Drawing At The Zoo

A few weeks back, a group of friends invited me to go draw at the zoo! I had only once before drawn from live animals in the zoo, so I was very excited to try again.

It was a very warm Sunday, perfect for a visit; though we weren’t the only ones thinking about that! Despite all the screaming kids and crowds, I still feel happy with the drawings I was able to make.

Meet The Artist Exhibition Opening

Newsletter readers know that I hadn’t participated in an exhibition since art school. I also never helped organize one myself. When Feroz asked me to help after Draw Club Rotterdam was asked if they weren’t interested in exhibiting at Nivon, I naturally said yes, though!

Five other Draw Club regulars wanted to participate, so we were six in total. During the first brainstorm it already became clear I had a lot of assumptions about how an exhibition should be organised that the other participants didn’t have. I wanted to go for a common factor in our work and theme the exhibition around that, but others didn’t find that neccesary. I had also liked a title for the exhibition that was a little more imaginative or suggestive, but democratic vote decided otherwise.

In the end I don’t think it was a bad thing that I had an opinion about everything and kept suggesting how things could be improved – I kept my feedback reasonable as far as I know! I am an perfectionist and if you ask me to organise something, I will set the bar high. Also, I had professional interests to upkeep: its marketing assets would appear in my social feed too, the same feed where I also tried to attract clients and sell myself as a creative professional. I did not want that a hobbyist look would reflect badly on me.

All in all it was a succes, all works found a place on time, we had snacks and NIVON provided someone to man the bar. We got about 25 visitors, all friends and family, but again, I didn’t expect much more and for a first time and that’s totally ok too!

Thinking about exhibiting? Here are some tips:

  • Start planning as early as possible! Professional exhibitions are planned a year or more in advance (also because artists need time to create work for it). If you have already found a space and don’t plan to create new art, a few months should be fine, still: don’t underestimate the time it takes to create good marketing material, expecially working with many people. Also, if you’re looking to get featured in local magazines and newspapers, keep in mind their copy deadlines; they could be months in advance before the issue releases.

  • Take the time to gather information about the space itself such as facilities and insurance; think of lights and windows, fire exits, but also who is responsible for damage and who can you call in case of an emergency? Because we were with a group I made pictures and drew maps of the spaces our work would hang, I doubt anyone made use of them, but it did help to get an idea of how much space anyone had.
  • Set deadlines for participants to get their info done! I took responsibility for printing all the info and pricing labels, and I still had change my planning and print the labels later than I wanted to because people weren’t done with adding their info. So make sure you have some wiggle room!

Our exhibiton is open until June 30th, so feel free to hop by on a Friday night when we’re open!

Frog Prince Game Devlog #1

Back in December, Manouk reached out to me if I was interested in starting a collaborative project. She wanted to inprove her writing portfolio and thought by teaming up with me, she could show she able to write more than plain fiction. We knew each other from our studies at the WdKA but we had never worked together before. After meeting over a coffee, we decided to create a small narrative game!

Creating a game together would be a good opportuntiy to test both my coding and art direction skills, as I always enjoy designing everything during game jams – characters, environment, UI, everything visual. I knew that this would be quite a challenge I would both be responsible for the code and all art on this project. Up to now, I had only finished small coding exercises from Unity Learn, no complete game yet from start to finish. The only way to figure out if I would be up the task, though, is to try! And hopefully by chronicling my learning experiences on this blog, I can later look back and enjoy the journey. Even if we pull the plug halfway.

To keep things easy, we decided to let our game take place in one single interior: that would minimise the amount of environment art needed. We settled on a train compartment, a space we were both familiar with and offered plenty of storytelling opportunities.

With that decided, Manouk wrote a short introduction about a frog prince on his way to his crowning. Due some malfunctions in the last compartment of the train, normal citizens were allowed in the royal coupe. The train then stops for unknown reasons, and the prince has to persuade the people to help him open the door to the conductor, to find out why the train has stopped.

This was enough for me to start brainstorming how the compartment of the frog prince might look like. If frogs govern this world, they would use frog-friendly materials, wouldn’t they? And there would probably be a lot of water around!

I also looked at other text-heavy games, seeing how they handled many words on-screen. I rediscovered Disco Elysium, a game I had heard about before but never knew exactly what it was about: now I really want to play it! I think this game is going to be a big inspiration in its layout of an isometric world combined with a large UI for dialogue!

I think the biggest challenge is going to be to prioritize, as I will have to divide my time between coding and art all the time. We’ll see how that goes!

Figure Drawing March

I tried drawing digitally on my Ipad this time, inspired by my friend Frank. Unlike I thought initially, it isn’t really faster than drawing on paper: if you’ve got 5 minutes to draw a pose, a lot of seconds are lost by switching between tools. With longer poses, I try to be mindful of not adding too much detail to the drawing, they’re usually better with less.

Figure Drawing January

A new year, new figure drawings! I continued experimenting with oil pastel like I did in November, but I needed some time to get back into it. That’s why most drawings are in the same line as last year.

I feel the most interesting drawings of this session where the ones where I used the strokes of the oil pastel to suggest form. I think I could go much further in layering different colours, but the model is only standing still for five or ten minutes. Maybe I need a model that doesn’t move at all to try that?

35 things that made my year

Inspired by Austin Kleon‘s 100 things that made my year list, I wanted to do something similar. I couldn’t get to 100, though, so that’s gonna be a goal for next year. For now, enjoy my 35 highlights of 2022:

  1. Seeing Red Hot Chili Peppers perform live! It wasn’t the best concert I’ve been to (and I haven’t been to many), but I had a great time nevertheless.

  1. Everything around the release of the graphic novel METRO 010: meeting the other illustrators at the release party, seeing the book in bookstores, realizing I’m an published illustrator now!

  1. Being able to give a guest lecture at Mediacollege Amsterdam!

  1. Participating in the Power In Numbers exhibition by Gallery Nucleus again! My piece is still up for sale, and so is last year’s!

  1. Visiting Copenhagen with my boyfriend!

  1. Working on my first card game this year, Mandala Mind! It will hopefully be released beginning of next year.

  1. Going to Gamescom and visiting Cologne!

  1. Enjoying the warm weather in my own garden this summer 🙂

  1. Learning to identify wild plants!

  1. My first home-grown beans!

  1. Upgrading from my 10-year-old Wacom Intuos to an Huion Kamvas 24 Pro!

  1. Attending semi-regular figure drawing classes again!

  1. Starting a monthly newsletter and being able to stick with it!

  1. Participating in #pleinairpril and winning a 1-year subscription to Clip Studio Paint!

  1. Discovering the work of Esther Morales – I love the way she uses lines in her drawings, mesmerizing!

  1. Participating in 3 game jams this year: the Global Game Jam, Ludum Dare 50 and Ludum Dare 51!

  1. Setting up a new bookkeeping system that works way better than the old one! It’s still Excel, but with more formulas, haha!

  1. Attending a couple conventions (The Big Draw & Tomofair) and realising I don’t feel ready for more.

  1. Alternatively, I was able to sell more print-on-demand products via Etsy this year, which I’m very happy about!

  1. I also sold my very first original drawing in January!

The cactus only flowered for one day!
  1. And of course reading through reviews of happy customers!

  1. The many events I attended this year, Playgrounds, Fantasy Fest, even the tiny Fantasticon.

  1. Meeting Eva Toorenent in Arnhem!

  1. Our cactus flowered for the first time! (and it got cactus fruit too!)

  1. Teaching animation and game design workshops to high school students! It is not always easy but the people I do this with are amazing and it is really rewarding to seeing things ‘click’ with those kids.

  1. Visiting the city archive to look up construction drawings of our house. Going through those old documents was pretty cool!
  1. Working on a very cool game project that has been shelved unfortunately! I hope we will continue working on it someday!

  1. BNO Start studio visits! Through this program by the Dutch Designers Association, I visited the studio of Hansje van Halem, CLEVER°FRANKE and Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken. Inspiring, even though they do very different things than me!

  1. Visiting Irene Goede at her atelier ‘t Koewegje during their open atelier day!

  1. Accidentely seeing the film Moonage Daydream (long story short: I came for another viewing that was cancelled and the lady behind the counter took pity on us and gave us tickets to this film)

  1. Visiting the Gustav Klimt exhibition with my sister!

  1. Drawing with friends at the Rotterdam Natural History Museum!
I also got U2’s Rattle and Hum for 50 cents at another shop!

  1. Analysing my social media and figuring out what each platform has actually brought me! Something I can recommend every artist and creative business in general, because where you spend most time and/or effort might not be the platform that actually does something for you.

  1. Collecting CDs from trift shops!

  1. And last but not least: blogging more! I still have a lot unfinished drafts laying around that I might never finish, but writing a bit every now and then is something I really enjoy and I’m happy that I was able to do so this year!