Sketches and paintings by Katie Kurtz

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Posted On May 19, 2016 / Posted In Made by hand , Gift Shop / Tagged sketches, watercolour paintings, Copenhagen, Denmark

By Sarita Rajiv

It’s a warm, sunny day in May as I make my way towards Café Fiol on Fiolstrade. Running late from a previous meeting, I’ve texted Katie that I’m going to be 10 minutes late. Katie, who is a sketch artist, is using this time to sketch the interiors of the café. Naturally!

Katie Kurtz is an American sketch artist based in Denmark

We get talking and Katie shows me her trusty sketchbook, the one she carries with her all the time. It’s filled with black&white and watercolour sketches of people and places she’s visited.

sketching historical buildings through observation

There are glimpses of her time in Japan, her home in the United States, her travels and her current home, Denmark. 

watercolour sketches of iconic Danish designs

“I had some lovely art teachers in high school who encouraged me. I’m mostly self-taught and draw from observation. But I only took up drawing seriously after trying a summer programme in architecture. I wanted to apply to architecture schools and I didn’t have a portfolio. That’s when I started drawing and sketching structures”, she says. 

Katie, sketching a coffee glass at Cafe Fiol

Her focus on building and structures is thanks in part to her interest in architecture. “When I moved to Tokyo, the structures around me were mainly skyscrapers. What interested me then were the people, their clothes and the beautiful flowers...

sketching from observation is what sketch artists do

...and then I moved to Denmark to study Architecture Technology at KEA. Now I’m surrounded by beautiful old buildings and structures! I love bringing them to life in my watercolour paintings and sketches”, she says.

a watercolour painting of Nyhavn in Copenhagen

“The first couple of paintings I made were for friends. Then I started getting commissions and some of them were given as gifts,” she adds.  As Katie shows me her illustrations and sketches, I quiz her on her inspiration.

Watercolour sketch of a rooftop in Copenhagen

“I’m mainly inspired by the things around me. When I'm out biking, I often stop to take photographs of whatever interests me. For some of the commissions I’ve got, I’ve sketched buildings from certain angles and were based on photographs my clients gave. I find sketching bicycles and animals challenging though,” she says, breaking into a smile. 

how to draw objects

If you’d like to gift a sketch or commission one of a place in Copenhagen or Denmark, get in touch with Katie. She can create one custom-made for you! You can find her on Instagram or contact her via her website. For those of you in Copenhagen, she also hosts a Ladies Drawing Night every month. 

Thanks for sharing your story with us Katie. Your sketches and drawings are beautiful and I think they make lovely, one-of-a-kind gifts!



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Sarita Rajiv is a writer, gifting specialist and founder of The Orange Gift Bag. She’s on a mission to uncover the ‘best gifts after love’. When she isn’t dreaming up unique gift ideas, she writes for The Copenhagen Post and The National Geographic Traveller India among others.

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Erin Gustafson

19/05/2016 at 11:44

These are absolutely beautiful! Amazing talent - thanks for sharing Sarita and best of luck Katie!