Happy Newyear


The Road Ahead

Knowing what to expect behind the horizon is many people's wish. Only few people can predict what will cross our paths. Mostly they make a guess to keep the customer satisfied. Maybe it's best to follow your own path heading towards the year to come.
With this thought in mind I made this sketch. May your trip be safe!



Good knowledge how to read maps and compass is essential to fully explore new territories.
When I was a boy scout I didn't inderstand how to use map and compass. As a result I got lost in the woods during summer camps several times. When I attended my public service in the army I still had troubles, but after a couple of months training I could make the right combination between a detailed map, the compass and the terrain.
Later, doing my divers' test, swimming under water with a compass was suddenly very easy. So the lesson I learned was allways to be patient, eager to learn, do not quit to soon: in the end perseverance pays out.


Drawing Of A Painting With A Pumpkin

I started doodling with the space around the pumpkin. After finishing it I decided the drawing missed some sort of tension. Some depth.


Wherever I Lay My Hat...

As cycling commuter it's important to have good clothing riding to and from your workingplace. There's a particular item I find most important: the hat. It prevents from sunburn during summer, a cold head in spring and fall and it keeps your glasses dry while cycling through the rain. Cotton hats are the best: not to warm in summer and not to cold in winter. Although I have another hat for extremely cold days, even with earprotection, I prefer cotton. The one I drew here is with me now for almost two years and although my wife says it needs to be replaced, I can't say goodbye: it almost became a part of me.


The Cloud

There's a big fuzz about 'The Cloud'. It's not exactly clear how it looks like, all I know it's a way to storage your documents. Not on your own computer, but somewhere remote. Maybe on a deserted island, with beautiful beaches, a nice climate and friendly people. In that case I'd rather bring my documents on a usb-stick to them for storage reasons. And when I'm zipping my cocktail lying in the shade of a big palmtree I know that these people take good care of my documents, instead of some unknown "cloud". I read an article about the work of Murray Tinkelman lately on the internet. I took the challenge of drawing with my Visconti-pen in that way. Drawing the sky with some clouds seemed on forehand a safe subject to draw. The final result doesn't come close to the work of Tinkelman, of course, but it was fun to do. And that's the whole purpose of drawing, I think.


USB Stick

Not so long ago you could determine someones personality by looking at his or hers collection of books. Nowadays by opening his or hers usb-stick.
A few weeks ago I found a usb stick. It was lying on the street, just as I drew it above. What happened? Was it lost while someone using it? Who lost it? A student bicycling to college, a diplomat going to the airport, a detective maybe or a priest? What kind of data will it capture? Visions of Wikileaks appeared in my mind.
I rushed home to open the usb stick just to find out it was completely empty. That was a bit of a disappointment, I must say. Why does adventure never knocks on my door?
Pen, ink and watercolor.


Illustration Friday - Tree

You can chop off an old tree, but that doesn't stop it from growing.



Today I started a black and white drawing of my most favourable Porsche: the 356 Speedster. It will be quite a challenge, so it might take a few days before I can show you the result. Until then I made a quick drawing of the Porsche badge for you.
I found out that the horse in the middle isn't a link to that other car manufacturer with a horse in his badge, but instead it's a link to the city of Stuttgart. That's where the factory is. The first Porsche was made in Austria, but that is just a little sidenote in the history of this manufacturer of iconic cars.
Black and white drawing, made with my Visconti pen, 6 x 10 cm.


Sketch with ballpoint

Started doodling some sort of metall cone which resulted in a sketch of a horn old cars used to have. Ballpoint 21,25 x 25,46 cm.


Illustration Friday - Sky

Drawing with pen and ink isn't sometimes enough to express what you want. Occasionally I add watercolor to my drawings. For long I've had troubles painting the sky, until someone taught me how to: wet the paper, use a light blue and a darker one and then 'paint' the sky with a sponge. Being not afraid to mix the two colors on your paper. For me this gave fantastic results, I must say. And it's also a quick method to paint an expressive sky.


Bugatti T59

Completing this drawing took quite some research. Working from pictures of a very rare type of classic car, in this case a Bugatti T59 from the 1930's, means that there are not many pictures to choose from. Especially not in exactly the right angle you've choosen for your drawing. So, after several sketches this became the final result.
Pen and ink, 21 x 30 cm.



Currently I'm working on a black and white drawing of a Bugatti T59. This wasn't a very successful racer in Bugatti's racing history. It won only a few Grand Prix in 1934 and 1935.
It was quite an effort to find enough pictures with good views on the details of this car. Always important when drawing a "technically inspired" piece.
During my research I also found some pictures of old Bugatti logo's. This is one from the early 1930's. I made a pen drawing of it with my Visconti-pen, also from Italy.


MTB Quick Release Front Mudguard

Last night I had to fix my daughter's MTB quick release front mudguard. The mudguard became a bit too much "quick release" lately. After some attempts in the recent past to fix it the way it was supposed to be (but never properly worked) I now fixed the mudguard with some serious screws, spacers and nuts.  So let's find out how long that stay in place.


Illustration Friday Book

It's been a long time since I've been contributing something to Illustration Friday. This week's topic "Book" inspired me to make an illustration of an old, many used book.
Pen and ink.


Guardian Angel

My bike's steering wheel broke last week, while I was commuting to my work. Luckily enough it didn't cause a crash. I managed to stop without too much trouble. I guess my Guardian Angel was riding with me.
What caused the steering wheel to brake is still some kind of mystery. I never have had this experience before, nor fellow bikers around me. I now fitted a real MTB-steering wheel on my trekking bike, just to be sure this doesn't happen again.



Sometimes it's just fun to make a quick sketch with ballpoint. This is a sketch of a Japanese Oyster. They can also be found in other parts of the world. They're named Japanese, but that doesn't mean they can only be found in the waters around Japan. They can also be found in the Mediterranean or in the North Sea. Even on the shores of a tiny little Chinese island. But that can cause diplomatic tension nowadays.


Piece Of Cake

You might think that drawing a piece of cake would be very easy. Well, think again. Drawing a piece of cake in black and white is far from easy. In colour is easier, because you can basically use basically two colours: pale yellow and raw sienna. Adding a few tones of grey for depht purposes and “Presto”!. In black and white the struggle is not to make the drawing to dark as a whole and try to find a balance between toning the crust and the cake itself.


The Empty Hat

Yesterday 35 of my colleagues were told that they're no longer needed. Just like that, out of the blue. Makes you wonder what more pops up out of the board of director's high hat...


Camping Sketcher

Last week we went out camping. The weather was fine, the children enjoyed playing in the mud and the campsite wasn't too crowded. So good opportunities for finally reading a good book and making some sketches. I've not had the time nor the peace of mind to do those things for a long time. Now, after a few days back at the office I still have difficulties picking up the usual pace, going from deadline to deadline. This afternoon I've decided not to bother too much about that. Actually this evening I picked up working at a painting which has been patiently waiting for me on the easel. It was fun getting to know each other again. Also says my wife and our kids.
The sketch shows the tent my son and I used. My wife and daughter camped next to us, in their own one.



Last month I've had lots of fun drawing a black and white pen drawing. So I've decided to draw another one. The choice was easily made: for long I wanted to do something with a sportscar, especially a MG. Back in the old days my nephews restored MG cars and many times my brother and I drove on our bicycle to the old shed where our nephews always seemed to have several MG's for restoration purposes. My job was mostly on the chassis: painting big black tar on it. A dirty job, but you know what they always say: "someone has to do it". As I was not very technical that was the best contribution I could do at the age of twelve, thirteen. The rewards were priceless: when the cars were ready we were invited for the testdrive on the nearby highway. After all, the maximum speed had to be tested. So without any safetybelt, helmet or other safety device, the exhaustpipe roaring, the heat of the motor on your legs and the wind blazing through your hair it gave an unique driving sensation. A once in a lifetime experience!
Pen and ink, 21 x 30 cm.


Jools Holland

Jools Holland is best known as bandleader of his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. This band played with famous artists like Solomon Burke, Tom Jones, Sting, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, BB King and many others. I made this drawing with Jools sitting behind the wheel of a replica of a famous Rover, the so-called jet car. The replica was made by the boys of the Chop Shop in London. How the car was made can be seen here . You can see the whole episode of this Discovery Channel series on Youtube, search for: Chop Shop, season two, episode five. I'm sure you'd be amazed how this replica actually was build and surprisingly enough looks very good at the end.


Pen Drawing

Just for the fun of it I made a pen drawing this week. I didn't make one for long, so it was about time.
It is based on a picture I found on internet. This old garage has been the subject for several sketches and drawings I've made. Mostly just parts of it, but now in full and I've added a Citroën-sign.
Pen and ink, 21 x 29,7 cm.


Nelson Mandela

Next month Nelson Mandela will be celebrating his 94th birthday. A honourable age for a very respectful person. I've tried to draw his joy of life and his natural charisma. He suffered a lot in his life, but stood ferm for his principles. Trying to make the world a better place for all of us. Regardless color, religion or political engagement.
Pen and watercolor, 10x15 cm.


Purpose in Life

I'm a bit busy lately, so I don't have much time for drawing. Alas. This week I was doodling in the little sparetime I have. The guy you see in the sketch came out as a result of that. After I've sketched him I thought: "Hmm, funny dude, but what will he do? What is his purpose in life?" Then I thought that he will be fixing old Citroen 2cv's. After this conclusion the completion of the sketch didn't take much effort anymore: one thing leads to another.


Another Big Drawing

 Last year I made a sort of still life drawing of the brushes I mostly use, in pen and watercolor on postcardformat. It looked very recognizable to me (being my own brushes, of course) and had a certain 'tension' in itself which somehow appealed to me. After some time I wondered how it would look like if I made a big drawing of the same subject. Basically I only had to enlarge the pot in which the brushes are placed in, I thought. So last week I picked up my pencils and pens and started drawing. Below you can see the result, in pen and ink on A4-format.
Now I only have to have the courage to put some colour on it and not spoil the character of the drawing. That's what I'm always afraid of: the moment I pick up the brush to colour a inked drawing. It's some sort of point of no return.


Samba Flute

The samba flute, or: Apito, is the whistle used in samba music and other Brazilian music styles. It is important in organizing and conducting the band. The band leader makes various signals to mark the beginning or end of a specific part of the music and/or movement. Using the two toneholes on each side of the flute the whistler can produce different tones in combination with duration and intensity.
I used to have a samba flute myself when I was once playing keyboard in a band. Only mine was a plastic flute and didn't look as good as the one I've drawn here. I found a picture of this wooden one on the internet and it looked good right away. I don't known if it sounds as good as the plastic one I once had, which sounded loud enough to be heared above the PA, but sometimes you choose for the looks instead of the sound.



A windmill is a nice subject to draw. It has an outstanding form which is very recognizable and gives it a presence of it's own. There are several styles to draw a windmill. It can be done in color, as you can see above, or in black and white with pen and ink. This last technique is my favourite, because it pays more respect to the subject in my opinion. Usually forms follow function, but in this case drawing style follows subject.
Both mills are situated in Leiden, a Dutch town. Molen De Put is a re-build mill in the center of the town near the house where Rembrandt was born. The mill is a replica of the one in which Rembrandt´s father worked.
The other mill, drawn in black-and-white, was build in the 18th century and once situated far outside the old towngates to keep the farmland dry. It is still operational, but only for touristic purposes.



Sometimes you make associations with the most unlikely combination of subjects. For example, I always associate spareribs with "the date that never took place".
In my dating years there were girls I was dying to date with, but they never wanted to date me, and there were girls dying to date me, but I didn't really want to date them. And there was the category of girls which you could date without ever having to fear your friends or parents opinion about your choice. In that last category I was almost ready to cancel a date when suddenly that girl introduced me to a friend of her to participate in a nice friendly night out with some sparerib-eating and later on hanging out in a new club with a somewhat obscure name. That could be interesting!
Sadly enough I developed a terrible cold a few days before the date, so I had to cancel it. Guess what: the girl met the love of her life that night! Poor, lonesome me. So, every time we have spareribs on the menu now it's always a bite with a funny taste.


Joe Cocker

The first time I noticed Joe Cocker was when I heared him sing the openingsentence: "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" from the 1970 Lennon/McCarthy song with that same title.
I found it a very intruiging sentence, mainly because in our elderly home, where I heard that song the first time on my little transistorradio, it would be quite an achievement to come in through our bathroom window. Not much later, reaching my puberty years, I couldn't help imaging what kind of beautiful girls I wished to climb through that same bathroom window. But, of course, that never happened.
Coming of age, Joe Cocker (born in 1944!) still rocks on, although I doubt he will be able to climb through windows nowadays.


Boz Scaggs

When I first heared the sound and music of Boz Scaggs, back in 1976, I was sold immediately. His then published album 'Silk Degrees' is a very well balanced piece of work. No song doesn't feel or sound out of place. Nowadays this album is still a joy to hear.
After this album, which I bought on cassettetape (!), I started to gain more albums and one that also appeals to me is the one he published in 1971, simply called: 'Boz Scaggs & Band'. An album, which I bought on vinyl, I discovered in the late eighties in a little record store. There are some bluesballads on that album that still gives my goosepimples listening to them, especially "Runnin'Blue" and ''Why Why". Luckily all his work is now available on cd, so I can still enjoy his music. Even at this moment, with his cd 'Moments' playing on my desktop.



Fast Food: Bitterballen

A typical Dutch fast food invention: The Bitterbal. No gathering of people at a semi-or very official occasion will be complete without this snack. It's a very dangerous snack also: you never know how hot the ragout inside the ball will be! Baked in oil of about 180 degrees Celsius (= 356 degrees Fahrenheit) the outside can feel less warm then the inside. So, you'll see people biting their balls very tenderly. Mostly the ball will be picked with a little wooden stick, sometimes decorated with a small paper feature looking like the Dutch flag. It's common to drink a lot of beer while eating the bitterbal. And than start a conversation with someone standing next to you, who just had a bite of hot ragout and is trying to cool it by gasping air into his or her mouth.
Pen and ink and watercolor.


Bruce Springsteen

On his latest album Bruce Springsteen shows, in my opinion, that he knows where he musically started from. After coming of age that's a great achievement. The music sounds great, pure, and the lyrics aren't poor or sentimental.
I made his portrait in pen and ink with watercolor, trying to capture the spirit of his latest album "Wrecking Ball".


Wooden Shoes

One of the typical things Dutch are known for are their wooden shoes. Very versatile invention, I must say. Strong, durable and extremely environmental friendly.
I remember my uncle used to walk in a pair of those on his farm. I couldn't walk on them. For a city boy these wooden shoes aren't flexible enough. Like most things you have to learn things at a young age. Luckily enough I was better in drawing then milking cows, so during my stays on the family farm I was mostly allowed to drive their big Ford tractor when harvest time had arrived. Giving me occasionally the opportunity to make a sketch. Unfortenately all those sketches made in my younger days are lost. But I still have nice memories about my vacations on that farm.


Friese doorlopers

With temperatures well below zero the past few days, one can notice the popularity of skating in The Netherlands. It looks like everybody wants to skate the frozen lakes, canals and love being outdoors. From the very young of age to the very young of heart...
The drawing I've made is about skates from the elder days, so called: Friese doorlopers. My father used to skate on skates like these. Nowadays the skates look in many ways very different to these old ones, but the technigue of skating and the joy it gives to people still remains the same.

Update: my technique wasn't as good as I thought it was, so I've had some cripple weeks behind me...



French illustrator Christian Lacroix (1949), better known as LAX or Christian Lax, studied fine arts in Saint-Etienne. He made his comics debut in the magazine l'Automobile in 1975. His first album, 'Ennui Mortel', was published in 1982.
In the late 1990s, he began working on 'Le Choucas', a satirical detective series based on the French "romans noirs" of the 1950s and 1960s. As a tribute to this wonderful serie, I painted his shirt yellow.
In 2005 Christian published under his artist name LAX 'L'Aigle Sans Orteils'. A wonderful historical story in which he combines his love for the French countryside, its people and his personal passion for cycling and in particular the Tour of France. In 2009 he published the sequel, named 'Pain d'alouette-Premier époque'. Both stories take place around World War I. In my opinion two of the best graphic novels I've read so far. And, according to the last title, at least one more novel is in the making!


André Franquin (1924 - 1997)

Belgian André Franquin is most known for his comic creation "Gaston Lagaffe", a weekly episode of a guy with lots of interesting ideas but poor execution. Although Franquin had a very humorous style and lots of great ideas, he could be very depressed and couldn't draw for years. Perhaps that's the price some people have to pay for their talent.
Despite that his style is very vivid and extremely fluent. When you're reading his comics it almost looks as if you're watching an animated movie. I can't name any other illustrator who comes close to that style. Take a look at this website and you'll see what I mean. It's French, but the drawings will do the talking.



The panflute is known in different parts of the world, in different shapes and names, originally mostly made of wood or bamboo.

One of the most charming uses of the panflute takes place in the Peru - Bolivia area. The women of the Aymares use the panflute to communicate with each other. They have two small panflutes, in different tonal setting, to match with another woman. Who also has two different panflutes. Once they partnered they are musically bonded with each other for the rest of their lives.

The women of the Aymares also assemble in large groups and blend into one complete melody. Just the way music is supposed to be.

Pen and ink, coloured with watercolor.


Big drawing

One of the new year's resolutions I made was to make at least four big drawings this year. Usually my drawings are more or less the size of a postcard, so making drawings at a A4 or even A3 scale will be quite a challenge. In terms of: "can I find enough time to make them?".
The first one is allready inked, as you can see. It's a drawing of a garage in a fictitious little village somewhere in the South of France and I must say so far it's been fun to draw. Most of the drawing is based on two previous posts, as you can see here and here.