Month: October 2019

Own work: Samurai illustration detail

New work of my own

Making something

For months, I haven’t made any new work of my own. Not because I didn’t want to, or maybe that was just it. Anyway, I didn’t make time for it in the last couple of months. Now I had a slow week. Well, slow… I didn’t have to work on location, I could work from home.

Working from home

When I work at home, I can plan my day differently. I don’t have to take the travel time in account and I don’t have to take a lunch break at a specific time. When I’m in a flow, I can just keep on working. Another good thing is that I don’t need to look representative. I can wear my pants full of paint stains and my favourite jumper. There is nobody there to tell me I don’t look representable. Besides me, but I’m not meeting with people I need to be representative for.

Making my own work

Because I haven’t made something for myself lately, I noticed that I find it hard to make the transition between working for a client and making my own work. So I was looking for someone I can make my work for. In December it’s my boyfriends birthday. He doesn’t own any works of mine. That’s not a disaster but he is my biggest fan.

So I decided to give him an illustration for his birthday. A new one, that he hasn’t seen yet. But then there was a dilemma: what would he like to have? What does he find cool enough to hang on the wall? Eventually I told him of my plan. Together we searched for images that made him enthusiastic. Then we chose the two prettiest ones. I will combine them into a new work in my own style.

Enough time

I’m glad that I don’t have to finish before December. This gives me plenty of time to start over a couple of times. Often I work a little longer than my workflow is lasting. And then suddenly I’m convinced that I can’t draw anymore. Sometimes I radically throw it all away. Other times I just chuck out one or two layers in Photoshop.

What is it going to be?

We decided to make two drawings that make one image together. Two vertical illustrations that make one horizontal work. We’ve been looking for examples of illustrations that show tranquillity and depth. And the space where the works are going to go isn’t very high so I’ll use a lot of vertical lines and light.

Masters in drawing with depth and tranquillity are the Japanese. That’s why we were looking for examples in a Japanese style like this one. Eventually we chose: I’m going to make a forest with a samurai.

Of course the endresult of this work will be shown on the website, for everyone to see. But for now only two images that aren’t very helpfull.

Own work: Samurai illustration detail
Own work: Samurai illustration sketch
Illustration your own style Marieke Noordhuis

Your own style

Finding your own style

When you draw on a regular basis, you find your own style. Not in the beginning, though. Then you just started your journey to your own style. You copy the ones of others and try out different techniques. Eventually you see that you keep coming back to the same way of drawing and you keep using the same techniques and styles.

My search

I’ve been drawing for a long time. In 2009 my sister gave me a sketchbook so that I was able to draw anywhere. I then started drawing almost daily. Three years later I was accepted at two different art studies. I chose the art academy in Utrecht.

Just like I wrote a few sentences back, to find your own style you must copy others a lot. During my time at the art academy I tried a lot of different styles. I studied and copied different artists I did or did not at all have a feeling for. Until it was time to find out who Marieke was. So much has already been tried and made in this world so it’s hard to find a unique style.

Pretty quick – read: after three years or so – I figured out that I like to work with language. I didn’t know yet what that meant fo my artwork. That’s why I studied different ways of using language in my work. I wrote long texts and made a lot of puns. But eventually I describe my style as: narration. I write with images. Even though I love to work with text and text is almost always the root of my work, it always ends up as an image. And this is why I call myself an illustrator. An illustration can be described as a visual explanation. This is how I tell my stories. In an image, an illustration instead of in text.

My style – technique

So I make illustrations. But even within illustrations, there are thousands of different styles. What is my style? Even though I love highly detailed and perfected artworks, it didn’t become my style. For those who know me with a couple cups of coffee down my throat: I like to draw as fast as I can talk.

The longer I think about the lines, the concept or the story, the bigger the change that I won’t be happy with the end result. My way of working, my style, has a lot of velocity. In a couple of lines I put a sketch on paper. Or in my case, a sketch on my laptop.

Then I can still be working for hours on finding the right colours. But I try to stay as true as possible to the first sketch. The making of a sketch shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes. Depending on the size of the artwork, of course.

The result of my style

You can see a couple of drawings in my style on my website. The winter is coming and for me that means that there are fewer workshops. Because of that I have more time to start drawing again! In the coming months there are coming new artworks on the website. So you can study my style a little easier.

Would you like to have a drawing in my style? Send me a message here!

Would you like to get some tips in finding your own style? Send me a message as well! I would love to help you.

Illustration your own style Marieke Noordhuis
Picture during worksession

Renske the angel

Renske, the angel

My sister, Renske, is coming over to help me with my company. As you know, I’m a beginner at all of this. My dad helped me before, with my accountancy and now my sister is coming to the rescue.


In my last post I wrote about being very busy, because of the week of the children’s book. Workshops for this week were planned and booked by Kleinkunstig. Now winter is coming and schools are busy with vacations and test weeks. Therefore they are not very busy with planning nice and fun cultural activities.

Still, I would like to be able to pay my rent and buy some food.

To make sure I have enough income, I need clients. To get clients I need to do something. And I have absolutely no knowledge of this whatsoever. Fortunately I know someone who has this knowledge: Renske, the angel.

So she is coming over to help me work out my client acquisition. Or actually, she is going to tell me what client acquisition is and how it works.

What is coming?

I’m very curious what she is going to tell me. Until now the only clients I’ve had were people who already know me. The workshop at the petting zoo was through a friend of mine, the portraits that I made were for my mothers. The first and only assignment I got from someone other than a friend, was Kofi’s invitation. It’s time I reached more people to work with.

I’m looking forward to reaching more people. And I hope to come up with a system to make those clients stay with me. I need customers who come back to me to make sure I have a steady income.

In short, it is wonderful to have my own company. I only have to do what I really love to do. But the only problem is that it is very uncertain. I’m never sure there will be an income, let alone a steady income. I hope my sister, Renske, can help me set up a steady clientele.

Illustration Renske customer acquisition
Picture during worksession
Workshop hydraulic vehicle - almost done

Het stuur van Tuur

Het stuur van tuur – hydraulic vehicle 

Het stuur van tuur, the steering wheel of Tuur, is a book connected to the week of the children’s book. This week started last wednesday. In the theme of this week – vehicles – I gave a couple of workshops. Het stuur van tuur is a book about a little boy who is picked up from school by his neighbour. Everyday it’s with a different vehicle: a bicycle, with a sleigh…

Grade 3 to 4

The kids in 3rd and 4th grade were going to make their own vehicle. And a very special one! The kids made a hydraulic dragon. I gave them all got the parts that they needed for the dragon and then they started to work. With markers and colouring pencils and coloured paper they got to work. Some groups made a bit of a traditional dragon, green with scales. Others made one in a rainbow theme. Another group made one in pink and purple. 

The dragon

Kleinkunstig send me all the parts I needed. That’s how the kids got to make such beautiful dragons.
With a laser cutter all the parts were cut. Every dragon had one belly, two sides, two heads and two wings.
The head was attached to the side with a split pin. The rest is put together with tape so that the wings can move easily.
As a base Kleinkunstig send me round pieces of styrofoam. With two skewers and two drinking straws you can let the wings rest on this.
The final and most important part is the hydraulic system. For this, I got 200 syringes and a couple of metres of plastic tube. On one syringe I attached a piece of tube, the other syringe I filled with water first before I attached it to the other end of the tube. One of the two syringes I taped to the belly of the dragon and there you go: a flying dragon!

The kids

The kids worked very hard and tried their best to make the most wonderful dragon. Some even made paper people to fly at the back of the dragon. After all, it is a vehicle.
Not only the kids were working hard, the teachers did as well! They were very busy helping their kids and helped to make the most wonderful dragons!
It was a lot of work but that was no problem for the kids. Because who will take the dragon home in the end?! The creativity of the kids continued to surprise me. One decided that all the dragons should stay in school. Another thought of a way to pass it around. A little boy thought: “You can earn the dragon by working extra hard next week in school!”. A drawing of lots was thought of as well.

I hope some of the teachers will send me the end result because not every group got to finish their dragon within the time of the workshop.

Workshop hydraulic vehicle result green dragon
Workshop hydraulic vehicle - working kids
Workshop hydraulic vehicle - almost done
Workshop hydraulic vehicle - end result
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