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Design & Illustration

Design & Illustration

The result of an afternoon talking and painting with friends

Whenever I organise a craft party with friends I always spend way more time talking, complaining and laughing with them, then I spend on actually crafting something. This time we tried skipping the sofa hanging and tried to go immediately to crafting. For some of us, this leads to success (I would force them to take pictures with their craft, but then it might lead to even fewer things getting finished), for others (eg me) it still leads to barely getting anything done.

I did start the plant drawing above and I finished it yesterday. Not my greatest success. I really like some of the plants I painted and I think it would be pretty cool to turn them into stickers. I bought this vinyl paper to make stickers recently and I’m itching to try it out. Although,  I still need to buy new printer ink and decide on sticker designs. I’m already turning this into a project again. Let’s keep things simple and just print some painted plants, shall we.  Maybe tomorrow I paint some more.

Design & Illustration, Projects

30 Days of Lettering

In February I challenged myself to 30 Days of Lettering. I spend 15 minutes a day making quick sketches of a quote I picked in order to practise composition of words. It was the perfect 30 day challenge: not too hard and very informative. Curious to what I’ve been up to? Let’s take a peek in my sketchbook.

Ladies and gentleman, we have a video. I repeat: we have a video. Ok, it’s super short and I spent an insane amount of time editing this 30 sec video, but hot damn it, it’s done. Finished. And uploaded to the YouTubes. (This is the part where I applaud myself because it only took me a year to make my first YouTube video. Whew.)

Maybe the video was a bit too quick (but you can put it on repeat forever and for free ;)), so here are a couple of sketches I really like. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I spend about 15 minutes a day (in bed most of the time) sketching out quotes I liked. To be honest, I probably spend more time deciding on which quote I wanted to do than on actually sketching. The goal was to practice composing words and to have a bunch of sketches by the end of the 30 days of lettering that I could digitise if I wanted to.

A page from my sketchbook during the 30 Days of Lettering challenge
A page from my sketchbook during the 30 Days of Lettering challenge
A page from my sketchbook during the 30 Days of Lettering challengeBy the end of the 30 days, I also started to itch to draw other things besides quotes. Still, I barely made time for this. Creating a habit of drawing daily is definitely something I need to work on.
A page from my sketchbook during the 30 Days of Lettering challenge
A page from my sketchbook during the 30 Days of Lettering challenge

In case you’re wondering what I meant by “to digitise” my sketches, here’s an example. This is the first quote I drew for this challenge after processing it through Illustrator. It’s the only quote I finished so far, but I had great fun doing it. I think it would be pretty awesome to have a collection of these.

30 Days of lettering - digitised version of one of the quotes

I hoped you liked my (embarrassingly) short video. Tell me, do you like the digitised quote? I’m always a bit nervous when I share personal work.

Design & Illustration, Projects

InkTober – 31 days of drawing & inking

In the past couple of years October has become the drawing month of the year. I think thing started with the Big Draw event, but on social media too it became the month of drawing and pushing your creative skills. On of the challenges you can find on Instagram is InkTober. I’ve tried finishing this 31 days of drawing challenge a couple of times, but it never worked out. Until this year’s edition!

I decided to start with very low expectations and just wanted to draw a pattern a day. Keeping things light and easy. One pattern a day became 8 patterns on the first day. Apparently I was really excited about my low pressure approach. After a week of drawing patterns and seeing a lot of witches pop up in people’s InkTober feeds, I tried my hand at more witchy things. And from there I was really set to make a daily sketch and ink it in.

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen a lot of these drawings already, but if you missed some (or you don’t follow me yet on Instagram), I’ve made a little GIF with all of my patterns and illustrations. (If you don’t know what InkTober is, check inventor mr Jake Parker’s page for all info)

inktober2016_64colors

Apart from the last week, where life handed me some lemons, things went really smooth! I had a harder time uploading all my drawings to Instagram than actually making them. The InkTober challenge also made me love using ink and brush pens a lot more than I did before. A black and white inked drawing has something to it. I’d like to do another drawing challenge soon (because now I know I can finish them 😉 ) and I think it would be awesome to learn more about using ink and ink washes and maybe even add some colour to the drawings.

Did you take part in InkTober (or one of the other challenge that were running at the same time)?

Books, Design & Illustration

Book review: Creatief Handletteren & Meer

A while back I noticed the book Creatief Handletteren & Meer online. As I’m very interested in drawing and lettering, my interest was peeked. I asked the publisher if they would sent me a copy in exchange for an honest review and they did me one better. They sent me a copy to review and two extra copies to give away to my readers. Which is you! So without further ado, let me tell you about Creatief Handletteren & meer (available in English as Creative Lettering and Beyond).

creatiefhandletterenenmeer_01

Upon first opening Creatief Handletteren & meer

Creatief Handletteren & meer exists of four different parts, all written by different authors. Each author has her own lettering speciality to talk about. The first part is about traditional calligraphy, the second about illustrating letters. Next up is a chapter about chalk board letters and last is a chapter about creative lettering techniques. The difference in authors is really noticeable between each chapter, as they all have different materials they use and a different way to illustrate their chapter.

Having this many authors and subjects in a quite short book (144p) means every author only has a small space to talk about her subject. Some information also gets repeated by a couple of the authors, while they leave a lot of other information untouched. This makes this book a short and inspiring introduction to lettering, but don’t expect a lot of in dept information.

creatiefhandletterenenmeer_02creatiefhandletterenenmeer_04

The book is translated from English (originally titled: Creative Lettering and Beyond). One thing that bugged me a bit in the Dutch translation, was the formal way it was translated. It made it difficult to distinguish the individual voices of the authors. I wouldn’t have mind a more loose and less formal translation. Luckily enough the illustrations make up for this. (I also don’t know whether the book is also written this way in the original English.)

Apart from lots of illustrations and pictures the book also has practice pages, where you can (you guessed it) practice your lettering. I really like that they added this. When you’re not yet fully equipped for lettering you don’t have to invest in paper, because the book is printed on high quality paper.

Lettering my own piece

My favourite part in the book was the second chapter, about creative lettering. It had a couple of inspiring techniques for lettering, which I was excited to try.

A Smooth Sea Never Made for A Skilled Driver - illustrated quote

A Smooth Sea Never Made for A Skilled Driver - illustrated quote

I also found some inspiration in the third part of the book, about lettering on chalkboard. I didn’t want to mess around with chalk though, but I created a black & white piece inspired by the look.

img_20160904_151817
Never Judge a Book By Its Movie - hand lettered quote with a chalk on blackboard feeling

Win your own copy of Creatief Handletteren

BBNC was nice enough to sent me not one, but two copies of Creatief Handletteren & meer to give away. I’m giving one copy away on the blog, the other one is up for grabs on my Instagram account. If you want to double your chances, you can of course participate on both platforms. So, what do you need to do to win a copy of Creatief Handletteren & meer? Quite simple, go down to the comment section below and tell me what your favourite quote is. If you have a story about why that quote in particular is a favourite and you want to share it, please do! If you want to an extra chance to win a copy, head to my Instagram profile and participate in the give-away there too. Good luck everyone!

*give-away closed! Winners: Naomi (on the blog) & Winterlelie (on Instagram)*

This give-away is sponsored by BBNC publishers. All opinions stated in this article are my own and are not influenced by the publisher. The give-away is open to all residents of Belgium and the Netherlands. Give-away ends October 1st, 2016. Winner will be contacted by e-mail.

Design & Illustration, Urban Jungle

Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden

Did you know the fair city of Ghent has its own botanical garden? It’s owned by the university and it’s pretty awesome. It’s also not that big, but that doesn’t matter. They have the coolest tropical plants and one day I went outside and went to draw them.

Let's go Outside! Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden

At least, that was the plan. I didn’t actually do much drawing while I was there, because there were other people and I was way too embarrassed. By the time I actually dared drawing it was almost time to go home. I did take a whole bunch of pictures while I was there and I now use these as reference material for when I feel like drawing jungles.

Let's go Outside! Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden Let's go Outside! Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden

It’s pretty amazing to see how many shapes and patterns there are in such a common thing as leaves. Even if you ignored all the special shapes and colours on leaves, you could probably fill a book with all the different patterns the veins make on leaves. That’s why I love collecting plants so much.

Let's go Outside! Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden

Testing my Boc'n'Roll sandwich wrapper at the Ghent botanical garden

While I was at the botanical garden it was the first time I used my Boc’n’Roll sandwich wrap (which was sent to me for review). It did all the things you’d expect from a sandwich wrap (keep your bread fresh and crunchy) perfectly, but with the added bonus you don’t have to throw it away and it takes in less space after you used it (as opposed to a lunchbox). I’ve used it daily since I started working full-time and I can’t believe people are actually still using aluminium foil when there’s an alternative that is so much better for the planet!

Let's go Outside! Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden Let's go Outside! Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden

After taking lots of pictures and drawing on location for a teeny tiny bit I went home, to draw some more. The following days and weeks I kept on drawing leaves in my sketchbook. I’ve still got a couple of jungle ideas I want to draw, but I haven’t found the time. So even though this excursion felt like a fail at the time, it actually gave me an extra inspiration boost! And I feel like my leaf-drawing actually got a bit better.

Let's go Outside! Sketches made at the Ghent botanical garden Let's go Outside! Sketches made at the Ghent botanical garden

I want to go back to the botanical garden, but it’s proven rather difficult. I also want to go sketching (or at least try to go sketching) on other locations. I’m not sure where though.

If you have any tips, please let me know! Also if you have a Boc’n’roll wrap (or something similar) tell me what do you think of it? Has it proven it’s durability?

Let's go Outside! Sketches made at the Ghent botanical garden

Design & Illustration, Personal

Spring Favourites

I always like wrap-ups at the end of the month, especially posts where people show their favourites. I also really like making illustrations, so I decided to combine the two again and present you with my illustrated spring favourites today!

I thought when I wrote my first favourites post back in February this would rapidly develop in a new monthly topic, but we’re three months later and I’m only now posting my second Monthly Favourites posts.

Spring Favourites

  1. Baby geese. My parents put a bunch of goose eggs in an incubator and one hatched! Having a baby goose in the house was super cute! They tend to grow really fast, so at the moment he’s already bigger than a cat and looks like a small dinosaur with a pair of oversized goose-feet. He doesn’t like to be touched, but he really appreciates it when we keep him company.
  2. I already wrote a complete blog post about this book, but let me profess my love for In Progress again. I adore this book and I need to reread it. And then I need to go make some drop cap or quote-inspired illustrations.
  3. I started watching Tokyo Ghoul after hearing about it many times. I love this anime! It’s a pity it’s so short. I’m trying to savour every episode (torturing myself by postponing the second, and last, season), but the first season had an absolutely awesome ending!
  4. I discovered the taste of enchilada’s. So easy to make and they taste amazing. Which reminds me I need to make a batch of enchilada filling to put in the freezer, so I can eat some again next week!
  5. Adventure Time! Come on grab your friends, we’ll go to very distant lands! My love for Adventure Time and it’s randomness is endless.
  6. I bought air plants and now air plants are my favourite plants in the house (sorry bunch of tropical looking plants with awesome leaves I bought a couple of weeks ago, you’ll be my next favourites). They’re so easy to care for and versatile. I need moar!
  7. We finally found the time to paint our kitchen! It was one of the rooms in the house that never got a new coat of paint when we moved in. After living here for five years I got tired of the once-white walls and decided things had to change. The Boyfriend’s father came to wallpaper the room and afterwards we painted the main wall bright yellow. Now we have a sunny kitchen everyday!
  8. I might have found something new to collect in pins. I collected them when I was a kid and now that I got myself two lovely new pins I’d like to start collecting them again. Not all the pins though, only the extremely cute of cool ones. I’m picky like that.

Did you discover any new favourites this spring? Any books, series or food I really need to try?

Books, Design & Illustration, Inspiration

Book review: In Progress by Jessica Hische

I can’t really recall when I first heard about Jesscia Hische, but she kept popping up in the graphic design magazines and blogs I read. When I discovered she published a book called In Progress where she talks about her process and gives you a peek into her sketchbooks, I decided to give myself a little present.

If you don’t know who Jesscia Hische is, or what she does, let me tell you. Hische is a lettering artist, which means she makes typographic illustrations. She makes freakishly clean sketches and her typographic work is absolutely stunning. You might have seen her work already, without realizing, because she’s involved in a lot of projects, from the Penguin Drop Cap series to the design of the typography for Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.

Book review on In Progress by Jessica Hische, a very informative and inspiring read!

First, let me swoon about the design of Jessica Hische’s In Progress a bit. I really love the cover design, but the inside of the book is also very pretty. They used a red and a metallic silver accent colour and kept the lay-out and design quite simple which makes it very easy to read the book and to process all the information without feeling overwhelmed. The silver colour looks like graphite pencil and is used throughout the book, in all Jessica’s sketches in the book. It feels like you’re really looking at pencil sketches.

Book review on In Progress by Jessica Hische, a very informative and inspiring read!

As for the actual writing and information in the book: I loved it. The writing is informative and you feel like Jessica Hische is sitting next to you explaining her process making little quips here and there. In Progress is split into two big parts. In the first part Jessica Hische talks about her favourite analogue and digital tools and gives you a step by step explanation of her work process. In the second part of the book you get to see many different projects she’s worked on in the past.

A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector

The first part of In Progress was definitely the most informative part and I felt like Hische was very honest, not omitting any steps.When I read books on graphic design or illustration I often have the feeling the author is holding back on certain parts, to keep you from really understanding how to make what they’re making. That’s not the case with Hische, she really want you to understand which steps are involved in making digital lettering. Before she takes you through her lettering process, Hische also gives an introduction into typography and letter forms, which makes In Progress also suitable for absolute beginners in hand lettering.

Even though I’m not an absolute beginner and I already know a thing or two about typography and digitizing designs, I feel like a learned a lot by reading about Jessica Hische’s work process.

A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector

In the second part of the book we get to see many different projects Hische worked on. I expected to get an overview of her work with little extra information, but in the second part there’s more information to be found. Every project is explained and sometimes Hische goes into more details about the specific process for a certain piece. The work in the second part of the book is split into five categories: Editorial work, books, advertising, logos and miscellaneous work. I really liked that we got to see both the initial sketches and the final artwork. I find looking at sketches and sketchbooks always very interesting and seeing the sketch and the final pieces side by side gives you an extra learning opportunity.

A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector

I believe In Progress will be one of my best purchases this year and definitely one of my favourite books I read this year. If you’re interested in hand lettering or looking for some very pretty inspiration, you should definitely check out this book!

In Progress by Jessica Hische is for sale on Bol.com or Bookdepository.com for around €20.
(I’m an affiliate with both Bol and Bookdepository. This means when you buy something on these sites after clicking the links above I get a small percentage of the profit they make. This enables me to buy more awesome books to learn from and to review!)

Design & Illustration

Workspace Wednesday – Jungle illustration

One of the assignments we got at my illustration class a couple of weeks ago was to draw illustrated letters. I really liked the idea of putting an illustrated jungle into the letters of the word jungle (still working on that one), but I also really liked the idea of using white space to form the word jungle into the dark dense background of the jungle.

So I made the sketch and started colouring it in. I gave my brand new masking fluid marker a spin on the word “Jungle” (that’s why it’s blue). Sadly the sketchbook I used wasn’t handling the water-colour paint very well and the paint was pooling everywhere and making streaks. In the end I had to get my trusty coloured pencils involved to make things look decent again.

jungle illustration - almost finished illustration

And voila, this is the result of a couple of hours sketching and colouring. As always, I can only think I need to do this more often. What do you think of this jungle illustration?

jungle illustration - finished illustration

Design & Illustration, Personal

February Favourites

I always like wrap-ups at the end of the month, especially posts where people show their favourites. So I thought I’d show you my favourites for February today!

Don’t expect fancy products or amazing new restaurants, nope, not this month. This was a month of being sick way too often and staying indoors a lot, which means I started to appreciate the small things.

February Favourites

I. Flowering orchids – My orchids all started budding in December and now they’re opening their first flowers! I always feel very accomplished when my plants start flowering or growing very well. Seeing them thriving makes me happy.

II. Frannerd – I discovered Frannerd by accident and I absolutely adore this YouTube channel by Chilean illustrator Fran Meneses. She currently lives in London and makes videos about her life as a freelance illustrator. I basically watched every video on her channel the past few days (except the ones that aren’t subtitled and are in Spanish) and I feel like a proper stalker now… Fran’s videos are full of energy and optimism and she makes me want to draw! (and this is the reason I illustrated this post, also, drawing an illustrator is stressful.)

III. Yoga with Adriene (merci, Kelly voor de tip) is another favourite of mine this month. Working out when you’ve been sick or feel poorly isn’t easy, but I’ve discovered I like yoga so much I even feel motivated when my tummy (really, isn’t there a more adult word for this in English? I feel five years old when I type “tummy” or “belly”) hurts. Adriene’s videos are perfect for a beginner like me and she isn’t to much in spiritual mumbo jumbo, which is nice.

IV. Black tea – I was never big on hot drinks. I never drink coffee and I only occasionally drank Jasmine or Apple Cinnamon Tea, but in February I discovered the Black Tea hiding in my cupboard and this has become a bit of an addiction. I’m also very bad at drinking enough water daily and making myself cup after cup of sweetened black tea really helps me get my daily dosage of liquids.

V. Being sick (and cold) a lot makes you appreciate blankets a lot. It also makes you very grateful for sleeping cats that keep you company when you feel like shit. So yes, I always like blankets, but this month they’re my favourites (cats are always my favourites!).

VI. I’ve got myself a new desk! We went to Ikea and I bought a new (high gloss) table top, a drawer unit and a trestle. After swapping the bookshelves in our hallway with those from the workspace and putting them on top or our other bookshelves I had enough space to put the extra desk up. I planned on combining the new table top with the new legs, but once home I decided my old table top would look far prettier with the new legs. Which it does! I’ve got two desks now: one for my computer (which hold my laptop, a second screen and my Wacom drawing tablet) and one for sketching / drawing / sewing. I love having so much table top space! And it’ll be far easier to make sewing projects again, because I don’t have to put away my laptop and screen every time I take out the sewing machine! Whoop!

Did you guys discover any new favourites in February? Or do you know where I can find more inspiring illustrator / drawing / yoga channels on YouTube?

Design & Illustration, Projects

Workspace Wednesday – A little bit of fanart

As part of my 28 in 28 challenge I need to finish 52 different projects this year. The projects I pick can basically be anything, from home decor projects to learning how to video blog. I kicked this challenge off by making a bit of fanart.

Two things you need to know about how I normally make paintings/illustrations: 1) I never finish anything I start , 2) I normally don’t do fanart (although I once started a Marceline piece, but I tossed it a couple of weeks ago, unfinished).

One of the reasons I never make fanart is because I don’t consider myself much a fan of anything. That was until I reread the Harry Potter books again and again. And rewatched the movies, bought the illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, bought a Hogwarts patch, bought Harry Potter Film Wizardry and most recently, bought tickets to the Harry Potter Expo this summer (yaaay!). Fangirling much?

Snape fanart by Plutomeisje

After the death of Alan Rickman it seemed fitting to try my hand at creating a Professor Snape piece. I made a lot of sketches trying to get the resemblance right, but in the end I gave up and just started the piece.

Snape fanart by Plutomeisje

My main goal with this illustration was to practice my drawing skills and colouring skills, but mostly to just finish something. I’ve always had a hard time finishing pieces, because I never like them enough or they didn’t came out as I’d imagined. The thing is that my artwork/drawing style never will be able to live up to my expectations if I don’t practice and finish things up.

Snape fanart by PlutomeisjeSnape fanart by Plutomeisje

I made a big mess on our dining table when I started the illustration. ♥ I used water colours for this piece, which is probably the material I’m most familiar with. I really like using water colours, they’re easy and forgiving.

Snape fanart by PlutomeisjeSnape fanart by PlutomeisjeSnape fanart by Plutomeisje

After a lot of nitpicking and hours of staring at the piece, second guessing all my almost decisions, I finally finished it! And although there are a couple a lot of parts I don’t like, I’m so happy I did it! Completing this illustration has thought me so much and there’s nothing like the satisfaction of finishing something you’ve started.

Snape fanart by Plutomeisje

Materials: Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours, Winsor & Newton Cotman and Schleiper water colour brushes, Posca Uni white marker, Sennelier Indian Ink, Fabriano Accademia 240g/m² paper