Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Draw Tip Tuesday - Easter Episode

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!
Just a few days until the Easter Weekend...
Forget about Painting your easter eggs is all kinds of colours.
Let's practice our facial expressions on those eggs. You can create a whole Egg-Family for the Easter Breakfast table!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

World Wide SketchCrawl in Amsterdam!

Saturday, April 19 is the 2nd World Wide Sketchcrawl of 2014. 
Are you joining?
The World Wide Sketchcrawl is a global drawing marathon, organized in many different places in the world. You can read about it, and also find out if there's a group of sketchcrawlers to join, in your area by going here: 
This way, on the same day, we can all draw 'together' during this sketchcrawl, even though we're scattered around the earth! 
This will be FUN!

I am hosting a SketchCrawl in Amsterdam, and if you happen to live in or around Amsterdam (or planning to go there), I would love for you to join me!

Saturday April 19, 2014This time, let's sketch at Westergasfabriekterrein in AmsterdamIt's a great place with nice architecture and a lot to see. I will be there at 2.30pm, in front of Espressofabriek. There we can meet and then go find a fun place to sketch and see each other's work. I'm looking forward to it!

How to get there:
-Westergasfabriekterrein: Polonceaukade 27, 1014 DA AmsterdamGet onto the westergas terrain and when you walk between the buildings, you will find a square on which the espressofabriek is.
-Tram 10Station Amsterdam Centraal: Bus 21Nachtbus 348
-Parking:Parkeergarage Westerpark (€3/uur)Van Bleiswijkstraat 81051 DG AmsterdamDe Westergasfabriek is on just a few minutes walking distance, on the other side of Haarlemmertrekvaart
-Parkeergarage Willemspoort (€0.50 per 8 minutes/ €3.75 an hour)Haarlemmer Houttuinen 5491013 GM Amsterdam
De Westergasfabriek is about 5-10 minutes walk from Haarlemmerplein
info about the location:http://www.westergasfabriek.nl/whats-on/altijd-te-doen

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Draw Tip Tuesday - drawing hands

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!
Today I'm drawing hands drawing shadows!

Today I'm using a photo for reference and I will draw on grey paper, using color pencils. I don't focus on the fact that I'm drawing a hand, with fingers and knuckles and wrinkles. I mainly focus on the shadows and draw these.

Monday, April 7, 2014

What's the deal with procrastination?

Procrastination. The word alone is intruiging to me. I can hardly pronounce it correctly, and still, I know very well how to do it. Procrastinating I mean, not the pronouncing.

I know nobody who doesn't procrastinate.
Nobody. I think people who claim they never procrastinate on anything, are not being honest.
I think stopping by at the procrastination station is perfectly normal and healthy. Or well, at least I tell myself. I just did a very, very good job on folding the laundry. Instead of uploading stuff for one of my upcoming online classes. In fact, this blogpost is partly procrastination.
The upside: procrastinating on one thing, sometimes leads to something good on something else that you may loath doing if that's all you need to do: doing the dishes, painting a wall, rearrange your living room interior, do grocery shopping, scrubbing the bathroom floor.... Other times it's just sort of paralyzing, and you're spending way too much time browsing through Facebook feed, Instagram art or get buried deeper and deeper into Pinterest.

Now here's the kind of 'productive procrastination' that I really like: making a drawing while putting off doing a drawing. I was working on an illustration that I promised to make for a friend. She's getting married, and we wanted to give her something personal during her bachelorette day. Once I started working on the illustrated cocktail recipe for her, it felt great to be making something personal, but before starting, it just looked like a big mountain to climb, an assignment for which I actually really didn't have any time in my schedule.

Once I planned some after-dinner drawing time, I did some doodling and sketching, but then got so intrigued by drawing orange peels.... this is what happened:

That's what I mean: a fun result of procrastination behaviour, right?

In the end, I managed to finish my sketches and make an illustration. During a round of cocktails (of course!) we gave it to the bride-to be and she's very happy with it! She will hang it on the kitchen wall.

On April 28, my 4-week online workshop 'Draw It Like It's Hot' starts.
I wil show how to make stuff like the above, and much more!
It'll be great fun to work towards the final assignment along with your classmates: creating an illustrated recipe that will be published on the website theydrawandcook.com!
It's only $69 to enroll, so what are you waiting for? 
Click here to read more and join.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Travel sketch pages

Okay so these are not from my actual art journal, but they are done during my vacation in Thailand and Cambodia.
I like my art journals to be not too small, so I have a bit of space, but certainly not too large eiter. I need to be able to chuck my journal into my bag and walk around with it, without it being to large or heavy. So 15x21 cm, something along those lines, will be suitable. To challenge myself though, I also brought a larger sized sketchbook with me. To see how I would feel about larger sized drawings. These are pages I did in a 21x30 cm sketchbook. Not THAT large, but a fair step larger than what I'm used to.
This is the first page i did, and after finishing, I felt rather proud:

Then, on a different day, i sat down with the book again and started drawing without thinking too much, ending up with very small sketches! Huh, interesting. 

Interesting how much chaos can be created in just a couple of days. As my husband was packing his bags (mine were done, I brought less than he did), I drew a quick sketch of my view from the bed.

I also tried a bit more detailed pencil drawing:

During a lazy afternoon in a cafe, I made these drawings. Which I like a lot. By looking at these, I can remember exactly where I was sitting, how the people moved that I was drawing, the colours, the atmosphere, and even what I drank: An iced coffee.

And one more bed-view sketch, this time in another room. The night before leaving to fly back home.

Since that last drawing, I haven't touched the sketchbook. Okay, first of all because I've been very busy and hardly had time for my daily art journal entries. But also, could it be that the book is too large? It does take me a little bit out of my comfort zone. Which makes me not really want to grab it yet, when I want to draw. But maybe, now that the weather in Amsterdam is getting better, I may take it outside to try some urban sketching and make sure I won't come back with just a couple of thumbnail sketches of the coffee I drank.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Travel Journal - 7

So these are the last pages of my vacation in SE Asia. That very last day, I found a spot at Wat Bo, a serene temple complex in the middle of the city. I really took the time to make this drawing and enjoyed it immensely:

Friday, April 4, 2014

Travel Journal - 6

Not each journal entry can be perfect. And it doesn't have to be. I don't like this drawing very much. But still, it reminds me of the wonderful guesthouse. I can hear the sounds in the hallway again, and feel the smooth tiles on my bare feet again. That's what art journaling is for. Documenting fantastic memories.

And yes, in case you're wondering: I really DID eat intestines with red ants.
Guess what? Red ants taste a little bit like lemon!

I don't eat sugar, but in Asia, palm sugar and condensed milk are used for many things. In Cambodia at the guesthouse, they served boiled Taro with condensed milk for breakfast.

Have you ever seen Prashant Miranda's night sketches? (he's one of the teachers in Sketchbook Skool this semester!)
I thought it would be interesting to do night sketches too, then kind of forgot about it. But in Cambodia, I wanted to try my hand at night sketching, which in fact isn't much different from sketching during day time actually. it did feel a little festive, as it was my very first night sketch ever, and I was surrounded by colourful lights and busy sounds of a night market behind me. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Travel Journal - 5

Is it hard to draw bikes or cars? Well, why would it be harder than drawing anything else? When I draw, I look at the shapes and the colours and try not to think about what I am actually drawing. For instance: I draw a rounded shape. Not a wheel.
The only problem you could have drawing one of these rides, is that they move. Or you are taking your time to draw a parked vehicle, and then suddenly the driver decides to take off with it!
The Tuk-Tuk driver decided to do so, but luckily a new one parked at the same spot, so I combined the two, to finish the drawing on the left page.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Just 2 more days....

Oh boy oh boy, I am so excited!

It's hard to believe that it's almost 'D-Day'! This Friday, Sketchbook Skool is opening its doors and there is an overwhelming amount of students about to burst in! In fact, I think there's actually some of them already in front of the doors in sleeping bags, waiting to get started.

We have worked really hard to get everything up and running and the past months have been kind of crazy, but this week, for the first time in a long time I haven't had the feeling of being a few steps behind of my schedule. While checking and double-checking all of the klass content, I am so amazed and excited about the videos the teachers made! It'll be awesome and Danny and I can be proud of what we have accomplished so far. Fact is, we just dove into this without knowing what exactly we were getting ourselves into. We've learned a lot, and now we can focus on getting in place for the second semester (the teachers we got together are again, awesome!), improve our website workflow and planning strategies.

So here's what we got in store for you this first semester, starting Friday April 4:

Danny Gregory on why we need to be creative and what happens if we suppress the urge. How to draw expressively and yet accurately. How to choose art supplies. And much more from L.A.!

Me on taming your inner critic. On drawing better with colored pencils and on braving the frigid outdoors. And a whole lot more from Amsterdam!

Prashant Miranda on 20 years of journaling, on travel, on watercoloring and on discovering your family history through your sketchbook. And much more from all around India!

Jane La Fazio on mixed media, on how to uncover beauty and on turning sketchbook pages into developed works of art. And much more from sunny Southern California!

Roz Stendahl on how to draw animals of any kind, alive or dead(!), and what are the best media to use and why. And loads more from snowy Minnesota!

Tommy Kane on how to turn mistakes into masterpieces, and how to combine ink, watercolors and colored pencil to make rich, beautiful journal pages. And heaps more from deep in Brooklyn.

I'm not sure if I will be able to sleep, because of the excitement! Will you?

Travel Journal - 4

Our first day in Cambodia: a day of temple complexes, many pagodas and...a LOT of tourists! I wonder if most people actually really looked around, as they were very focused on taking pictures.

I did a sketch of the Bayon temple complex, but before I could finish and/or add colours, our guide took us to the next sight seeing spot.
At the end of a day full of temples, we sat down in the centre of Siem Reap and enjoyed the city life. I made a drawing, using a purple ballpoint, and discovered that wasn't such a great idea when I added watercolours. Also, I didn't really think much ahead, when I started drawing, because I ran out of space to draw the rest of the building, where it meets the pavement. Ah well, it was fun to draw anyway:

And the 'What We Ate Today' project pages for 15 and 16 feb:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Travel Journal - 3

Some places are just so gorgeous, No words are needed.
Are they?

This is the interior of the second cabin we rented on Koh Chang. Can you imagine? Waking up. Stretching out. Getting out of bed. Opening the door and walking right onto the beach towards the sea, to take a morning plunge. Awesome. Wonderful. Like a dream. Romantic. Almost tacky. Perfect.
The interior sketch was done in blue ballpoint pen (bic-pen), then I added watercolours.

I drew the bungalow from the beach as well:
The Cabin sketch was done with a Brown Faber-Castell water resistant fine liner, then watercolours.

And the view from the porch:
I drew the porch view, using a cheap fine liner with watersoluable ink. Then I used a waterbrush to make the ink bleed. The blue and violet shades were very pleasant surprises!

It's fantastic to not take any notice of the time. A luxury that we have on vacation. When I look at these journal pages, they remind me of the calm, the peace of mind. 
I'd love to be able to feel that same calm back in Amsterdam. Let's start with the weekends. Forget about every 'to do list' and take the time to enjoy. The surroundings, doing nothing, drawing.

Oh and guess what? We also had something a lot of yumminess to eat... We needed to keep my 'what we ate today' project going, right?

Draw Tip Tuesday - a shoe

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!

Last week I promised you to sketch shoes, so... here they are!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Travel Journal - 2

I just filled the last pages of the sketchbook in which these pages are. Great memories in this precious book.
The intention of our three week (!) vacation, was to totally relax and shake off any work stress of the past weeks, or well, let's be honest: months.
So, we took the boat to the beautiful Thai island Koh Chang. 
This Island has gorgeous beaches, but also a large area of jungle... if you ever watched 'Lost', some parts of Koh Chang look a bit like the island in the show, only without the creepy stuff.
We found a great place to stay and rented a little bungalow, at a 'lake'. Well, it was more of a big artificial ditch, but the place was gorgeous anyway, and very peaceful. As you can see in the drawing I made of it.

Oh and here's the 'what we ate today' page of that day.

When you take your time, to look around you, you will notice so many details! On Koh Chang in Thailand, my husband and I explored the Island by motorbike and found a beautiful place on the beach where we sat down for a banana-coffee shake (oh my gosh that is such a great combination!), surrounded by hipsters. 
I really enjoyed the chatter around me, the smell of fantastic Thai food, and the sound of the waves on the beach. I took my time to make this drawing. Some of the people in the drawing left before I finished drawing them, so I had to make up some bits. Doesn't really matter, as I was concentrating of the interior of the shaded pavilion.

Another lazy day: dozing off at the beach after a jungle hike...
As you can see, I started drawing my husband in the deck chair next to me, but then he went for a stroll along the surf to play his mouth harmonica, so I ended up drawing just part of him, and then the empty chair.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Travel Journal - 1

Maybe you noticed. Maybe you didn't. I went away for 3 weeks in February. I know, that's already a while ago, but I haven't gotten round to post my drawings I did during this vacation, and 'digital detox'. During which I caught my breath after juggling many, many projects at the same time. 
Here on my blog, I have kept posting happily though: pre-scheduling is a life saver! So while traveling, there was no need to think about any online places, projects or work. Okay, I did check my email every now and then (because wifi appeared to be available everywhere I visited - even on far away beaches!)
So. Anyway. Even though I have been sitting on my butt for about three weeks, sipping coconut water straight from the fresh coconut, I didn't really sit still. If you know me just a little bit, you know I just can't.
Of course I took my art journal with me and drew every day. It was awesome to have so much time each day. Some days, I did elaborate drawings, other days I did more quick ones.

As the flight from Amsterdam to Bangkok takes about 13 hours, I started my first journal page while on the plane. Agreat way to spend the first hour of the long flight, before watching Last Vegas, Men in Black 3, trying to concentrate on a book, and trying to sleep.

I'll be finally scanned my journal pages to share them here. I hope you'll enjoy!

While trying to shake off the jet lag, we enjoyed the heat, a cooling iced coffee, and of course: the wonderful food! Both me and my husband love cooking (and eating), and are very eager to taste new things and learn about exotic kitchens. At home, we prepare Thai food often, but there's always more to learn! So I decided to add a little daily project to my art journal during our vacation: 'what we ate today'. This way I would document what we ate, and remember the taste of it, so we can try them out back home. Also, it would be a great way to use different techniques to illustrate food. 

Tomorrow, I'll be adding more travel journal pages.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Life in Amsterdam

I tend to forget how remarkable it can be for tourists, how we Amsterdammers do most of our traveling through the city by bicycle. Just the other day, I talked about this with a friend who lives in Texas. There, even if you wanted to, it's just something you don't do. Not just because of the large distances, but also because of crime. Huh, I have to say I'm a happy cycling Amsterdammer, even more now.

Although I don't even need to get onto my bike when I have to get groceries. Just around the corner there are many shops with lovely stuff. Like this pomegranate. Makes my mouth water just thinking of it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Journal Page - a Swiss trip

I went to Switzerland for the wedding of my brother-in-law. On the way back, I drew this in my sketchbook (above), with a felt pen I had bought at the airport. Ahh yes, the best way to spend waiting time is a. sketching, and b. shopping for art supplies.

On the way to our destination in Switzerland, I sketched in the train: 

We could include some sightseeing to our program while we were there, and for the drawing below, I took the time to take everything in and see the many details. Like a monk, in fact, I sat near a desk where monks used to write page after page for this library... A very impressive sight, and an almost meditative drawing:

Here's a sketch I did of the married couple, with a photo for reference

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Draw Tip Tuesday - Watercolouring

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!
I made a small sketch of my sneakers and now paint them quickly, using just one colour from my watercolour box.

Just sayin'...:
These sneakers would look good on Angela, one of my book characters! If you'd like to create a cartoon character; check out my Workshop on How To Design A Character. It's only $99 for 4 weeks of superfun, and... this is your last chance! This is the last time I offer the workshop.

Monday, March 24, 2014


I feel like a celebrity! Check out this interview by Stephanie Levy, who gave me a push forward two years ago in the very first round of  her fantastic ecourse Creative Courage.
I am determined to meet her in person in Berlin, where she lives, one day in the near future, and have a cup of coffee with her. 

Journal page

Sometimes you need new shoes. Because on the trip you're on, you only brought superwarm winterboots and it turns out to be warm, with unexpected spring weather at your place of destination... and yeah it helps if they're brightly coloured and affordable too...
Sometimes you have a friend over. Who loves sweets. Who has to have something sweet after dinner. What do you do if you don't have much time to bake, and don't eat sugar at all? Well... you dig into your cupboard to find some superfoods and some favourite flavours and chuck them all in the blender.