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JULY 2022  |  #2
Hello wildflowers, here in The Netherlands it’s the season of loooooooong day light (sunrise around 5:15 am, sunset 22:00 pm). The birds start chirping long before that, I hear them around 4:15 am.

I love watching artist vlogs, especially those who inspire me to pay closer attention to the place where I live, see the beauty in it and start taking visual notes of it. Like Sandi Hester, Melanie Chadwick, and Sarah Burns do. (Granted, I think they live in a more beautiful place than I do, but that’s subjective, isn’t it?) 

Speaking about inspiring: there’s also this wonderful video by Magali, a young artist who went on a solo drawing trip to Scotland.

This e-letter we are going to talk about:
  • What’s YOUR art voice, part 2: Go explore!
  • Picturebook news
  • Work related RSI + plans
  • Tips and tricks for illustrators

Hope you enjoy!


“A lot of our creative flow comes from a place of curiosity and exploration. It often feels like we're excavating and asking questions and not just giving answers but really just exploring.” - Adrianne Lenker 

In part 1 of this series we talked about what makes you YOU, what makes you tick, what’s your story. To help you get started with exploring your own story, I shared a list of questions to ask yourself. I also gave a (rather short, I admit) explanation why I try to focus on art voice in stead of art style. (If you want to read more on that, I can highly recommend the book “Find Your Artistic Voice” by Lisa Congdon.)

This time we are going to look into exploration.

Read post >>>

The first book I ever illustrated is out now! “Klappende Rozen en Bloemen vol Boter”. It’s part one of a series written in Dutch by Margreet Schouwenaar. And we received the news that it will be available in Danish as well!

Have a little peek inside:
Many thanks to Margreet Schouwenaar for her wonderful story, and Clavis Uitgeverij and everyone working there - especially Philippe, Eva, Tom and Bram - for making this book possible. And thank you to my partner, family and friends who support me and cheer me on!

You can order a copy at Bol.comBruna, and Bookspot, among others. I wrote a little introduction blogpost about it, which you can find HERE.
(Detail of a page spread.)
Work related RSI and pain issues

After the good news, here’s some not so good news. Because I overworked myself and by doing so hurt myself in the process. So much so that we needed to decide to take me off the other books I was going to illustrate for Margreet Schouwenaar. That was a hard pill to swallow.

When I announced this pain issue on social media, I got so many comments and messages from other illustrators having similar or the same work related pains. Although it was comforting to know I’m not alone, it also made me wonder about the profession of illustrator versus health. Especially since (sorry to be the blunt Dutch person here) on the whole it’s not a well paid profession either. Maybe we should discuss these topics? Let me know what you think (links at the end of this letter).

(When you’re working a lot on Procreate, see a tip I’m sharing at the end!)

I will still finish the work for another book I was already doing for Clavis, called “Aroe”. (More on that another time.) But after that I will have to take a break.

And for the future I need to seriously reconsider my way of working and the style I’m working in. So what I’m suggesting in the article “Go Explore” above, I’m saying as much to myself as I’m saying it to you. I need to take more time to rest from work and screens, and go explore, with my sketchbook and camera.

Two of the inspiring people who are really good at taking their sketchbook work into creating picturebooks are Helen Stephens and Sarah Dyer. And they share a lot about how they work. Tons to learn from them!

Tips and tricks for illustrators
  • First I’d like to share a quick little image I made when with TheGoodShip ladies we talked about colour. I don’t remember the context exactly, but I shared this in their Facebook group. This is one way you could use to come up with a coherent colour palette when working digitally. (And please let me know if you have questions about it, cause I'm not sure if it's clear.)
  • Continuing with the topic of colour, I came across a really helpful video from Marco Bucci on the values (dark and light) of colours.
  • Luiza Normey has a brilliant course on colour on Domestika. I thought I knew a lot about colour, but I’m still learning so much from her!
  • Do you find you have to press so hard on the Apple pencil when working in Procreate on your iPad? James Julier’s video helped me enormously to solve that problem. Could have saved me from a lot of RSI pain, had I come across this earlier.

That’s it for now. There are so many more things I’d like to share with you, but this is getting long enough already.
Are there things you'd like to see discussed? I'd love to get your feedback. You can email me, find me on Instagram or use the contact form on my website.

For now, sending you sunny smiles and happy day wishes.

Till next time!


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© Wen Sylvestre


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