Testing art lesson material

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When I'm teaching art to kids -in this case at De Kunst Klub [The Art Club]- , and I'm using new material or method, I'd like to test it in advance. My 3.5 year old is always very willing to help me out with this. Even though he's a bit younger than my regular art class kids, he's a very skilled crafter (ok, I know, I'm his mom, but he really is) so if he can do it, I know the older kids can too.

This week we tested lots of things:
1. Super Bubbles
I found out that my bubble wants needed some improvement and I needed to try another bubble recipe...

2. Sidewalk chalk paint
This was an intant hit. I used this recipe (but added a bit more color), it dried up beautiful. And, also important (I almost can't imagine but I did found out that some people feel a sidewalk piece of art is 'a mess that should be cleaned'), it was washed away easily.

3. Scrap wood boats
I'm planning to work with wood with 4-7 year olds so I figured testing some skills would be wise. With my toddler I found out that using a hammer is still a bit too much to ask (even when holding the nail with a clothespin) but using wood glue is a good alternative. I loved seeing how his imagination took him to make two amazing boats that are both very different (a sail boat and a cargo ship according to the toddler, I can only agree).
I decided during the testing process on letting the kids use crayons and markers to decorate their boats, this will add a little bit extra to the creations.

Looking forward to start the art classes at the  Kunst Klub in Ilpendam next week!
Would you (your kid) like to join this art feast? There are a few spots left on monday and friday. Please contact me through email to subscribe---> see the about section).

Work in proces - sketches

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These sketches (okay, it's not literaly a sketch, I'm just not that 'pencil-sketch-person', fine liner and paper are my way ;-)), I've been working on -among others- the past two weeks, for an illustration for a dutch development aid organization.

Key was to show a cultural diverse neighborhood and collaboration. I've cut silhouettes from black paper to make people and drew houses using a fine liner (I prefer steadler pigment liners or lumocolor). These were scanned into the computer and made into a colourful spread illustration, but more about the finished product in a later post.

I like working this way, with different materials and techniques. Normally I would draw almost every element but lately I'm focussing more on paper shapes and elements. (also see this post on paper cut illustration). It forces me (in a good way) to think differently, more in 'shapes' than in 'lines'. Especially with figures, I prefer keeping it a bit 'abstract'. This makes it easier (for me that is) to create a specific posture or character without having to draw it over and over again because one small piece (fingers/ the way a dress is draped/ face) didn't turn out the way you wished.



Kids art class

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After years of teaching mostly adults, I recently started to teach kids more again. I forgot how much I enjoy this! Although it's a bit more juggle than an class of grown ups, it's also so rewarding and inspiring. Especially to see the shy or frustrated kid bloom during the course.

The boy that seemed a bit rude and unmanagable in the beginning, turned into a hard worker with some encouragement and compliments. The girl that mostly yelled through the classroom that her work was ugly, slowly became more confident and focussed. But the best of all is that when I come into the classroom they all scream: yeah, Miss Kim is here again!


Although a group of 20 ten-year-olds are quite a bunch to handle, they also give me so much energy back (not to mention the great artwork they made, I just love their drawing style!), I always go home with a smile.
Such a shame next week is already the last lesson of this school year. Luckily I can look foreward to the summer Kunst Klub [Art Club] I'm organising in my own village :-).

Above a selection of the artwork they made during this weeks lesson (some during the process, some finished). I put up a few still lifes with veggies, fruit and flowers, which they drew using pastel crayon on black paper. At the end, we ate the fruit and veggies, which was a hit!

Mini Drawing Spark #3

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Time again for a Mini Drawing Spark... #3! 

In this mini I dare you to play with black ink, make spots, dots and ink-accidents. You can do this by pouring some ink on a piece of (heavy) white papier and blow softly till the ink starts running. Or, wet the paper first with a large brush and water, then drip the ink onto the paper and it will spread.
Play, have fun, make a mess! Let it all dry.


If you have a few small and larger ink spots, take a closer look. What do they remind you of, what do they look like? Is it an elefant with wings? Or a rabbit with two heads? Let your imagination run free.

Now take a fountain pen or bamboo pen, some white paint or white pen. Add eyes, extra legs, paws, and so on, to make your ink spot into an animal or other creature.

Enjoy!

Kinder Kunst Klub Ilpendam

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This post is in Dutch because the event it's about is local (sorry world!).

Na jaren in Utrecht te hebben gewoond staat mijn huis alweer 4 jaar in Ilpendam, een piepklein dorpje net boven Amsterdam. In Utrecht gaf ik natuurlijk illustratie les aan volwassenen maar heb ik meer dan 10 jaar ook les gegeven aan kinderen.

Nou leek het mij een fijn plan om ook eens in ons pittoreske dorp een zomerse week met drie middagen kunst en knutselen voor kinderen van 4 t/m 12 jaar te organiseren.

De Kunst Klub vindt plaats op 31 juli, 2 en 4 augustus 2017. Elke middag heeft een eigen thema en een eigen materiaal/techniek waarmee we werken. Je kan kiezen om 1 middag mee te doen maar allemaal mag ook.
Enne, natuurlijk hoef je niet uit Ilpendam te komen om mee te mogen doen, iedereen is welkom!

Dit is het programma:

fris & fruitig stempelfeest 
maandag 31 juli 14.00-16.30 uur
Stempelen met gekke materialen en we maken iets dat wappert...

knip plak papier hier
woensdag 2 augustus 14.00-16.30 uur
Knip plak en versier jij een levensgroot....?
(hint: het is koud en smaakt lekker) 

hi ha hout
vrijdag 4 augustus 14.00-16.30 uur
We gaan bouwen met hout en restmateriaal en het heeft iets met water te maken... 

  
Wat kost dat?
Een losse les €17,50
3 lessen         €48,-
Dit is inclusief materiaal en een hapje en drankje
locatie: Het Dorpshuis in Ilpendam

Wil je meedoen?
Mail je naam, leeftijd en telefoonnummer naar: kim apenstaartje kimwelling punt com










DIY design vase

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Browsing through photos of my work from the past 10 years I found a little project I totally forgot about! A few years back I had a quarterly DIY item in Genoeg, a dutch magazine about living with minimal needs and made -among others- this funky vase!

And because one can never have enough vases, plants and flowers, here's the DIY design vase tutorial:

Material
+ old newspapers and toiletpaper
+ empty and clean plastic bottles in different sizes
+ chicken wire (but you can also use a handle from another bottle)
+ wallpaper glue
+ acrylic or wall paint
 (I used black and white but feel free to go nuts with colors)
+ strong tape
+ scissors, cutting knife 

how to

 
1.
Start with a large bottle, and cut elements from the other bottles to put onto the larger one. Cut holes the sizes of the extra elements. Make sure you place everything in a way that the vase can still hold water. Stick everything firmly onto the base vase with tape.


2.
Cover your vase design with about three layers of newspaper strips and end with a few layers of toilet paper (all layers and strips covered in wall paper glue) to make the surface smoother. Let it dry (this can take a few days).

3.
When your paper mache layers are dry, paint your vase. I choose simple stripes so it doesn't compete with the pretty flowers.




Father's day DIY for kids

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What better gift to give on father's day than a personally made peice of art? Kids art!

With my 3 year old I made a No. 1 Best Daddy Award for father's day (in the Netherlands it's father's day upcoming sunday the 18th). And, in case you are desperately seaching for 'what-to-give-this-year', I'll share the DIY steps with you.

Needed material
+ 1 wooden block
+ shells
+ left over material to make the daddy figure
   (we used a wine bottle cork, a small ball made of newspaper and tape
     and two small wooden bars, eye stickers, buttons and a peices of string)
+ fineliner
+ paint (preferably acrylic or wall paint)
+ small white paper card that'll fit onto the front of the wooden block
+ strong glue (or glue gun)

How it's done
1.
Decorate the wooden block on 3 (long) sides with the shells (glue them onto the wood).

2.
Glue the cork and ball together and add the wooden bars (or anything else you choose) as arms.
Let the glue dry.

3. Paint the figure and glue the eyes, mouth, nose, hair, etc. onto the figure. Then glue the figure onto (short side of) the wooden block.

4. Write 'No. 1 Best Daddy Award' adn the name(s) of your kid(s) onto the blanc card and glue it to th efront of the wooden block.

5. Done! Go give this piece of art to the lucky man!

paper illustration

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illustration detail 
 
 illustration detail 

 
 elements cut out of paper and scanned
 
Lately I'm drawn more and more towards cutting and assembling paper in my illustration work. Normally when making an illustration I would first draw every element by hand using fineliner or pencil and then put everything together on the computer. But since I started with the little portraits project - and got myself some pretty paper from my favorite shop Vlieger in Amsterda- paper is speaking to me ;-).

For a new commission for Maters Hermsen (a dutch company that publishes in-corporate magazine for a diverse range of clients) I made illustrations with only paper and computer. I started by cutting diverse elements that fit the theme (more about it later, it's not published yet so I cannot reveal all), scanned those and put everything togheter on the computer. As finishing touch I added a few pencil lines and structures.
I'm illustrating for 10 years now (oh my, it's an anniversary!) and over the years my style has evolved. Meanwhile, I can still make new things and surprise myself, hurray to that!



Mini Drawing Spark #2

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For Mini Drawing Spark #2 I'd like to ask you to zoom in on the beautiful world of insects. Now that summer is getting closer, it's the perfect time for taking a closer look at these pretty tiny creatures!

Look for beetles, flying creatures and other insects in your garden, park or even balcony. Take pictures or find photos of exotic insects online.
Ink and a fountain pen are great for little detailed drawings (if you don't have these, pencil or fineliner works too - as you can see in my example above- but ink is my favorite as it gives such pretty 'handmade' lines).
Pay extra attention to paws, eyes, wings and such, each insect has it's own perfect design.

Have fun!


little character magnets

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One of my fave things to draw are faces. I love making little people and characters. A few years ago I sold little brooch pins in my shop that all had a different personality. I made those from left over pieces of wood, and every single piece was unique.

I still had some small porcelain slices hanging around from another brooches project in the past. With these I started making new faces and characters, each -again- unique, handpainted and with his or her personal outfit made out of paper. I attached little magnets to the back to make them suiteable for sticking some messages on the fridge ;-).

So far, I've made 6 of them. I'm not yet sure if I will put them in the shop or keep them myself, as they started as just a personal project. What do you think, should I sell them?

Wedding invitation design

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With my own wedding coming up in august, I of course had to design my own wedding invitation.
The future husband and I wanted a design without the regular flowers/ rings/ wedding things and went for an abstract theme.
Because my dress is blush pink (scoop scoop), I choose a color palet inspired by the gown.

First, the shapes were made using markers, crayon and fineliner. All shapes can interlock (do you feel the theme here?) or overlap. After scanning the drawings, color and transparency were added.
Because the shapes are quite 'modern', I choose a more classic font.

I had the design printed by Peter Print, my fave digital printer who can print like it was offset (seriously, it looks like a very expensive high quality print, which unfortunately can't really be fully shown in a picture), on beautiful heavy paper with a slight grain.

The card consists of two components: the long 'main' card for the day guests and a smaller overlay card that can be added for evening (dinner) quests. Hold together with a drop shapes paperclip.
And tadaaa, our wedding invitation is ready!

The books that inspire

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On my bookshelfs a lot of art and illustration books but these are the books I keep looking at, that inspire me most.

top picture, from top to bottom:

1. Sometimes I think, sometimes I am - Sara Fanelli
Sara Fanelli has a lovely free way of working with (illustrative) materials and collage.

2. Camilla Engman - The suitcase series by Uppercase
I've been a fan since I first saw her work in 2010. Love Camilla's fun, sweet and also sometimes a bit dark characters.

3. Allemaal mensen - Blexbolex
It's intriguing to me how all his work looks vintage but in fact is all (well) done by computer. It's simple, elegant and very much to the point. His Seasons book is great too (and many others, actually all his work is worth having ;-) )

4. Olle Eksel - swedish graphic designder
All time favorite designer. The shows his finished work but also sketches and drawings, very inspiring.

5. Mark Hearld's Workbook
Inspiring collages, painting, lino's and more with a nature and animal theme
(what I love drawing too).

6. Al Mano - expressive lettering in the digital age
Although this book it a bit older (I bought it while in art school back in 2006), it still is one that I look into now and then when I need inspiration on lettering and such.

Mini Drawing Spark

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After years of teaching illustration I found that the one thing most people struggle with is to find time, ideas of what to draw and how to draw. Well, your searching days are over ;-) as I will provide you with little drawing tips and tricks!

I'll post a drawing tip, idea or suggestion regularly on the blog, facebook and instagram. It comes with the hashtag: #minidrawingspark , which you can add whenever you share your mini drawing spark results (please do, I'd love to see what your making!).

Let's start with the first!

To loosen things up a bit (read: to tackle that inner critic), there's a fun technique you can practice. It's called: blind contour drawing (or hand-eye coordination drawing).

What you do is: take a object (start with a simple thing like a mug or teapot) and place it on front of you. Then choose a point to start and draw the contour of the object by following the outline with your eyes and at the same time follow with your pencil. Key is not to look at your paper, only at the object and keep your pencil on the paper (making one steady line).
Try a few times, and if you got the hand of it, start adding inner shapes as well (still without lifting your pencil from the paper, you follow lines back and forth).

This is a great way to practice to look closely to objects and learn how to draw them. Because you are not allowed to look at the paper, you can not critique the process. The drawing can be wobbely, strange and funny but that is what it's supposed to be. When you practice this often, you'll notice you get better at it. At that stage you can start looking at the object now and then and modify your line along the way.

Good luck, have fun and share!


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!







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