Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Selfie in graphite

I realize I posted quite a few grumpy selfies lately. To make up for it, here's one with some more effort and time - I totally enjoyed doing this.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Draw Tip Tuesday: DIY Holiday Greetings

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!
The pre-holiday-season-days can be so crazy, and you might even forget someone to send a Christmas card to.
Not to worry, just craft one yourself - it’ll be the best personal holiday wish they will receive!

And... if you're looking for a great holiday gift for yourself or a loved one: check out my online classes:
-Awesome Art Journaling; kick off the new year by filling your journal pages every day.
Starts January 5. Click here to find out more and to enroll in Awesome Art Journaling
-Just Draw It!; the 11th edition of the onine drawing course that'll make you surprise yourself.
Starts February 2. Click here to find out more and enroll in Just Draw It! 
-Draw it like it's Hot; drawing food and illustrating recipes
Starts March 2. Click here to find out more and enroll in Draw It Like It's Hot!
All these classes are taught in limited groups, so I can personally guide every participant and give my feedback on everything that's shared.
-How to design a character - the Workshop; design your own children's book character or cartoon character
This course is self-led, and on-demand, which means you can start RIGHT NOW! Click here to find out more and enroll in How to Design a Character 

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 15, 2014

3 ways to stay sane

Sometimes it's all just a bit much. (Especially on Mondays.) 

You wake up to a brand new day, happy as can be, a fresh to-do-list waiting for you to start on after breakfast. All is well. But then something small happens that interferes with your mood.
 Like: You throw something in the garbage can that's already a bit too full, and because of that, you miss! Even before your first sip of coffee, you're mopping the kitchen floor. Grrrr.
 Or: You know you shouldn't, but you open your email while waiting for the kettle to boil... and there's an alarming email in there with a problem that needs to be fixed urgently. So much for enjoying your breakfast without hurry.
 Or: You planned to get out to run some errands, look out of the window and see the driveway all covered in snow. "Well that's just a great outlook," you hear yourself grown, "shovelling snow right after breakfast!"
Yeah, you know. Those kinds of things...
Don't let them ruin your day!
Here are three things you could do to stay sane:

Sometimes something small happens that can totally interfere with your good mood. Don't let it ruin your day.
*1 Sit down. Breathe in. Breathe out. Take out your smartphone, switch on the camera, make a face that represents your mood and take a selfie. Then, laugh about it. I know you don't want to, but if you put things in perspective - it's not that bad. You'll survive.
Use the photo to draw a selfie from. You'll feel so much better when you're drawing!
20141129 kickboxing
*2 Plan something that takes your mind off of things. It could be making a selfie drawing like above, or a chat with a friend, but for me, working out is also a great outlet. I run, but I also do kickbox trainings and, a one-hour training really empties my mind completely.
20141130 mokapot
*3 Treat yourself.
It can be something small, like making yourself a fabulous cup of coffee and enjoy every sip of it.
Or, get inspired! Buy yourself something to look forward to:
get help reaching your artistic goals for the new year.
I'd love to help you with that. Click here to register for one of my online classes.
Oh and don't forget: keep breathing. Even if the day doesn't turn out the way you expected, you'll be fine. You can change the mood again.
And even when on some days it feels really hard to get over a threshold; take every opportunity to Make Awesome Art.
You can do it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

What to do with that coffee addiction

We have a fancy espresso machine, but lately, it didn't work properly, so it's at the repairman for a few weeks. In the meantime, we're revisiting the Italian Mocha Pot. The efficacious way for a good, strong and sturdy, aromatic and great tasting cup of coffee.
So I took out my black watercolour paint and used that to portray the reliable coffee maker.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Draw Tip Tuesday: Spicy Paints

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!
Let's add some colour to last week's drawing, and spice it up - Literally!
Of course, there's more where this came from. Go to my website to learn more.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


It was time for a Silly Selfie again!

Just Draw It! The Sketchcrawl.

Some of the participants in my current online course JustDraw It, said they would love to go out and sketch and/or try your hand at some urban sketching. Now that we're well on our way into the course, it was time to pluck up the courage, head out and do a world wide JustDrawIt SketchCrawl together.

The idea of this was to all head outside on the same day, and sketch in public! We may all live in different parts of the globe, but still, we're doing it together. For some people this may be a bit scary, but doing it together, helps.
So I declared Saturday, December 6, to be JDI-SketchCrawl Day
. People from around could join me in Amsterdam, others would 'crawl' in their own corner of the world.

A nice group of Dutchies gathered, to sketch together. It was a great afternoon, fuelled by cappuccinos and fresh mint teas, and surrounded by interesting people to draw and a whole lot of art supplies.

At these occasions, I always feel very distracted, and my drawings are interrupted many times. It shows in the drawings, but the nice thing is: I can remember the intertuptions and the converstaions I had, through looking at these pages. Great fresh memories added in my sketchbook!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Not a girly kind of girl

In case you haven't noticed, I am not a 'girly' kind of girl. Even though I have the tendency to squeal when I see a mouse, I like to see myself as kind of tough. Let's just say I combine feminine things with boyish play. That's why I drew my nailpolished hands, binding wraps for my weekly kickboxtraining.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Draw Tip Tuesday - DIY Season Greeting Card

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!
Since it’s the Holiday season, let’s create a custom and personal greeting card today.

Next week, we'll add some colour, and experiment a bit in our Draw Tip Tuesday Lab. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

How many hats do you get to wear?

20141127 hats

How many hats do you get to wear?

I know I need more shelves to fit all the hats on, that I get to wear throughout the day. On the first page of my brand new sketchbook, I drew just a selection of all the hats that fit me. If I could have fit more on the page, I could've gone on for quite a while.
You probably have many roles in life too; you're an artist, someone's child, maybe you are a caretaker, a friend, a colleague, you may be a parent... and since we're all still learning in life, you're a student too.
Sometimes life is overwhelming, at least that's how I feel.
Life can get so crazy and busy, that there's hardly any time to live it.
Still, we need to stay focused on what's really important in life, and on doing what we love.
That's how I managed to illustrate the recipe below, by just making use of small pockets of time throughout the week. 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there, and by the end of the week I was happy with the result. And what a treat to test the recipe, to make sure the measurements were right!
So here you go, the recipe for a sweet and comforting choc-o-holic treat. (No sugar added, so it's good for you too!) If you have time to try it: enjoy.
The recipe is published on
Even with the busy holiday season coming up, whatever you do, you can always find time to Make Awesome Art.
Schermafbeelding 2014-11-29 om 10.31.57
Finally I planned and scheduled the new classes for 2015. So if you have any new year's resolutions for a year full of creativity; I'll be happy to help you to get you going and to keep you going!
You can get yourself a seat in class by enrolling today. (click here)

Thursday, November 27, 2014


It had been a while since I  did a self portait. So what better reason to do one, than a fresh hair cut?
Before going to the hair dresser, I sat down and treated myself to a cup of tea. And after returning home -with bangs- I took out a bic ballpoint pen, and started drawing a selfie. The top half actually has a pretty good resemblance. But the nose, mount and chin are a bit 'off'.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dreaming for Draw Tip Tuesday

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!

Sometimes, it can be quite intimidating, to have all these fresh empty pages in your art journal, waiting to be filled by YOU, the Artist.
What if you don’t have any ideas about what to draw?
Well here’s a suggestion: Dream!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hatching and Sketching

Sometimes, at the end of the day when it's already dark, I get frustrated that I still didn't get my daily drawing done. So then I just sit down, put something in front of me, place a lamp beside/above it and draw. I made this drawing of a pair of shoes, while sitting on the couch, sipping a cup of herbal tea and watching a movie on tv with one eye. It was wonderful to be absorbed in the hatching. Done with a fountain pen (Lamy safary) filled with carbon ink:
More Hatching! I took out a good old black Bic ballpoint pen, and started drawing the condiments on the table of a Sechuan restaurant in the centre of Amsterdam, while waiting for my dinner companion, who called to say that he was running a little later. That gave me 15 minutes of drawing time. So I got the basics in, took a picture with my phone for reference, and later that night when I got back home, I sat up in bed and did the rest of the hatching. It was late, I was tired, and it was so relaxing, at some point I felt myself actually dozing off while hatching!!
The next day, I looked at it again and saw it needed a little bit of background or colour so I added the yellow watercolour:

There is ALWAYS something interesting to draw. And if you really want to - you can find and make time for it. Even a quick 5-minute scribble can be very rewarding.

If you need a little help, making time to do what you love, and to fill your art journal pages every day, you can still join my 4-week online workshop 'Awesome Art Journaling' for only $69. I will guide you through those weeks and give you a kickstart on a daily drawing habit. 
Join me by clicking here.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Art Journal Pages

 These are the art journal pages I did in Clermont-Ferrand last weekend:
The flight took about 1.5 hour, so I had a nice pocket of time to draw my surroundings. I felt the guy next to me eying the pages curiously, but he didn't dare saying anything. I wonder if he would have, if I had also added colour, pulling out waterbrush and mini watercolor kit... The flight was a bit bumpy at some points, so here and there the lines are a bit wobbly, which, in my eyes, adds character to this drawing.
Haven't worn any other shoes since buying these - I totally love them!

What a treasure, this small tea shop around the corner of the Cathedral! I came back the next day again to warm up after spending several hours outside, and chatted with the owner and her daughter. I Showed them my sketchbook and talked about the event 'Rendez-vous du carnet de Voyage', which I was there for.
Stopped for a quick coffee here and drew the people. When I left, I discovered the bar was called 'Bar Des Beaux Arts': Bar Of Fine Arts. Perfect for this weekend full of inspiration and art.

A quick drawing I did while waiting for my lunch. I used one of those multicoloured pencils, I found at a museum shop when I was in Madrid this spring.

I just had to stop to draw this cute cafe in the middle of Jardin Lecoq from the 1930s. There were so many bright reds there, that contrasted wonderfully with the green window frames. I limited myself to a red, green and blue pencil.

I hardly ever do this: take a photo of a building, view or street, and then draw from that for reference. But now I did. I had a lovely walk around town and took some pictures on my way. Then it started to get dark and wanted to enjoy a relaxed last evening in my hotel room. There, I used the photos for reference, and really enjoyed the different way of looking at shapes and shadows, then when drawing 'live'. I added the drawing of the door the next morning, in the train. Again, it was a bit of a bumpy flight, and it came out way wobblier than I intended.
...and a drawing on the flight back home to Amsterdam on Monday morning, where a pile of work was waiting for me!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sketchbook Skool Update

I am excited to share with you that Sketchbook Skool klasses will begin again in January — and that you can sign up today!
When Danny and I founded Sketchbook Skool about a year ago, our basic goal was to inspire people. To ignite them into a habit of sketchbook keeping that they never want to miss again in their lives.

Are we succeeding, you may wonder?
Well, I'm not going to bore you with a success story, or with an epic story about the ups and downs of the life of an entrepreneur, about following artistic paths, finding the way to keep creative habits, and balancing work, art, life...
Let's skip that whole bit. Because I am so passionate about it, and I want the whole world to know about it, I could talk for hours about Sketchbook Skool. But I won't.
Why not just simply show you what Sketchbook Skool Students have been up to lately?

So without further ado... Here's a bunch of examples of happy Sketchbookers

Lesley Hilson Bergen created a video about the homework she did in Danny's "Storytelling" klass:

Helen Leigh-Phippard, Student in "Beginnings" blogged:  

"So it’s the last week of “Beginnings”, my first Sketchbook Skool kourse.  I’ve done my homework and posted it in the klassroom, I’ve given my feedback on the last week of skool and I’m feeling kind of sad that it’s over.  But I’m looking forward to having some time to build on everything I’ve learned (and that’s a HUGE amount) and practice, practice, practice and develop some of those skills over the the next months or so.  And I’m also excited about moving on to doing another kourse in the new year – because one thing I do know is that now I’ve started I have no plans on stopping. I hope to be in Sketchbook Skool until I’m 100 or dead, which ever comes first!"

Find her blog here

Sketchbook Skool student Cathy turned her homework in "Storytelling" into an illustration job, it's published here
You can read about Liz's experiences in "Beginnings", in her wonderful Blogposts, Here.
Below, one of the sketches she made of her Greyhound Tanzi, after taking Roz Stendahl's klass in 'Beginnings'

A Sketchmeet in New York City on a sunny Sunday in October:

If you want to join the thousands of students drawing like crazy at Sketchbook Skool, sign up for one of the kourses at

Travel Journal pages

Yesterday, I posted that road trip drawing I did in Switzerland. Here is a bunch of other drawings I did during my stay in Switzerland in October:
Sketching Family

Out for lunch in St. Gallen on a rainy day. The women who owned the place saw what I was doing, and she kept grabbed my Sketchbook (while I was drawing!), bringing it to the back of the restaurant to show her employees. It was very funny and it was lovely to see how impressed she was with this mediocre sketch.

The longer I looked at this church, the stranger I found its architecture, with unexpected corners everywhere.
My husband's feet and a pot of tea back home.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


At the moment, I am using a canson sketchbook. I often use Moleskine books, because of their wonderful quality, and because they are easy to find here in the Netherlands. 
But every now and then, I want an extra challenge, and when I find new sketchbooks that look and feel right, I buy and try them. 
In fact, when I was in New York a few weeks ago, I visited 3(!) art supply shops and came back to Amsterdam with a huge stack of sketchbooks, so I have a supply for quite a lot of months to come.

Back to my Canson sketchbook. I'm not too fond of it. The paper is a bit too thin, so watercolorus make the pages wrinkle. I don't mind that really, but somehow, the book and I haven't become the best of friends, even though often, when I try a new book, it takes a few pages of getting used to each other. this one: not so much. Maybe it's also because I've been in a rollercoaster of things happening in my life, and many pages in this sketchbook are filled with half-hearted drawings or hasty sketches. Which is a shame. 
On the other hand, it's a reflection of my state of mind as well...
And then there is this unwritten rule I keep: I need to fill a sketchbook before I start a new one. So I keep on going, taking the challenge.

Anyway, this drawing here, is my favorite drawing in this sketchbook so far.
It was in Switzerland. We (my husband, his cousin, and I) had a few hours drive from Bern to Davos. Road trippin'!
I requested to sit in the back ("are you sure?"), so I could retreat a little to do some work on my laptop without being anti-social, with a rewarding amount of time left, to make a drawing of my travel companions. Glad I don't get car sick! Lucky me.
 Done with a brown fineliner and a pentel brown ink brushpen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Reporting from Clermont-Ferrand

Although I came back on Monday and now it's back to business as usual, I'd still like to report on my visit to Clermont-Ferrand.

Wait what? Where?
Clermont-Ferrand. It's in France. In the middle of France. Some say, in the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by a chain of dormant vulcanoes, and in an industrial area, this city is a place where you don't end up accidentally. Every year however, a festival of travel art journals takes place here: "Rendez-vous du Carnet de Voyage"

I thought it would be a fun experience to go there and to get inspired by the sketchbook artists who participate, and by their art. At the event, there are booths for participating artists, where they display their work and where you get to actually hold their personal art journals and flip through the pages on which they document their lives. For example, you can see, feel and if you want, even smell the sketchbooks of great leading artists like Lapin and Miguel Herranz, but also find out about new artists, like I did by discovering the work of Titwane, Cendrine Bonami Redler and Benjamin Flao. And a lot of others! To name a few that stood out for me: Joel Guevara, Santi Salles, Lluisot, Lolmède and Gabriele Genini.

I was lucky to be in the company of Jean-Christophe Defline, my pal from Paris, and fervent Sketchbook Skool Student AND teacher (his lesson in 'Storytelling' is seriously amazing and fun). We spent 5 hours at the event, eyeballing all the fantastic art, pointing out drawings to each other and chatting with the artists in their booths. 
Our timing was perfect, because we found Lapin at the book signing department, just when he was wrapping up and going for a break, so we had lunch with him, his wife and super cute daughter, and Miguel.
Quite sheepishly, Miguel Herranz and I look into the camera. So happy to finally be meeting one of my heroes on whom I've had an art crush ever since I first discovered his blog.
Lapin draws Jean-Christophe Defline
Me getting nervous about lapin drawing me
Lapin eased my nerves by handing me his seventies kit he uses for night sketching

Miguel Herranz drawing Lapin drawing me.
I love how Lapin drew my freckles! (and was kind enough to leave out the pimples that had suddenly popped up in my face that morning)
Miguel then also drew my portrait. Afterwards, he handed me a button to make up for it, haha. Although I love the portrait, he was feeling a bit sorry.
Lolmède in his booth
I have been drooling over Cendrine Bonami Redler's drawings
The next morning, a bunch of SketchbookSkoolers met up for a Sketch Meet

We all struggled to capture that massive, black cathedral in our sketchbooks

And I miserably failed, but had fun anyway.

I actually like the quick warm-up drawing of the cathedral, in my mini sketchbook better.

...And the drawing I did of the statue opposite of the church,  in my mini sketchbook.

I hope you liked this little report! I'll share my travel pages of my trip later, in another blogpost.