guest blogger for etsyinnederland

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Hello there! Did you all have a nice easter? Hope the weather was a bit better than here in the Netherlands... ;-)

A short post to let you know about a fun new blog I just discovered that reports about best Dutch Etsy shops. The lovely Anja Mulder wrote a guest post about my shop (thank you Anja!) on it and I'll be up next to write about one of my fave Etsy Shops. My post will be up on friday on

New cards in the webshop!

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Remember these? I made them for Enormous Champion - a stationary company in New York.

These six cards are now also available in my Etsy webshop. Each card is offset printed on heavy vardstock and comes with a coordinating envelope.
You can find them at in the prints & cards section.

Have a lovely weekend and joyful easter!

About time management & a scoop

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The other day, I got an email from a former student who asked how I keep myself motivated to make things and find time to do so.
Now picture me laughing out loud behind my computer... finding time to do so, hahaha! (I'm not laughing at my student, I laughing at myself here, let that be clear).

I remember telling friends just a few months after I gave birth to my son that working and babies were an easy combination. I felt I was not going to be one of those moms who started to neglect the bizz after baby got born, I was going to stick to my game and stay a working, creative person who also happened to be a mother. Then my son got a little bit older, slept a little less...

Now -like any other working mother I guess- I struggle daily to get the things done I want to get done (there's always more more more). You might have noticed that once, back in the days, I blogged every day (every day!!! I cannot imagine that anymore), today it got limited to once or twice a week. This is not only because I have less time to blog but also because I simply have less time to work and therefor things to show.

The picture above is an illustration I started befor my son was born. The plan was to make a yoga poster with bunny poses. Inspiration: our pet rabbit Seb and his variety of relaxing postures. Never got further than these two drawings...

I have a few tricks on hand though to keep on track with the work:

  • Set fixed days for certain tasks. Like my webshop, I ship mostly on fridays. This makes things clear and manageable.
  • Make to-do list not longer than 5 tasks (one big, 4 small) a day. If I make them longer, things just don't get done and that is not motivating.
  • Be flexable with where you can work. If I'm looking at a long train ride for example, I bring my sketchbook or material to make comfort boxes.
  • Find things to draw/ inspiration in every day things around you. Personal fascinations, your daily life (like the houses of my village project I'm doing at the moment). Keeping things close to you makes it easier to stay focussed and interested.
  • Set priorities: what is the most important to get done (deadlines) and what can wait.

In the upcoming months it might even get a little bit harder to work like I wish to because... we're expecting our second child!
I have been feeling rather tired the last few weeks, somehow this second pregnancy comes with more typical pregancy issues (I won't bore you with them) than my first and I'm doing my very best to keep up with daily life.
I'm due in the beginning of september and will be teaching till about june (also for the private lessons). And till then, I'll be posting here every week like I intent to and the shop will be open as long as I can!

Questions & Answers

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This week I got an email from an art student from the UK about my work and, because many of you ask me the same questions, I though it would be fun to answer them here on the blog.

Who/What are you inspired by?
Well, inspiration for me mostly comes from the daily things around me. Kitchen supplies, my neighborhood, the pots and plants in my home and everyday frustrations and booboo's.

How did you start working in your particular style?
It has all been a slowly changing process. It took practice, lots of work, sketches and try-outs + a few years. I tried a lot of different materials and techniques and eventualy found my personal preferences and style.

Why did you start creating these particular comfort boxes?
This is a bit of a personal story... I went through a rough break up back in 2010 and felt I needed something to me me feel good about myself again, a little reminder I could look at whenever I felt like it. At that same time I discovered Uppercase Magazine and they had a theme about match box art. Since a few years I had a love for panorama boxes and made a few large scale boxes.
I combined the panorama-idea with the matchboxes and came up with the Instant Comfort Pocket Box: the perfect little treasure I could pull out of my pocket and cheer me up with a comforting and cheering quote and illustration.*
Friends and family loved to boxes (I made a few, about 5) too and told me I should start selling them I already had a 'buyers-account' on Etsy so the step to  start an online shop there was easy to make. Since then, I'm sending boxes all over the world!

How long does it take you to create a finished piece?
That depends on what piece you mean. Initially one box took me about half an hour, but now I make aprox 10 in one hour (and have others making them for me too as I can't keep up with it by myself anymore).
For illustrations: a A4 size full color illustration takes me about 6-10 hours.

Are the subjects within the boxes illustrated from real people?
No, I make them up, I like to see what character comes up when I just start drawing without someone in mind. I do sometimes let our pet rabbit have his moment of fame in my illustrations and might -unintentionally- put a little bit of someone I know into the drawing. They say every artist puts something of him/herself in his/her work, maybe that's true too...

What allowed you to come up with the idea of the boxes?

Personal life... see the question above ;-)

Do you have any meaning behind your comfort boxes?
My work is always about bringing joy and happiness. It's not something I plan on purpose, it just happens when I start creating. I've had people telling me my drawings make them happy and that is just the best thing to hear!
I'm not such a big do-gooder in a big global kind of way but I do love to see and share a little love in small things. And small things can grow big!

What media do you use?

I draw everything by hand, mostly with a fineliner, pencil or black ink. The drawings are scanned into the computer and there I add color and give them structure. I aim to make a 50/50 combination.

What do you enjoy most about being an illustrator?
That I can make whatever I like! My webshop with the boxes, mobiles, prints and cards it by far my favorite part of my job, it gives me freedom and connection with other. For that same reason I love being an illustration teacher for a few hours per week. It's so rewording to see people grow in their drawing-confidence and enjoy what they're making.

Where do you feel like your illustration is heading?
I feel I'm going more and more towards teaching and making my own products. I like the freedom in it. Also, over the years my illustrations have evolved from bright colored simple but clear drawings into more layered illustrations (think: more structure, detail and handdrawn elements) I'd like to explore more materials and subjects (for this reason - and for fun!- I'm also following an art or craft course now and then, this year I'm exploring clay & ceramics).

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists/photographers?
I've written a few blogpost about this, just search 'free friday question' here on the blog and you'll find lot's of informationn!

Are there any artists/photographers/books/blogs that you would like to recommend?
I always love looking at Camilla Engman's work!

* and the boxes really helped! I'm now living life with a very fine man and our two year old son.

the houses of my village - blue house

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For the second edition of the houses of my village project I drew a little house just up the street from the previous one. It's also a dike house and what I like about it is that there are several buildings build to the origial one, a sort of architectural patchwork (this is a common sight here as most houses originally were super tiny and today's needs are: a bit more space). There are even more attachments at the back but from my drawing point of view I could only see these. The side is covered with wood, painted in a typical old dutch greyish blue I absolutely love.

I don't know the people living in this pretty house but they did wave at me (everyone greets each other on the streets here, one of the charms of living in a small town) when I walked by to take a picture of their home ;-)
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