Saturday, 4 October 2014


Most of the time I feel I have the best job in the world. But last Tuesday I had my doubts. I went to see the Marlene Dumas show in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Oouch. Being an illustrator is amazing, but being a painter really must be the best. I miss my own painting days sometimes. The oil, the canvas, the hours spent just watching the painting. Contemplating, removing, adding. Wonderful. But who knows... I still see myself in a big workstudio someday. But for now I do have the best job in the world. And my studio also is my livingroom, with great music, my computer and my pentablet. Making wonderful work, seen by many as well. And Marlene, thank you. For the energy and good spirits that bursted off those canvasses....

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Lost & Found

Two old writingpads. Found in France. In a little shop, filled with old magazines, books and modern pens and pencils. I love treasure hunting in France. Their fleamarkets are filled with old stuff. I found the pile of old magazines in a corner of a little shop. Filled with paintings, glasswork, threads and textile. Old lights, and old french people. With old smelly dogs.
And on the topfloor, tucked away in a corner: this pile of forgotten magazines  from 1953. 35 francs at the time.
 The pile was three times as big. I could not take them all. Maybe I should have. Cause for 50 cents  a piece? What a bargain! And look at all those post-its. That is what inspiration looks like!

Monday, 25 August 2014


For the courageous, kind, softspirited Lineke. She gave birth to a beautiful babyboy called Siem (also my sisters nickname). Lineke and her boyfriend Niels were the easiest going clients ever. So nice to work with them. Siem, with so much hair and two amazing parents. Love Marike.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Ben's mom Sanne I've know for almost 25 years. She was a cheerful and delightful teenager. Full of smiles and giggles. When she called me to tell about her the birth of her son Ben she over the moon. it was completely the same Sanna as I've ever know but intenstity of her laugh was intense. Beautiful Ben. I wish you and your lovely family so much love and laughter. And thanks for the lovely, modest job of making the card. Marike.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Nrc.Next last week

It's such a lovely summer, nice weather, meeting my friends for summerdrinks, doing yoga, and picking berries. My life lingers away in a calm and kind way. And I'm working. On various cool jobs. Birth-announcements, work for new clients, work for old clients, I'm enjoying them all.
I was going to spend 6 weeks in Cornwall but that fell through, and I was a quite gutted about it. So I stayed home, and I'm having a great summer in Amsterdam instead.
The unexpected can be such a blessing in disguise.

Sunday, 3 August 2014


Woohooo! I've made it to a dutch womens-magazine. I always wanted to illustrate a romantic, corny story about love, relations falling apart, etc. Opposed to all the more hardcore journalism articles that I usually work on....

This is one of these days that I'm really proud of the work I do. (you have to, sometimes no, be proud at yourself and the work your do?)

Sunday, 27 July 2014


This drawing is inspired by my (almost) daily swims in the park. And by a very cool documentary I saw two days ago. First about the the swimming. I live in a lively neighborhood in Amsterdam, with restaurants, bars, a cinema. But also, a 3 minute bicycle ride away, an amazing park and a huge freshwater pond, connected to the large Ijselmeer. On warm days I try to go for swim every day and I imagine being old, my hair grey and living somewhere outside. In Germany, France or Sweden. Poland maybe? And doing daily swims to keep fit and healthy. Picking berries on my walks. Something like that. I don't why these thoughts come to me when I swim. It's the rhythm of my arms and legs. The water all around me. The cleaving through the water. And the waterbirds ignoring me. And the perspective on the world: very low. My eyes just peaking out of the water (imagine the perspective of a hippo). I guess I just love swimming in fresh water lakes.
And this week I saw an lovely documentary about an older lady from Poland. She still lived together with her husband but they barely spoke.
'He does not really know me' she said.
'She said she suffered from depression. I don't what it was but it was not depression' he said. She packed up her backpack and started hitchhiking across the world. Meeting lovely people every where. Who share their food, drinks and smiles with her. The movie starts with a swimming scene. Maybe the water is the only place where adults and children make the same movements. They are playful, relaxt and let things be. They swing their arms and splash water around. The joy of hot summer days and being in the water!
I hope you have a lovely summer. Take a deep breath, dive under, come up and see how different the world is. Love Marike.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Heartbreaking/ Comfort

Due to my german adventure I haven't been able to upload my weekly Pieter illustration. But this is the latest one. Cause Im back in town, riding my bike, eating cherries, making phonecalls to friends and getting adjusted to city life once again. No hills, foxes and deers anymore in the brickstone, busy town of Amsterdam. But yesterday I got a big hug from one of the riders at the ridingschool ánd a high five, he was all excited about the summerholiday and I cycled home, grateful once again for my healthy body and clever mind. And thankful for the lovely friends I have. In this town, but also in the little town of Treis and in several other parts of the world.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Sunday, 1 June 2014


With last weeks European Election, both the UK and France flared to the far right and Im a little sad about it. Since two weeks I'm living in a small town in Germany. First thing I've noticed was that were a fair amount of african people living here. And I noticed a beautiful old building in the centre of town. It is an old cigar factory, now turned into a shelter for Eritrean refugees. Today the big bridge in town, that connects the left part of town with the right, was closed off for the annual 'Bruckefest'. The minister of the local church (dressed in a Ed Hardy shirt, with the looks of an artist and the hair of a popstar) held a beautiful speech in which he asked how many people are from Treis? (the town) (hands up, and cheer for them!) How many people are from Giessen (next city) (hands up, and cheer for them!) How many people are from more than 400 km away (hands up, and cheer for them!) How many are from more than 1000 km away? (hands up and cheer for them!) The whole ceremony evolved on building bridges and connect to each other. Today I was one of those strangers from far away. But they cheered for me. And for all the other foreigners. But the refugees were also involved in the party: There was a food stand with Eritrean food and coffee and some were asked to join the Bruckefest Choir. And opposed from what you might expect: they sold out all their food within an hour and half. The only thing left to eat: local trout and burgers. And opposed to what I expected (a shitty german cover band) a cool senegal/ german band played that evening. They taught me a new expression: Die europeans haben das Uhr, but wir (the africans) haben die Zeit. In this town Im the stranger who struggles with the language, doesn't know any one. But I look the same as the germans, the weather is the same as in my country and the trees look the same. I walk around and see the Eritreans and often wonder, they must miss their country terrible. And hope they felt the same warmth today as I felt. I'm proud of this little town that proves Europe wrong. The band packed up and left, and unfortunately there was a shitty german cover band after all. Feedback and all! It's all good. It was a lovely lovely day.

Friday, 23 May 2014


My blog, I'm neglecting the blog. Sorry my dear friends. Im currently in Treis, a little village in Germany an hours drive from Frankfurt. Im staying with a family, in the oldest house of the village. The family consisting out of mum, dad, and two teenagers, live in one part. The grandmother lives in a different part and the great-grandmother (93) also lives here. And 22 horses. 2 cats and a beautiful, large wolf like dog named Tessa. And here I'm; a city girl from Amsterdam. So used to taking care of myself, living with this family. It's funny, the mum and dad have a great sense of humor and are both able to laugh about the teenage grumpiness and their never ending occupation with their telephone. I have my own room, with my computer, a view on the meadow with the two stallions and I just let life be life for a bit. I get up early, eat breakfast and go outside around 8. Feed the stallions, take care of the stables, feed the dog and the geese (oh yeah there are also two geese). Sweep the floor.
It may sound boring but there are so many interesting things: we drove to an certified organic horse/ cow stable. It blew my mind: loads of solar panels on all the roofs, and addition to that: waterpower from their own mill. They produced enough energy to supply 40 houses. So inspiring. To live in this beautiful, amazing, green surrounding and to see how people fully appreciate their surrounding and try to keep it as healthy, clean as can be. But still run their farm and are able to sustain themselves. I have traveled to so many amazing countries. And here Im, 4 hours drive away from my house: but so beautiful and clean. I have loved all the countries I was in, but truly, Europe also is pretty amazing. So what more have I done: I've been riding through the fields on kindest horses I've ever met: Welshcobs. Had a riding lesson. I had to inject medicine to a horse. Worked with the baby of the family: a year old horse called Faye. Helped cut down (old, fallen) trees. I just get to see what it takes to run such a farm and I love everything about it: sitting in the old knackered Toyota 4 wheel drive, or take the kind strong, healthy 20 year old guilding back to the stable, riding him, the was so sun  strong. No helmet, wearing a tanktop and loving loving loving life.
As boring as it sounds to all of you. I love it. Life is calm and I have next to nothing here: my computer with 40 songs (thought I could use Spotify but I can't) some books and a nice red chair, a little table and a comfy bed. And the family loves food as much as I do, and cook great food. (current favorites in the family: white asparagus and strawberry desert…..) So life is good, but I alread mentioned that did't I? Love from Treis and drawings soon, I promise. (ps and more amazing: I still get to work on my own work. I love making still work on that for different clients)

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Nrc H, vandaag.

De afgelopen weken heb ik wekelijks een illustratie gemaakt bij de column van Pieter Steinz. Mijnheer Steinz heeft ALS en schrijft over zijn leven met deze ziekte. Het zijn mooie, stoere stukjes. Zonder drama.

Op de manege waar ik vrijwilliger ben heb ik een vader en zijn drie jonge kinderen leren kennen. Hij is een vrolijke lieve man met drie prachtige kinderen. Zijn drie kinderen hebben allemaal een progressieve spierziekte. Ze kwamen huppelend de manege binnen en de twee oudsten zaten de laatste keer dat ik ze zag in een elektrische rolstoel, want lopen ging niet meer.
Ik vocht tegen mijn tranen elke keer dat ik ze zag. De stukken van Steinz zijn het tegenovergestelde van die tranen. Ze zijn hoopvol en sterk.

Elke week, een nieuw stuk in mijn inbox, en ik teken met al het gevoel, met alle liefde die ik heb. Voor Pieter en voor Mohammed. Twee stoere, bijzondere mannen.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The places in between..... Rory Stewart. I love traveling and I have been on same beautiful adventures in amazing countries. It enriches me but while traveling I often wonder what Im doing, and why. An scruffy room in an hotel in a filthy Indonesian city. I checked all the walls for peepholes. Did not find any but felt very uncomfortable anyway. Or the time when I accepted a ride in a Costa Rican pickup. Driving into a tiny town where nothing happened and I ended up in the hotel of permanently drunk Vietnam Veteran. The next day I met an american woman who offered me her couch as soon as she heard I was staying with the Ol'Drunk. I was reluctant to accept; she was covered from head to toe in a tiger print tattoo. And she scared me just as much as the drunk.
Or the old lady in a tiny village in Bangladesh. We were invited in for tea and she told us about her life; and showed us old pictures. While going through the pages of the book she got all emotional and tears welled up in her eyes. "It is all the memories" she said. Her husband had passed and so did one of her sons. The room was painted pink and I just sat on that couch. Staring at the tacky interior and feeling both uncomfortable and terribly happy.
I just finished reading 'The places in between' by Rory Stewart, a scottsman who walked across Afghanistan in the midst of winter. He is the opposite of me; although he walks he travels fast. A cup of tea here and there but he is determined to keep on walking and is not distracted by kindness or a warm home. That is the more admirable if you know the circumstances: snow, cold, rain, rivers to cross on foot, hardly any food. And he is totally dependent on locals for food, tea and shelter. He literally knocks on peoples houses for a bed and a bit of rice. Sometimes it is just tea and sugar, sometimes his host prepare elaborate meals for their guests. Oh man! I don't know whether to admire his travel or to dislike it. People with next to nothing light the fire for him and feed him. And he's happy for it but also expects this kind of kindness because he is a guest. He's rude to people when necessary, even has to fight for his safety. But after finishing the book i had a bit of an aftertaste. The kind people are so eager to tell him about their lives, their history, their war stories. For me that is what traveling is about: to talk to people. Learn and experience from the lives of others. It is not about the distance I travel or mark off highlights of my list. It is probably to keep some speed in the book; but I cringed sometimes and wished he had stayed put on that floor, and listen some more. But that is just the way I like to travel I suppose.
(The drawing is the afghan polo)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Friday, 11 April 2014


Since the blogdate with other bloggers (organized by 101 woonideeën)I have been thinking about my bloglife a lot. What do I want to tell? How personal is my blog? Which blogs do I really like and why? I would like to bring across a positive, happy outlook on life but life isn't always happy and positive. And the blogs who show me their picture perfect life.... I find it tiresome sometimes. Isnt life also a little grey sometimes? (bringing old newspapers to the recycle bin in the rain. AGAIN!)

Lasst week was a rather strange week for me; cold one day, beautiful spring day the next. Then my uncle died and that was so sad. But it also gave me appreciation for the blue skies, the soft warm wind and the chatter of the birds. The location of the funeral (in the woods, all legal) was so beautiful that I almost forgot how sad it was. Or maybe it wasn't sad. Maybe we celebrated his life, his love for his family. Life is full of ups and downs. Life is not picture perfect. And some blogs intimidate me with their beautiful interiors, the tasty homemade cakes and the flowers that are never a day too old.

My day ended with my favorite two year old kissing me on the cheek and begging me to stay at their house. I got on my bike and cycled through the city, got home and slept. Life is beautiful, with all its imperfections.

Have a wonderful friday. Love Marike.

Sunday, 30 March 2014


Last weekend I wrote about cows and local produced cheese, milk and meat. There is a city in the north of UK and they have turned their grey city into an edible city. Watch this inspiring Ted Talk by Pam Warhurst and get inspired! It is the season to put seeds in the soil and see what happens. It might be bigger than you can imagine.

Friday, 28 March 2014


Thanks to the website Postcrossing, I have received touching, kind messages from all over the world. Beautiful cards but the stamps are amazing. Join postcrossing too; for every postcard you send you receive a postcard from a far away country. I just makes my day every time I open the mailbox and these cards with unknown handwriting; this one for instance: " Hello I'm Nick, come from Chine. I'm so happy to send this card to u. I hope you can like it" Well Happy Friday! See you next week. Marike.

Monday, 24 March 2014

28 february 2009

My very first blogpost. It has been 5 years of blogging this year. I just started, never gave it much thought. Other artists were blogging, I read blogs, I liked blogs. And and it seemed so easy. So I started my own blog. And it was so easy. If I read my old blogs again I'm surprised how free and creative my blog was. How did I capture my own creativity like that?
5 years later i have quite my job, Im a freelance illustrator and I still have my blog that is visited by several hundred visitor each month (really? yeah really, still find it difficult to believe but google doesn't lie does it?) I'm more of a professional these days and I love my professionlized creative life, but at the same time I miss the carefree creativity that I used to have. There were no limitations.
I still follow and see a lot of blogs, and it seems a lot of blogs professionalized as well. A lot of bloggers found their 'color', their character. Or maybe, their comfort zone.  The pictures are very perfect, and their lives seem so perfect as well.
And blogging was so new years back, there were no rules, no set boundaries. And now, it seems, there are. And there was no Facebook, no Instagram, no Pinterest. Maybe the character of the platform changed with the entry of other beautiful creative, visual platforms. But I strongly feel the need to color outside the lines again. Be as free minded as several years ago. Look at some ones hair and make a conclusion about life. Draw a bathtub and add a shark. Why? I don't know, because I can.

Spring just has started, and isn't spring the perfect season to start something new? Im gonna try to add some space to creative life, think and draw outside the box. Im leaving my city for 10 weeks in my personal life, so it seems to be the perfect time to be an artist and bring some surprise, amazement and freedom back into my work. I hope I can bring it across to all of you.
And, for all those readers who have beared with me all those years. Im so very happy. My blog feels like my own little playground and to know that people look at my work moves my heart. It really does. Thank you all, Marike.

Ps; all this blog-mesmerizing was the result of a wonderful afternoon initiated by 101Woonideeën. I met 12 other bloggers and talked about our work, lives and blogs. Have peek at the other blogs if you like: Jans, Elske, (who inspired me to think about moving to Friesland), Wimke and a few others, I will post about them another time. 

Saturday, 22 March 2014


On the first saturday of this spring I took some people to my favorite country road. It was a chilly day, the rain drizzled while we cycled there but the cows did not mind the rain and were eager to leave the stables. The were all very pregnant, but jumped with joy (or maybe frustration) as they ran into the fields. All the spectators applauded, I was just amazed about how relaxed the cows were. A horse would have had way more stress, being surrounded by so many people. We saw some new born (so new born that I saw bloodstains on the straw) lambs and some very young cows. They are so beautiful, their eyes just blow me away. Oh man, cows.
The reason to take all these people on a trip to the countryside is the little cheese shop that I visit every week. The wife of the farmer started her own little cheese makery and she uses their own milk to produce the cheese. She invited us in, we tasted all the cheeses and her buttermilk (WOW!). But her farmers stories also saddened me a bit. The big dairy companies pay her 44 cent a liter. She and her husband own a small farm, and farm in an old fashion way; slow and with lots of care for the animals. It is very difficult to compete with big farmers, who, with their effective factory-like-ways, manage to take as much as 50 liters of milk from a cow. (opposed to 8 liters that a 'normal' cow would give) FIFTY liters each day. MAN! That is just mind-blowing.
The farmers wife now tries to double the 44 cents to 88 cents by making her own cheese, milk, butter and yoghurt. I love her cheese, and so do many others because she is getting busier and busier. I love to support all these small, hardworking businesses run by individuals. If I buy all my dairy at her farm I pay less than I would in the shop, but she has a higher income. I hope that all my cheese buying makes a difference in the end. And I feel so blessed that I have found many little stores who sell locally produced food, and little by little my cupboard and fridge is filled with local honey, local jam etc.
On the pic you see the happy cows, and here some interesting links to the farms we visited; Hartstocht, sells meat and milk from own cows. Anna Haen sells locally produced products as honey, jam, and chutney. And my favorite; Geingenoegen, lovely cheese, really nice milk and yoghurt. For all those people in Amsterdam, visitors and tourists; visit them. Buy lots of cheese, go see some cows and spend your money locally. It really does make our neighborhood (and the world) a little nicer.

Oh yeah and don't forget; IT IS SPRING, jump a little, like those cows, or make a little dance, it is good for you. Xmarike.