20 December 2014

A Merry Christmas portrait...

When browsing on Etsy I am always drawn to custom made portraits... I love the different and unique ways in which artists capture a person, couple, a beloved pet, or a whole family. If you like you can check out this portrait treasury I put together on Etsy of artists I admire. When also my favourite magazine Flow wrote a story about custom portraits this year, I began to think: "Why not just try to make one myself?".

With Christmas around the corner I planned on making a personalized Christmas card with a portrait of me and John... Also featuring our little owl Uiles (a soft toy that somehow came to life, speaks with a lisp and always travels along with us on holidays).
I must admit: it wasn't easy to draw us. But after a couple of tries and with a bit of help from Photoshop, this is how it turned out... 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas & all the best for the New Year! Xx

2 November 2014

A newborn tree

Niels and Anneliese asked me to illustrate the birth announcement of their son Thomas. They loved the custom tree cards I had made for baby Iza and Roderik, and they already knew exactly what kind of little personal elements they wanted to see in their tree... A tennis racket, a football (very sporty people, obviously!), a train, a little tricycle, a blue balloon and their cat (who's after the balloon of course ;-)) . It was great working with this kind and enthusiastic couple and making them this special card for their baby boy. Congratulations dear Niels and Anneliese!

21 October 2014

A Miekes Makes Instagram Giveaway!

The last few weeks I've been lettering six TED quotes from favourite talks of mine. Four of which I posted on my blog earlier. These two are the newest:

Quote from Amy Cuddy's talk "Your body language shapes who you are".

Quote from Elizabeth Gilbert's talk "Your elusive creative genius"

Now I figured it is time for my first Miekes Makes Instagram Giveaway. Just because it's fun!
I kept my Giveaway simple. If you like to join in, here's how it works:

You can win a print (A5 size) of one of these six hand lettered TED quotes from Brene Brown, Sir Ken RobinsonSusan Cain, Alain de Botton, Amy Cuddy and Elizabeth Gilbert. To enter, log in on your Instagram account (I do hope you have one ;-)), tell me which quote you would like to receive and tag a friend who might want to join this giveaway too. Please check previously posted photos for a closer look at the other prints.

I'll announce the winner Wednesday next week (October 29th 2014). Good luck to all! :-)

18 October 2014

For Fikes

Last weekend my friend Frederike turned 37. She's a very creative person... Works as a Drama Therapist, loves to write, enjoys snailmail, is super handy in the kitchen and makes awesomeness with needle and thread; like cute softies and pretty needlework samplers. As a gift I bought her red and blue embroidery thread, and I made her this little themed painting. Happy birthday dear Fikes!

2 October 2014

How an autumn tree traveled to Ireland

As a teenager I used to have a lot of pen pals… from the USA, Canada, Australia, Great-Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Romania, China. To me having those contacts felt a little like exploring the world through the stories, pictures and cards my pen pals send me.

Nowadays it is Instagram that gives me the same kind of feeling. Besides the fact that it's a fun place to share my own photos and little arty projects, I love connecting with modern pen pals (more like: photo pals) from all over the world. I may not know them in person, still they can feel close to me, inspire and encourage me.

Ruth and I are Instagram friends for quite a while now. She's from Northern Ireland and makes lovely photos of the area where she lives… Beautiful landscapes, impressions of the North Down Coastal Path where she regularly walks Socks (the sweet, old, patient dog of her sister in law), magical nature shots of trees, flowers and pretty cobwebs in her backyard. Please do check her Instagram. She's also the proud and loving mother of 3 beautiful red-haired children, who she sometimes captures on camera too. At the start of September she asked me if I wanted to make her youngest daughter Laura an illustration for her 11th birthday. What a lovely request! Ruth had a vision in mind of an autumn tree, and I painted it with Laura and her brother David sitting up in it, and her 15 year old sister Catherine sitting at the bottom reading a book (no, not her smart phone this time ;-)). And of course some cute animals join the scene...

As soon as the paint dried, I send the illustration over to Ireland, for it needed to be framed still. The parcel arrived in a weekend; curious Laura noticed the delivery, but Ruth ultimately managed to keep it a secret until her birthday a few days back. I was so happy to hear the birthday girl liked my painting! The photos Ruth send to me say it all, I think...

Being born in the 70's and grown up without the internet, it still strikes me how simple and wonderful it is to be able to share and connect with people from all over the world through online places like Instagram. Ruth and her family really do feel familiar & close to me. The world is a smaller place now.

P.S. In return Ruth send me these lovely prints illustrated by Lieke van der Vorst. A perfect art-swap!

17 September 2014

Hand lettered TED talk quotes

I love watching TED talks! Actually... I mostly listen to them, while ironing. Combining the boring with the inspiring. ;-) I love to hear different experts all over the world talk about their newest ideas & insights. This is why I recently started a new little project: hand lettering TED talk quotes... I hope to make many (and get a bit wiser along the way).

Quote from Sir Ken Robinson's witty and clever TED talk "How schools kill creativity". He makes an entertaining and moving case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity. 

Quote from the famous talk "The power of vulnerability" from Brené Brown, june 2010. It has been viewed over 16409107 times today... Definitely worthy of watching, if you haven't yet.

Quote from Alain de Botton, Philosopher. Alain suggests a "religion for atheists" — call it Atheism 2.0 — that incorporates religious forms and traditions to satisfy our human need for connection, ritual and transcendence.

Quote from Susan Cains famous TED talk "The power of introverts". Our world prizes extroverts, but Susan makes a case for the quiet and contemplative.

26 August 2014

Can't stop loving stop motion

Stop motion and time lapse videos have always intrigued me. I remember being a small girl, about 5 years old, and watching TikTak... A Belgian children's programme that often used stop motion effects (paper froggies hopping around and such) and little time lapse art tutorials. I loved those most of all! It made each craft project they showed seem so easy.

A few years later I enjoyed watching Postman Pat; a well known British children's television series that was stop motion animated. How DID they make this?, I wondered. When I was about 10 my dad, being an amateurphotographer & gadget collector, made us a little set up to shoot a clay animation. This is a fond memory of mine. I discovered it took a loooooot of time and patience, but what a thrill it was to watch my clay puppet eventually come to life... even for a few seconds. ;-)

Nowadays the most amazing films and short videos are made using these techniques. Recently I loved watching the music video of Paper Plane a song by Massimo Giangrande, animated with wonderful illustrations and paper cuts by Felicita Sala. P.S. The behind the scenes video is just as cool! Also I see more and more cool time lapse art tutorials popping up...

Inspired by all this, I'm now in search for a nice app to make my own short stop motion or time lapse videos using just my iPhone or iPad. If anyone has a good tip? Meanwhile I made this tiny stop motion video using the app iMotion... Excuse me for the poor picture quality & weird sudden ending, but still it was fun to create. Wanting to make some more in the future!

15 March 2014

Pattern Parade

Designing patterns is my latest obsession. It's just so much fun, that I can't seem to stop! I would love to turn my repeatable patterns into fabric, gift wrap, wallpaper and other paper goodies in the future... Oh, the possibilities!!! :-D

8 February 2014

Ja! Oui! Yes!

Dear friends of mine will be getting married soon! They asked me to illustrate their wedding announcement in a nature / woods-theme. Such a fun commission! Today I received the final card in the mail. I'm happy it turned out the way they wanted... :-)

Couldn't resist fooling around with all those little painted twigs, leaves and flowers...