A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Getting your inner artist out in Leiden

I find that being creative, doing art, and making stuff with your hands is an excellent hobby to enjoy apart from the everyday load of studying, reading and writing, it can also be very good for dealing with stress and clearing out the mind.

A few months after moving to the Netherlands a year and a half ago, I started drawing and painting again, something I had stopped doing many years ago. It has been really nice to have picked it up again and I am really happy with the art I’m creating.


A  feather horned beetle I drew last week.

If you are getting into drawing, painting or other creative activity for the first time, or if you haven’t done it in a long time, these are a few things I have found useful:

  • Do it often. As the saying goes, practices makes perfect. I try to draw at least twice a week and I mainly do it at nights, before going to bed when all of the day’s work is done, that way I can relax and clear my mind.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. Being a perfectionist and having super high standards for your art can take a lot of the fun out of it.
  • Try out different things. It’s always good to experiment with different techniques and materials. Pencil, ink or watercolours are non-expensive materials and probably a good place to start.
  • Have fun! That’s the most important part, creating art has to be enjoyable, not another chore or task more.

art colorful colourful colors

If you want to be a little social in your creative process, would like to have a certain routine or a chance to learn and improve your skills, in Leiden there are a number of great options for this.

The Leiden Draw Club is a wonderful group of artists and art lovers meet every Monday evening to draw together from 8-10 pm in a number of bars in the city centre. I try to join in every week as I find it a great occasion to draw, have a beer, and talk with a really cool and talented group of people who get together to create and share their love for drawing. There is no participation fee nor registration, but you are expected to have something from the bar.

person writing illustration in spiral notebook

Another similar option is the ISN Arts & Crafts Club who also meets once a week in the ISN common room next to Plexus to do all sorts of creative stuff like masks, collages and cut-outs. Participation is free for members of ISN Leiden.

For something more aimed at guided learning, the University’s Leids Academisch Kunstcentrum (LAK) offers a large variety of artistic and creative courses taught by professional teachers, including a considerable number of courses in a wide range of visual arts, such as drawing comics, Chinese calligraphy and clay sculpting. As a LU student you get a discount and all the art supplies are included in the price.


And finally, in terms of art supplies and materials, I really recommend Terpen Tijn, a beautiful art shop located in Nieuwe Rijn, to get all you need to start creating.

I hope this post was inspiring, good luck getting your inner artist out!

About Daniel Salinas

¡Hola! My name is Daniel and I’m a second year RMA student at the Faculty of Archaeology specializing in heritage. Besides my academic interests, which include history, tourism and museums, I enjoy photography, spending time in nature and drawing. Since arriving to Leiden back in the summer of 2017 I have been drawn by the history and heritage of this lovely university city. In this space I will be writing posts mainly about those topics, sharing interesting spots, art, museums, cultural events and little known stories of Leiden so you all can get to know the city a little better!

2 comments on “Getting your inner artist out in Leiden

  1. Sophie Jorgensen-Rideout
    March 20, 2019

    Definitely need to make a trip to Terpen Tijn soon, with thesis stress I feel the need to do some arty stuff.

    • Daniel Salinas
      March 20, 2019

      Just be careful not to go on a wild art-supply shopping binge!

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This entry was posted on March 16, 2019 by in Daniel, ISN, Leiden, Leisure, Living in Holland, Student Life and tagged , , .

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