The Sketch Sessions, Surfing & Life in Lagos

Introducing Millie Wilkins - an artist and designer from Lagos, Portugal.  We first met Millie on a surf trip in Lagos earlier this year.   Aside from showcasing her skills as a surfer, we got chatting and she revealed her true passion - her work as an artist and designer.  Millie is the founder of The Sketch Sessions - an intriguing concept and art workshop in the heart of Lagos.  We caught up with her to learn more about The Sketch Sessions, surfing and life in this little Portuguese surf town:

"Hello! I am an artist and designer from the South East of England.  When I was 19 years old, I moved west to Cornwall to study and it quickly felt like home.  I grew up visiting my grandparents who lived in Cornwall, but discovered the friendly surf community later on.  Going to the beach took on a whole new meaning when surfing was involved, instead of buckets and spades!  I stayed there after graduating and worked in a few different design and environmental jobs, taking on art and design commissions in my spare time.

At the tail end of a van trip through Europe, I found myself at The Surf Experience in Lagos.  It's a beautiful town, and I ended up sticking around and taking a job as a surf instructor - I was ready for a change and desperate to spend as much time surfing as possible! 

Two years on and I haven't looked back.  After a few great summers teaching on the beach, I have decided to throw myself into art and design work full time.  I've got some different projects on the go right now - my favourite is a big tropical mural in Coffee & Waves (a unique new cafe in town) and The Sketch Sessions, my own project which I'm really excited to continue!"

The Sketch Sessions

"The Sketch Sessions started last year when my friend Stacy opened  clothing shop in Lagos.  Its a great space with high ceilings and beautiful green tiles (as well as awesome clothes!).  You step down into the back of the shop where the big windows overlook a quiet, typical Portuguese street.  This is where The Sketch Sessions are held.  

Lagos is a surf town, so socialising generally consists of going to the beach or going to bars.  I felt there was an opportunity to create a scene around socialising whilst making art.  I pictured a group of friends, doodling all over tables, with a pencil in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

The main goal of The Sketch Sessions is for people to relax and realise that everyone can draw.  I plan each session to introduce people to different materials and techniques that help them improve their skills.  Some people are already experienced artists who come for the change of scene and others haven't drawn since they were at school.  Having a diverse group of people each week keeps the sessions interesting and means we are always learning something new from each other.

For me, making art is a relaxing challenge.  With The Sketch Sessions I am able to witness others experience this feeling of purpose as they put pencil to paper, occasionally followed by frustration and then the joy of seeing something that wasn't there before, something that you made happen!"

Lagos Life

Lagos is an easy-going town with a great community of ex-pats and locals who all connect over surfing.  The winters are really quiet, which gives a nice change of pace, and the season kicks off in April - surfers flock to the town for the great weather and beaches - and my art workshops!  I have a lot of friends here who are all creative in their own way, whether its building surfboards, designing interiors, painting, developing businesses or cooking up mouth-watering culinary feasts.  Once you delve a bit deeper past the beach bum exterior you meet a lot of incredibly talented and inspiring people."

Surfing and Me

"I tried surfing for the first time when I was 14 with my friend Rosie.  The only thing I remember about the lesson is that the instructor with his glorious ginger hair reminded us of Ron Weasley, and we spent most of the lesson in fits of giggles.

I was when I moved to Cornwall that I made some progress and, once I started going regularly, I couldn't stop!  My experienced friends would yell 'you'll be fine!' as giant walls of water would smash me back to the beach.  But I persisted and tried to pay attention whenever someone gave me tips, and these days I feel pretty comfortable in the water.  I've had a lot of amazing moments in the water - spectacular sunsets with friends, dolphins passing by, turtles popping up next to you.  I find the surf fits hand-in-hand with my artwork, in that both are a source of inspiration and release, and a way in which I can express myself freely."

The Future

"At the moment I'm living in the future!  The Sketch Sessions will start again soon as the season kicks off in Lagos.  I'm happily plugging away at life, and enjoying everyday!"

If you're interested in checking out The Sketch Sessions contact Millie Wilkins here:






Deepa Shah