The Creative Entrepeneur 4

I have had the fortune to be working together with 03CS Jewelry design on her two collections: Sunflower and Courtisan. 03CS made the jewelry and I did the package design. Both collections were created especially for this years 125th anniversary of Vincent van Gogh’s death and were inspired by his paintings. Eljo Kusters who is the creator behind 03CS jewelry design has a very organic way of working, and is inspired by the Japanese view of aesthetic perception called Wabi Sabi, which is centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.
For the Sunflower packaging I made illustrations of a crow and of falling sunflower leafs. You can find the crow in the yellow field of the Wheatfield painting by Van Gogh and it is often associated with death. For the Courtisane collection I draw the Watterlilly which is visible in the Courtisane painting by Van Gogh, and lillypads for the earring holder. The typography I used has a botanical feeling to it, which together with the copper jewelry it seems to come from another time. In this way we hope to create a real memento for Van Gogh, in this anniversary year.
As a creative Entrepeneur it is very good to collaborate once in a while! When collaborating you can discover new ways of looking, new ways of working and new ways of thinking. When the collaboration is a match, like in any relationship, you bring out the best in each other. By stepping out of your comfort zone together, you will grow as a creative person. At the same time, from an entrepreneurial perspective, together you have a network that is twice as big so this means the public that might be interested twice as big. 1 + 1 = 3, always!
If you like our work, and specifically the jewelry of Eljo Kusters, check out her 03CS Etsy shop.


My Day

This is a repost of what I wrote earlier for Flow Magazine about what my day looks like. This is a little impression of what it is like to be an illustrator, mum, wife and daughter. Hope you all had a nice week!

7:15 – My son Levi (3) calls out from his room, “I’m awake!” That means it’s time to get up. My husband gets him out of bed, while I put the coffee on and set the table for breakfast (we do this. each. and. every. morning).

8:00 – My husband takes a shower and I dress Levi, as he tries to play hide and seek while simultaneously putting a jigsaw puzzle together…

8:20 – I’m in the shower; Levi is busy with blue slime.

8:30 – I should be on my bike by now, but I’m still getting dressed while keeping an eye out to see what Levi is up to with the blue slime.

9:00 – At last: coats and shoes are on, and we’re on the bike.

9:30 – Back home, answering emails and cleaning up the blue slime and puzzle.

10:00 – I’m put together a schedule and have a cup of coffee: the household chores and grocery shopping still need doing, and I also intend to make pictures for up to four maps today.

10:15 – The phone rings; I’ve got an appointment with a client next week. Which is very nice indeed but, oh, I really could use my hours for “actual work” (like making things!).

10:30 – The washing’s on. It’s time to focus and get to work. Time to tackle the maps. Yesterday, I outlined the design digitally, and so now I’m painting the elements one by one with watercolors.

12:30 – I’m not as far as I would like to be, but it’s time for a quick lunch.

13:00 – The washing is done, I’m off to the studio (a fifteen-minute bike ride away)

13:15 – Painting the rest of the images…
15:30 – Time to scan the painted images, and clean them up (remove any pencil flecks, etc.). Now they’re ready to be inserted into the actual map tomorrow.

16:30 – Tidy the studio up a bit, so that it’s nice to work in tomorrow. Do some stuff on social media (but must not linger too long on Instagram and Pinterest!). Check, and reply to, emails.

17:00 – Do some grocery shopping. I try to get as much as possible done in one go, but in reality, I often forget something which means I end up in the supermarket a few times a week.

17:30 – Pick Levi up from the nursery. He’s there three days a week; on Wednesdays he’s with me and on Friday’s, my husband takes care of him.

18:00 – Cooking.

18:30 – My husband comes home and we eat together.

19:00 – Playtime with Levi.

19:30 – Read to Levi and put him to bed! When I say “sleep well,” Levi always replies: “Tomorrow is another party!” That really puts me in a good mood and fills me with optimism.

20:00 – Time to relax, on the sofa with my eyes closed. I ask my husband if he still has much to do. He’s also a creative, and sometimes we need to spend the evening finishing things off.

20:30 – Just called my mother. Because she has difficulty walking, she barely leaves her house. At the moment, she doesn’t go out at all as her legs need to be bandaged every day. A simple phone call is all I can do today.

21:00 – Just checking up on my own progress with work: have I done enough or do I need to maybe get up earlier than normal tomorrow? What has gone well and what needs some more attention? What’s the plan for the next day? Can I find some time to focus on my web shop a bit? And isn’t it time to post a new blog? What are the most urgent things and what are realistic goals for tomorrow?

21:15 – I make a concrete list for the next day, with (hopefully) realistic goals.

21:30 – Now it’s time to spend some time relaxing with my husband. “Tomorrow is another party!”

As well as being an illustrator, I am also a mother, a wife and a daughter. It’s really challenging to put aside enough hours every day to be able to focus properly on my work. In order to do that, I make sure I have a specific time each morning and afternoon to do my mails. In the evening, I evaluate my progress and I make a plan for the following day. These few things help me make the most of my day. I also think carefully about which projects I do and do not take on. Two important conditions are: it must be worth the investment of time for both me and my family; and I want to create work that inspires others and makes people happy. These two things ensure that I stay motivated in what I do.

Photo by On a Hazy Morning


The Creative Entrepeneur 3

Hello there! I thought it was time for another post on being a creative entrepreneur! This time I will let you in how to make the work you really WANT to maken, and how to do more of that.
Working as an illustrator for 8 years, I have experienced that when you work for a client, there often is not so much time, or freedom (either from you or from the client) to play around and discover something new.

To make more space for some real magic to happen, you need to start making some work just for yourself. Now let me tell you a secret. Flow Magazine asked me: ‘Can you draw us a quote?’ (YES! I WOULD LOOOOVE TO!) ‘And you have 3 days for it’… (EEEEHM).

And then I made this:

Now. Off course I couldn’t have done this in 3 days. At all.
The secret is, I had already started to make another quote, just for fun, earlier that year. It was my 2014 ‘mantra’ I talked about in my earlier Creative Entrepeneur post: ‘A GOAL IS A DREAM WITH A DEADLINE’. I actually re-used lots of element picked out of illustrations I had made since graduation from art academy. So you could in fact say, that this illustration has cost me 8 years to become what it is… This is what the illustration looked like, before Flow asked me to illustrate the quote by Goethe:
I think it the image got a lot better (more balanced). And I think it was just because of this REAL deadline involved.

Now here is another one. The first assignment I got for Margriet’s specials was to illustrate all these little animals that are healthy for your garden. I loved the assignment, and it was a great start of many really nice assignments I got from Margriet. I mean: the assignments that seem to ‘fit’.


BUT! The reason I GOT this assignment in the first place is because I drew this collection of plants first, just for fun and my love for the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam.

So to make a long story short. When you do what you love, and you do it just for fun, it can get noticed, and it brings you to the sort of assignments you like best! So even if it is hard sometimes to find the time to do anything next to your ‘usual work’, you have to force yourself to make some time for real magic to happen!

That’s it. I hope you like my posts on being a Creative Entrepeneur, and hope you find them inspiring. If you like the Goethe Quote or the image of plants, you can also take a look in my Etsy shop. Thanks!


Crochet kitten

Hello everyone! Meet Miss Chrochet Kitten.
Crochet addict Eliane Roest send me this great picture of the yarn bowl I made especially for her. On Eliane’s website Roesthaakt you can find some lovely (free!) crocheting patterns, and some really cool crocheting workshops, where you can learn different techniques.

I got a lot of really enthusiastic reactions on this yarn bowl, so I think I will make some more…
I’m sorry I cannot take any orders though, but I will keep you posted when I made anything new.

And look how cute this crochet bunting is, and so easy to make!
Check out the pattern by Roesthaakt.




Since it is almost Valentine’s day… let’s give you some love advice!
How about some really cool print that will ROCK your love’s heart. I’m not talking about some candy colored print with smiling bears… How about something your love would actually really like. I love this Letterpressed Poster (made in Amsterdam) by legendary La Farme.
You know what is even beter? Theres a special GIVEAWAY of this supercool poster on La Farme’s Facebook page!

And have you found the right card yet for that very special person? I think this one over at Red Cap Cards, by Lizzy Stewart, is beautiful. I have been a huge fan of the work of Lizzy Stewart for a long time. I love the atmosphere and delicacy in her work. Lizzy Stewart’s illustrations are like reading a book, all in one image.

And just to get in the right mood while working, make your desktop look a little ‘Ohlala’.
How about these nice wallpapers from Frankie Magazine?


This one is not especially valentinesque, but don’t you think it’s lovely anyway?

Wishing you lot’s of fun preparing your love potions!
LOVE ♥ Valesca

P.S. The March illustration PILOT is fully booked! But if you want to be informed personally about the next one, please drop me a line!


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