages from people who wanted to follow the project. After thirty-six days, I started a separate account and lots of people from the Czech Republic started to recognize it.
How do you choose which place you’re going to sketch each day?
Sometimes I don’t know what to draw, so I just think, “Where have I not been?” Every time I have a destination in mind, I end up drawing something else because on the way I pass a place with beautiful light, a nice church, or a park. They kind of come naturally.
How long does it take to complete a sketch?
In the beginning, about forty minutes, but now it’s usually half an hour. To be honest, I don’t have time for more than that because I’m working in a graphics studio, Grafikshop, and studying full-time.
What are your goals for the project?
Right now, I just really look forward to these thirty minutes. It’s like a small meditation each day with paper and pencil. Of course, I’m so happy that people enjoy my sketches, but for me, those thirty minutes are also my happy moments.
Do you have any favorites out of all of your drawings?
I really enjoyed Vyšehrad, and the church next to Charles Bridge, and I really like drawing in small coffee shops. But my favorite was a waterfall, which wasn’t in Prague but in the countryside, when I was walking with my Czech friends.
Do you ever draw two images in one day and then post it later?
Never. In the beginning, I made a rule for myself. I was going to draw something every day and, no matter how perfect or imperfect it was, I would post it. For me, it was about realizing that it wasn’t perfect and feeling comfortable with that.
Who are some of the artists that inspire you?
Very Sarie, Cocorina, Donald Young, Karolie and Supakitch. I really like 16th-century artists, and I like Impressionism and Expressionism because all of those artists were really unique. And lately, I’ve been really inspired by Czech typographic designers. I live and work with so many great designers, and I get inspiration from all of them.
Are there any brands or companies that you would like to work with?
One of my dreams is to work with Penguin and illustrate a children’s book.
Are you planning to sell any of your images?
I’ve developed some postcards, which will go on sale soon. They will be bound, and the first set will be from the first sketchbook, from my thirty-six days of summer travel. That one will be a limited edition. Then, as a second issue, I would like to do a box of Prague pictures that includes all the postcards.
And where can people find them?
I’m planning to sell them at Polagraph and of course I’ll announce it on my social networks when they’re ready.