Friday, 27 December 2013


by David Mitchell. 'Spellbinding', it says on the backsleeve. I think it is my favorite read of 2013. What an amazing book. David Mitchell entered my top 5 of favorite writers as of now. Thanks Mr. Mitchell and I wish you a wonderful 2014.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


The same every year: my accountant sends christmas cards and it usually is the first one I receive. But im always happy and excited about it, cause I make the illustrations and the design. I wish you all happy times, enjoy the cold, the snow. And if you living in the southern hempishere; enjoy the sun. X

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Gone Fishin'......

by Walter Mosley.
I'm interested in the south of the US, the appalachian, the bayous, the cajun music. I know the south is full of rednecks, but Im still fascinated. It is because some of my favorite music is recorded in the south of the US. It is old stuff, some of it recorded in the thirties and forties. (The Lomax Family did most of the job). A song sung by a young black boy on a plantation, a cowboy singing about the girl he loves and a gospel choir from the Georgian Islands (of the coast of Georgia)clapping wonderful rythms. Still one of my all time favorite songs is It just suits me sung by Bessie Jones and played by Hobart Smith. It's africa you hear, and europe, blended wonderfully together. (and you hear what is about to become rock 'n roll and funk)

The book Gone Fishin' is set in the deep south in, (i think), the thirties. The main character, Easy Rawlins is slowly taking charge of his life, while we read about him and his best friend Mouse. I could picture the dirt roads, the bayous, the voodoo. The rich white lady that owns all the land, her oil lamp lit porch, the suit of her uncle. The rambles shack houses where the poor black men drink moonshine, play cards and end their evening in a drunk mens fight. I could hear the dogs holler and cry. I know my view on the south is far from realistic. But isn't great that music, books, art, just creates a whole new world in its self? And the real south? I will go there one day. Buy an old pick up, find myself a dog, travel and talk to people. Something is pulling me to that side of the world and one day I have to go see for myself what it is like. (and in the meantime I have many more Mosleys book to read)

Here is a link to an amazing song, recorded in the late fifties, Bessie Jones, Hobarth Smith and several more. If you are interested in this kind of music, drop me a line. I would be more than happy to send you some.

Friday, 22 November 2013


by Greg Grandin. A wonderful non-fiction book about Henry Ford and the plantation he started in the Amazon in 1927. A book about America, capitalism, consumerism, unions, New Deal, cleanliness, war, and about the untameable Amazon. (and soy beans....) I loved the book, Henry Ford is complex, difficult man, a genius and a very stupid man in one. And the writer, he wrote a non-fiction book that reads like an exciting novel. And wow! how some of the decisions made by one man in the twenties still effect us today.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A marriage plot by......

Jeffrey Eugenides. The drawing is a lot darker than the book is. In fact, I loved the book. Personally I could relate to almost everything in the book and the book gave me deeper understanding of what depression feels like and what it means to some one. ( a true depression, not being moody for a day) Other books by Jeffrey Eugenides are Middlesex (recommended by Oprah, and also by me) and the Virgin Suicides, that most of you know from the movie I suppose. That's it for today, these are all my words; the drawing has to do the real work today.

Hope you had a lovely day. I did.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Today's Trouw

IM so happy with the work I do, the coffee I drink whilst working, the music Radio Paradise brings into my beautiful home sweet home, and mingles with my creative energy. A really nice job for Trouw last week. Happy with the result, wish you all a good weekend.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Stories I only tell my friends.....

by Rob Lowe. BY WHO? Rob Lowe. Yes. The actor Rob Lowe. I have two sisters and it is fun to mock with them. Unfortunatly they are quite good at mocking back. My sister found me a hand-me-down Rob Lowe biography. Since I was a Rob Lowe fan millions of years ago. I actual read the book. He's not a bad writer, ok, let's make it a compliment. He can write. It is an easy read, a bit funny, and he keeps you interested in what comes next. But really, 300 pages Rob Lowe's life? Even if it involves romances with Natasja Kinski, Princess Stefanie and friendships with Charlie Sheen, Mike Meyers and Jim Belushi.  He's a bit full of himself (or is that allowed in an autobiography?) but wants to come across as a genuine and modest guy. Oh well, I got what I asked for I guess, an autobiography by an actor. And the book made me curious to some of those old movies; About Last Night, the Outsiders. So I watched that last one, by Francis Ford Coppola, over the weekend. Scruffy old rock'n roll music, greasy hair and cool cars. Handsome actors (yes I'll give him that). All a bit over top, but entertaining. And sometimes that is just good enough.

And did any of you knew that TOM WAITS features in the Outsiders as well? Well he does.
(The drawing is my old room, from when I was a kid. )

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Today's Nrc H

Three big illustrations with a very inspiring subject; 'What is luxury to you?' The first article is an essay written by a woman who chose to work less hours and has more time on her hand now. To her that is real luxury (hear hear). The second article is about the change in the economy. The writer claims that the luxury I grew up with: choose work and education according to what you love doing, is no longer here. I loved making it, it was a real collaboration with the designer of this newspaper and im happy with the result. Have a lovely weekend. Marike

Friday, 11 October 2013

De droom van de Leeuw....

door Arthur Japin. Een Nederlands boek. De illustratie is geïnspireerd op het boek, maar ook een beetje op Berlusconi. Al lezende moest ik aan hem denken. Deels omdat het boek in Rome speelt maar ook door wat er gebeurd in het boek.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Brights Passage......

by Josh Ritter. His book is as charming and sprankling as his music is. Start your week with some of his good music here! And I hope the drawing gives you a happy monday morning feeling as well! Marike.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

The books I love, I love them for different reasons. Sometimes it is quite clear to me why I love a book so much, sometimes I just do and I can't really tell why. I just finished reading Black Swan Green (Dertien in de nederlandse vertaling) by David Mitchell. A wonderful book about a thirtteen year old boy (Justin) with a stammer, living in the little town of Black Swan Green.
Why did I love this book so much? I did not particularly liked the main character, nor was it  an exciting story (although that is also a pré).

Half way the book I realized I love the pace of the book. The speed of sentences, the length of the chapters. Smooth, beautiful and strong.  I loved the references to music throughout the book (the Smiths, the Talking Heads, the Beatles). And I loved being in the Uk, in a small town. Even if it was the eighties. And I think I even loved being picked on by my older sister.
And maybe it is the strong sense of knowledge that this thirteen year boy old will be ok, although all the odds are against him at this stage of his life. He is smart, he has talent. He will get out.
He just reminds me of all the quiet smart ones in highschool. The ones that did not stick out at the time.  The ones I encounter on the streets of Amsterdam. The directors, the artists, the writers.

The other book I read recently is 'Bean Trees' by Barbara Kingsolver. The cover of the book is so hideous that I felt I had to apologize to people. "It is literature, it really is"
I loved this book as well, although I could not relate to this character at all. She comes from small town just like Justin, and was as a kid part of the 'nutter' group. The ones who had to sell walnuts to pay for school. Kingsolver gave a good sense of humor and a good head on her shoulders. And she drives a beetle. (I don't need much fall for some one)
It is one of Kingsolver earlier books and this one shows bits of things that are important to her and made their way to all her other books.  Her love for the spanish language (such a interesting part of the Lacuna) Her love for everything that grows. (Flight Behavior) . And she brings across a message that is important to her. In this case; No man or woman is illegal. I never know whether to admire her for that, or the be a little annoyed with her schoolteacher finger pointing at me....
But this book, if softened my heart. It is sentences like this one:
"Is this from Guatamale" I asked.
She nodded. She looked almost happy.
"Sometimes I get homesick for Pittman an it's as ugly as a mud stick fence," I said. " A person would have to just ache for a place where they make things as beautiful as this."

Thank you Mrs. Kingsolver. I imagine you sitting on your porch, surrounded by trees and bugs, and other critters. Pondering over new stories to tell. I hope you do. Cause your stories move me every time.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Nrc.Next of today

An illustration about Apps, and how the thriving app-business creates new jobs all over Europe.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Black Swan Green.....

by David Mitchell.

Read more about the book here. Later more in my own words. But have to face it, most people write much better than I do...

Thursday, 12 September 2013


It was a summer day, my friend was wearing shorts, I turned the airco of the car on and we crossed the canal to the UK. Traveling makes my heart feel light and my brains feel bubbly. The beautiful houses of Royal Tunbridge Wells and the comfortable feeling of being a stranger. I love the childlike surprising view on the world that Im allowed to have when Im the odd one out. The questions you're allowed to ask, the extra time you can afford in a cafe, just sitting there enjoying things passing by. I took a windy road south, every time I came across a corner and a car my way came my heart jumped a little. Not out of a happy travel surprise but we drive on the other side of the road as they do in England. I past Alfriston, a quaint little town with teashops run by old ladies (I presume, I never went in one). In every valley it drizzled and every time i was back on a hill the sun was shining in my face. Until I made it to last hill, and there she was: the sea. Shining at me. The color of a blue/ green see through soda bottle. Seaford, a little town with lots of barbers, coffee shops and secondhand stores. The old caravan by the side of the road, with a NOT FOR SALE sign, made me smile. The 5 year old who was reading her Floppy is not well- book out loud. Wuuuh Aah nnnnn tuuuuh sssss. Wants. Made me cry, out of happiness. I walked on the cliffs and looked at all the old couples, holding hands, some of them. Or arguing. Some others. ('You are sooo stupid sometimes') On my way back I had tea at Jo's cafe, a crooked old building with a grassy car park. I walked in and the smell of old grease just hit me in the face. Jo's brought me some tea, and politely asked; is this too strong for you? (Jo must know; the dutch don't drink their tea as strong as the english do) She told me, we had a great summer, lots of guests. But the winters are difficult. We don't have heating, so it gets very cold in here. And yes, sometimes people drive up, see this old building and turn around again. But people love our food. And we are kind to every one. A few weeks ago, this transvestite walked in. Big guy, big legs, but all dressed up. Yeah we get all sorts of people in here. ' I left, but the stench of the grease stayed with me the rest of the way. I made to the boat, ordered coffee and struck up a conversation with the Portugeuse guy behind the coffee bar. He used to be a director of a company, worked in Italy, Portugal and Angola. Working on 5 million euro road plans. The crisis struck and now he was selling coffee on the boat. 12 hour shifts, 15 days in a row. Living and working on the vessel. Evening time, daytime. ' It is a good job' he said 'But you sort of think you life will get better, you go up and up. But now everything went down in my country. No pension for the elderly and the first minister told the young people; 'Get out, if you can, go somewhere else' I drank my coffee and had an amazing view on the sea and the black clouds. Halfway the ferry and home it started raining, I turned on the heating of the car and by the time I was home autumn had started. My favorite season.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


My aunt gave me an amazing collection of old pictures. Made by her cousin between 1953 and 1958. Her cousin travelled with three girlfriends to Austria, Italy and Denmark. Mostly by old Deux Chevaux (Lelijke Eend) and some bits by train. The pics are great, and a glorious inspiration. Brave women. No Lonely Planet, no Wifi, no Routeplanners. I know, im repeating myself from an earlier blogspot but that is how big my amazement is.... And how much I admire their curiosity. In a time when women had to have a lot more courage to go travel by themselves.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Inés, of my soul... Isabel Allende. 
As some of you know by now I'm a fanatic secondhand shopper. Whenever I need something I will do my utmost best to buy it second hand; my beautiful leather horse riding boots are second hand (brand new second hand). The beacon of my life; my blue espresso machine is secondhand and almost all of my furniture is secondhand. (I rather recycle than buy new...) The secondhand shop in neighborhood has a fantastic book-section. Yesterday morning I found Thirteen by David Mitchell, a book Arthur Japin (dutch writer) and a brand new copy of the Corrections by Franzen. (that will make a great gift...) So piles and piles of good books, but also loads and loads of shitty books, and many of the same titles. I've made a habit out of it: to find as many of the same books as I can and put them next to each other; 7 copies of 'Fall on your knees' by Ann McDonald. Prices all different, all orange and all the same size. (yes my idea of saturday morning thrill.... I fully understood if I lost all of you by now..) The Chilean writer Isabel Allende occupies an entire section within the book-section in this shop. I've read loads of her book, devoured them I should say. Last week a good friend gave me a book by her; Inés,, of my soul. It has been years since I read an Allende book and I was a bit hesitant. What if I was about to find out that she actually is the sentimental, crappy writer that I sometimes thinks she is... Inés, the main-character, sails from Spain to Chili, in 1537. She's a brave, woman (like al the Allende women), founder of Santiago (Chili) and of course there is love and passion (it is an Allende book after all). Inés Suárez ((c. 1507–1580) really existed and according to the acknowledgements none of the facts are influenced by her pathos imagination. (she quotes her critics here) I don't really care. I loved the story, I loved some of the historical facts. And the most important thing I learned: the Natives thought the bearded Spanish were foul smelling, They never bathed. Opposed to the Mapuches who bathed daily. (according to the Mapuches you could smell the Spanish a day away...) Just this one little fact, so contrary to my narrow minded conception that the Spanish would be cleaner than wild tribes, makes me love this book. But also, I will leave the other Allende books in the thrift store a little while longer. Maybe another time. But not for now. Now I have other books to read, David Mitchell for example. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Mosquito Coast ..... Paul Theroux. I read the first paragraph and already loved the book. I guess I love men who fulminate about all the things that are wrong in the them to a certain extend .... Mosquito Coast, and my all time favorite book; Poisonwood Bible by Kingsolver, there loads of similarities. Im not sure whether that is a good or a bad thing, is she a copycat or was she inspired by Mosquito Coast? Maybe some of the similarities are to honour Theroux? I don't know. Just read both books. Great reads, the stories linger on in my mind. Books to pick up from the shelf again. Oh books, and their marvelous writers, thanks for all the inspiration you give me!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Brave or Batty?

Drawing of two old, tanned man, (nickname the Brownies) who go swimming in icecold waters of Dorchester Bay, Boston.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Same place

The city of Amsterdam has been my home for 15 years or so. My first house was an old, bright apartment on the edge town. Blue walls, blue bathroom. I had lived in the of Utrecht for 4 years. Utrecht was easy for a country girl like me, but Amsterdam was different. The Amsterdam streets were just if not busier during the nights as during daytime. I got shouted at if I waited in front of a RED (!) trafficlight by the other cyclist and my upstairs neighbours ran both an illegal hotel and an a weedplantage in their apartment. All those things seemed perfectly normal in this city but I needed months to finally have the courage to buy my food at the tiny moroccon foodstore. Just across the corner from where I lived was this bar, called Same Place. This bar intrigued me. Somehow it looked different than all the other bars but it had a very feminist slogan on it's front, something like we are all the same. I didn't know wether it was a lesbian bar, a gay bar or just a congregation place of a feminist group. For years I passed it by without knowing and my curiosity dissapeared. A couple of years ago I cycled pas again and all of a sudden I realized: Oh it is a swingersbar. I laughed at myself. So blue for years. Today I cycled past again and waited in front of a red traffic light. (like every one does these days) and overheard a mum say to her teenage boy; " That is a swingersplace, isn't that crazy?' The boy shrugged and I crossed the corner. A guy looked at me and said "Love the smile". Yes Amsterdam. You still bring a smile to face.