You might know that in the Netherlands we celebrate the birthday of St Nicholas. It is almost the same as father christmas. One of the differences is that he is accompanied by ‘Pieten’ in stead of elves as his helpers. Traditionally these Pieten are black. Which does remind a lot to slavery or caricatural ways in which colored people were depicted long time ago. So in fact the image of black Piet is unquestionably racist. A lot of people are hurt and offended by this black Piet figure.
Still a lot of people in the Netherlands hold on to it, and try to defend it. Mostly because it is something we grew up with, and feel attached to. By growing up with it, it has become part of cultural identity. But by people getting hurt this is a piece of cultural identity we can do without! By making coloring pages for Piet Magazine, I hope to show that celebrating St Nicolas is rich enough in many ways, so it is not such a big deal in fact to let the ‘black’ out of it.Pietmagazine

Let me explain. I love traditions. I love celebrations. I love St Nicolas. It was not an over night thing for me. Admitting that black Piet is racist was a difficult step. I always thought that Piet was black because he went through the chimney. In fact my big disbelief started when I was 5 years old and doubted: “why don’t his clothes get dirty, only his face?” So I refused to think of it as a racist thing (I don’t want to feel guilty). But I didn’t know the whole context when I was a child. I didn’t know about slavery, or the making fun of darker people with caricatures (like comic books in older days). So, I really didn’t know. But know I do, and I cannot close my eyes from it. Respect for one another in every way is what we as people should aim for.

schoorsteenpiet sintenpiet

kleurplatenschoolI printed out the coloring pages for my sons school. It was so much fun to see that the children all drew them in different colors! (and off course they like the celebrations just the same, to them presents, candy and wether they had been ‘naughty or nice’ are far more important issues!).


Flavourites Live 2015


All of the ‘Vuurdoop’ Illustrations

17 people did something they never dared to do before. Together with author Jorie Horsthuis they took the big step and I illustrated there stories weekly for Het Parool in the weekend editions of PS. This weekend we ended this column with 6 illustrated follow-up stories and an final article. I enjoyed making this column very much, and found it a real challenge every week but: we did it!


Meeting up with her ex for the first time again.


Daring to speak Dutch.


First time in the Amsterdamse Bos (Forest) again after loosing her husband and dog.


Finally ‘coming out’.


Becoming a freelance designer.


Moving out of communal living to single family living in the North of Amsterdam.


Donating blood but afraid of needles.


Going to highshool for the first time!


Saying goodbye to a beloved friend.


Two sisters selling there fathers things after he committed suïcide.


Going back to work again after recovering from a burn out.


Walking Santiago the Compostela, after it failed the first time due to a foot injury.


Starting to look for a job after working in a bar (even though she graduated in HRM).


Finally moving on to a smartphone after holding on to the good old mobile device.
vuurdoop17The last Vuurdoop was taken by author Jorie Horsthuis herself: a date through a dating app.



Make mistakes!

For the Dutch educational magazine Prikkels I illustrated an article about the importance of making mistakes. In the process of creation, wether this is art or in scientific experiments making mistakes leads to some true developments. I loved illustrating this article because this is something I sincerely believe in. And what was a really funny coincidence was that the person being interviewed about the subject is Astrid Poot, who was my super inspiring supervisor during the internship I did at IJsfontein 10 years ago. We worked together with a great team on some really cool projects, and she gave me a lot of responsibility as an intern, which makes you feel like your creativity counts and can move mountains. One of the projects was designing a website together with 10 elementary school kids. And that’s what we did, in between making mistakes and eating pancakes.




The Prikkels assignment was commissioned by Ykeswerk


Smulweb agenda 2016

Just arrived! The Smulweb agenda 2016 I have been illustrating for. It is filled with yummy recipes and a lot of illustrations by yours truly! The design was by Lokaal7 (Marieke Bokelman & Karlijne Brand), pictures by Beeldigbeeld, and published by Younity Media/Meta van den Boom. You can find it in shops like Bruna and Primera, or you can order it at the smulweb site.


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