Wednesday, December 29, 2010

watercolor combined with my digital drawings

Having a week off works wonders. I've cleaned up my studio and I've had time to experiment a little. This is what I've come up with. A watercolor background on nice colors with my digital drawing in front of it.
This way I can achieve interesting color combinations that would be a great addition to any livingroom or bedroom! I've chosen colors that add something to the bird, and that I just like.
I often use 'analogue' hand sketched elements, or start with pencil and paper. This is another element that adds to the mixed media nature of my work. I am happy with it!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

European Greenfinch debuts.

With all the snow on the ground here; a staggering 45cm/ half a yard, which is a lot for Dutch standards, the birds have a really hard time to find food. So before Christmas I decided to stock up on bird food, and cover the whole garden with feeders and bird seed. With result! Of course a lot of birdies were happy and blackbirds, pigeons, starlings, dunnocks, great tits and blue tits gathered to their Christmas dinner. But there was also a new kid on the block. The Green finch usually never stops by our house, but now it is so hard to find food, he stops by with two familybmembers! I hope he can soon find food in his own place again. Until that time I help them where I can, and enjoy their company too!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Creativity as therapy

It has very little to do with drawing birds. But it just made me happy. There is therapy in creativity. And today I found some in making this mini moss garden. It is not quite like a moss terrarium, as it is not closed and self sufficient. This one needs water. I got a fabulous glass bowl from Santa this year and today I went out and bought pebbles, soil, moss and some tiny plants. No more than 14 euro. For everyone who's tempted; fill the bowl with washed pebbles(wash in a bucket of water with a sift) I used 5-8mm gravel. Then cover the surface with soil and place the plants that need the soil the most. Then build the different types of moss around it. I had Islandic Moss, Spagnum and some other type I don't know by name. The holes between plants and moss I filled with more pebbles.
I am going to buy these miniature guinea pigs to place on it to give you the idea it's a landscape.

Right, now I am off drawing birds again!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My dad's birthday and the birth of Le Ruffec!

After a final session of 4 hours non-stop drawing (no food, no bathroom stops) he's done!
This one I made for my dad. It's his birthday tomorrow, the 18th! After asking about his favorite bird when he was young he said: "The Ruffec!"
In the old days, my grandfather was very active in the sport of pigeon racing. And when my dad was a young boy he wanted to have a pigeon to look after too. He got a pair of pigeons he could pet and feed. And to everyone's surprise the male of these lovebirds flew from Ruffec, France home to his lady in the second fastest time! So my dad as a young boy won a prize with his bird! After a while it turned out that the first prize winner had cheated and my dad got the first prize: 25 gulden($15). Alas, this was confiscated by granddad to buy food for the pigeons. But the honor and pride he felt, caring for the birds lasts longer!

Happy birthday dad! Here's to many many healthy and happy years to come!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gift Certificate for Pillow cases (or any other item)

Now available in my Etsy shop: A gift certificate. Let's say you know your friend, sister, wife, girlfriend, daughter, daughter-law, mother, mother-in-law or all these people in a male version will like my pillowcase, give them this certificate. Of course if they prefer something else like a set of prints, they can use the certificate too!

It also relieves the last minute present-buying-stress, as you will receive the certificate by e-mail in pdf and you can print it out!
You will receive the certificate within two days after payment.

There are MirthQuake Gift Certificates available in any amount. Just convo me with the amount you would prefer and I will set up a listing!
If you prefer an actual mailed version, let me know. Its shipping is free, but of course takes longer to arrive. If you want me to e-mail or mail it to someone other than yourself, let me know in the message to seller as well.

Click here to buy it in my Etsy shop

Le Ruffec 3 - work in progress

This is Le Ruffec with freckles and the greenish glow on the neck. Going to let my arm rest a bit now!

Friday, December 10, 2010

A bit more of the pigeon

Here it is, the head the eye of my previous post belongs to!
It only is the rough version. More to come soon!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Racing Pigeons -a dilemma

I am making a work for my dad. He's supported my business and his birthday is coming up. What would be better than draw a bird for him that meant something to him.
He occasionally reads my blog, so I am ruining the surprise here, but after asking about his favorite bird when he was young I think he probably got the clue. So when I asked him he said: "The Ruffec!"
In the old days, my grandfather was very active in the sport of pigeon racing. And when my dad was a young boy he wanted to have a pigeon to look after too. He got a pair of pigeons he could pet and feed. And to everyone's surprise the male of these lovebirds flew from Ruffec, France home to his lady in the second fastest time! So my dad as a young boy won a prize with his bird! After a while it turned out that the first prize winner had cheated and my dad got the first prize: 25 gulden($15). Alas, this was confiscated by granddad to buy food for the pigeons. But the honor and pride he felt, caring for the birds lasts longer!

My dad isn't into pigeon racing now. And personally, I do not like the sport much. I love birds, especially the ones in the wild. And I know there are people in this sport that adore their birds, I also know there are people that don't care for the birds, and it is all about the prize, not the love for the bird. Of course for my dad I can say he took good care of The Ruffec!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Newsletter November

Here's a copy of my newsletter of november!!

November had a good start for MirthQuake: My webshop's name was mentioned in several newspapers here! There was an article on Etsy and my shop was first in the list op tips! And Dutch website has selected me for their website. They collect all kinds of webshops for people who look for cool and hip new things! The highlight was the interview Jane Hardjono made. She made a great Youtube clip on my work!

Next to that I have some small things to share with you like my hummingbird and my new 24x24 inch pillow cases (60x60 cm)

A huge honor: interview by Jane Hardjono of The Dossier. +YouTube clip! Last month I had a visit from Jane Hardjono, a journalist who moved from Australia to Eindhoven. Because she looked at Eindhoven with new eyes, and wanted to become a part of the city, she decided to collect all things she could find on design in Eindhoven and write about whatever she came across on her website The Dossier. And so she came across my work for an interview. After an afternoon of chatting about all kinds of things she had enough material for her article. Read it and watch the YouTube clip about my work!!!

Pillowcases! Things are going well with the pillow cases. So I decided to add a new larger type: for 24x24 inch pillows! Read about it here. They will be up in my shop soon! Here are the first four:

My newest illustration: The Rufous Hummingbird! I met this little hero in Canada. A rufous hummingbird lady had crashed into the window pane of our cabin. We thought she would die, which of course would've been terrible. Thankfully, after being warmed up on my hand she got up an flew away. Read the whole story here. What an amazing experience! Anyway, when I got home I started on a new work that is made up of different hummingbirds. This is the first one:the male. I got to know them as fanatic, sometimes aggressive but brave little birdies. For such tiny and cute little birds that is so fascinating!


I have put a few phases of the illustration in progress with explanation on my blog for who would like to see how I work. A peek in the kitchen!

Lately I have been ....

...sewing more pillowcases!

... adding more birds to my wishlist: The bald eagle, the Chickadee, the dark eyed Junco en Steller`s jay.

...refilling the birdfeeders a lot. And you?

All the best,

Myrte de Zeeuw.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Youtube interview by Jane Hardjono of THE DOSSIER!

Last month I got a visit from Jane Hardjono, the writer behind The Dossier. The Dossier is a website covering any design or art related thing in Eindhoven, also known as the Dutch Creative Files. Jane moved from Australia to Eindhoven and decided to embrace whatever it was she encountered. Eindhoven is a great city, but harder to settle into than for instance extrovert Amsterdam. Jane looks and finds! Next to The Dossier Jane works as a writer and 'practitioner of the Art of Communication'

When she visited me, I didn't know what to expect. I had never had the honor to be faced with a journalist who was probably going to ask tough questions about my work that I didn't know how to answer properly. And inevitably my answers would make my work look odd. I think after the 3 seconds after our handshake that psychologists say is needed to make a click or not, I felt calmer. And the rest of the afternoon was spend chatting about ALL kinds of things. Womanhood, art classes, high heels and of course BIRDS!

I was in Turkey when Jane e-mailed me the interview was done and placed on her website. I didn't have much time to check it, but when I did, I was so happy, honored and humbled. It did express who I am and why I draw birds. It gave me more confidence in calling myself an artist!

She made a clip she placed on Youtube you see here, and a written interview.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Rebel is done!

I know he was a part of this sketch, and trust me, he will be, but I've grown to love him and decided to give him a audience of his own. The male Rufous Humming bird represents the moody and agressive side of Humming birds that I saw in British Columbia. Read about my amazing moment in Mount Robson holding an unconscious hummingbird here. They have a feisty determination that I find very inspiring for such a little birdie!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Linesheet; an Overview of my prints

To help my customers a little, I've set up a modest linesheet of my work. It also gives me an idea of what the balance in color I have now. And I see that there are a lot of birds that are not represented in both categories. This means I have a lot of work to do! Updates will follow to this post!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pillow cases 24x24 inch / 60x60cm!

As I am a professional pillow case maker now, I keep an eye on what happens in my market;) Recently I saw a lot of big pillows in interior magazines. I was finding out how big they had to be and if there were pillow case inserts for them in the USA and Canada. 24x24 inch and our European 60x60cm pillow inserts would be the easiest to find now.
As I was researching, a customer approached me with the same question; do my pillowcases come in larger sized versions? So I decided to speed my designing up a bit and order the same organic cotton sateen for these new size pillow cases.
One more month and they will be in my shop as a Little Owl, English Robin, Winter Wren and pair of Crested Tits!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Crested Ttits on Fabric!

I've been trying to get my crested tit illustrations onto fabric. It took me quite long to get the dull repetition out of the design. I hate it when you see where the 'press' hits the fabric again. It is like being in the bathroom and looking at the tiles. I always ( and everyone probably knows the feeling) look for where the next tile of the prefab mosaic starts. I have it with patterns on fabric too. I go look for the same flower that is horizontally aligned. So I did my best to prevent that, or at least not make you see it in 0.01seconds.
The first version is on a light pink cotton voile/lawn for a light blouse with a victorian collar and pintucks. This is the first image. The birdies fly all over teh canas and look happy amongst the cherry blossoms. (already thinking about spring fashion)

Then there's the version that should look stripey. I know, I just claimed I didn't like to see repetition and here I go creating stripes. But I thought this time it would look nice. Add a nice touch. This one will be printed on basic organic cotton. I am thinking about a nice summer dress. A bit retro an bit new. A bit like in this post. The dress in the middle. Or perhaps when the fabrics arrive I will have another idea that I like better. I guess I have to be patient. It takes about a month before my fabrics arrive! Can't wait!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Peek inside my kitchen: Phase 2 to 11

So here's another bit of how I work: After the sketch phase I make fills that rouchly get the color they're supposed to end up with. This leads me to figure out where the different segments of the bird are: head, crown, wings. I use them as guides to paint the bird with its final feathers. The bird starts with 7 outlines, and in the phase on the right, he has over 3000 pencil strokes. Mind you, he is not ready. Sometimes I don't like an area and paint all over it again. I never delete anything. It is like a canvas that just gets painted again. No need to delete. The feather underneath another feather plays an important role too!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Rebel

Here's the moody cutey: The male of the hummingbird piece I am working on. This is what hummingbirds stand for, at least, for me
I saw two of them fighting each other when there was soom enough for 20 hummers.
what I also love about them is the white spot behind their eye. It adds a cartoonesque look to the little fellow. Honestly I didn't make it up!
I'll bet this rebel without a cause scares even the biggest of birds!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Peek inside my kitchen

As you could read here, sketching is always the start of another bird. No matter how ugly the sketch may be, along the way I will always look for the paper or the file of the initial idea of the bird.
I might want to change the place of the bird on the sheet, adjust the
roundness of the belly, (I like chubby birds) or make the bill longer/shorter. Personally I always think sketching shouldn't take too long. Colors will eventually create the bird, but I always have to tell myself; if everything looks good on the sketch, then it will be much easier to make the bird better in a later stage.

Here's the color pallette of the male rufous hummingbird. I like working randomly with colors. When I need one, I will mix one up, instead of getting back to an orange I have used before. This will make it look more alive, I think. So in the end there may be 50-100 types of orange in one bird.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

First of 50- the Three Crested Tits

I am having so much fun with my printer it is totally ruining my plan to finish my Canadian birds! I have printed out a work I have not placed in my etsy shop yet, but already published on Flickr and Facebook. Now I have finally printed the first issue of the limited edition of 50 of my Three Crested Tits. They're a family of course. This is their story:

Here they are, three members of the pack of crested tits we saw hunting through the woods. When you hear them making 'krr krr krr' sounds, and then find them way up in a conifer tree, what strikes you first is their fairytale like little heads. They have pretty bright brown eyes, and that combined with their mohawk style haircut is a cute and fascinating sight. They move quickly and carefully follow you around pretending to mind their own business. Pretty quickly they will lose interest in you and focus on each other and their food again. It makes you want to join the pack.

See the listing here.

I am so crazy about the hahnemühle paper I have found. It is made of a by-product from the sugar industry and in the process they use renewable energy and environmentally friendly resources. It is 300grams- very nice and heavy weight- has a lovely structure that absorbs the colours in such a fabulous way. I am printing all day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Tote Bags

This weekend I finally had some time to focus on adding new things to my etsy shop. Boyfriend was playing in the South of the Netherlands with his bike and some friends so I had 3 days to do as I pleased.(And eat what I wanted not to forget!) It resulted in listing 3 new bags and sorting out a lot of small flaws in my listings. I found new energy in cleaning up. It is I thing I am becoming aware of: a cleaned up place is pretty okay. Don't tell my mom. ("I told you so!") I guess it comes with age.
I actually want one for myself, but I have a deal with myself that I can only keep misprints or damaged goods. But I don't have any damaged bags yet. I keep them safely in a box so nothing can happen to them. So I guess I am going to send all these bags out to new hip owners.

Take a closer look here:
Eurasian Jay Tote bag (not pictured here)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Inspiring people Jane and Daniela

Last friday I had a fabulous Aussie in my studio: Jane Hardjono from The Dossier. The Dossier is a blog that focuses on anything creative happening in Eindhoven. I think the only blog in English that will get you to the design heart of Eindhoven. We had a great conversation about all kinds of things. From high heels to true Dutch cliches. But we also talked about the phenomenon artist, and how I feel about that term. Jane writes inspiring articles about artists and designers so she asked me some in-depth things that I hadn't given any thought yet. (later more on Jane and The Dossier)

Sometimes artists do what they like and not necessarily what the audience viewing the so called art like. It got me thinking; I think I need to make things that people like, or at least it would be hard for me to continue doing what I do if no one would respond to it in some way to it. Just when I started to figure that out I got a message from Daniela, and ornithologist from France. She told me she reads this blog regularly and ordered a cross stitch pattern of the King Fisher. She looked forward to creating things herself in her craftroom. All lovely things. She ended her lovely message with:"I hope you'll keep designing for many years to come!"
I tell you this is the type of response that I am making my work for. Perhaps it is like this: If you do what you love, there will be people who love what you do!

Thanks so much Jane and Daniela, for inspiring me!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hummingbird work in progress

Before I start to work on any bird I have in my mind a rough sketch. With the colored background birds I need to investagate how the bird looks the best in my opinion. For instance with the Blue Jay I wanted to show its lovely back with stripes like a decorated Lord or something. The feathers of his head had to be straight up to show you how majestic and statuesque he is. It matches the story I wrote about him. There is not a lot of composition going on, artistically speaking. The most comes forth out of the lighting. The dark pole on which he is sitting, versus the bright blue feathers and the orange background. It is orange for a reason: it is the complimentary color of blue. So he stands out even more.
But for the hummingbird it would seem dull and not very true to life to fill my digital canvas with just one bird! I want to express that this is really a small birdie and just showing one would not make that point. And then there's the fact that the hummingbirds are very interesting to observe when there's more than one. They interact so swiftly eventhough they're loners. So now I thought of a few styles or positions I would like to draw them in. Hovering over flowers, drawing nectar from the flowers, just sitting there like a moody little bird( I LOVE their moody, irritated look) And then there's the cute thimble-like nests they stuff their two kids in, which I am crazy about. That makes 4-5 birds. It also means I have to practise. Because like with the crested tits , they have to look alike, simply because they are the same kind, but yet look like they are different persons. I use so many colors in one bird, and I never know exactly how many. For multiple birds have to remember the colors a lot better so they don't look too different and still change a bit to make it interesting.
But another thing is composition. I have to know in advance where the birds will be and where the light comes from. Below is a rough sketch of how I hope my birds will fit together nicely, and still not get into a fight. I want to add another moody one in the lower section of the work, to make the composition a little more dynamic and versatile. Of course it doesn't look like much, but it is just a map of who will be next to draw. Now I will have to get to work and determine the colors!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stranger by the road: Northern Flicker

On Vancouver Island there was a bird sitting by the old highway through Qualicum Beach that I could not identify. We drove at normal speed towards Campbell River and I saw it very quickly. I always have a notebook with me to remember places, songs on the radio and of course birds. So I sketched a bit while driving, so excuse the result. The bill was Jay-like, the head brown and there was a distinct black crescent spot on his chest. Pretty easy to find I thought. I had just downloaded an app on my iPhone to be able to identify new birds quickly. But as with a lot of apps that should recognise things one way or the other: it did not work.

My iPhone app kept telling me it was a Cowbird. "Perhaps some local mutant," I wondered. It didn't look like one. Later we really saw a Cowbird and I missed the white spots I saw on the stranger by the road.
Martijn didn't agree with the label Cowbird with this new bird either. :"It is just a crow."
"But it flew in a sine wave kind of way."
"What? " Another discussion! ( If anyone knows how cowbrids fly: let me know!)
Today I stumbled upon a picture of a Nothern Flicker and Eureka! This was the stranger by the road!
photo from:

What a beautiful bird! What great and trendy colours. I would like a blouse with a print of his chest, with black peter pan collar of course and a skirt in the hues of his tail.
This discovery saves me the frustration of another personal Vancouver Island frustration. Three years ago I thought I saw a big dark cat-thing or cougar, but I saw it from the car, and it was not safe to stop (we're not the wild life-jam creators) so I will never know(yeah yeah, chances are slim, but tell me what it was then!). I am very glad that this doesn't turn into another myth, having to convince people that I saw this bird("Sure, probably a crow"). Although I understand it is easier to believe than the cougar story.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Interview with me! On Dutch Handmade!

A group of creative women in the Netherlands run the blog called Dutch Handmade. They all sell on Etsy and love to browse around the platform for Etsy sellers from The Netherlands.
One of them: Marylin Grando wanted to interview me. Such an honor. Thank you so much Marilyn!! She has asked me all kinds of things about my work, my future plans and . And I just kept on rambling of course.

This is how she introduced me:
Crafty Ladies and Gentlemen, brace yourselves! I am happy and very glad, to have again stubled upon this creative designer, Myrte de Zeeuw. [...]This week we'll ask the 'feathers off off her birds!' And luckily she is very willing to fill us in on the details of her craft. [...]Do not hesitate to visit her shop, she makes the coolest bird prints, paper goods, pillows, card sets and jewellery items.
Read the entire interview! And check out some of the other articles and creative Dutchies on there!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mount Robson's a place to be!

And then there's another place that means something to me in Canada, starting this vacation. Mount Robson. The hummingbird incident happened there, and next to that it is a great place to sleep, raft, and eat! Mount Robson and more specifically Mount Robson Lodge , Mount Robson Whitewater Rafting and The Goat restaurant (where's that website Dave?)
To make clear how nice the cabin was at Mount Robson
Lodge I only have to show you one picture, the one of the view from the cabin:

That should be enough to convince you. But beside that, the family, The Cinnamons, running the place are really friendly. We talked to Gloria and Jody and his dad Paul, they told us loads of things about nature and the surroundings. They are truly dedicated to their guests and love Mount Robson. Jody filled me in on the fact that hummingbirds tend to fly against the window pane occasionally. His dad told us some nice places to go. The cabins are great, but you can also stay on the campsite. This is the area where you can see the Salmon jump up from the Fraser river. We saw only one because it was a little early in the season at Rearguard Falls, but a few miles south-west you can see a lot of them at Swift Creek. I just hope they monitor how tourists behave around those places. I, of course will always be a good girl. You can just sit by the water and watch the huge fish in the shallow creek. Unbelievable.

To find out just how fast and powerful the rapids are that salmon have to swim against, you can try some rafting at Mount Robson Whitewater Rafting. This was a personal victory for me, and I am proud of it, eventhough we were well looked after, it was scary in the beginning. Walking up the Stawamus Chief in Squamish had given me a panic attack on 10 meters from the top, so I was pretty nervous about rafting. I clung to a tree and that was the end of the climb for me! So what if I freak out in a boat: that's bad. Or if I panic in a boat in a rapid, oww, bad too. Or what if I panic in a boat-in a rapid-where I am expected to paddle because 6 others want to get out safely too? Worse. Luckily there was Shawn to guide 6 inexperienced tourists and Brett on call in his kayak. Cowboys ride waves in 2010. We were only a group of 6, so surely they could each save 3 people right? Shawn told us how it all worked and what to do in case of a (wo)man overboard. I listened very carefully and he was very funny about it, but still serious and professional enough to make me NOT FORGET. In the raft he told us all kinds of things about the surroundings, important places, people and of course to paddle FORWARD!!!!! Because we weren't drowning Brett had time for some moves with his kayak. The rapids were fantastic, and I could go on for hours! The rollercoaster feeling but then better, and more beautiful.
While I was calming down in between rapids with the stories Shawn told, I incidentally saw an American Dipper(check!) who has a love for rivers too. As long as tourists don't drown or act annoyingly, this must be a great job. Bruce who also made the photographs picked us all up and took us back to the lodge&campsite.
Photo courtesy Bruce from Mount Robson White Water Rafting.

The food at The Goat is wooonderful. A Dutch stomach doesn't respond well to daily fastfood, so looking for a good restaurant was always a priority. Dave, who is the owner and proprietor of The Goat does a fabulous job in making good food that is not too light for a hike( I walked up to Kinney Lake within the hour on his French Toast with Blueberries and Crumble) but not too heavy to drag yourself up the hill either. Just perfect. I like eating veggie (no, I am not a vegetarian, more a demi'tarian, I eat less meat, not every day, you know) and Crazy Dave is also Creative Dave. His meals have names like: Crazy Dave's Favorite Thing To Eat. And really, it will be worth the chance. When I wanted to order his delicious veggie burger again the second night we were dining there, he recommended the bean lasagna. A huge leap, I was afraid it might not be as delicious as the first night when I had the veggie burger. " It'll be better." he said. I was not disappointed.

Just seeing the photographs - I just know I will be back in cabin #2 one day!

Ceci ce n'est pas une dead hummingbird- thankfully!

Back from an amazing vacation in Canada! The land of lumberjacks and bears (love them both equally). And also the land where I would shop for new birds to draw! Even the most ordinary bird can make me jump up and down. Ever since my first trip to Canada I knew it is hard to find a country that has more of what I want: the sheer beauty of nature and the wild! They are so close to the normal world in Canada. Just when you think you can handle it, rafting the rivers, walking up the mountains, you realise it is so big and powerful and you feel small again.
In all this great beauty, I was fascinated by the little things. Little things with feathers that I can draw!
In Victoria I saw the first hummingbirds, but they were so high up a tree that I gave up on photographing them. In a lovely place in Mount Robson(later more on this) I saw two of them feeding on one of those sweetened water bird feeders. I jumped up and tried to photograph it, but she/he saw me of course, and took off. A couple of blurred pics as a result.

Then the day of our departure; I woke up and a hummingbird was lying on the patio of our cabin. It looked dead. Quite dead indeed, little paws up in the air, eyes shut. This wasn't going to be my hummingbird kodak moment was it?? I looked at it and wanted to check if it was still breathing. I got a teaspoon to lift it, and put it in my hand to have a good look. Suddenly it opened its little eye and there was hope! For 15 minutes I sat motionless(besides of moving to make a picture) and hoped the warmth of my hands might help him recover on that chilly morning. Then I turned it over-little feet down- because, well it seemed more comfortable to me, for the little fellow. Within seconds it opened both its eyes and carefully tested its wings, and flew off. Of course I didn't have time or the notion to photograph that because I was jumping up in the air. It flew a bit uneasy and not as fast as they can, but it went safely to a tree. Only glad it didn't get a heart attack and died on the spot anyway from seeing me when he woke up.

Say Jay...

The ShorePine Bog Trail in Tofino( Pacific Rim National Park)must be one of my favourite places on this earth. It is a boardwalk over a swampy area with pine trees. You feel like you're the only person on earth when you're there. It has a fairytale-like feeling. The first time I was there it was a bright blue sky and we heard young eagles crying for their mother. This time it was cloudy, but the bright green pine trees were radient nonetheless. We also had a good look of this Steller's Jay, that was still figuring out if it was interested in us or not. He(or she) came closer, and then he changed his mind and took a few hops back. Then we continued our hike, and it came back again. We took a few photographs, and although he was close, there was always a branch in the way. It looks like he is the gothic cousin of the blue jay. I think it is a pretty amazing bird!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Baby blue titmouse

A while ago we had a family of blue tits nesting in our very own birdhouse. It took them a year to discover the birdhouse, but then it was sold and occupied by April. We missed the little ones flying out for the first time, but I just came across a video that filled me in perfectly on how it must've looked:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The crested tit

Here they are, three members of the pack of crested tits we saw hunting through the woods. When you hear them making 'krr krr krr' sounds, and then find them way up in a conifer tree, what strikes you first is their fairytale like little heads. They have pretty bright brown eyes, and that combined with their mohawk style haircut is a cute and fascinating sight. They move quickly and carefully follow you around pretending to mind their own business. Pretty quickly they will lose interest in you and focus on each other and their food again. It makes you want to join the pack.

The crested tit, almost a family!

There are 2 crested tits done, but one is still waiting to get out of my pen! Patience, my dear!

Freedom! And a day in my garden.

A few months back a received a job offer and after thinking it through I have decided to return to my previous employer. It is a ladies wear manufacterer, but I will now fill the position of Head of Design. An enormous challenge and I am very proud to be asked to do this. I have missed fashion when I did my bird illustration, and missed something really true to my heart like the birds are, when I was only a fashion designer. Right now I hope to have found the perfect combination. To find a challenge in the area of management, fashion design and still feel my freedom when I draw my birds. Adjusting to this new tripod in my life took some time, but I think I am getting the hang of it. I have redesigned my studio so I have easy access to my birds, but can also spend a day figuring out what to design for next season. it does take off a lot of stress of having to sell my things and although I have less free time, I feel to have gained more freedom! So lying in the grass of my backyard, with the sparrows above me in our trees feels so much better now.

My plans for my birds stay unaltered. I have made more new pillows, and other new products will be added soon.
Here's the first: Art for your garden! Sure, now the weather is still lovely and sunny, you see loads of flowers all over to brighten your day. But be prepared for what will happen this fall. Then you will need some colour to keep the blues away!
All my birds can be printed on this sturdy wind/rain/sunproof material. Any size or shape is possible. Pictured here is the european Robin 1x1 meters/ a little over a sqaure yard. Price for then screen pictured:65 USD/50EUR (excl shipping)
Inquiries:Mirthquake at

Een tijdje terug ben ik door mijn vorige werkgever gevraagd terug te keren, en na goed nadenken heb ik de sprong gewaagd. Het is een leverancier in de dames fashion en ik ben hoofd van de styling afdeling geworden. Een enorme eer. Ik mis ontwerpen als ik alleen zou illustreren en heb iets dicht bij mijn hart nodig zoals mijn vogels. Nu hoop ik de perfecte combinatie van Managment, vogels, en fashion te hebben gevonden. Het heeft even geduurd voor ik deze driepoot onder controle had, maar ik heb er een goed gevoel over. Ik heb mijn sutdio weer eens omgebouwd zodat ik snel kan wisselen tussen voorjaar 2011 fashion en mijn vogels. Al heb ik minder tijd, ik kan met meer plezier werken aan mijn vogels, en voel er meer vrijheid bij. Dus als ik nu in mijn achtertuin lig met de mussen die boven me kwetteren, voelt dat veel beter!

Mijn grote plannen zijn onveranderd wat betreft mijn vogels: Er zijn weer wat nieuwe kussens bij, ik heb ook nog nieuwe producten gevonden die ik ga toevoegen. De eerste, een tuindoek: kunst in je achtertuin! Nu ziet het er nog vrolijk en kleurrijk uit in je achtertuin, bloemen en de zon, maar wacht maar tot het najaar komt: Dit tuinzeil houdt de blues op afstand en helpt je de kleurloze seizoenen die nog komen door. Al mijn vogels zijn te bestellen op dit stevige regen-, wind- en zonbestendige doek. Iedere maat of vorm is mogelijk. Hierboven zie je de roodborst op1x1 meter. Prijs van dit voorbeeld: 50 Euro excl. verzenden.
Mail naar: mirthquake at

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pencil skirt with the Little Owl - ORGANIC COTTON!

Finally I have managed to get something done. I have been ill for a couple of days but todat spring is in the air and I am feeling much better. I have sewn the first sample of my little owl pencil skirt. I will custom make this pencil skirt for the buyer. It features my little owl on dark green organic cotton. It has a high waisted look and looks fabulous with a belt and a blouse.
I have been planning it for ages, but now finally it is done!
The material is 100% organic cotton sateen. The skirt is fully lined with a polyester lining and the waistband has a zipper and a hook&eye closure. The skirt also has a slit to make you move ever so lady-like! The standard length of the skirt is 59cm/23.2 inch but I can change this. The maximum size that I can make is 126cm/50inch(US size 22/EU size 52) due to the width of the fabric. However if you have a bigger hip than that I can order suitable fabric nonetheless, but it will be more than the listed price.
For more info, see my etsy shop!

Friday, March 12, 2010

New pillows soon to come!

Things are going really well with my collection of pillows! This calls for a new series of birds to be printed and sewn into pillowcases! This time the blue jay, the nutcracker, the seagull, the sparrow, the blue tits and the little owl are the lucky ones to hopefully fly around the world to a new home. In three weeks I expect them to be ready for you!

Het gaat erg goed met mijn collectie kussenhoezen. Dat vraagt natuurlijk voor een nieuwe serie vogels die geprint en in elkaar gezet zullen worden. Deze keer zijn het de blauwe gaai, de notenkraker, de meeuw, de mus, de pimpelmezen en de steenuil die op de kussens gezet zullen worden, en hopelijk de wereld rond zullen vliegen naar hun nieuwe thuis. In drie weken verwacht ik dat ze klaar zijn voor je!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

There's a bird in the kitchen

So here are the birds I have selected for my tea towels. Within the next 3-5 weeks I will list them. First they have to be printed and of course... sewn by me. Hooray for handmade! They will be printed on linen cotton canvas. More news will follow soon!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bags, a test!

I have been thinking about making bags ever since I came bag from New York last fall. Now I finally found the time to make one from the pillow fabric that I ordered as a test run. I want to have fabric printed especially for this goal, and I am thinking of small cute canvas handbags with my birds placed in funny angles looking around. More will follow soon.
This bag has two pockets and is made of cotton. It is big enough for a laptop and some books.
You can take a better look here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Here's another peek inside my work, for who's interested. Here you can see a little of what happens before I start coloring. I have made a pencil sketch and defined a general outline. There is no reason for me to actually stay inside the lines, but it gives me a clue on where to go. In patches I define color. Here you see that I have altered the eye and the crest of the bird already, compared to my previous post. I don't work very systematically. What works best for me is to work on something that bothers me. If I don't do it immediately, I get blocked and don't see it anymore. Then I have to take a walk.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Work in progress, the crested tit

Now I am thinking about it I might as well post some work in progress on my blog. I have been planning for a long time, but I always forget. This is a detail of the three crested tits I am drawing. It still needs some work of course but this is the base. I always start with a sketch and then add some base color. If that is done I really don't feel like it is going anywhere until I add the eye. At this stage I am filling in the base feathers. Below the wireframe image of every stroke I make. There are over 6000 strokes done already. This what makes working with graphic software so nice. You get to know silly things like how many times your pen touches the 'paper'. A big part of a good representation is the movement of the feathers.

In the meantime I have enlarged the eye a little and I am now half way through the process of making the first one. I want to display them with a branch of a spring flower. But I am still looking at which flowers are most suitable.


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