Paradise Birds Kids Art

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Today I teached an art workshop to 4 to 8 year old at two daycare centers in Purmerend, The Netherlands (via Cultuurhuis Wherelant). I'm always amazed (and inspired!) about the creativity of those little ones. Kids Art is the best!

We made 'paradise birds' with leftover material like cardboard, paper, plastic materials and wire. They choose bodies and head shapes for their birds and put it together with paper tape. After that it was time to paint. Wonderful rainbow colors and exotic combinations where the result (you can leave that to kids!). Some of them also added paper feathers to their creation for extra spectacular tails and headdress.

I brought a big branch and attached the birds to it so it made a nice exhibition piece in the daycare centre. Looks quite good don't you think?

(The toddler saw the pictures and is now very eager to make his own bird too, could be a nice project for the weekend... ;-) )

illustrations on culture and art education

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Last week I've been working my ass off ;-) on a presentation of my vision on cultural and art education (with a focus on primary and secondary education).
I've made illustrations using paper and cardboard, adding a slight 3D/pop up effect.
The illustrations were used in a powerpoint presentation as background for focus points.


How the instant comfort pocket boxes came about

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Some of the first designs of the Instant Comfort Pocket Box back in 2010


the instant comfort pocket box in 2017


I posted last week on intagram about making and selling the Instant Comfort Pocket Boxes for over 7 years now.  I still often get the question: how did the boxes came about?

So, for those who never heard the story behind it, here it is:

Once upon a time... back in 2009 I met this Canadian guy on a trip to Thailand. We -as they say- 'hit it off', skyped a lot and travelled back forth to each other. In the summer of 2010 he invited me to Canada.
During this stay in Canada I slowely realised we were not such a good match, I saw a few sides of him I did not like ta all. I felt very sad and disappointed, ended the relationship and went home.

When back home, I finally say I had been blinded by the romantic idea of a love abroad and not seeing the true character of this guy. I could not help but feeling down and to be frank, the whole ordeal had left me with very low self-confidence (and an almost empty bank account, travelling is expensive...).

Realizing I was in desperate need of a good pick me up, I started to think about a what this could be or look like. In the same time, I saw an article in Uppercase Magazine about matchboxes. Because I already had made panorama boxes in the past, the connection was easily made: a tiny little box with an uplifting 3D illustration. The name came to me while driving home from work, what I needed was Instant Comfort, in the shape of a box you can put in your pocket: The Instant Comfort Pocket Box!

So the first design I made for myself only. When showing them to friends and family, the responses where so entousiastic that I started to sell them, on Etsy. Since then, I've sold thousands over the years to people all over the world.

I feel that the best ideas often sprout from personal issues and difficulties, these are this designs that come from the hart and reach out to the soul.

Over the years, the boxes have evolved. For example, in the beginning it took me about half an hour to make only one box! Of course this is not doable anymore with the amount of sells or pricing. If it would still take me this amount of time for each box, they would become insanely expensive. So I changed a bit here and there in the production process, the way of assembling them and the designs. One of the best descisions was to invest in a silhouette cameo cutter, that cuts the illustration-shapes for me (till one year ago I would do this by hand).
During busy times (like the holidays) I get help from my mother, friends and sister in law with production, every box is still put together by hand. This way I can control quality but also keep the 'personal' feel that is important to me.

And, last but not least, of course I need to add here that those first boxes truely helped as I eventually met my sweet husband and now live happily together with him and our two kids. :-)

Pink and cookies

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For the dutchies this is an all familiar image: roze koeken (Pink cake-like cookies). Personaly I never liked them much (too sweet and too pink) but during my high school years half my class was living on these (oh youth...).

Today I've been working on a commission for &Katern (section in dutch newspapers), that involved these pink ladies of cake. This is a small detail, I can show more in a few weeks, but can tell already that the illustration has a little dark side to it.... More about it later!

wedding invitation in the making

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Oh my, it's been a loooong time since I posted here. So many things have happened, good, bad and inbetween but I'm still here (in case you wondered...).

This year, I'm promised myself I could take things a bit slow - workwise - to focus on taking care of a toddler and a little baby (who has severe reflux. Short story: a condition that includes a lot of painfull vomitting and exhausting days and nights).
Now that L is 6 months old I like to pick things up a bit, starting with blogging.

In the mean time, I'm planning our wedding! I can tick the location, dress and flowers boxes (this lovely lady will be in charge of flowers) and now I'm designing the wedding invitation.

A few weeks ago I teamed up with the toddler and together we made 'shapes' (I tried to keep him restricted to his own sheet of paper but he insisted on drawing on mine as well, he also insisted on adding a postal sticker). We filled a few sheets with crayon, marker and fineliner and I scanned them. In the end I only used a small selection of the shapes.
My idea for the invitation was that it should not have the 'standard flower arrangement and pastel colors' but abstract shapes that could overlap or interlock (do you feel the theme here?).
Because my dress is a very soft nude pink, for the invitation design I went for a pink spin off combined with red (a more strong color that in this concept stands for my husband....mmmm, I guess I'm not a big feminist ;-) )

I'll show you the finished invitation once it's printed and send to our guests!







Hello world!

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Here I am, back from maternity leave but... struggling to start working again...

Where work life after giving birth to my son three years ago seemed easy (he slept a lot + my husband was home a lot too), now with our little girl it feels a lot harder. Not only because there's also our toddler running around (although I must say he's a very very sweet big brother to Lieve) but also because Lieve has reflux (a condition where baby's vomit a lot which causes a painful gullet).

We've been to a Osteopath with her and this helped a lot. Since then the sleeps more, we can lay her down (before I had to sit up with her all the time) and she mostly sleeps through the night.
The whole process during the past weeks has wore me down though.

That said, I really like working again but find it hard to find the time and peace to do my work poperly and in a non-stressed way (working from home is not ideal at this stage).
Therefore I will prolong my blog break for a while. I will post on Facebook and Instagram though. Hope to see you there! :-)



I'm on maternity leave!

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Instant comfort pocket box - winners!

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And the winners of the cactus comfort box give away are:

Livdueck (via Instagram)
Marjolein
If you'll both email me your address I'll send the boxes to you as soon as possible.

Thanks for joining everyone!

working on... + give away

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This is such a strange feeling... While there's so much going on the world (the assessment in Nice, the coup d'etat in Turkey and all other terrorist actions) I'm drawing symbols of persecution for a commission...
It makes me a bit uncomfortable to research for things like 'military tank images' in my own safe little studio while all these sad things are happening.

Let's all be kind and helpful to the people around us: neighbors, friends, family, loved ones or strangers in your street to start a humble counter movement to all this violence and hatred!

To start this little movement... I'll give away two instant comfort pocket boxes of a cactus saying 'you look wonderful today. Tell me why and who you'd like to give one (in a comment on this post, FB or instagram) and I'll pick two winners by tuesday july 26.

Illustration workshop on SALE!

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Apart from the Instant Comfort Boxes designs from last season, the selfstudy illustration workshop is also on sale!

In this workshop you learn all about taking your illustrations and drawings to a next (3D) level. No experience needed, just enthusiasm! After payment you be able to instantly download a pdf with all info and tutorials for 4 weeks of assignments + access to two inspiring videos.

You can find the illustration workshop in my Etsy shop. Have fun!
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