Illustration Friday - soar

This weeks subject is also my goal for the coming year: I hope to soar as much as possible, me and my glider. Good thermals and happy landings, as us paragliders eachother always wish.


Illustration Friday - Horizon

The higher you climb, the wider your horizon.
Everybody all the best for the years to come.

Almost a white christmas

A couple of days ago we had a little snowfall. It wasn't much, but enough to give you 'the white christmas spirit'. Furthermore we could skate on some canals, together with the whole family and some additional hot chocos with rum (always helpfull to get into a good skate-flow). It was a perfect day: blue air, ice and snow, no wind. It lasted only for one day, so now we are facing a green christmas. But at least we got the pictures...
The little fellow above had more luck with the snow. It was one of four commissioned illustrations I made last week for a Dutch weekly newspaper. It will be published this coming saturday. Ink and watercolor on 300 grs Canson.


Illustration Friday - Backwards

At the start of the skiingseason my technique is always a bit rusty. It takes a couple of days before I take the descend as a "pro" (although my wife and friends always think otherwise). The first days in the snow I always have to take care not to end up skiing backwards. Or hit a pole, or getting launched without warning or make an inconvenient dive into a snowwall.


Illustration Friday - Little Things

Just a girl writing little things in a letter to a friend...


Simca Aronde

It's rather a busy week, so I don't have much time to upload stuff. This drawing is from my Classic Cars series that I've set up a couple of weeks ago. It's the pickup version of the Simca Aronde. I don't know the exact productiondata of this version, but it must have been at the end of the fifties.
Pen and Ink in black and white on 300 grs Watercolour paper.


Illustration Friday - the Zoo

About this week's topic, the Zoo, I can only say that I always feel a bit sorry for those animals. Wildlife should be living in the wild, not behind bars. But let's not start a discussion, just enjoy the illustration.


Renault 4 delivery van

After Citroën introduced the 2CV AZU, Renault responded with a delivery van based on their Renault 4.

Adding some colour

Just for the fun I added some colour to the pencildrawing of yesterdays post. I was curious to see what happens. I think it's not an improvement, to be honest.


Folding your chute

Yesterday I folded my emergency parachute, which by the way I never hope to use during paragliding. There's always one stage when folding the chute I tend to forget. So last year I made this little sketch and, believe it or not, I didn't had to look at the sketch to know what I had to do! I simply memorized it.

Drawing exercise

This month's drawing exercise was to draw a paprika in black and white, with a 2B pencil. Only the outside of the paprika would be too simple, so it had to be cut in two pieces. Luckily enough only one piece had to be drawn, which proved to be difficult enough I must admit. The light and colours had to be captured in halftones. Something I always find challenging.


Illustration Friday - Superstition

I'm not superstitious. Never been. Researching for this weeks topic on Illustration Friday, I came across various items about superstition. The usual things as: hotelroom 13, never place a hat on the table, never place your keys on the table, etc.
I remembered a paraglidingtrip I made with some friends about three years ago. We went to France where I slept in room 13 and where I placed every night my flyinghelmet and carkeys on the table. Guess what: nothing happened! In fact I made some incredible flights. As did my friends.


Illustration Friday - Scale

When you're making an architectural drawing, you'll always have to be keen on the scale of things. For example the cartboard construction kit I had to draw for a publisher some years ago. The publisher was moving to a big, modern office building out of town and therefor leave the old buildings in the towncentre. For good times sake they wanted to give their employees, clients and other relations something to keep the memory to the lovely old buildings alive.
When I sketched the buildings I noticed pretty soon that they didn't fit in size to make the construction work. I had to downscale to far left building and upscale the two center buildings. This was what came up in my mind when I noticed this week's topic of Illustration Friday (or maybe I'm this week a bit too lazy to come up with a new drawing ;-)

Back to the fifties

About fifty years ago my father bought his first car: a Citroen 2 CV AZU.


Illustration Friday - Hats

This week's topic caused me some problems. I found the subject 'Hats' rather common. Thinking of that the associations House of Commons, House of Lords and 'Hats' of State came up. But the last one is in my opinion not even close to a joke. Then I thought of the hats clowns wear (Popov, Pierrot) and suddenly I realised that the comedians that I admire most wear the same hats! Ballpoint and watercolor helped me to visualize this amazing discovery.


No short stay

Last night I was drawing when suddenly the telephone rang, which sometimes occurs. Friends of ours were back in the country, returned from a short holidaybreak abroad. After several months of hard work and low income (they started their own business), it was time for them to get away from it all. Not too long and not too expensive, off course.
We told them about a nice, cheap little hotel we stayed in last Spring: Hotel Croixville. It was not quite in the region where they had planned their holiday, which was far more south, but they could use an adress to sleepover on their way back home.
After a long detour, which was actually much longer than planned, they finally arrived at 10 PM to find out that Hotel Croixville was: ...closed. According to a sign which was placed behind one of the windows, the hotel is now for sale. Strangely enough madame Michelle, nor her son Christian, didn't mention last Spring that they had plans to close the hotel. In fact Christian had plans to renovate a large part of the rooms, fixing the roof and expanding the campingsite.
I wonder what happened there that made them close the hotel.


Illustration Friday - Trick or Treat

Last night I screwed up a drawing, which was almost ready. To end the night in a positive way I drew something for this weeks topic of Illustration Friday. When I ended it I noticed that the girl looks very, very much like our daughter. Sometimes things just have to happen, I guess and for sure it was a positive ending of an evening full of stress and frustration.


Quick sketch

Just a quick sketch at the end of a very busy week at home and at work. Hardly no time to make any drawings.


Illustration Friday - Grow

This year we have had our first harvest of apples and pears. We planted the trees two years ago in the garden of our new house. Last season we didn't see any fruit on the trees and we were a bit disappointed, but this year everything turned out fine. It was a lesson: something it takes time to grow...
I made this black and white illustration last year for a grammatical teaching method. Pen and ink on 250 grams watercolourpaper.


Inside our hotelroom

Our hotelroom in Hotel Croixville was quite small. The double-sized bed and the closet made it very difficult to move around. The room was even that small, that it was impossible for me to draw the sketch in the room itself. I made this sketch by memory, sitting in the foyer of the hotel.
At least the room was clean and the matrass was surprisingly good. Most hotels offer beds in which you can't sleep the first night, or all the nights of your stay, but this bed was actually very comfortable. We slept very well during our stay in Hotel Croixville. Except for one night.
We woke up in the middle of the third night of our stay. We couldn't tell why. Everything was dark and quite and just when we were snoozing away we heard a loud cry. It was difficult to say where it came from. Came it from another hotelroom? From outside? The mountains surrounding the hotel? For three or four times we heard someone screaming. We couldn't tell it was a man or woman. Suddenly everything was quite again, but we couldn't catch our sleep again that night.
The next morning we asked madame Michelle if she heard something that night, but she pretended (?) she couldn't understand our question. Later that day I spoke about the incident with Christian, but he also seemed not to understand our question. Too bad I didn't had the opportunity to speak to other hotelguests that day. Maybe they could give us some answers. For now it stayed an unsolved mystery.


Illustration Friday - Extremes

This was a sketch I made for a website. You can order mugs on that website. All sorts of mugs. I thought it was a good idea to use a long, thin mug and a shorter, thicker one to visualize the variety of mugs that can be bought. I didn't want them to look like Laurel and Hardy, it just happened. Anyway, this idea didn't make it. Maybe to "extreme''?


Ship full of questions

I am still struggling with the sketch of Cornelius Playfull's ship. Somehow I have the feeling that it's not very clear in this stadium on what scale I'm working. I mean: the scale of the ship versus the children. I am not even sure if I'll draw three or five children. I'm always told that 'three is a crowd', but on this ship I get the feeling that five kids makes more 'crowd' than three. But keeping that in mind I don't know yet where I can place five children logically. And what about a shark? Or a treasure? Or an island in the background? Questions, questions, questions.


Drawing exercise

"Once upon a time ago" I tried to make a living by drawing. But things went a little different as planned and I had to change course. For years I didn't draw at all, but recently I took up the old pencils and digged up the old sketchbooks. I also bought a teaching book "Capturing Texture by Michael Warr" which I can recommend to anyone who loves drawing and painting.
I wanted to use the book to pick up my old drawing pace, but luckely enough I must say that there's so much coming to me that I hardly find time to work out every idea that's coming up. Of course the internet is nowadays a big source of ideas and drawing techniques. But I must say that an old-fashioned book can be inspiring as well. Not to ignore the fact that pictures look better in print than on the screen of your computer.
The exercise above was about drawing a piece of white paper on a white background with only an HB pencil to be used.


Old sketchbook

Sometimes you need a new sketchbook. The third one this year, already. As I was looking what I've made so far, I came across a sketch I made several months ago. I made this whole scene up. I was curious if I could place some things of personal interests in one drawing. The Citroen DS, a cyclist, a paraglider, all in a typical French countryside setting. Maybe the Alps or Provence, I don't know. I think that the atmosphere of the whole drawing is in this case of more importance than if it's actually an existing location.
Maybe I find in the near future time to work this theme out. I think it has potential. (But without the weed on the second floor of the building)


Christian Michelle

As I told before Madame Michelle runs Hotel Croixville together with her son Christian. I am not exactly sure about his age, but my guess is that he must be at least 55 years of age. It is hard to get any information out of Christian, because he speaks only French and knows only a few German words. The only Dutch word he knows, by the way, is: "geitenkaas".
As far as I concluded out of a brief encounter I had with him in the lobby, Christian was never married. He had once a fiancee, but his mother was not very fond about his choice of heart. She did everything in her power to make the girl realize that there were far more better husbands-to-be than her one and only son Christian. After the death of Christian's father, monsieur Alphonse Michelle, he and his mother had to run the hotel together and Christian never had taken the opportunity to have a go at other girls.
If I understood him correctly there was about twenty years ago a German family staying in the hotel with their daughter. She was celebrating her 30th birthday in the hotel and Christian's eyes lightened up as he told me what happened afterwards that birthdayparty. I couldn't follow it completely, but it had to do something with the showers on the camping. I think.


Work in progress

Yesterdaynight I worked on the sketch of Cornelius Playfulls ship. I added C. himself, but still do not know where to put his friends. On deck, behind the wheel, swimming? There are to many options, I'm afraid. Making an illustration is not just drawing, painting or anything else, but mostly taking decisions what to do or not. Sometimes I find that the most difficult part of an illustration.

Illustration Friday - the Blues

Mondaymorning at the office
That's the real blues
Only several mugs of coffee
Can fade that feeling away.


Sketching a ship, part 2

Last night I made the background for the illustration of Cornelius Playfull's ship. About twenty years ago I was working as an assistant for a graphic designer. One of the jobs we did was a tutorial for schoolchildren about cycling to and from school. The brochure we were making had several illustrations planned. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to make them (at that time perhaps better regarding my drawingskills then!). The chosen illustrations were extracts of an animated film. I remember the first time I saw the originals in the studio, where I had to pick up the originals, that I was quite surprised about the backgrounds. Big strokes of mixed watercolors which proved to be very effective in terms of making the right amosphere for the actual drawings on flipover sheets.
When I worked on the sketch of Cornelius' ship I instantly thought of that kind of background for the illustration. I hope the final result will be as good as I picturized it in my mind...


A room with a view

As we entered our hotelroom we were quite surprised about the state it was in. Okay, it was clean, but the furniture was much, much older as we expected. Not to mention the bathroom.
First thing we did was opening the window with the intention to have a beautiful look at the lake. Now that was a bit of a disappointment. The window was next to the hotelsign, so we had to look around the hotelsign to see the biggest part of the lake. I am not to small myself, so when I stretched myself I could see almost the whole lake. My wife, however, is much smaller so she don't have that advantage. But we did have a lovely view at the south part of the lake. With a ough mountainside. At least a better view than we have at home, but if we only had a small window in the right wall of the hotelroom, things would be much better.

After a small talk about the pros and cons we climbed down the small staircase to arrange another room, but unfortunately all other rooms were not available due to bookings and/or renovation. If I understood madame Michelle well. As I mentioned before my French was still a bit rusty at that time, but we would have plenty of time to improve that...


Sketching a ship

Yesterdaynight I had plans to do a drawing excercise, but somehow my pencil had a life of its own. After a while this sketch came out.
I've read a book about tallships lately. The real stuff: big sails on big ships from times longpast when men were made of steel and ships were made of wood. Somehow that subject must have been stuck into my mind. I kind of like the idea that its an imaginery ship for Cornelius Playfull and some of his friends. That's why I also made some sketches of how his friends would look like. I think I'll choose for three boys and one girl. When I was young we also had such a group to shaken up our neighbourhood.
I'll keep you informed about the progress I make with this illustration, because there's a lot of things I want to add to it. More to come, so to say!


Memory lane, part one

I thought it would be nice to add some color to my blog. Recently I had to make some drawings for a publisher (not the one I'm working for as traffic manager). One of the drawings had to be about our daily bread. Sadly enough the drawings had to be in black and white. Normally I don't find that to much of a problem, but when it comes to bread -or any food in general- color makes it a bit more tasty.
Furthermore, my parents had a bakery back in the old days (they're retired now) and so I have a special thing with bread. So, as a hommage to my parents here's a colorsketch of the drawing I made for my recent commission. Bon appetit!


Our hotelroom

After checking in we went up to our room. Madame Michelle apologized for not being able to carry our suitcases. Which we fully understood. After all, as I said before, Madame Michelle was quite old and not much bigger then our suitcases. We found out later that she was running the hotel together with her son Christian, but he was not available at that time. She told us that he was delivering some goods, or something like that (my Franch is a bit rusty lately), but we think he was coming in terms with his hangover. A few hours after we installed ourselves in the hotelroom we saw him sitting in the reception, rather sleepy and with quite an odeur, if you know what I mean.
Our hotelroom was located on the first floor which we had to enter by using a very small staircase. There was no elevator. Frankly there wasn't much space for, either. The staircase had a very old and wornout carpet which must be pre-war. World War One to be precise. Stumbling up the stairs with our suitcases in a constant battle with ourselves for space we were glad not to have booked a room on the upper floor. Which we usely do to have a nice view. But because Hotel Croixville was beautifully located on a cliff on the shores of a very blue lake, any room would fit to get the so much appreciated view. We thought before we entered our room...


Up to the waterfront

Cornelius is trying to pick up the pieces after his deception with flying inventions. He thought it might be a good idea to stay a little closer to mother earth by inventing a boat. Maybe his good friend Tommy can give him some good advice. After all, Cornelius has Tommy's tennis racket already in his possession.


Madame Michelle

When we entered the reception of Hotel Croixville we were a little bit surprised by the size of it. I mean, as inhabitants of a small country we are used to have not to much amount of space, but as we were in France we didn't expect such a tiny, little reception. There were two armchairs (very old and worn, by the way), one table with four dining chairs (even more worn then the armchairs), several paintings with somewhat obscure sceneries and in the back of the room was the reception counter. As we were coming from the sunny outside into the dark inside we didn't notice at first that there was a person behind that counter until we heard a loud, crumpy voice saying: "Bonjour monsieur et madame! Vous avez une bonne voyage?" At second look we noticed a tiny lady. We then assumed she was sitting behind the counter, but later we found out that she must have been standing because she was about as long as our eldest son.
That was how we met madame Michelle. Owner of Hotel Croixville in France.


Something missing

Well, it looks like Cornelius finally came up with something that's airborne, but I think there's something missing. Wings, maybe?


Short stay

We were in France for a short stay. After two days on a really busy camping, we left and went looking for a small and quite camping. My wife directed us up in the hills, to the borders of a small lake where there would be a small camping. And finally, there was indeed a little, tiny, quite campingspot...
The place belonged to a very old hotel, which was apparently balancing on a cliff. According to the hotelmanager, madame Michelle (age: 250+), there was absolutely nothing to worry about. The hotel has been there since her parents founded it and it was supposed to last there for at least another hundred years. So the civil engineers had assured her after a landslide a few years before World War II had formed the cliff.
Although she was very firm in her statement we didn't mind to sit in our tent on rainy days, instead of booking one of the available rooms. Strangely enough the hotel didn't have any crack or other signs of disasters to come. It only needed an update in the bathrooms (authentic French, if you know what I mean!), new plaster on the ceilings and some fresh paint on the outside (as most buildings in France, if you know what I mean!)
Anyway, after a few days we left and we now even sort of miss madame Michelle and her 65+ son Christian.


Cornelius Playfull and his amazing engineering

Cornelius managed to fix this thing over the weekend. It is suppossed to fly in a couple of days. We'll see what happens.


The salesman

We were in a little town in France, awhile ago. There we saw our favourite car: the Citroën DS Break. We hope to have one, someday...

Anyway, I made a quick sketch. The car reminded me of the old days. When I was young there came twice a month a salesman at my parents bakery and he drove such a car. It made quite an everlasting impression to me. Due to the good suspensionsystem of the DS you might expect that the salesman sold eggs or something else that need to be carefully transported. But nothing whatsoever: big bags with flour and big boxes with all kinds of bakerystuff! The eggs bytheway were brought in a big truck, with two very strange guys, but that is a completely different story.

As you might expect, or not, I am not in possession of a photograph of the salesman in the Citroën DS Break, so I had to sketch him by memory. Forgive me the dislikeness (Disclaimer for the family of the salesman). I also made up a fantasy-setting regarding the background. Note for example that I now let the salesmen transport eggs in his car: 'oeuf' is French for 'egg'. Also you can see in the background another Citroën. It's a 2CV, a car which is also rarely seen nowadays. Maybe I'll sketch one of those in the near future.


Tour de France 2007

I spotted this guy in the background at this year's Tour de France.