Thursday, 28 December 2017

Glass postdoc object

I made this glass object for a few collegues of Rianne, the two girls who helped her during the presentation and organisation of the Doctoral presentation.
The themes that show in her thesis are also represented in this glass object (about 25x25 cm large).
That was an easy one for me, as I also made the bookcover itself.
The flowing colours represent the mass of biological data, the form represents a 3 dimensional grid that is the means to visualise and organize the data.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Sharkeye enters the pawnshop

Picking up the collaborative Comic Noir: "No right turn". The last few months I had little time to host it, but I decided to pick it up again. This is a panel where Sharkeye, the private investigator, enters the pawn shop where the femme fatale (Desirée) is held captive. The bad guys (Big Bad Boris and the Ninja Girl) just escaped through the tunnel to the harbour. With the Golden box and the diamond....

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Maastricht Grote gracht

A quick sketch of a little house, squeezed in between two higher buildings on the Grote gracht in Maastricht.
Took me about 10 minutes to make.
Last of the drawings of the Urban Sketching meeting on saturday 16th.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Workshop "living lines"

During the Urban Sketching day in Maastricht, I gave a workshop "Living Lines". How to train yourself in making confident linework.

These are the handouts.
I first did some warming up exercises.
Then I had the group experiment in making different types of lines.
My point was, that most sketchers are too busy staring at the subject, that they forget the means that they use.
Good line work, as with good colourwork, will enhance what you are trying to tell.

I had barely time to prepare for the meeting, I sat at a restaurant in a hotel in Rotterdam, and figured out that I had to make some examples.
So I took the subject in front of me: an ugly little Christmas decoration on the table.
I did different techniques:
1: Open linework, cross or break lines.
2: Colour and line independent.
3: Watertight ink: thick/thin lines
4: Non-waterproof ink: allow the water to bleed  the ink.
5: Chinese ink and bamboo pen: the line textured: from black to grey.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Urban Sketchers meeting in Maastricht

Yesterday we (well, mainly Ruud Otten) organized a USK meeting in Maastricht.
70 persons attended. I gave a workshop about making "Living lines". The theme was to make sketchers aware of how they use/draw lines when sketching. By using line properties like strength, thickness, dynamics, crossing, or breaking etc, you can improve your drawing, en enhance the story you want to tell. I had a very good group to work with.
The disadvantage is that you don't get to draw a lot. I could barely finish this little house of a lock, next to the river. And then it started drizzling. I left it that way, sometimes you have to embrace chance.
The group.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Rotterdam Maashaven

Made this drawing yesterday morning, looking out over one of the harbours of Rotterdam, the Maashaven.
This was the view from my Hotel room, in the very early morning.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Rianne Fijten, PhD

My daughter Rianne presented and defended her thesis yesterday.
As a result she had her Doctorship, PhD. We are both very proud parents.
The thesis was "Translational Research on Exhaled Volatile Organic compounds, from Bedside to Bench". A thesis about data analysing methods to determine the chance of having a particular diseas by checking exhaled breath.

I am proud to say she asked me to design and make the front of the thesis for her.
I will come back on that process later.

We had a terrific day yesterday.

Friday, 8 December 2017


 Monotype is a technique where you put ink (preferably bookprinters ink) on a glass plate.
Then slide a piece of paper on top, and you make a quick sketch on the back.
It's always a surprise what comes out of this.
These are four of the about 20 that I made in about 2 hours.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Braunschweig and Magdeburg

Gruelling weeks. Lot of travelling, a very heavy project and a training with a lot of homework.
It drains all my energy.
Still, a few sketches that I made this week, during my travels through Germany.
In Braunschweig, while leaving the trainstation, i saw this beautiful old steam engine. I had no time to draw the complete machine, So I sketched a detail.
The next day in Magdeburg, I saw this old lady begging for some money in front of the trainstation.
I did not have the chance to tip her, she suddenly stood up and left quickly (I don't know if that had a reason) just as I was finishing the drawing.

Sunday, 26 November 2017


I am running behind in posting sketches. Far too busy at work and in private.
These are two sketches that I made during my business trip to Rotterdam, last week.
One is the scene in the train, a guy absorbed by his smartphone.
The big one is the old grainelevator at one of the harbours in Rotterdam. The old grain-silos were just across the street from my hotel, at the Maashaven. This is the waterfront.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Chemical heat

I pass a chemical plant each morning when driving to work. This morning (it was still almost dark) the sky was lit orange above the plant, they were burning the contents of a chemical installation. They do that in case of an calamity, or when they are cleaning the Process installations for mojor maintenace. Anyway, it's a terrific sight, the flames are 10 meters high, and make a roaring noise.
So I stopped at a parking lot and sketched the scene looking trough the windshield of my car. then I drove on to the office. Took me about 20 minutes.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Jan van Els

Live Model drawing class.
These are two of four drawings I made this morning.
All with different materials and styles.
Above: watercolourpencil
Below: chinese ink with bamboopen, and watercoour afterwards.

Each took me about half an hour.
Luckily Jan was a patient model.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Goslar Liebfrauenberg

Business trip to Goslar, the project there is far from finished. But Goslar is a nice place to have a project: a beautiful old town, a beautiful region and very good restaurants.
Downside: it's a long way to get there, a 5 hour drive.
This morning I rose early to make a sketch, I wanted to do a watercolour. But it was cold, about 3 degrees C, so the watercolour would not dry. You can see the blobbing on the top part of the drawing.
Besides, the scene was probably too complicated, as I just had half an hour available before I had to return to the hotel for breakfast with colleagues.
I tried to improve on the drawing this evening, at home.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Funeral day

Today we had the funeral of my mother in law, Agnes Abbink-Peukens.
We celebrated Holy Mass in the old Roman Catholic church of Hoensbroek. The church she used to go to each Sunday. May she rest in peace.
I made this sketch of the small commemorative table in the nursing home, where she spent the last years of her file.
The little poem (the last sentences of a longer poem, about Alzheimer disease, by Anja Messemaker) goes like this:
"Please remember me how I used to be.
Then you remember that I still recognize you.
Please remember me how I used to be.
And not how I eventually became."

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Friday, 3 November 2017

Oma Agnes

My mother in law, Agnes Abbink-Peukens, passed away yesterday.
This picture is from a few years ago, how we would like to remember her.
Unfortunately she wasn't even a shadow of her old self anymore.
The stories of her life became as if written in white ink.
She passed away peacefully, while holding the hand of my daughter Rianne, in presence of her beloved ones.

Bevor das Morgenlicht
Dich entführt, dieser Augenblick bricht
Unterschreib mit weisser Tinte
Lass Kleingedrucktes übersehn
Du darfst nicht gehn.
(Herbert Groenemeyer)

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Glass horse

I finally put the glass horse head on a cherrywood sockle.
We cut down a cherry tree in our garden a few years ago. The wood is now dry enough to use for these kind of things.
The piece is now standing on our window sill.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Steamboat "Kurtz"

Experimenting again. I saw these beautiful textured watercolours by Chih-Wei Lin (Taiwan). And I wanted to see if I could do that as well. So I made a quick drawing on-the-go of a steamboat of the type that was used on the Congo river. Check of my most favourite novels: Heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad. I called the boat "the Kurtz". Obviously.
The drawing was made with chinese ink and drawn with pointed bamboo sticks. Then I applied the watercolour and added some regular transparent hobby glue (water based Acrylic emulsion). And made textures with pighair brushes. I also tried Acrylic ink, but that didn't work (yet).
I am not there, but I already like the effect.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Glass Magpie

My latest glass work. A magpie. With the original sketch.
The piece is finished now, and waiting to go into the oven.
It is an experiment, as I used coloured strips of glass to form the bird. And I used dark colours: blue, red, green glass strips. I am curious how it will look like when the sun shines through.

Sunday, 22 October 2017


Amsterdam, on the "Torenbrug" bridge crossing the Singel.
There is a nice statue of Multatuli. The pseudonym of Erik Douwes Dekker, the best Dutch writer of the 19th century. He wrote books about the side-effects of the Dutch colonisation of Indonesia.
We had beautiful weather, and were sitting on a terrace on top of the bridge. The scene was too nice to pass. In retrospect: it probably was the beautiful warm day of 2017.

Friday, 20 October 2017


I had a very busy week this week. Travelling to Hameln and Magdeburg.
And with my wife a few days in Amsterdam.
We had recordbreaking good weather, unknown for so late in Autumn.
In Amsterdam we were sitting on a terrace on the Rembrandtsplein, when we saw this young woman sitting in the sun enjoying the warmth. Just when I finished she stood up and cycled away, as if she knew I had finished.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

A beautiful weekend in autumn

We had a terrific weekend. The temperature was over 25 degrees C, I can't remember an autumn weekend so warm.
Some trees are coloured, but others are still in full green. The hostas in our back garden (the same name in Dutch as in English) have these beautiful colours, ranging from yellow to ochre, green and terracotta. At least those hostas that were not eaten by snails; we had a plague this year. I killed thousands of them (no joke).

And I cant resist to post a picture of my grandson, Jake, as we visited the fair yesterday. He wanted to go into the Merry go round. An immense joy to see his enthusiasm.

Friday, 13 October 2017


Working on my linework techique.
I used the bamboo stick again. Self cut, out of a deceased pot plant.
I am using a technique that Kiah Kiean used. A friend had a workshop with him in Chicago.
Kiah pours some ink in a small glass jar, and adds some textile (like cotton bandage) to it.
It helps regulating the amount of ink that you take out of the jar.
Still, you have to find out how to work with it: at first clogs of inks get onto the paper, so you always have to figure out which parts can use blotches. Then you draw the greyish lines before the babmboo runs out of ink.
It takes a lot of exercising but is very rewarding.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Las Vegas shooting

Sometimes an image becomes haunting.
This drawing is based on a picture that was featured in the newspapers regarding the Las Vegas shooting on Oct 1st. Three festival visitors trying to escape from the gunfire.
It tells more than pictures of corpses or guns.
I did these kinds of drawings before in 2013, a monthly series called Timeline. Trying out what makes an image work. I might redo it. It has a good learning curve.
This one was made in about 20 minutes.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Olive tree

Olive tree, drawn with Chinese ink and blue-grey acrylic ink. I used self cut bamboo sticks. Based on a drawing of Susan Rudat of some years ago.

Thursday, 5 October 2017


Quick lunchtime sketch, made in the village where our office is presently.
It's the backside of a row of old houses, looking over the local graveyard.
The stripes are alternating strands of "Mergel" (Local  yellow sandstone) and red brickwork, it's how they use to build in these parts. 
Took me about 25 minutes to make.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Mission foods Russia

Some years ago I designed a Tortilla plant for Russia, 80km south of Moscow.
It was finally opened last week, and my original artist impression was handed over to the client as  present for the opening during the reception.
Even though I could not be present it is a nice idea that some of my ideas were realized somewhere on the other side of the world.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

The towers of Daedalae-12

The living towers of Daedalae-12. An imaginary city on a foreign planet.
More like a doodle leading its own way.
It's always interesting to see where the inspiration came from, at least afterwards.
Anselm Kiefer, Dubuffet, Mieville, Monument Valley.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Goslar, Münzstrasse

Business trip to Goslar, Germany.
We had a nice hotel in the centre of the town, so just before breakfast I was able to go out and make this sketch. Sketchbook A4.
Took me a little more than half an hour.
It's a passage on the Münzstrasse.
On the other side of the street there was a kindergarten, I was nice seeing parents bring their kids all the time that I was sketching.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

No right turn: chapter 6

As you may remember, we are still working on that collaborative comic: "No right turn".
We got as far as chapter 6. It's a story about a detective (Sharkeye), the Cops, a little Chinaman called "Chen" and a Russian Mobster called Boris. And they are all running after a golden box and its key.
Contribution in this chapter: Jane Perreira (South Africa), Eric Brandsma (Netherlands), Wes Douglas (Chicago), Roger Klaassen (Netherlands) and Nik Ira (New York).
The story is by me.
On Issuu the story so far (50 pages already!)

Wednesday, 20 September 2017


A little more tha a week ago Mila, our young black cat, came home with an injured paw.
A severe wound up to the bone. It was already infected, and the Vet gave her a week of antibiotics.
It didn't work, the infection spread, so he was forced to amputate the toe of her back foot.
She is recovering slowly, even though she is as naughty as ever.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Boris talks

The comic No left turn is proceeding slowly. we arrived at chapter 7, the final one (except for a short epilogue).
I made the first panel of the chapter, where the intricate lines woven in the story are bound together.
In movies this is the time where the villain explains to his victims what is going on, and why he did what he did.
In reality a serious villain would shoot the victim and talk later.....
In contrast to a movie that is a difficult task for a comic: you have large amount of texts, so you need a strong image to bind them together.
I started with setting the text on the page, then found that the page had to be black, and figured I only wanted to show Boris.
And yes, Frank Miller was a huge inspiration for this one.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Culemborg a/d Lek

Time for experiments again. I made the below sketch very quickly, grey fountain pen and pentel bruspen, washed out. 10 minutes max, just for composition reasons.
Then I took a self sharpened bamboo stick with pure chinese ink, and made the drawing in my large watercolour sketchbook. It did not go smoothly, either the ink blotted, or it was too light grey. To much distance between deep black and grey tones. Something to figure out.
Then I added the negative space with a wash of sepia acrylic ink.
I am pleased with the result, but there is stil room for improvement.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Boats in the rain

After the founding of theUSK-nl association we all went to town to sketch. Culemborg is a nice old Dutch town.
But the weather was horrible, torrential rain. So we found a restaurant with a huge covered veranda, and a fantastic view over the river "Lek" and a harbour for pleasure boats.
I made this while sipping on a good Triple Affligem (Belgian Beer). And good company. :)

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Stichting Urban Sketchers Netherlands

Yesterday the Association "Stichting Urban Sketchers Netherlands" was officially founded. After 5 years of ever expanding activities, we needed a legal base. It is difficult to organize activities with over 70 persons without contacting municipalities as a formal entity. The same for sponsors, donations etc.
Even more, we as a group would like to organize a symposium in the Netherlands or Belgium somewhere in the coming years, so we need a legal base to do that.
The board consist of 5 persons: Ruud Otten as chairman, myself as secretary, Roger Klaassen Financial, and Wiltfried Pathuis and Gail Anne Howard as other boardmembers.
In good USK fashion I made this sketch during the "reading ceremony", where the notary goes through the regulations and explains them.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Alfa Romeo Montreal

We had a birthday dinner in Geleen, but I was half an hour early. There was an Alfa Romeo cardealer (Coumans Geleen) across the parking lot, with this beautiful 1971 Montreal in the shopwindow.
One of the most beautiful cars ever made.
I even chatted with the dealer himself, always nice to talk to enthusiastic owners.
I only had my 20x13cm sketchbook at hand, I had to draw across the spine.