Blog ••• Blog

December • 21 • 2017 • • • podcasts • • •

Sometimes it is difficult to just stay in your chair and keep on working. At least for me. What works for me  is listening to a good podcast. Especially the ‘whodunits’ are me favorites. It all started with Serial: this story about Adnan and Have Min Lee had me glued to my chair. I wanted to be Sarah Koenig’s -the maker and narrator of this podcast- best friend and chat about this case with her all day long. So I started looking for other nice podcasts and I want you to give you my list with some of my favorite podcasts and some on my wishlist.

1. Serial | this American Life Episode One.

2. CBC Radio | Someone knows Something | Adrien McNaughton

3. The jealous Curator

4. S Town

4. for the Dutch: echt gebeurd which seems to be inspired by the Moth

and I look forward a lot to listen to this one: Missing Richard Simmons.

I hope to have some serious listening time these holidays! If you have any other good listening tips please tell me.

December • 8 • 2017



Last weekend I went to London: on my own! That was something new for me. So I was a bit nervous about that. Especially since I signed up for something a portfolio review by lllustration Agent Matthew Shearer from BA Reps and Lou Bones from the Association Of Illustrators during the London Illustration Fair. Ai!

portfolio review

What was my biggest fear? That those cool Londoners and the portfolio group would find me somewhat pathetic. That elderly lady with her drawings looking for advice and wanting to make some new steps in her career. Of course all the other talents that registered for a portfolio consultation were nervous too. Matthew Shearer overheard us chattering about it. ‘Awh’ he muttered ‘it’s quite painless’.


It was. It even was one of the best talks I had about my work in years. Both Matthew and Lou looked at my portfolio separately and both had somewhat similar advice for me, which I think can be of benefit for other creatives as well.

• find out what makes your work special, focus on that work, make it better, use it more, show how it can be used in different markets.

• focus on the work you really love to make. If you believe you can make it work for the illustration market, go for that.

• only show the work that makes you special and you love to do.

For me they strongly advised me to keep on making work combing drawings with photographical elements. And they had some good things to say about that too. They advised me which other markets these illustrations could be used (and what I would have to do for that), how to make my portfolio richer (making series, just for fun like ‘hair’) and more interesting for a broad audience (e.g. make little time-lapse video’s while I am making such an illustration). And try to find some subjects I really would like to address and make work for that, not for a client or commission but to challenge myself and make my work ‘meaningful’, even if it is only for myself. When doing that, I would make convincing work: showing that the photographical elements are there for a reason and developing my own style.

There was a lot more advice and tips, but I keep those in my bag for a while. I’ll start working with these comments in my mind.


Some good advice, wasn’t it?

the London Illustration Fair

Three, four? floors filled with illustrators, work and some room for workshops. It was fun, a bit too much to absorb in one afternoon. But let’s name a few of my favorites:  the magic depictor, ha now I won’t ruin the magic. You just have to step and and enjoy the ride.

Kristjana S Williams had the absolute most jaw dropping work to show.

photo from Kristjana S Williams website

And then there was the fresh and somewhat bold work of Aga Giecko that intrigued me. Her work was so much about the joy of drawing and making. It made me smile and wanted to pick up my pencil – or big markers – too.

screenshot of Aga Giecko’s website / sketchbook page

Yes worth a visit: Definitely! Check the website for next year’s event:


And the rest of the trip? I really enjoyed every moment of it. London proved to be the best city for the lonely traveller. Londoners are polite, cheerful and the best at ‘small talk’. My first stop was Tate Modern and when I left the guard at the door said: ‘see you tomorrow darling’. That brought a happy smile to my face and it never left during my trip. I made me feel welcome.

London looked festive these weeks before Christmas. Dolce and Gabbana did the styling and decoration of Harrods, it was like a colorful, crazy old Italian market. Gasp.

An other thing I really enjoyed was a ‘London walk’: it is easy. You look at the program and just show up at the mentioned underground stop at the appointed time. Pay the person you think will be the guide 🙂 and enjoy. I signed up for a walk through Little Venice. Maybe not the most interesting part of London, but the guide made it into a fabulous walk. He knew so many nice stories, sang some traditional songs or recited a good poem.

















Tate Modern always makes me happy, the building, the work and the surprisingly views. I also visited the London Portrait Gallery: for me a good place to observe all ways people were depicted through the ages. I was lured into the gallery by the posters of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize. How to describe this? For me it was about emotion, not too boldly displayed but almost tangible.


a screenshot from the website of the NPG, with the winning photo.

July • 3 • 2017

There is a wonderful new store in Alkmaar: PopUpStore Handpicked by Anna & Renee. Anna is part of another duo: sheeped. Sheeped sells handmade rugs and cushions from South America. Renee -het groene thee huis- makes and sells tea. Good tea!

They handpicked other products they want to sell in their shop: handmade, ecofriendly, nice & good stuff. I was happy to be invited too.

7 June 2017

In May I went to Madrid, together with the best girl I know: my daughter Fee. We walked – a lot -, looked at art, watched people, laughed, cycled, ate good food, shopped, sat in the sun, drank sumos, had a fabulous good time and want to come back. pronto.

Of course we went to the opening party of the expo ‘When you are a stranger’ in the wonderful gallery Echale Guindas. I could sent two artworks to join the good-looking crew of arty strangers. I was so good to see my two smart girls on the lovely walls of this gallery.


It was even better to meet the ladies of Echale Guindas. What a  positive & energetic inspiration! And good taste for great lunch. I wanted to open a gallery myself immediately. Si.

h a s t a   l a   v i s t a

31 May

way back in 2016

I received my new business cards: they are looking good! Anyone in the mood for a meeting?

27  January 2016

come in we are open


and if you happen to be in Amsterdam: the coffee is nice & fresh!


and this is my newest guest in m shop!

So I opened this shop and online (via social media and my mailsettings) I let people know I do have a shop. I know this is not enough. I also know that not everything has to be perfect or ‘complete’ before one informs the world and your mum about the new step there are a few things I want to improve.

One of the most important thing are the product images. I have tried to take pictures of my own products but I am not a photographer. Furthermore in January the light in Amsterdam is poor. So sometimes I decided to use ‘mock ups’.



Be careful though: I am really new to this and already I recognize these templates and mockups. The clips is very popular: poster_letsbe_2

I like it too … but it isn’t really personal is it? However it helps getting things started.

There are lots of free options to be found: creative market offers free downloads every week. I have a cheap license for shutter stock, but I am getting the hang of ‘real’ photography with my own hand (ieeee). The hand gives some depth and indicates the size of the product.

On Etsy there is an enormous amount of information to be found on photography. Key is natural light and for me a light background. Plain paper can be too blue though so keep experimenting. I will too!


20  January 2016

my start in trying to sell ‘illustrations’

A start: my Etsy shop.

In the Netherlands there is a book called : ‘Een webshop is geen carrière’. It translates something like: Don’t call having a webshop a job.

I was a rather intimidated by this book and the discussion that followed. Maybe this was true. You know, making necklaces from handmade beads on your kitchens table, shooting a few pictures and voila: a day well spend,  or let’s say drawing all day long ..

Yes it is! It is a day well spend.


Yes: I am a proud owner of a small Etsy shop now, A boutique ;-). Why?


For the Flavourites Live event I was asked to give illustration workshops and was given the opportunity to sell my own products in Monique van der Vlist’s stand. Flavourites Live is a big event in December where all kind of trending webshops present themselves and everybody can shop unique gifts for the holidays.


Monique van der Vlist from the HappyMakersBlog invited a superdeluxe line up of illustrators and makers who all could present their products in her stand. I made Christmas cards and new years cards. I was so so so nice to see people pick up my cards and wanting to buy them. I was sold! This is what I wanted: a shop, things, people, interaction.


But how to continue? There are thousand of products on Etsy alone.  Aiaiai it is a big misty soup for me. I feel a bit lost. So I dove in all the ebooks, tutorials and communities and will try to share the info here.


I do have good advice numero uno for you here: take yourself and your ‘shop’ (products, art) seriously. Tell people about it. If you don’t take yourself seriously, why would others?

So I announced on my favorite social media channel Instagram (plus Facebook) that I opened a webshop. And I have used ‘signature’ / handtekening in my mailsettings.example signature

Beneath every mail I write an image and link to my shop appears. Without doubt. Do you want to know how to do this?

This is a small explanation for google mail.

1 First go to your inbox and in the right corner you’ll see this (cog)wheel / tandwiel.


Then go to settings / instellingen.

2. In the settings you’ll see the option to set you signature / hantekening


3 klick on it and add your link to your shop (website or what you want to show).

4. Maybe add an image too. Especially if you are an imagemaker. To do so click on the button with the ‘mountain landscape’ -or .. what would it be? melting Toblerone?


voila day well spend!


12  January 2016

I like mail: delivered mail. Posted in Paris and in Potsdam on your doormat.


It is romantic no doubt about it. Therefore one of the best things of my Etsy shop: I can make and send mail packages. I hope a lot! So I started to design my own ‘post office’ articles. The first thing is a design for a stamp: ‘do not bend‘. Because I want to use it immediately I made a sticker printout page of the illustration as well. For you to use: a free download.



I like the big agile man the best but made a page with a smaller crew too (9,5 cm x 3,5 cm).



 6 January 2016

back to school, yes again. and I hope to do it again and again and again.

this year I started the ‘daily drawing challenge’ from my hero Lisa Congdon on Creativebug. It is a very nice and low profile course. Every day you can draw along with Lisa and make three – five different drawings. Day one trees, day two teacups etc. We were still in the German mountains when the challenge started so the kids drew along 😉


and how much fun this proves to be!



The tricky part for me is that you are invited to copy Lisa’s drawings exactly and therefore it doesn’t feel right to show these drawings on the Internet. Of course she also motivates her students – and asks explicitly – to go further. Not only draw ‘her chairs’ but draw many more.


I don’t do this every day, but I do follow her class every day: it is a nice starting ritual for a drawing ‘session’. Today sneakers. Looking forward to it: I am a high heels lady.

high heels



December – Januari 2015 / 16


we were in Brabant & Germany, had a Wonderful Time.

Almost no snow or Internet but with lots of laughter and good slow times.

After two weeks of family and a lot being outside we drove home with rosy cheeks under a goldenbrown sky filled with snow.

14 December 2015

Heel veel bedankjes gaan bij casaKessels de deur uit deze weken: voor de meester, hij krijgt van ieder kind een leuke attentie lees ik in de mail, voor de schoonmaakster, voor de oppas, voor de gastvrouw van het eindejaarsfeest, voor de bovenburen omdat ze bijna nooit mopperen over het lawaai dat onze kinderen maken.

Schermafbeelding 2015-12-14 om 12.57.12

Begeleid met een BedanktBeer. Ik heb voor alle andere drukke dankbare lui twee ‘knipvellen’ gemaakt: 1 met de bruine BedanktBeer en 1 met een kleurige versie.

Schermafbeelding 2015-12-14 om 12.56.38


je kunt de vellen hier downloaden en weer een stapje verder in je to doooooo lijst!

klikkerdeklik voor het BRUINE BEREN VEL

klikkerdeklik voor de het KLEURIGE knip BERENVEL

17 November 2015

Lieve mensen, dear folks time is slipping away. Lot’s of nice projects and good plans: Valesca van Waveren and me are preparing a Winter Illustration Course!



28 oktober 2015


I follow Lilla Roger’s Make Art That Sells course and for week two the theme to sketch, explore, paint, cut, paste was Staffordshire Pottery.



stafforshire pottery


a whole new world: full with strange, inspiring creatures and characters.

I did get lost in this Pottery Wonderland.


These expressions the creatures and characters have are phenomenal. I immediately thought of all these planters one sees in shops and webshops nowadays: pots with personalities. Then, after making an enormous pile of Staffordshire inspired sketches, this happened:



But Staffordshire Pottery is really something: please do read this interesting article of collectors’ weekly if you get the pottery spark too.

20 oktober 2015

si si

I signed up voor Lilla Rogers’ Make Art That Sells course. Again.


these plates I submitted the last time I did the Make Art That Sells course …

I did the course a year and a half ago, so why would I do I again? 1001 Reasons

and for me 1001 reasons to not to do it.


The first time I just didn’t make the most of it: I didn’t have time -make time- to make new work, digest or even read all the information given. I tried to meet the classes’ deadline and then stopped. Sometimes I was pleased with the work submitted. Sometimes I knew I could, should have done better. Actually more.


my ‘bold fabric’ design the first round 🙂

The main reason not to do it? It is a bit intimidating: there is an enormous group of talented people all sharing their work, make the most jaw dropping stuff … I got really insecure and ‘careful with my drawings’ because my work was never reviewed (by Lilla Rogers).

ha! yes it sounds silly writing it done here but it mattered to me.


The main reasons for me to join the course would be that I really really like to draw and be a professional illustrator. I want to explore, other markets, other techniques, styles, illustrators. I love to learn. I think I never was without ‘school’, course or training for half a year.


I do it for myself now. See if I can reach further, try new styles and be ‘bold’. Make portfolio pieces and send them out. Be inspired and make, make make…

This week’s mini assignment (warming up) is pasta and pyrex. We were give this photo to work with:



I couldn’t resist making these Italian Ladies


In my next post I will write about my week with ‘bold fabric’ and pasta.






14 oktober 2015

Wednesday – Blogday

Autumn break had started for my kids, school glued two extra free days to the official week. We packed our bags and headed South this evening. Brabant. Efteling. We are Family Efteling the coming two days. Completely happy.


pure magic.

12 oktober 2015

Valesca van Waveren and me were invited by het Papieratelier to give a short and sweet illustration workshop at the Meet the Blogger Event 2015 in Amsterdam.beeld_workshop

We decided to challenge the participants to make their own ‘zine’ / private sketchbook with the -working- title ‘grow’.


photo by on a hazy morning

It was a great afternoon: all the participants worked hard on their ‘main assignment’: design a cover for your own zine. Some made illustrations, another made an imprint of a leaf which gave a beautiful result or one participant made a collage with stickers and line drawings.

This weekend I made my own zines: one for my ‘Fall Finds’zine

For this I used the ‘cahiersteek’ / three point stitch. Super easy, great result:

Schermafbeelding 2015-10-12 om 22.25.59

you can download the instructions here: instruction_bind_your_zine


7 oktober 2015

inktober, what a great initiative.

I used to do all my drawing with fineliners. so clean, neat. But I become more and more a fan of ink, dip pens, calligraphy pens and brushes. The lines are more wobbly, more alive.  pot with plant

I spend a few days looking at all these fab ink drawings people are uploading and I felt more and more lost. Because of course it is a great opportunity to just draw for fun, practice and experiment but I need a little bit more to get me going.




yesterday and the day before I just didn’t know what to draw. Yes chairs hmm. I like to draw them -like shoes and boxes, always seems to be drawing these when somewhat absentminded- but not to0 sure whether I like to present them.

Yesterday my youngest son had the most fab advice: why don’t you draw you favorite animal.



It worked. So I am trying to make another series: things I really, really like. I am worried that it is egocentric but it helps me. a lot.

So therefore ‘the great bake off’ or actually ‘Heel Holland Bakt’. It is super as it is. With that great voice over and those over serious judges.

Often I work at night. That’s okay. The house is quiet, nobody is ringing or waiting on a reply to another mail with ***spoed*** in the subject line. Sometimes I feel a bit lonely and then I play an episode of ‘Heel Holland Bakt’: I have missed the entire season so a special treat! I don’t have to watch it all …listening to it is good enough. And then when something spectaculair happens I take a peek of course.

And well yes, the love for fineliners, micropens, pens still remains. strong.

9 September 2015

Almost autumn, you can feel it, the air is changing, the light

and I love autumn. The colours, cold evenings and bright chilly mornings,

I like the storms, heavy rain, hearing the wind blowing. And nature brings awesome material to give you inspiration, for my kids to go treasure hunting, to look at. But these first days, the days I have to say goodbye to summer, I feel a bit sad.


My son’s birthday is today. A cheerful happy and sunny day here in Amsterdam. But I feel a bit sad.



2 September 2015

show your work #1

koffiemannetjeI don’t know whether they are really really effective but I like it so much, making the ‘signature drawings’  to finish my mail.

This good-looking guy is my ‘latest’. I was thinking of a small drawing which showed I was back at my drawing tabel, back at work. I wanted to make something  like ‘back in the office’ good morning’ the routine of a working day. In the end there was the coffee man and a ‘good morning’.

I started making the signatures when I noticed the settings button in my mail machine. Yes I could type my address, or website but why not show a little drawing? Because that is what I do, make drawings.


Now in Dutch it said in the ‘setting options’ add your ‘handtekening’, which means signature but also hand drawing. So that is what I did at first I made a series with hand drawings.winterslaap

It says here: I am dreaming of a little hibernation. I change the drawings once in the two weeks approximately. I change them with the seasons.unnamed-2





or with the things that mark the year, like going back to work or leaving for the summer holidays or … it’s fun! And I get a lot of reactions to these drawings.



26 August 2015

Enormous. The amount of inspiration the Rijksmuseum offers. I am a lucky one who can go and visit the museum whenever she wants,  follow drawing courses or have the luxury to just visit an exhibition on a Tuesday morning and not wave at the ‘Night watch | Nachtwacht. I made little drawings when in the Rijksmuseum for one of the illustration courses I did and used them for the 100 days project:rijks_meisje_vlek



more images on my instagram account.

It gets better, also for the not Amsterdammers: a huge part of the collection is available as high resolution images, to use. what? yes! You can make a phone case using the ‘dikke Bickers | fat boy Bicker’ or teapot or …

I could use this digital collection when somebody knocked on my studio door and explained that her book, a scientific research she worked on for more than 12 years, would be without cover.




go go go to this image Wonderland called Rijks Studio


19 August 2015



we are back, back from 21 lazy, summer days in Spain.

we swam, walked, talked, played cards and slept a lot. the waves were high, the pools warmer than the gazpacho. caramba. I fell in love. In love with the beautiful days we had in Spain. We sat the fountain in Vejer de Frontera, we got beaten by the waves near Tarifa, and took the train to Ronda and a ferry to Islas Cies. Dolphins and mucho other big fish.


I wish I could keep that feeling of this summer.

I had plenty of time to think, draw and plan. I realized that  a blog needs some kind of rhythm. So I decided: woensdag – blogdag | Wednesday – Blogday.


To top this promise of a newspaper page. Of Casakessels, in Spain.

Schermafbeelding 2015-08-19 om 23.36.32


22 mei 2015

Yes the illustration course Valesca and me started last week rolling -and rocking what a great crew-. This week we set a theme ‘bring outside into your house’ and asked the participants to make -illustrate- something for a product, textile like a cushion or teatowel or a print.

overzicht_lenteSchermafbeelding 2015-05-22 om 15.05.34


a hint of all the things happing these Wednesday evenings at Tugela85 …

Schermafbeelding 2015-05-22 om 15.05.49

The pictures of our class were taken by  Valesca van Waveren.




18 mei 2015

Woensdag 13 mei zijn Valesca van Waveren en ik gestart met onze illustratiecursus: toch wel twee zenuwachtige juffen stonden daar met hun mapjes en materiaal klaar om half 8. Maar het is zoo fijn om dit samen te doen: Valesca heeft bergen aan ervaring en werk achter (en voor zich) liggen ik heb altijd graag les gegeven -ooit was ik een echte juf op een middelbare school.

We hebben het geraamte van de lessen besproken tijdens broodjes en koffie. Daarna ieder voor zich lesplannen geschreven en op en neer gepingpongd. Het ging allemaal veel sneller, het in elkaar zetten van een ‘draaiboek’, opdrachten schrijven en in stukken hakken, theorie invulling geven en -lees verders — zoeken. Na twee lesplannen lag er een duidelijke structuur en les 3 en 4 volgde makkelijk.

We zijn begonnen met een warming up: laagdrempelige teken- en kijk oefeningen om je handschrift te ontwikkelen, daadwerkelijk een start te maken (want hoe intimiderend is het werken in een groep soms), snel veel te maken zonder ruimte voor zelfkritiek, ander materiaal uit te proberen enz. Bam bam bam prachtige vellen vol verschenen er. We hadden dan ook mooie modellen:


en andere zeegastenvissen6


Een tipje van de sluier van onze eerste les. Ik heb zin in komende woensdag: zo inspirerend het werk met van en door anderen.

4 april 2015

Mijn nichtje Janneke Michels fotografeert, muzikanten en muziek.

Schermafbeelding 2015-04-04 om 20.58.39


Schermafbeelding 2015-04-04 om 21.00.04


veel meer gasten die goedgetroffen zijn op haar website. Ze maakt voor mij fijne bloem, blad, schors, tak foto’s. Zomaar. Ze vroeg me een tekening te maken om bij haar foto’s te hangen, met haar contactgegevens. Nouja hoe moet dat nou? Haar foto’s zijn veel te cool om een tekening bij te hangen, dus kalkte ik stoer wat in haar foto’s. Met verf en wilde strepen. Het bleef een beetje stil in Venlo. Toen maakte ik maar weer een wiebelige kriebeltekening. Jaaahaa antwoordde Janneke: dit dus.

Schermafbeelding 2015-04-04 om 20.55.05

19 maart 2015

But did I tell you about my move, I went from good to goodst. My studio space: it is wonderful. studio


My studio is in an old schoolbuilding and it is directly opposite the big front doors. So I am like the concierge: opening the doors for those who have not got a clue which of the 15 bells to ring, picking up all the parcels, waving, and staring a my computerscreen. If you are in the neighborhood (Tugelaweg 85), drop by and have a coffee in my ‘congiergerie’.

9 maart 2015






Hello everybody
if you want to try new techniques, discover other materials, get loads of inspiration, work on a given project, hear about different illustration markets or create a good portfolio piece our – Valesca van Waveren & Claudi Kessels – illustration course might be the thing for you. 

And here is another thing: in March I will be giving a pilot course for 10 Euro’s only, so be our illustration pioneer, sharpen our lesson plans and be part of it.

You will make loads of small ‘works’ trying out new techniques & materials so you won’t have to worry about the result or your drawing skills. It will be fun. I choose some interesting creative challenges you can be working on, but of course you can also bring your own project in. 

Coffee, tea, juice, something to eat, loads of inspiration, drawing materials to work with, and a goodie bag are bonus.

DATE: 22 & 29 March
TIME: 19.30 – 21.30
PLACE: Tugelaweg 85 – Tugela85
COSTS •• for this pilot only ••: Euro 20,– 

3 maart 2015

Ik vond het een super feest: TransFaal. Alleen jammer dat het afgelopen is. jong&ietsouder dansen in de gymzaal, kippenvel van de dames van poetry circle, doodlekampioen, een interactieve entree en meerrrr.



foto’s van Karien van Assendelft, Sem Kuipers -Doodle Master- gaf mij ‘a room with a view’.

17 February 2015



we are going to have a party. I taped the flyers and posters together: FAAL means failure. I am looking forwards to this evening, what a great bunch of talent from Amsterdam Oost will perform. I will tell you about one ‘event’ the pointlessness bar. Maureen de Jong from ‘t Kleinkookbedrijf will make cocktails from the forgotten booze  in your kitchen /  cupboard. Bring that strange spirited gift and she will shake your cocktail. n i c e!


6 February 2015

week #21 (januari 2015)

I was invited to be at an event hosted by WNKL, a marketplace for ZZP (freelancers) I met so many inspiring people with creative energy, lots of ideas and energy. It’s so good to hear all the stories of people who know how to turn their dreams and talents in to something that works.

Schermafbeelding 2015-02-06 om 15.23.30

I take a bow.


and took my mobile press to give a demonstration or try out…

Schermafbeelding 2015-02-06 om 15.24.00


A very little demonstration it was because there was a lot to do, hear and going on: Erik van Gulik coach at ‘de volgende stap‘ (the next step) gave a short and cool workshop about giving your ideas and yourself a boost: his words but also the way he presented everything was n i c e. Arend de Geus from ‘veel hooi’ gave useful tips and tricks for (free) publicity, we could use them already for our ‘soup & FILM’ events at Tugela85.

27 January 2015


I have got mail: today I received a surprise package from Janneke Michels. She is my niece with the camera and talent. I asked her whether she could make some photos of writing equipement: a pencil, eraser, marker. I am working on a illustration for an article about ‘ how – to – write – your – own – book. Janneke sent me a file with 67 photos. The most amazing stuff. I want to keep some treasure for myself for a while but look at these beauties …



inspiration and exitment after opening a zip file. ha!



in Flair 10 you can see how I used this good-looking bunch.

But do meet my mother’s pen:


16 January 2015


Fee is fearless. She turned 9 this Christmas. She loves reading, playing outside and going to school. She is my daughter, I love her so much. She reads our newspaper and watches ‘Jeugdjournaal’. When she watches TV I tend to do cores, cook. A few days ago I saw her sitting like this in front of the TV. Maybe we should watch together, or not? What a mess …


2 January 2015

On the cover with a dragon

what a nice start of a new year

Schermafbeelding 2015-01-02 om 15.33.33


I only saw the online version of the magazine, but I will introduce you to Rat, Horse, Dog and Rabbit when I have the printed magazine.

Here is one of my favourites: pig!



2 January 2015

let’s make it a good year, with lots of colourful affairs and carefree laughter

and now and then a party where everybody can be found showing off at the dance floor



I used this dancing feather to make riso prints at a workshop with AGA. The ink colours for riso prints / stencils are amazing.

I fell in love with this printing technique, it brings with it a retro but not too old-fashioned look.


well … i think so. What do you think? Ah you can’t really tell with this muddy picture. Do you want to receive and send a dancing feather? formidable! I’ll send you two prints if you mail me with your address. One for you and one for your elegant optician, sturdy housekeeper or dance buddy.


10 December

Unbelievable 10 December! I don’t really know what would a good blogging rhythm be? once or twice a week. Maybe, news provided. But not once a 37 days. But yes I have been busy. Good things, a lot of design, illustration and hands-on work. Thanks to an co-user of TUGELA85, Karien van Assendelft, I was invited to AGA, a do it yourself silkscreen workshop. We plannen to do the posters for the WORD • STORY • FILM evenings there.beeld_web_FILM

Well that was a bit over ambitious for me, a very nice test print is hanging on my wall now. yep…



But I was in print wonderland again! Silkscreen means images, all kinds of papers, cardboard etc possible.

Therefore I made napkins. huh? Let me explain: these evenings organized by TUGELA85 we call the ‘plate on your lap evening’. Maybe it is a dutch expression bord-op-schoot, I think it is typical when watching soccer on Sunday night. A lot of families watched ‘Studio Sport’ with their evening meal on the couch. During the coming FILM evening for example you will be served a lovely African dish with Nordic dessert. And a invitation / napkin in limited edition.



enjoy your evening! Next Friday I will be printing my new years wishes, silkscreen of course my dear. I am looking forward to it.



3 November



In Amsterdam every year more than 200 people die for whom nobody can or wants to arrange a funeral for. The city counsil cares for these lonely deceased in a special way: two officers pay a visit to their house. Maybe they will find a will, or money, but they also try to find out what the music taste of the deceased was, which flowers he or she liked, etc.  They want to give this person a proper funeral.

Together with Carolin Reichert I made a series of still lifes for one lonely inhabitant of Amsterdam: Meneer G. / Mister G.




We were allowed to come along on a few house visits. With the material we gathered (snapshots we took and notes) we made these still lifes, a modest momento mori. Meneer G. has moved: this series is now part of the collection of the museum ‘Tot Zover’. It was a special project, still very dear to me.



Meneer G. 7 foto’s in samenwerking met Carolin Reichert en Bureau Uitvaarten gemeentewegen.

27 Oktober

I’m following Lilla Roger’s popular e-course Make Art That Sells. Each week we have to make something for a different market. This week’s market was paper: cards, journals etc.

It’s an e-course: wow that is intensive for me. The class is in a private facebook group. More than 200 participants from all over the world post their work in progress, ask for technical advice, comment, show inspirational pieces etc. It’s so addictive this facebook class: I’m constantly wondering what others are doing, if they have any comments on my images and klick I’m back in the class: a g a i n!!

The week starts with a ‘mini’: on Monday Lilla explains about products suitable for the market and to get us going we are invited to draw, sketch, paint on a specific subject. This week: penguins and igloos. Ai uber cute alarm bells started ringing at my drawing table. I don’t really want too much cute in my ‘new work’ but I also decided to follow the advice given in the class and try to make art that sells. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?



this was one of my ‘sketches’: maybe I could make a cheeky penguin?




Here an other sketch and I was rather lucky with this ‘find’: I drew it while listening to the news about an unidentified subject in the Swedish waters. Why a lucky doodle? I was rather struggling with the fact that penguins and igloos really match geographically. Or is that the schoolteacher in me?


When Lilla gave us the advice to show in the work ‘who you are’ I wanted to make a card that included me ‘being a mom’, my family. We have this picture taken in the Zoo framed in the living room -excuses for the bad quality- it was used for an invitation and reworked by a good friend to make a birthday-present: somehow it’s omnipresent.

Schermafbeelding 2014-10-27 om 14.20.56

I used this photo as an inspiration and started sketching



I refound my love for working with ecoline but thought a drawing like this would not be suitable for this assignment because one of the main things you are learned in this course is the use and function of icons. Icons being ‘loose’ drawings, items which can be used to make your design and used to apply your art in a different way.visje




so I went back to my sharpies


and do some handlettering, if possible.

so this is what I submitted:



Bit cute, isn’t it. Okee okee…

23 Oktober

Feeling so happy and grown up in my new studio at Tugela85. But also a bit lost..




so I thought about making coffee-cards: announcing my move and inviting you all to taste the coffee from my new machine. Next week I will go to the letterpress studio and make them, the cards. Want some old-fashioned slowmail and pop in for a good coffee? Let my know by mail and you are so invited!

Oh tea, coming up!

16 Oktober

Autumn break and the KesselsCrew

you know what we do?

Photo1 (43)

Efteling. With sleepover. Every year. We run from the Python to Joris and the Dragon, nog een rondje, it’s everything. the autumnlight, the fountains, music, my kids, Mr.Right, the smiles, the emperors’ new clothes. We are happy.

7 Oktober



Last Sunday I had a little letterpress store: children could buy letters and press their own.

After choosing their letters, colours and making some prints, they could make their own bunting. With any word or words they liked. Wow we worked hard!



It was so nice to see that a lot of kids could handle the letterpress on their own: making the wooden letter fit in the frame, deciding what the right position for the letter would be and do the hard work:



And what did they make? First names of course, Joep, Jaimely, Rhyan, Pomme, Sophie and Sofie to name a few. Only three girls did something else:



It was a great experience, this Indie Kids Festival. Great to work together with kids and create something. However it was a bit much to manage on my own: too many customers in my ‘candystore’ sometimes. So this would be something I have to find a solution for the next time.

My children had a great afternoon as well. Their favourite stall was from CRE8. Printing new style: their own design could be printed 3D. Ramses made a necklace with his … first name.


photo by Crea8: proud Ramses with 3D print. foto van Crea8: trotse Ramses met zijn 3D print.

Thanks CRE8 and Indie Kids!


25 September


Still life for a boy with the flu. or is it flew? A few flu’s anyway. They flew away, but seemed to be here to stay. Some strange nights and days with kids feeling really bad, lots of weak tea, clean sheets and spongebob.

15 September

I was asked by the talented and really positive Nelleke Verhoeff to take part in a bloghop and although I didn’t have a blog yet I said ‘graaaaaag’. I met Nelleke during the ecourse Make Art that Sells by Lilla Rogers. Her work and postings are amazing: they are unique, inventive and good! I fell in love with her work immediately. It’s fun and you can see she is having fun while making things. Let’s have a look shall we?

The mermaid-tail is a harp, the moustache a wave and a shape. There is so much going on, to see, but Nelleke makes it work.Go_With_The_Flow_Red_Cheeks_Factory

Nelleke is a great inspiration. During the class I found it sometimes difficult not to be intimidated by all the talent and input from the Drawing-Goddesses out there: aiaiai it’s hard to keep believing in your own work. Therefore I bought this print in her Etsy shop called red cheeks factory.


What a lovely souvenir from Online-Course-Land I appeared to get lost in.

Now this bloghop has a history and structure: I will pass the four questions onto two inspirational Artists -yes Nivea Ortiz that’s certainly you – and Tom Schamp.

Here are my answers to the questions

1. What am I working on?

I’m working on some graphic design assignments for HetHoutenHuis. Their work is magical. The premiere of Adios is 27 September so it’s all still a bit secret but here I made a sneak-screen-shot.


I also made some illustrations for Flair Magazine, in two weeks there will be an article about self esteem. This dapper lady is ready to take the jump. Again a sneak-peak



This week in Flair an illustration I did: about mother-in-laws.

Flair: mother in law

And I’m really busy trying to organize and make sweet stuff for the Indie Kids Festival, 5 October in Amsterdam. Today I met a lovely lady from Zwaluwpers. She gave me some wooden letters and more cool letterpress stuff. Zomaar! just because …

These are my try outs at Alex Barbaix’ workshop:


I  would be so nice if the kids could make their own things … here at a school project we made a little booklet about greetings.


2. How does my work differ from other work in its genre?

ah not too sure it does … but what I really like doing at the moment is using a photographic element and use this to create an image:

02.schelpbaard claudi_kessels_dance_3A_wk2




hmm yes but I want to try to be more experimental in the drawing, using different techniques (lino, paint etc) and not to fuss too much about proportion, 5 fingers and lacing the shoes. I do.

3. Why do I create what I do?

I love the creative process, images, colour, ink … you start with a blank page and then after some drawing, looking, trying, erasing etc there is something new.. often a source for more. Those Sea Men for example wow they could make a nice gang, and how would the underwaterworld in the different cities look like?


4. How does my creative process work? 



Sometimes these treasures lead to a new ‘work’…




For editorials often I use a fineliner (sharpy) and scan the rough drawings. Then use these scans and prints to make a composition, a more detailed drawing etc. For some reason this takes up loads of time.

And writing about me too. ha enough!

Time for the lovely Artist I met on Facebook; Nivea Ortiz

shocking pink she calls this work. I was pleasantly shocked. This is great, bold and powerful. Blobs of bright colour, shapes, fine lines and an unique character appears.


Her drawings a full of energy yet so well drawn




ahhh to be able to let the lines flow like this. I am in love with these drawings.

Her work can be seen on her website or on facebook. go go go

One more thing about Nivea Ortiz: the icebucket challenge, yes she accepted and passed it on:


It was a long read no?

I want to write about another hero Tom Schamp. Again there is so much I want to show and say about his work. But I’ll leave it with these words and just show:

You know at art school we learned a lot about the power of leaving things … less is more. Tom Schamp is the opposite. He is the master of more!

Schermafbeelding 2014-09-15 om 08.49.50


can’t keep silent: that mermaid with handbag!

tom om 08.50.08

on his website more More.


4 september


I work for a theatre company called HetHoutenHuis (the wooden house). I was asked to get involved in giving their website a new look. I wrote (in dutch) about the design here. What it boils down to: to create the look of the website I just reused al the elements given.


They often work with projections: as part of the story, background, rhythm or the posters and flyers.

Schermafbeelding 2013-09-19 om 09.47.39

Now we are working on the educational material for Adios, it starts touring in Holland and Belgium in september.



While working I listen in awe to the beautiful music created for this play. Here you can find a sample. yes, that … wow.

28 aug.

Since the summer holidays I am the proud owner of two small letterpresses: An Adana and proof press. Let’s roll! With the children here in casaKessels I made some greetingcards. We printed the sticks of icelollies on paper and used ink to make some melting icecreams.



Now I’m making plans how to use these presses for a great mini-festival in Amsterdam soon.