“Tall” is a subject close to my heart. Not only am I 6 ft. myself, but I hail from a city teeming with women in platform heels. So for last week’s Illustration Friday I did two quick pictures. One of me being extremely tall, obviously. And one of the women of Leeds. A city in the Northern part of England for those that don’t know.

painting of tall women
Illustration in acrylics for Illustration Friday, subject: tall!

It really is quite a sight. On Friday night the women go all out. Killer heels, fake tans, tight fitting mini dresses and they get drunk… really drunk. Some lose their shoes and fall over, some are even sick in the street. The main problem with these heels is that they actually make women look quite scary and overpowering. Towering out over all the boys, these groups of drunk, shrieking girls aren’t exactly the best representatives for femininity. But hey, here speaks a pale faced girl who hardly goes out and spends her days hunched over a drawing on a Saturday night.

painting of a tall lady
Children’s art style illustration in pen and pastels of me at work feeling extremely tall. Oh and mum, if you’re reading this… I don’t smoke, it just looked good for the picture!

Ramona on my mind

Painting of Ramona Flowers
Ramona Flowers in India ink and watercolour. Can’t help but thinking this portrait doesn’t do her justice. She’s so pretty!

Rainy bank holidays are not much fun in Leeds. So I re-watched Scott Pilgrim to repair my crappy mood. I still think this is such an amazing and original film, even after having seen it 10+ times. So here’s Ramona. With her hair changing obsession, she kinda reminds me of myself when I was young.

Amanda Palmer

Painting of Amanda Palmer

Not so sure about the whole ukulele thing, but Amanda Palmer is an amazing woman. I love her style and especially her arty eyebrows. She isn’t exactly crippled by shyness and her ballsy attitude gets her absolutely everywhere. Like prison.

Amanda caused quite a stir in my home country of The Netherlands recently. She was thrown in the cell because she had disturbed the public order by performing in the famous Dam Square without a permit. Loads of people came to see her as she appears to work the Twitter machine very well. Police were having none of it though.

She must have had the wrong image of Holland. Especially Americans seem to think we are so laid back and just taking drugs all the time. Opposite is true these days, we had an attack on the royal family on a similar square in which some poor children and other innocent bystanders were killed. We had top a politician and film director assassinated, school and mall shootings and all sorts of unrest during public events. Should have done her research…

Gotta love her spontaneity though.

“Haha, thrush”

Comic about birds

On my way to work, I often come across this little bird couple pottering around a disused field. They are quite an uncommon sight in the city centre. Beige with brown spots and a particular round belly, the Song Thrush is a rather pretty bird compared to your typical Leeds pigeon.

The most beautiful thing about these birds is that they’re always together and seemingly look after each other. Not long ago I noticed they had constructed a nest… on top of a traffic light! Their investment was doomed to fail as real estate is of course all about location, location, location. And that staggered Pelican crossing was just way too crowded.

Now all that remains are a few twigs held together by down feathers and dog hair. And the birds? They’re back in the field. Childless.

Beautiful people… NYC Edition

After having painted a couple of beautiful people from the Southern states, I now did some New Yorkers. There are some lovely faces on Humans of New York and especially these two ladies caught my eye. This website is hilarious by the way and the captions had me in stitches.

New York girl in watercolour and ink
“Picnics inspire me”
New York lady in watercolour and ink
“People try to buy it off my head”

Click the links to see the originals of Flower Girl and Awesome Hat Granny.

So we went from Oregon, Louisiana and Kanas to NYC. Where shall we go next?

Beautiful people

A colleague passed on a link to a website with hundreds of images of beautiful people. Earth’s World features Americans visiting country fairs and other events, like Cinco de Mayo and this sultry lady. Check out the original here.

Watercolour painting of an Hispanic girl
This type of style is called “Chola”, I believe. She replaced her shaved eyebrows with super high, slightly angry looking drawn on ones. Why did she think this was a good idea? Anyway, I find her beautiful no matter what and a face like this is a real treat to draw. There is a kind of sadness there which I find fascinating. Not long ago, I did another Hispanic girl.
Hillbilly or a kickass cowboy? Doesn’t matter. Lots and lots of character there. Find the original here.

Both in Indian ink and watercolour. Even contemplating making more. My super cool boss Ian Bowden had been at it as well, doing this “Homeless or awesome pirate?” guy. Warning! Clicking this link will have you fall off your chair. Content is extremely GOOD!

The Curious Case of George’s gender

We’re looking after George the Tortoise while my neighbours are away on holiday. Today it was my turn to clean up his human sized wee-wees and feed him strawberries, spinach and mushrooms. I’m saying “his” and “him”, but the professionals aren’t even sure yet. Nobody knows if George is a man or a lady. Not yet.

I was sweating it to start with. What if he doesn’t like me and doesn’t want to come out to play? Turns out we kinda like the same thing. As I sat with him on the floor, he instantly went for my shoes. Sniffing, licking, nibbling… George loves shoes! I like shoes too. And one thing became a lot clearer…

drawing of a tortoise
Sketched with felt tip pens and colours in Photoshop


Painting of artist Frida Kahlo

“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality” – Frida Kahlo

Today was surreal. An August afternoon, one moment beaming with bright sunlight, the next thunderstorms and lightning. While shoppers were hiding in the bus shelter opposite my flat and the rain came pouring down my windows, I was sat snugly at my desk drawing Frida. The perfect inspiration for a perfect Sunday afternoon in.

Done in Indian ink and watercolour.

From the iPad

There’s a lot of new technology coming out these days that we feel pressured to buy, but really don’t need. Will our lives improve by a voice controlled television set? Do we really need a robot vacuum cleaner? The neighbors have one, so I need to get one too…

If you’re looking to splash out on something “new”, you should get an iPad. Go on, you artist, treat yourself to this great tool! They’re not even that expensive anymore. I think it’s a great way to sketch. Get yourself a stylus (Wacom) and just doodle away. Unlike an old fashioned sketchpad and pen, you’ve got an undo option so mistakes are easily corrected. And it’s just great fun! Downside? No pressure sensitivity. Just give these Apple peeps a year or so and I’m sure it’s gonna get sorted. Technology moves fast.

Life drawing on the Ipad
iPad life drawing sketch made with SketchBook Pro in about 30 minutes.

Just because…

… I like furry things!

Painting of a girl with rabbits
Not allowed to keep dogs in my city centre apartment? Ah well, I’ll take my bunnies for a Sunday afternoon walk in the park!