Amy Marsh


My previous intern, Amy Marsh has just opened her own Etsy shop with the cutest makings!
Brooches, dolls, booklets, all from Amy's talented hand, you can find it all here.

Free friday


This is truely a free friday for me...
The last lessons of the illustrations courses are teached (the illustrations above are made by two of my students and are details of a little harmonica booklet), the garden is 'winter ready' and I'm up to a well deserved (as I say so myself) holiday.
After Christmas we'll be off to Spain... see you in the next year!

Happy christmas to every one and a very good 2013!

Winterfeest fun


Even though it was grey and wet outside, the Winterfeest was a cosy and fun succes. Lot's of mini-christmas pieces were made, great food and drinks and all together a nice christmassy feel!
A few pictures (I forgot my camera so these bit blurry ones were taken with my phone)...
For more (and better) pictures of some nice finds, see here.

Free friday - question

1 comment

Today the last free friday question of the year!
If you have questions for 2013 about, blogging, being or becoming an illustrator, selling your products or having an Etsy shop, send me an email!

This question is from clix bee design:

Do you have the problem of having loads of ideas sometimes in different fields and not knowing where to start first, how do you select and get organized to get successful goals?

Oh yes, this is a classic! Having to many ideas and not enough time, a tricky fella...
a list of tips to get you organized:

1. write your ideas down, when they're on paper, they're no in your head.
2. keep a good journal or planner in which you write down all your appointments,
    projects and commissions. This way you know how much time you have left
    and what you can or can't do in a day.
    A easy way to do this is to print a sheet with 'planner: week/month' and hang it
    above your desk. You can fill in the projects and things to do on your wall planner.
3. learn to say 'no' to things that are not inspiring or helpful and by doing so, create
    time for the projects you love doing.
4. deal with one big project at the time. Trying to juggle all at once will only make
    you feel frustrated and inefficient.
5. make a collage above your desk with the things you love most, this will keep
    you focussed.

Let's say you have 5 ideas you'd love to pursue, which one do you start with?
Well, the simple answer to this question is: whatever you like most!
But sometimes you like more than one 'most' at once. In this case, try the project that looks like the easiest one that will take you not too much time to finish. During a short project you can learn just as much a during long projects and when beginning small, it's more likely you'll finish it with succes. This will motivate you to eventually start with a bigger project.

If you have a idea in mind that you need more knowledge for on a certain subject (let's say you want to make your own printed china), start with collecting information. Are there people around you who might know more about your subject, maybe someone on the internet? When I started my china I asked Camilla Engman where she had hers printed, that got me on straight on track.

If you have a clear endgoal in mind (for example: selling your china online), make a list of the steps you need to follow. In the printed china example your list could be like this:

1. gather information
2. find pretty china to print on
3. make
4. promotional material: business card, postcards, wrapping paper for orders, a logo, etc.
5. make good photos
6. open a webshop (on Etsy or somewhere else)
7. get the word out there: blog, tweet, write to magazines, or...

It helps to add a time schedule to these steps but be reasonable. Don't set it to tight, this will only make you fail to keep on track and that's very demotivating! Don't let it take too long either, or you'll have lot's of new plans in the meantime and want to move forward to that without finishing the current one.

The time schedule for the list above could be like:
1. week 1
2. week 2
3. week 3-4
4. week 5
5. week 6
6. week 7
7. week 8

This means you have reached your goal in 1.5 months.

Keep in mind you are a person (and not a robot) and you can only do a certain amount of projects at once. You have written you ideas down and they'll wait there till you're ready for the next one, no stress!

Have a good (and organized) weekend!

ps. I have to admit that although I am a very organized person, I too sometimes am overloaded with ideas and projects and get a bit lost one the way. But it's an ongoing learning proces... ;-)

Christmas workshops


With the upcoming Winterfest in mind I thought it would be handy to tell you a bit more about the workshop I'm giving there.

It'll be two workshops at 14.00 and 17.00 o'clock. The costs will be 5,- euro which will be donated to a charity.
So what will you make? A cute tiny christmas piece in a teacup with a christmassy animal a mini candle and moss. There's no subscription list so make sure you're there in time (preferably with 5,- in cash)!

Location: Hooghiemstraplein 15, Utrecht
Date: 16 december 2012

Christmas proof

1 comment

I don't know about you but with me december is a very busy month! After Sinterklaas (dutch sort of christmas) and all the shop orders, I'm now preparing for Christmas.

My favorite moment of the year is, with boyfriend, buying and decorating the christmas tree.
I gave M the control over putting a few decorations and bows in the tree. Decorations (specially the little angel on top) went fine but after a while I sensed some desperation on his side and looked over at the bows he had made so far... Let me tell you one thing about men and bows: A Bad Combination! (That only leads to frustration on man's side).

Taking care of the christmas tunes was however totally his thing and with Wham classics on the radio and the amaryllis blooming, we finished a cosy little christmas tree.
The happy season may begin!


A while a go I contributed to a nice new project, the Design Your Own papercraft kit.
What this is? A pack full of pretty and fair trade paper from around the world. It also includes design projects (on the website) for: paper jewelry, a paper lampshade, giftboxes, and more.
You can buy the papercraft kit in one of the Wereldwinkels (fair trade shops) in the Netherlands.
For more info, see the website.

Free friday - Question


Some of you have asked me more than one, so here a second question from Rebechan:
By the way, you can all still mail your questions to me, this is ongoing! (Mention 'free friday question' in your mail subject.)

How much did it take you to find "your style"? I graduated from university in illustration last year and, differently from some of my classemates, still struggle to find that one style that I can call mine (and find this really depressing usually).

You're not the only one struggling with this, I get this question a lot!
Unfortunately a personal style can take a while, so let me tell you a bit about my own process...

Before becomming an illustrator I studied fashion design at the art school in Arnhem(and worked in that field for a few years). During this study I already noticed my love for illustrating when making fashion illustration for my collections. After graduating I started working for a company where I designed prints and labels for kids clothing, again I noticed I liked that more that the actual clothes design. I was designing only on the computer though and missed the actual material-touch. When I started suffering from RSI syndrome, I decided no more computer for me and went looking for other options...

This in when I started my Illustration study in Utrecht at art school. During this study I tried so many different things, explored materials and looked at other people's work. This was all very inspiring and I learned a lot but in the last year, it made me feel confused. Teachers have opinions about your work, your fellow students too, everyone had a certain taste and advise, it made me drift away from my own inner judgement.

In 2007, after 3 years, I decided I had learned enough and dropped out (yes, you read that correctly). I wanted to try on my own and started my business as a freelance illustrator.
At this point I hadn't found my style yet! I worked on as many commisions as I could and made my own work on the side. Because I did so many different assignments, I tried a lot of different styles. By doing so I came closer to what did feel like me, just by noticing what didn't.

So now we're at the point where I wanted to go: Do as many things as you can, try as much different styles and materials and exclude what didn't feel like you. It's very important to also do personal projects and make your own work, this allows you to find your favorite subjects and material as well.
There are a few lucky people who find their style instantly but for most of us it takes a while (and this is OK!)

Please don't frustrate yourself over this, see it as an opportunity to explore and have fun before pinning yourself to one style. I learned a lot by doing this and on the way met lots of people and business contacts that are still helpful today.

An advise I got from a teacher (that sounded a  bit strange to me at the time): Don't be afraid of trying what others do. Do you see a style you'd love to master? Figure out how it's done and try it yourself. I'd like to add here that I do not propagate copying and stealing other people's work but try just for you own experiment, to explore. You might learn some new tricks and things you would otherwise never had thought of.

During this whole proces it's very important to stay close to your personal favorites. Who are you, what do you like and what feels good and what didn't? By keeping a close eye on this, eventually you will get closer to who you are as an illustrator (or designer, or...). Think of what makes you you. How are you different from others, is there a certain passion that's typically you? (I for example have a tendency to lean towards the 'feel good' and 'little smiles' in life and therefore in my illustrations).

I know this sounds more easy than it is. With all these amazing talents all over the internet it's hard to stick to your own core. I remember myself visiting other websites and thinking 'oh my god, I wish I had made that, this is so much better than my work'. But you should not forget one important thing:
You see your work every day, you're used to it. To others it might me new and they might think the same 'Oh my god, I wish...'. So do not lose yourself in comparing, try to see beautiful work as an opportunity to learn and to be inspired.

Finding one's own style can be hard work but it's rewarding! And keep in mind that the proces is just as important as the end goal. Most people tend to forget this. Without a proces you can't have an end product so have fun on the way, after all it's your adventure!

Hope this was helpful!



On dec 5th we dutch celebrate Sinterklaas, a holiday simular to Christmas (Sinterklaas = Santa claus). Imke, from the blog lovejohnny, came up with the idea of 'creasint', an exchange project of handmade Sinterklaas presents. How exciting, I joined instantly!
Yesterday I received my present and was pleasantly surprised by a pretty handmade apron for my garden tools. Thanks Ama, for you lovely creasint-gift and to Imke for the great initiative!

Winterfeest - Hooi en Stro


We at Urlaub are organising, together with Uitgeverij Snor, the most festive design christmas market of the season! This inspiring event will take place on dec 16th in Utrecht. For more information see here or here at the 101 Woonideeen-blog! Would be great to see you there!
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