25 Dec 2013

Happy holidays!

Talking about the lack of Christmas spirit, coming to "the snowy land called Finland" didn't help much, simply because this place isn't snowy at all. It's grey and rainy, which combined with the seasonal lack of daylight makes it feel like it's 6 o'clock in the evening 24 hours a day...

Oh well, Christmas came anyhow!

What you see below is a beaver bringing you last minute Christmas wishes. The beaver was amongst some sketches I made for a project, but unfortunately the client didn't like him much. Nonetheless, I loved him, so I drew and coloured him on my own time. Poor little rejected animal. Luckily he found his place on this Christmas card where he gets to enjoy his cup of tea in peace!


Merry Christmas to you and all the rejected animals and underdogs in the world!

11 Dec 2013

When Santa gives you lemons

Isn't it incredible, Christmas is just thirteen (13!) days away! I can't believe it - I haven't had too much time to get on a christmassy mood and feel like the D-Day is still a month away. One day, I tried to get in the mood and listened to some carols from the radio, but that lasted only until my boyfriend expressed his opinion about the cheerful children's falalas. Another night I burned candles, but only because it was storming outside, hailing inside (dear roof window, I'm afraid aren't doing your job too well) and I was haunted by the thought of a lightning slithering in through the electric cords. That didn't happen, nor did the christmassy mood.

Maybe the Christmas spirit will come when I go to the snowy land called Finland next week. Maybe it will come when I bake gingerbread cookies and decorate the Christmas tree. Maybe it will come when I'm trying find presents in the last minute despair with hundreds of other people, queuing in the shops and listening to Jingle effing Bells. Shame on me, I haven't got presents for anyone yet, so I hope my mind will blurt out some great DIY gift ideas in the coming days so that I can avoid those awful overcrowded stores. If not, I might end up baking the stone-hard cookies from last year and attach this illustration to the package as an upfront apology.


This illustration was inspired by an article I wrote for Oh Marie! magazine's winter issue. You can read it here: When Santa Gives You Lemons

PS. I've also started pinning some (ahem...two so far...) of my illustrations to Pinterest. You can find them here: Emmimarjukka - Things I drew

14 Nov 2013

Buzz like a bee!

My freelance life has been quite chilled out lately: I have had a very reasonable amount of projects running simultaneously, and they all tend to have very reasonable deadlines, too. I have a timetable and usually dedicate one working day for one project at a time: on Mondays I do this, on Tuesdays I do that and so on. It helps me focus and get into a good work flow, when I don't have to think about everything at the same time. Sounds like a tip from some kind of a freelancer's guide..? It probably is.

However, this week I'm having an overflow of deadlines. I even scheduled some of them on following days, thanks to a not so smart brainwave that made me think my agenda was fairly empty. Turned out it wasn't, so here I am, working like a madman and multitasking my brains out, doing one thing in the morning, another one in the afternoon and something else in the evening. Like yesterday; I was in desperate need of some fresh air after sitting indoors from dawn to dusk, so I put on my sneakers and  rushed out for a jog. I ended up touring around the city for two hours, making mental notes for an article that I'm working on. Efficiency at its best - beats listening to your own breath and wondering how many meters you have left anytime!

I'm making it sound like I'm the busiest person on the planet Earth, so in all honesty I have to admit that some of the deadlines I'm talking about are self-originated. A friend of mine had a birthday, and I wanted to make a card - bing, a deadline! Me and my boyfriend celebrated two years of shared silliness, so I had to come up with something sweet for him - bing, a deadline! But I don't mind, because none of the deadlines - neither the personal nor the professional ones - involve doing something that I wouldn't enjoy. In fact, it is a great pleasure to be stressed out because of nice things!

With this positive mood and world embracing mindset, I shall leave you with this bee illustration I made for the cover of my agenda and proceed to the next thing on my to-do list: putting the mental notes from last night on paper (...or actually a word document...).

Farewell for now!

6 Nov 2013

The devil is in the details


As part of the Secret Mission I'm on at the moment, I've been drawing plenty of kitchen and food related things: chairs, cups, cutlery, tables, teapots and celery. Some of them have been so called pieces of cakes that I've drawn, coloured and finished at once, whilst others have been drawn a dozen times before I have reached the point of perfection where neither me nor my client have found anything else to change or experiment with. 

Last week, I spent hours and hours drawing teapots: Japanese teapots, dainty teapots, metal teapots, teapots with smooth surface, teapots with texture and teapots with stripes. I also drew a jug of milk, but in the end it got ditched and put back in the creative fridge where it came from. Before that, I went through the same process with grapes, which didn't make it to the final illustration either.

That's the life of an illustrator: drawing tons of things on a sketch book thicker than a bible, whilst the end result of all that work might be just one illustration. At times, when I've spent 15 hours working hard and the outcome is just one illustration, I begin to wonder how did I manage to spend all that time working on one single image. At those times, it's good to remember that although it is just the hand-picked selection of top-notch drawings that end up being presented on the table, behind the door of the creative fridge there are dozens of sketches and tryouts that are not served - these grapes included.


25 Oct 2013

Fantastic Fashion

Better late than never, right? Here's an editorial piece I illustrated and wrote for Oh Marie! magazine's Circus issue back in September.




I'm very pleased with how the illustration turned out, considering all the blood, sweat and tears that I had to shed for it. I had plenty of time to work on it, but this time, that luxury didn't really work in my favour. I got started well on time, but there were a lot of things going on at the time, so instead of finishing at once, I made a draft and kept post-poning finishing the illustration. On the last day before my deadline (yes!), right after a night flight from Turkey to the Netherlands (YES!), I had planned to spend a few hours "adding the finishing touches" to the piece. That little session ended up being 8 hours of intense work, as I decided to not be satisfied with my first draft and basically started all over again. Yep. Sitting there, penciling away with a major sleep deprivation, I gave myself a big applause for the great planning. Although in all honesty, I have to admit that in a sadistic kind of way, I often enjoy these kind of creative struggles and crazily intense work. It gives me the kicks, when/if I end up with something that makes all the "suffering" worthwhile. I must have been some kind of an Opus Dei priest in my previous life. You know, like the one in Da Vinci Code.

Time has really been flying in the past few months. I'm already wearing my winter coat and boots instead of ballerina flats, although it feels like it was just a few weeks ago that I was skipping around in a dress and munching away with sandwiches in parks, my cheeks sticky with sunscreen. Dear sense of time, where did you go?

27 Sep 2013

Oh Marie!

I love magazines, and although I do enjoy an occasional Elle next to my tea, independent magazines are the ones that I am crazy about. I love reading them, making them and - most of all - discovering new ones. Earlier this year, a lucky click on Twitter took me to the website of an online magazine called Oh Marie. Overjoyed by my finding, I got in touch with Marloes Snijder, the superhero behind this digital brilliance full of cute things spiced up with wittiness - that's the way, aha aha, I like it! We met up, drank two cups of tea and decided to collaborate. So, from now on I'm a happy member of the Oh Marie-team, working as sort of a blog manager, producing and planning content to keep the readers busy with nice things to read and do whilst waiting for new issues of the magazine to come.

What I like the most about working with indie publications - digital or printed - is that they are usually run by a handful of very dedicated people. This does not only mean that the passion and motivation that goes into making the magazines could break glasses if it could sing, but it also means that there is lots of room for flexibility when it comes to putting all your skills in use. A writer doesn't have to just write if she can also draw. Now, you must be wondering what the grandma's desk and Arne's egg chair business above has anything to do with my ramblings. Well, it's just about that: me writing AND illustrating for Oh Marie! This one is the first image in the series of illustrated quotes and one-liners from the magazine's articles that we will feature on the blog. It is a sneak peek to the upcoming issue, which is going to hit your digital bookshelves no later than tomorrow. You can read more about it here on Oh Marie's brand new blog.

I also wrote a short article called "Fantastic Fashion" for the upcoming issue with an illustration next to it. The illustration was one of those kind of fun, creative things that end up giving you grey hair in the middle of the night, but now it is time for tea, so I'll tell you more about that later!

PS. Just noticed having mentioned "tea" three times in this post, which reminds me of something important I should share in case there are some fellow tea-addicts behind the screen. Remember the beauty spots on teeth that I was talking about earlier? Well, thanks to a terrifying article that my mom sent to me, I now know where that seemingly harmless beauty spot came from. Hence, I no longer drink any other tea than fresh mint tea...and Turkish tea, but only when in Turkey. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, you know.

13 Sep 2013

Friday the 13th and a delusional toast


Just wanted to celebrate the fact that I haven't yet slipped on banana peels on this Friday the 13th by sharing this funny little animation about a charming, delusional slice of toast. The only thing that I'm wondering now is why would a toast want to eat cookies? Wouldn't that be like eating your own blood....sorry, flour relatives?

25 Aug 2013

One unicorn, one secret mission and a few pieces of bacon

For the past few months, I have been on a Secret Mission. Surprisingly (...not), this mission is not related to three letter organisations or having Edward Snowden as my colleague; pencil is still my only weapon, although as a night owl I wouldn't say no to having a pair of night vision goggles, either. The Secret Mission has kept me busy drawing pots, pans, vegetables, cakes and different breakfast settings, and although I'm not to reveal too much about it yet, I thought to share a few pieces of bacon and cake with you to celebrate this Sunday morning:

Although Sunday mornings are always a good reason for a bit of celebration, this Sunday is extra special as it is the birthday of a friend of mine, who I had the pleasure to meet just a mere week ago. She is a sweetheart who sings like a bird and has three unicorns tattooed on her chest. One evening, we had a conversation about her tattoo, which lead to her telling how much she loved unicorns. I found it such a quirky thing to say; it really sounded as if we were talking about cats, dogs or other animals that actually exist. So, last night I grabbed my pencil and drew a unicorn for her. It's been a while since the last time I drew a horse, but thanks to having spent my early teens drawing nothing but horses, my hand hadn't completely forgotten how to do it.


Have a magical Sunday filled with magical animals and nice things to eat!
NOTE: No pun intended; unicorns are endangered species and horse mettwurst is kind of gross anyway.

More Secret Mission reports later!

4 Aug 2013

Meow!

As you know, cats are cool. Stroking a cat or looking at one online is a sure cure when dwelling in heartaches, feeling ill or stressed out. Cats - natural antidote to pretty much anything!

Back in 2010 when I was interning at SUPERSWEET, the greatest indie magazine online, I was introduced to an office cat called Princess Michael. (There had been some confusion about her gender, hence the gender neutral name). Making fun of her, chasing after her and playing with her was a daily part of the life in the office - she was SUPERSWEET's sweetheart.

Although it's been only 3,5 years since my internship finished, it feels like ages since our small editorial team was sitting in the office, taking breaks to holahoop or and fighting about whose turn it was to go and queue in the post office during lunch hour (lucky for the others, my status as the intern who never said no to anything put an end to those fights). When my internship came close to its end, my boss and SUPERSWEET's creative director, Choltida, decided to move and take the company's HQ with her to Thailand. Sadly, this meant that SUPERSWEET had to part ways with Princess Michael as well; she couldn't handle all the traveling and stayed in London instead.

However, despite the new location and all other changes the company has gone through since the good ol' times in London, a few things have remained the same: SUPERSWEET's web shop is still up and running, and the corporate love for cats and silly things hasn't gone anywhere either! A while back, I got the honour to be reunited with SUPERSWEET when Choltida asked if I would like to illustrate an animated shopwindow for the web shop. The new shopwindow was to celebrate the launch of a brand new collection "Haberdashery" from the in-house brand called SUPERSWEET x moumi. The collection is supervised by Choltida and designed by indiepreneurs Moumi and her design team Kikilala and Myogi, all of whom happen to be cats. Yes, you read that right.

The illustration I drew for the collection stars the head designer Moumi juggling her designs. This is an illustration in progress, stolen from Moumi's Instragram and served with fitting sound effects.



And here's the finished shopwindow:


Although I'm not hundred years old, I think I am entitled to say that my memories from the SUPERSWEET times are pure gold! I was so happy to make this illustration and be part of a SUPERSWEET project again. Poor Princess Michael, though. She really missed out on a great career opportunity, when she decided to resign and stay in London. Who knows, she might have been promoted from an office cat to a designer by now!

2 Jul 2013

A perfect picnic and some dental details

Click to enlarge
I've been doing quite some food related work recently. First, I gave a go at making (not baking) a cupcake. Then I collaborated with a client creating visuals to go with a children's story about eggs. Whilst doing that, I continued making personal foodie illustrations on my "waiting for feedback" breaks, and since picnicking is one of my all time favourite things to do, I decided to illustrate my personal recipe for a perfect picnic.

On a side note, apparently drawing all these sweet things has had an unwanted side effect on my teeth: today, I have a date with a dentist to check up and fix what I suppose is quite a large hole on one of my back tooth. "Quite large", because it was actually my boyfriend who noticed it from one meter away whilst I was yawning. Now, picture that!

Edit after the dentist's diagnose: Turned out the dark spot wasn't a hole - it was just what the dentist called "a tooth's beauty spot". Now the question is: does that make me a dental Marilyn Monroe...?

17 Jun 2013

Hello baby, welcome to the world!

At the moment, I have dark circles decorating my eyes and the very unoriginal phrase "What a week!" seems to be the most original thing my brain is able to come up with to start this post. So here it goes: what a week! To avoid any misunderstandings, I should clarify that I have not been in a fight - I just launched a book.

The past nine months, my agenda has been filled with notes saying DFD this and DFD that. DFD in this case stands for Dear Fashion Diary, the book I've been working on together with my friend and colleague Laura de Jong. (Earlier, I have written about it here) Now our book is finally out, in stores and on the shelves in the Netherlands and within everybody's reach online.

To celebrate our baby, me and Laura wanted to organize a book launch. We ended up getting in touch with a sustainable fashion designer Nathalie de Koning, who next to making her own timeless fashion collection gives sewing classes and DIY workshops under the name I Am Nold, encouraging people to make something new from something old. Her fashion philosophy was a perfect fit with Dear Fashion Diary that aims to help people discover their own styles and fall in love with fashion again and more sustainably than before. We couldn't have been happier to collaborate with Nathalie by organizing our book launch in her whimsical workspace in an old, abandoned school building!

After the location for the launch was settled a few weeks ago, the time seemed to fly by. There was a lot of planning, calling, emailing, meeting, stressing out and running around, but sooner than I even realized, I found myself holding a microphone and raising a glass to our book! Despite all the exhaustion and grey hair, there we were: me and Laura, two very happy author-illustrators who had just launched their book!


The glamour continued 8:30 AM the morning after, when we started our day by doing the dishes from the night before. But let me tell you, the launch and all the dishes left from it were the best possible start for what we hope to become Dear Fashion Diary's long and prosperous life in the world of books!

So, forth we go as published author-illustrators, recovering from the birth of our first book. I'm sure that the leftovers of the heavenly gazpacho that was served at the party will also work well as a refreshening face mask.
 

And because speeches at launches tend to end with thank yous, I would like to end this post the same way by thanking Nicole Huisman, the talented stylist and one of the editors of the Dutch Elle, who joined the launch and gave a great speech about her personal style, my friends and fellow illustrators Suzanna and Sarah and Lilian from BIS Publishers for helping to make everything run smoothly, Laura's husband Jeroen, who was The Man and slave of the launch, driving cars and carrying all the heavy stuff, Carli from I Am Nold for sewing packages for the books and - of course -  all the guests who joined the party! Thank you!

6 Jun 2013

Happy summer greetings from the dark side!

Last week, a me and a small group of my friends, including the sweet illustrator lady Suzanna Knight, who also worked as the copy-editor for my magazine Dear Fashion Journal, and Sarah Meers, my BFF (yes, I did just say that and yes, I'm almost 25 years old and YES, I do find it amusing) and partner in crime, decided to start a monthly drawing group! This week, we had our first meeting, and somehow strangely we ended up watching Star Wars and drawing Darth Vaders.


Drawing him was so much fun, and today whilst I was waiting for feedback from a client, my Darth Vader sketch transformed into a greeting card. Drawing him was quite a challenge not only because of the very detailed mask he has, but also because he is not a very colourful dresser. His personal style is awfully black and he could definitely do with some variety in his outfits, so instead of dressing him to defend the dark side, I decided to put him in some more summery and beach appropriate clothing. He became quite a hipster in his striped shirt, didn't he? Surely, he is wearing a pair of Converse, too, holding a laser sword in one hand and a Panama hat in the other.

Photo above stolen from Suzanna :)

24 May 2013

Everything at once

It is not a secret that I run on tea, and just to fit the stereotype of a crazy teabag lady, I also happen to love cakes, scones and biscuits. Sitting in cafés is one of my favourite hobbies and I am always on the lookout for cute tea rooms. Many cafés that I run into have also adopted a cute doodle style for their facades and menus, which just makes me love them even more. I would die of happiness (or at least burst into tears of joy) if I could one day illustrate a menu for such a place! Whilst waiting for a sweet opportunity like that, I decided to make a sugarcoated illustration inspired by the lyrics of Everything at Once by Lenka.


To conclude, here's a nice little trivia: the Dutchies like their caffeine with a little something to nibble, so it is almost a rule that when ordering tea or coffee, you will also get a cookie next to it. If you ask me, those small treats add a considerable amount of joy to the generally grey and rainy life in the Netherlands, and the one who originally came up with the concept of "koffie en koekje" should therefore be awarded somehow.

12 May 2013

To all the moms in the world:

Storks Delivery Inc. wishes a happy mother's day to all the ladies who once received a package!

2 May 2013

Twinkle, twinkle little star on shirts and bags and so on

This is a hello from a happy freelancer! The reasons for my happiness are...
  1. better weather
  2. all sorts of summer activities such as hanging out in parks and walking around Amsterdam in the midnight with a scoop of ice cream - even if my winter coat still has to accompany me to all of these.
  3. work - the nice and creative kind!
Since Facebook tends to be the right media for all the "oh hey, the sun is shining"-kind of updates, this post is going to be about what's been happening in the working field. Last week, I got in touch with Starfreak, an online design store selling casual yet feminine shirts, bracelets and fun tote bags made with ecological materials. Anoek, the lady behind the brand, who designs and makes the clothing with her very own hands and is crazy about star prints, was looking for cheerful fashion illustrations to accompany the web shop, and needless to say, I was over the moon to be asked to make fashion drawings!



And there they are, fresh from the oven! It was surprisingly difficult to include the brand's signature star-theme in the illustrations without making them look too childish, and I spent quite some time experimenting with different kinds of backgrounds before coming up with this style. During the process, I had a few of those moments when you look at your work and feel everything but impressed, but as usual, it was the good kind of frustration - the kind that in the end lead to something much more rewarding, a happy client and an even happier illustrator! That said, I raise my scoop of ice cream to the arriving summer, the good weather and nice jobs! Hear hear!

22 Apr 2013

To eternity and beyond!

Here in the Netherlands we have a company called Boomerang. They distribute flyers and promotional cards around the city to cafés and different venues. In this ad-filled world, that is nothing extra special, but what makes Boomerang different is their mission to make promotional material so appealing that they don't have to push people to pay attention to it - instead, people will notice the adverts themselves and even want to take it home. The Boomerang card racks are a classic feature in all the nicest cafés, and whenever I go out for tea with some fellow creatives, we always end up browsing through the Boomerang postcards hungry for inspiration and nice things to put on our walls.

I was really curious to know how the company works and where they get all their designs. Turns out that their prints are all crowdsourced: the Boomerang website has a special section called "Create", where they share creative briefs from their clients. The briefs are open for everyone, which means that their clients get a vast amount of designs to choose from. A cherry on top of this great system is that next to being extremely handy for companies in search for promotional designs, the submitting creatives get exposure with their contributions and if their designs happen to win the assignment, there might even be a reward that you can use to pay for your rent. The website is also quite a nice source of inspiration with an interesting collection of different styles and design aesthetics.

Last week, I noticed that one of my favourite Amsterdam venues, a concert hall called Melkweg, had a briefing on the Boomerang site. They were looking for a postcard design for an event called "Helemaal Melkweg" that brings together music, photography, art and cinema. Most importantly, they wanted the design to represent Melkweg's function as an iconic music venue and active supporter of the art scene. The Dutch word Melkweg means Milky Way, so just like many other of the contributing artists, also I was inspired by that...


...and so I spent my evenings creating a fully equipped cultural space shuttle, which is now ready to take off!

PS. I have to add that next to being a big fan of Melkweg's lineups and indie rock dance nights, I am also in love with their laid-back restaurant and café called Eat At Jo's. Despite their sometimes annoyingly irregular opening times, both me and my boyfriend have named it one of our favourite restaurants. I'm telling you, if you are away from your mom's cookings and feel like a tasty, full meal with some great oven roasted potatoes and nice vegetarian options, Eat At Jo's is the right place to go!

PPS. I know the previous might have sounded like some marketing jargon, but I swear my only connection to Eat At Jo's is the relationship my taste buds have with their food. Hence, all my praise comes straight from the heart!

11 Apr 2013

Training with a robot

Having been browsing through websites with freelance (illustration) jobs lately, I have noticed that many clients ask for vector based work. I have always been an old school pencil person, and despite having experimented with paint, ink, crayons, water colour and such, so far the only thing that I have really liked drawing with - next to my good 'ol pencils - has been charcoal. Although I'm capable of making digital drawings and most of my current work is made using mixed media anyhow, I have never quite enjoyed working fully digitally without basing my illustrations on hand-drawn images. That means that my illustrations are pretty much always a result of using a pencil, erasor, Illustrator and Photoshop together. Actually, I never use just Illustrator unless I'm designing a logo.

So, this week I decided to flex my so called illustration muscles and give a go at becoming best friends with vectors. My training buddy ended up being a robot. We spent the entire Monday evening and night until 4 AM on Tuesday morning together and had a blast! Got to say that after having discovered the charcoal in my parents fireplace as a teenager, I haven't really been this enthusiastic about drawing with something else than pencils.

PS. Don't worry, my dear pencils - I won't let my Wacom pen intimidate you!

20 Mar 2013

Fashion drawing

In January, I got invited to the fashion show of Studio Jux at the Amsterdam Fashion Weeks. Studio Jux is a fair fashion brand that gives the makers of their clothes the credit they deserve, stating that their Nepali tailor is a rock star (which he undoubtedly is).

I really liked the show, and since I haven't done any fashion drawings in a long time, I decided to illustrate one of their looks. I ended up choosing an outfit with a huuuuge knitted cardigan that really made me smile with its pockets bouncing up and down playfully as the model wearing it strutted on the catwalk.

So, a drawing started on an afternoon in January and finished in the late-night hours in March. It's drawn 100% digitally, which is quite an unusual way for me to work: I admit it's very handy to have the Command+Z option when working, but somehow vector-based lines just don't feel the same as the ones drawn with my good ol' pencil.

Note: No, the model didn't really have blue hair, I just thought it looked cool.

18 Mar 2013

Ready, steady...create!



To celebrate the launch of Dear Fashion Diary, we are organizing an open competition for all you creative souls out there! Want to join? Choose one of the Dear Fashion Diary's pages here in A4 or A3 format and complete it by drawing, painting, cutting and pasting, digitally or by hand. Then send an image of your artwork to hellodearfashiondiary@gmail.com.

The most striking submissions will be exhibited on our facebook page and at the book's launch event in Amsterdam! The artwork voted as public's favourite on facebook will also win a free copy of the book together with a custom-made illustration by me and my co-author-illustrator Laura.

You have time until the 10th of April - so ready, steady....go!

If you have any further questions, you can comment below or send an email to hellodearfashiondiary@gmail.com

5 Mar 2013

Quick Draw Tuesday (and how I missed it)

There's this thing called Quick Draw Tuesday. It's a weekly drawing challenge open for everyone who dare to challenge themselves to create a quick five minute drawing of a randomly chosen topic using only their pen and memory. The outcomes are then featured altogether on the blog of Lucy Farfort's, an illustrator who started the whole thing.

When I ran into the challenge on Lucy's blog, I got really enthusiastic and decided to take part in it the next Tuesday. However, next Wednesday I realized I had forgotten the whole thing, so I wrote it down on my agenda to make sure I wouldn't miss it the next week. Too bad that when the next Tuesday came, I never got around to actually opening the agenda! Having missed the Tuesday quick draws already twice, I decided to take serious action and put an alert on my phone for the next time. It worked and I was ready to draw when my phone started buzzing today, but sadly it turned out that I had simply slept through the challenge due to time difference....oh well. Maybe I should start a new "wake up super early and draw" routine for Tuesdays...? :)

Anyhow, since the topic of the quick draw today was "stereo", I thought to post an old drawing that I made a few years ago when working for Drawing Room and making this set of playing cards. So, here it is: a stereo creature.


To take part in the Quick Draw Tuesdays, just put your alarm clock on next Tuesday and click yourself to Lucy's blog! Lucyfarfort.blogspot.com

3 Mar 2013

I have something to tell you...

You know how difficult it is to tell about something big that you have kept quiet about for a long time? You don't quite know how to bring it up or where to start, which is why I'm going to start right here with an awkwardly metaphorical approach:

If my life was a pie, illustration would eat one quarter of it. Another quarter would go to writing and the third one to random free time activities, hundreds of movies, tea drinking with friends and occasional sports. The last quarter would go to magazines. Magazines and books. Thinking, talking and dreaming about them.

In the past year, I've been working on my own very first independent magazine Dear Fashion Journal, which I have mentioned here a few times. However, next to that there has been also another baby in the making! This time, I've been lucky to be in the project with a good friend and colleague of mine, Laura de Jong, and a Dutch publishing company BIS that makes great books...awesome books, to be honest (and not even one teeny bit biased)! One of my favourites in their collection is a book series called Ridiculous Design Rules, which never fails to make me chuckle and nod my head in agreement.

Anyway, the book we have been working on is called Dear Fashion Diary, and it's name stands pretty much for what it is: a fashion diary and an offline blog letting you document your fashion life, discover your taste and become your own style curator. It consists of over 50 illustrated assignments that allow the readers to grab their scissors, pencils and glue sticks and get creative.


We wanted to make the diary to create a fun tool for people to get to know to their wardrobes and learn how they express themselves through fashion. Me and my wardrobe have been in a bit of a fashion slump for quite some time now, so I really can't wait until April when the diary comes out and I get to start using it myself as well!

If you're curious for more about the book, feel welcome to follow us and our updates on Facebook or Twitter! :)

19 Feb 2013

Let me be your sidekick

I'm not really into mushy, overly romantic things, rose bouquets or heart shaped boxes of chocolate, but I do like to take the advantage of Valentine's day to have another a bit more special day in a year. This time, I wanted to give something small to my boyfriend and decided to draw him a card. The idea was actually inspired by him; when he doesn't use different variations of my name or call me "dude", he usually calls me his sidekick.

I made two different versions and ended up choosing the more simple option (on the left). The illustration was also part of the Valentine's day Illustration Rally and got featured with a selection of other sweetly illustrated Valentine's greetings.


 

Since I started roaming about the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, I would like to add that even if I think they are mushy, I don't have anything against them (or their contents). In fact, I don't think chocolate can ever be a bad idea, no matter what kind of package it came in. Actually, my boyfriend has also surprised me with chocolate once by leaving a collection of M&M's and Kinder Buenos behind my door. They were wrapped inside a plastic bag with an anonymous note saying "don't eat them all at once" (which I of course did). I'm sure they couldn't have tasted any better even if they came in a fancy box.

18 Feb 2013

Leopard-skin pill-box hat

My dad is very much into music. When he started playing guitar an odd ten years ago, he was playing every day, all the time until he would get abrasion on his finger nails. When we are listening to the radio on the car, he always challenges us to recognize artists and their songs with a music quiz. It was my dad who took us to Madonna's concert, but nonetheless, he doesn't listen to Lady Gaga or Top 40. Instead, he listens to the "legends of rock", prefers blues over electronic music and is the number one fan of Bob Dylan's.

This week, my dad turned 50 and I wanted to give him something a bit more original as a present. He has been trying to talk me and my sister (who studies art) into producing some Bob Dylan-related artwork for quite some years already, so I took the hint and decided to illustrate something inspired by Bob Dylan's lyrics. I ended up choosing a song from "Blonde On Blonde", one of my dad's favourite albums, and picked the brilliantly sarcastic lyrics of a song called "Leopard-skin Pill-box Hat". (Before grabbing my pencil, I read through some analysis on the meaning of the song. Apparently it's about Edie Sedgwick and her lifestyle after becoming the muse of Andy Warhol.)

So, here's what came out of it: an illustration featuring the first lines of the song. The style is pretty feminine, but I thought it would be okay - my mom doesn't really like Bob Dylan's music, but she's probably going to be okay with displaying a piece of it in the house if it's concealed within a cutesy package. A win-win situation!