Happy New Year, my dearest readers! Are you excited for the new year to begin? I hope you’ve been doing well. Winter has quietly started to settled in here, the past couple of weeks. Riding Mitje has been a challenge with all the mud and rain, but thankfully there hasn’t been any frost on the ground yet – pffeww! Let me tell you what I’ve been up to during the last weeks of 2021!
Publishing a picture book
Well, the most exciting news of November must have been the notion that I’ll be working on publishing my very first picture book. It’s a dream come true, which I still can’t quite comprehend! I plan to publish the book by March 2022 and it will (as you might have guessed) feature… ponies! It’s going to be quite a challenge, as I’ll be writing, illustrating, designing and publishing the book all alone: something I’ve never ever done before.
I’m very familiar with writing stories, I know a thing or two about designing and illustrating, but there’s yet so much to figure out and learn! Here’s a few illustrations and images I took last month whilst working on the book. I promise you to keep you up to date on the progress through these little blog posts and my newsletter too. Subscribing to the newsletter can be done through the little form on the front page of this website.
I’m one of those gals who never ever reads her own work. After the writing is done, I hand it off to the editors and let them do their thing. To be fair: reading isn’t really something I do at all. Listening to music and watching movies on the other hand: I’m all for that!
Oddly enough I did really enjoy reading when I was younger. I loved going to my local library and choose a little pile of books, which would probably only last me a week. I still hold the books that were gifted to me dearly, yet it had been a while since I last got myself a new book. Things changed this past year, when this idea about writing a picture book really began to settle. I’ve purchased myself some classics (such as Annie M.G. Schmidt’s ‘Pluk van de Petteflet’, which I actually only had a little audio cd of when I was little) and ordered a few picture books of illustrators I admire, such as Claire Bois and Rebecca Green.
And… I got myself a library card! It’s been years since I set foot in a library (apart from the one at university, but hey: no fun picture books there, so that doesn’t really count), but I was eager to go again. Although the location had changed (they’ve got a stunning new building now), I felt like I stepped right back into my childhood memories. I had reserved a few picture books beforehand as I didn’t have a lot of time to stroll, but once I’ve worked my way through the books I took home, I’ll plan some more time to spend between the book isles!
One of the things I’ve been enjoying loads, besides picture book preparations, is painting little abstract landscapes! All I’ve been using for these little paintings is a bit of Holbein gouache, Arches paper and a number four flat brush. There’s really no thought going into these, just intuitively putting down blobs of paint. As I normally prefer working with pencil and watercolour which leaves little room for mistakes, making these little landscape are actually quite exciting I find.
I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions. Or, as my dad thought me: ‘alleen slechte mee’sen hebben goeie voornemens‘. However, I’ve set myself the task to try and make a little painting or drawing each and every day. Which I do not count as a New Year’s resolution, because I came up with it in November, hehe.
In all seriousness: the piece doesn’t have to be pretty or sharable, it’s really just for me. I find I can be a little prone to loose touch with my creativity, even (or maybe especially) when feeling very much inspired. Painting or drawing something every day, often at the end of the afternoon, really has had its positive effect. Even if it’s just a few wisps of paint put to paper or a quick little sketch of an apple. Sure, creating each and every day is not as easy a task as it sounds, because, well: life gets in the way. But, the thought of having made something that wasn’t there just the morning before, has proven to be such a precious little feel good moment. And I think that’s something we might all need a bit of, especially at this odd moment in time. Maybe this little New Year’s resolution might help you a bit too: I’d love for you to give it a try!