Blog Archives

CIRCLES

CIRCLES

This image shows the elusiveness of the world, the repetition of life and the personal pressure to perform. This space monkey is going around in circles – like a ballerina in a music box. Though in my illustration he’s not in a box, he’s coming out of an anemone, also known as the ‘windflower’. This illustration was commissioned by rockband Jason Waterfalls to accompany their song ‘Circles’. The band invited a total of six artists to interpret a different song of their new album ‘The Great Masquerade’. The brief was simple: take inspiration from the track, use a square format and use mainly black and red. So much freedom! I started by listening to the lyrics, writing down the things that stood out, making a moodboard with personal references, then getting into sketching ideas before deciding on a final concept. This illustration turned out to be a fan favorite. Couldn’t be more excited! What an awesome artistic collaboration.

For sale:
* ‘Circles’ poster
* ‘Circles’ greeting card

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VIGILANTES

VIGILANTES

The vigilantes are out to save the animals. These three illustrations tell separate stories, but they are connected too – search lights are shown in all three pieces connecting the story; these vigilantes are on the run from zoo employees. In the first image you see the breakout from the zoo, in the second they are hiding out in the forest and in the last they are living off the land. This is a shadow series of the series Acrobats. These guys exchanged their red and white performance bodysuits for black ones and slipped off into the night to save the animals.

For sale:
* ‘Breakout’ art print
* ‘Hideout’ art print
* ‘Pickling’ art print

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DIVING MEMORIES

DIVING MEMORIES

This is a commissioned illustration for Marloes. She once lived on Bonaire, where she fell in love with diving. Gliding over the ocean’s sandbanks, bright sunlight shining through the water, watching her own bubbles rise to the surface, a school of horse eye jacks swimming above her and garden eels rising up below. She shared her stories and asked me to capture these memories in an illustration. I did research on the ocean life of Bonaire (shown in slide 6) and presented Marloes different sketches of what I imagined it to look like. I offered more choices to Marloes along the way: different color palettes and different frames, before finishing it and personally delivering it to her. Just look at her ecstatic face in the last slide! It was an honour to make this for her.

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SURREALITY

SURREALITY

I love mashing up different elements in my work to give my illustrations a feeling of wonder. A rolled up armadillo becomes a shining disco ball, a lama is spitting rain from a building like a gargoyle, a boy waits for birds to fly into his bird house hat, an anteater attracts ants – just like an empty bottle of wine would, a peacock’s feathers become a fan, rain falls while an umbrella lights the path and do you see the guy with the red hair? Look closely to see that he doesn’t actually have any hair or a moustache at all.

For sale:
* ‘Surreal Mashup’ postcard set
* ‘Armadisco’ greeting card
* ‘Armadisco’ art print
* ‘Happy Birdday’ art print

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MATCHBOXES

MATCHBOXES

I love vintage designs: the bold colors, the contrast, the print textures. I was inspired to make my own set of matchbox designs and I was intrigued to add some fire related humor to the characters. The crabby tabby is pushing a candle off the table, the chameleon is pretending to be a candle with a flame coming from his cigarette, the fowl owl is sitting in an ashtray coughing his lungs out and a slow, little dog thinks that he’s a real badass, but he doesn’t realise that his pipe is upside down.

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DAILY LIFE

DAILY LIFE

As much as I love mashing up different elements in my illustrations, I also really love scenes from daily life. I love those private moments when no one is looking and I love people who are “not entirely perfect”. A girl with wild hair and a missing tooth playing dress up with her bored cat, a weird kid imagining to be a giant bird, a man with a slight belly and tilted foot who’s almost spilling his wine because he’s distracted by his phone, while the dog is conflicted by his desire to eat the plate of pie that has been put on the floor. These things are adorable to me.

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BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS

New life! These illustrations were commissioned to announce the arrival of a baby. They were printed on cards to be sent to family and friends. I’m showing three illustrations with very different briefs in terms of style and story.
1. A classic baby girl is petting a black dog (a much loved pet that the new parents had just lost). The girl is facing the viewer and the dog is symbolically facing away; an illustration representing the start of a new era.
2. Two cuddly owls welcome their fluffy owlet into their rainbow nest. The purple color of the rainbow is pushed up so that it’s closest to the owlet – as it’s the favorite color of the surrogate mother.
3. The painted canvas with the dog looking up conveys the values and dreams that the parents would like to pass on to their child. Just to name a few: on the left there’s a representation of the Týn Church of Prague resembling religion and the baby’s city of birth, on the right the paw prints of his parents who are always there to support him and in the middle there is a joyful, loyal dog who’s creating his own canvas in life.

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SEA LOVER

SEA LOVER

These illustrations are united by their sea theme, though they are all separate pieces of work. I absolutely love the ocean and the creatures in it. I enjoy mashing up different elements, adding humor and an edge to tell a story. A whale tumbles around like a spinning top, making this huge creature seem light as a feather. A kite surfer is hanging onto a giant raven, emphasising the powerful sensation of being out at sea in a storm. A fisherman lovingly examens his oysters. A manta ray glides through the water, a boat structure inside his body to resemble a vessel. A captain slides into the ocean. A penguin scrapes over the ice, revealing a whale’s eye under the surface. A shiny jellyfish swims from the nose of a shark. (Who says jellyfish aren’t actually shark boogers?)

For sale:
* Limited edition ‘Scrape’ art print (A2)

* ‘Sea Lovers Mashup’ postcard set
* ‘Scrape’ art print
* ‘Vessel’ art print
* ‘Slide’ art print
* ‘Storm’ art print

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SALVATION ARMY

SALVATION ARMY

This illustration was commissioned by The Salvation Army. It accompanies a story on how the organisation is helping sex workers on De Wallen, the red light district in Amsterdam. The ladies in this image are bringing baskets with tea and helpful products to the other side of the bridge. The reflection of red light district is seen in the water, showing the buildings upside down with silhouettes of sex workers in their windows. Creating this image I was inspired by the idea of The Upside Down from the series Stranger Things: an alternate dimension parallel to our world. In the fourth slide you can also see two other ideas that my client was able to choose from. The illustration was printed in the Salvation Army’s magazine, Soelaas. Full article can be read here. (In Dutch, pages 35-38)

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SENSE OF FOOD

SENSE OF FOOD

People are using their senses less and less when it comes to eating. We are buying food in packages and are forgetting to touch, smell and look. Instead of relying on our senses to determine whether food is still edible, we simply look at the expiration date on the package. Food journalist Bee Wilson set up an organisation in England called TastEd, which makes children at elementary schools get acquinted with different fruits and vegetables. Some kids have never even seen a real peach and note that it “looks very different from the peach emoji”. ? An observation which I think is sad and funny at the same time.

I made this illustration after reading the publication ‘Voorgesneden mango en bezorgmaaltijden stompen onze zintuigen af’ by De Correspondent, which is a by Nico Groen edited version of Bee Wilson’s essay ‘How we lost our sensory connection with food – and how to restore it’ which was published by The Guardian.

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GLAD TO BE HOME

GLAD TO BE HOME

During the pandemic we’ve all spent a lot more time at home. The people in this series have found comfort in it, the walls and interior almost embracing them. Spending time in the tub with a beautiful full moon shining through the window, petting your cats while waiting for the coffee to brew, enjoying the heat of the radiator and the sleeping wolf against your skin, enjoying the quiet of the house while the rabbit runs free, feasting on snacks, dreaming of travels or just being glad to get away from the storm on the other side of the door. Sometimes it’s good to be home. Check out the slides for details of the pets.

For sale:
* Limited edition ‘Wolf’ art print (A2)

* ‘Glad to be Home’ postcard set
* ‘Bath’ art print
* ‘Wolf’ art print
* ‘Storm’ art print
* ‘Kitchen’ art print

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OPEN WATER

OPEN WATER

When gyms and pools had to close their doors because of Covid, I discovered something new: open water swimming. This series shows the universe I encountered: men stretching by the waterside before diving in, getting dressed with animals watching, keeping watch over other swimmers at sea, beautifully glowing pink lakes in the evening sun, running into fish and ducks while diving in. It’s a magical experience.

For sale:
* Limited edition ‘Summer Swim’ art print (A2)

* ‘Open Water’ postcard set
* ‘Lifeguard’ art print
* ‘Summer Swim’ art print
* ‘Season Start’ art print
* ‘Goggles’ art print
* ‘Loop’ art print

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ACROBATS

ACROBATS

Incredible how acrobats are able to use their bodies. This series is a tribute to these performers: the elegance of their body movements, their interaction with animals and their efforts to entertain the audience. You see an acrobat bending backwards to pick an apple whilst walking on a big red ball, acrobats dancing with live snakes and an acrobat stuck in between running zebras, while another one tries to pull him out. As a kid I loved the circus and I still enjoy looking at vintage photographs of circus artists. I love penciling them into my sketchbooks – I’ve added a journal page with examples in the last slide. Welcome to the lion’s den, enjoy the show!

For sale:
* ‘Acrobats’ postcard set
* ‘Bend’ art print
* ‘Lion’s Den’ art print
* ‘Stuck’ art print

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BILLY PORTER

BILLY PORTER

When I saw Billy Porter make his entrance at the Met Gala in 2019: completely covered in gold, wearing wings and being carried in by six – also covered in gold, men, I thought I need to make an illustration of this. Billy’s entrance was inspired by Ancient Egypt. In my piece I was inspired by Art Deco: this style incorporates geometric patterns, symmetry and stylised forms. As you can see in the details, the six men carrying Billy have become bold and simple shapes. I used graphic lines and Art Deco ornaments in the background.

After making this piece, I was inspired to also make an Art Nouveau illustration, which in contrast uses organic shapes. Often flowers are presented in this art style, but I went with food instead. I illustrated a female chef with paella ingredients around her: pepper plants, garlic, cilantro, shrimps and lemons. 

For sale:
* ‘Billy Porter’ art print
* ‘Chef’ art print

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RULE

RULE

What if animals ruled the world? I created the turquoise coloured illustration on World Animal Day: this posse of animals are all endangered species and they have taken over the pool, just like the plants have. The illustration with the kid with eyes wide open in bed is inspired by childhood fears: being afraid that there are monsters underneath the bed. That seems scary, but in this case the monster is just a very content, happily sleeping crocodile named Fred. The third illustration is of a hunter: while he is enjoying a steak, his trophy head mounts on the wall come back to life for some payback time. I’ve added close-ups and details of the illustrations in the slides. These three images were created separately, but they share the story of animals taking over.

For sale:
* Limited edition ‘Pool Posse’ art print (A2)

* ‘Rule’ postcard set
* ‘Pool Posse’ art print
* ‘Fred’ art print

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MORNING

MORNING

These illustrations show that zen feeling you can experience when you drink a nice cup of tea or coffee. Imagine experiencing the scent of lemon and the silky flavour of the tea leaf. I’ve illustrated this by turning the person’s head into a lemon and the dress into a leaf: note the vein down the back of the dress and the structure of the fabric. The coffee plant rises from the cup and uplifts the person smelling the coffee, raising the head from the body. Details of the leaves are included in the slides.

For sale:
* ‘Morning’ postcard set
* ‘Tea’ art print

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PIRATE SEB

PIRATE SEB

This pirate is called Seb. I designed him and his adventures using his beard for word play. In the one where Seb is looking straight ahead, he’s counting the speed of his ship: as you can tell from his beard he’s measuring two knots. In another one Seb is in high spirits after finding a nice spirit to drink, his beard turning him into a genie. The third one has Seb downing a fried fish, which has his beard all twisted and excited. This was a character design challenge, showing Seb the pirate from different angles and showing his favourite activities.

For sale:
* ‘Pirate Seb’ postcard set
* ‘Knots’ art print

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PURSUIT

PURSUIT

What is both annoying and hilarious at the same time? Trying to eat fish at the beach with seagulls trying to steal it from you. These jerks, I mean birds, just keep going at it! Such perseverance. This man found a bucket as a helmet though. Like a crab hiding in his shell he continues eating his fish and enjoying this day at the seaside. The lady embodies the moths on her path. Her cape catching the wind like wings, her hat soft as the moth’s fur and her strut moving towards the light. This project is about people dealing with nature around them and taking inspiration from it.

For sale:
* ‘Pursuit’ postcard set
* ‘Helmet’ art print
* ‘Moths’ art print

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FISH UNIVERSE

FISH UNIVERSE

Have you ever seen people running around on the water surface, inside those floating Zorb Balls? And have you ever imagined those Zorb Balls to be giant pufferfishes? You haven’t? Well, here you go! Take a look at my illustrations, it’s an entire universe made of fish. Run around inside giant pufferfish, take a squid rocket all the way to the sea urchin moon, kick some ball with a giant fish over your head. You’re welcome.

For sale:
* ‘Fish Universe’ postcard set
* ‘Play’ art print

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POLAR

POLAR

This series started with a trip to Iceland, where you can sit in hot pots. Hot pots are warm water pools in the outside air, either in nature or on rooftops. The swimmer in my illustration is sitting in one of these warm waters, however she’s sitting in a hot “pod”. A pod is a group of whales. I combined these two Iceland experiences in one illustration: seeing these gigantic animals in real life and bathing outside in the snow. The other two illustrations show colder adventures: swimming with penguins underneath the ice and piercing through the waves like a narwhal would. This series shows playing outside in the phenomenal polar regions.

For sale:
* ‘Polar’ postcard set – SOLD OUT
* ‘Hot Pod’ art print
* ‘Narwhal’ art print
* ‘Suits’ art print

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BIOMIMICRY

BIOMIMICRY

I find biomimicry just amazing. This is when design challenges are solved by looking at nature. I drew this kingfisher illustration after reading an article by the Guardian on bioengineering. There was a challenge in Japan: the Shinkansen bullet train created too much noise disturbance when going through narrow tunnels. People as far as 400 meters away were bothered by the sound. So the engineer, Eiji Nakatsu, who is a birdwatcher in his spare time, came up with an idea on how to deal with the sudden changes in air pressure when entering tunnels. He redesigned the nose of the trains according to the beak of the kingfisher bird and with this design adjustment he minimised the sound disturbance and reduced the pressure by thirty percent.

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ALICE

ALICE

If Alice in Wonderland had been drawn by me, it would’ve looked something like this. The white rabbit is my personal favourite: he’s keeping track of time through his watchful eyes. Don’t forget to wind that wheel behind his ears though, you might end up being late. To challenge myself I wanted to design two more Alice in Wonderland characters in the same style and atmosphere. The Mad Hatter is literally losing his head and when creating the Cheshire Cat I took inspiration from the saber-toothed tiger. I’ve included a close-up of the face of the white rabbit.

For sale:
* ‘Alice’ postcard set
* ‘White Rabbit’ art print

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SEXY BEASTS

SEXY BEASTS

Have you ever seen a ball? Ballroom culture originated in New York in the 60’s, but has lately become more mainstream because of series like Pose and Legendary. If you want to know more about the history, then go watch the documentary Paris is Burning. For a modern visual, take a look at my last slide: snapshots I took at the Pride Ball organised by the House of Vineyard in Vondelpark, Amsterdam in 2019. I was inspired by ballroom dancing when I created this series Sexy Beasts. Introducing a swaggering zebra, a rocking rhino and a sensual cow showing their best poses.

For sale:
* ‘Sexy Beasts’ postcard set

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KCR

KCR

KCR is an organisation in Rotterdam that gets children acquainted with art and culture. Over a period of four years, they linked seven cultural organisations to seven elementary schools. They asked me to illustrate a cover for each project. All seven covers show a different child looking into a diorama, showing the project their school has been working on. For example take the kid with the yellow background: At this school they worked with a dance theater company and created a show called ‘Bloom’. It was a metaphor for blossoming through the art of dance: the diorama shows plants growing and children jumping up from behind them. Every book also contains four articles, for which I illustrated a series of spot illustrations showing the same kid that’s on the cover.

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BATH HOUSE

BATH HOUSE

Have you ever noticed these older ladies in the pool who refuse to get their hair wet? I was inspired by them when I started this series. Bath houses are fascinating: people get together to bath and swim, being stripped of visual identities such as clothing choices. You don’t know what subcultures they belong to, all that’s left is behaviour. I love seeing these older women trying to stay far away from the water surface, (apparently the chlorine messes with color dye of their hair). In my illustration I turned their heads into small rooftops, keeping them dry. The men are spending their day in the sauna, their chest hair attached to their bodies like stamps in the blistering heat. In the last slide I’m sharing my sketchbook doodles where the illustrations started.

For sale:
* ‘Bath House’ postcard set
* ‘Bath House Ladies’ art print

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FAKE FASHION

FAKE FASHION

This series plays with fashion. Or maybe makes fun of it a bit, in a creative way. One model wears a group of tarantula’s as a fur coat and a huge jumping spider as a hat. Another model wears a sea lobster as a shoulder pad and coral on his head. I’m not sure how exclusive this coral is, it might not environmentally be the best choice to decorate yourself with these, but as a sea lover you have to admit that it looks gorgeous in an illustration. Or maybe better yet, don’t use any animals – like the last model in the series: just add some flip flops to the collar around your neck to look fashionable. Some close-ups are included in the slides.

For sale:
* ‘Fake Fashion’ postcard set
* ‘From The Sea’ art print

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