Discipline and the diary

November is all about drawing. It’s my focus this month. And not only up here at Tessie’s Projects, also in my non-digital daily life drawing is taking over. A serious project! More on that will follow. ASAP.

I’m no illustrator, have no serious talent when it comes to paper and pencil. But I like drawing (or in my case more scribbling and doodling). I like the idea of being able to draw. Being able to sketch what I see, even. Giving form to the ideas that hide in my head by putting pencil on paper. For my study Interior Design it is handy to have or develop sketching skills, too. It’s ideal if you’re able to quickly sketch the ideas of your client, for instance. So I try my hand at drawing, sometimes. The best way to develop sketching skills is the simplest way: start sketching. Every day. Not for 5 hours. Just one thing a day. A simple thing to start with. A mug. Your telly. Knives, forks. Whatever. Easy peasy. Child’s play.

But not for me. As always, when I have to (no, want to) practise things such as sketching, I start doubting myself. Get scared even. And to prove myself that indeed I won’t be able to, I set the bar too high. So I can’t reach. Easy peasy! Mostly this results in not doing it at all – procrastination. My favourite hobby. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. I love you. Tomorrow.
Same with writing. The ideas are enormous and are fired at me by my brain. I can’t keep up. So I stop before I even start. Even a simple diary must be a master piece. Let me illustrate (did you see that one coming?) this: in March 2013 I started a diary, inspired by a tip I read in some book. The tip was perfect, especially written for me: Just write one sentence a day in your one-sentence-a-day-diary. No pressure at all. And so I went to a cheap shop. Bought myself a cheap notebook. And a cheap ribbon. And I started. Of course I added an accompanying sketch a day to the just-one-sentence. To practice my sketching skills. Otherwise the bar would be too low.

It’s a shoe! A day, a sentence, a sketch.


It didn’t even last a month.

As it’s now November and I’ve sworn to draw a lot this month, I dug up the one-sentence-a-day-diary. And I’m gonna do it again. Every day. One sentence. One sketch. I’ll report to you.

To keep up the good work I often seek inspiration on the internet. There’s a lot of illustrators to be found, all unique and independent. It’s always inspiring take a good look at their technique, their fantasy, their solutions. Also, sketching-diaries are booming at the moment. Just type “visual journal” or “visual diary” on google and you’ll get results aplenty. My favourite isn’t a contemporary, however. It’s Christiaan Andriessen, who drew in his diary daily from 1805 – 1808. Trendsetter he! The book “De wereld van Christiaan Andriessen” (in English “The world of Christiaan Andriessen”) is the publication of this 19th century Dutch artist’s diary.

Christiaan Andriessen

From the trendsetter’s diary. Christiaan Andriessen.



Grab it! Or how my interior picks me.

The study Interior Design makes me think a lot about my own interior and it can be eye-opening at times. Recently one of the assignments was to make a mood board that resembled my own living room, that breathed the atmosphere of my own house. Just practice. And it got me thinking; I wasn’t sure if I my interior could be boxed in a certain style? It needed research. Going through the theory books that are the basis of my study I discovered a style called, and doesn’t this sound amazing, the intuitive style.




I live in a little apartment, on my own. In this house you’ll find what I tend to call a Mix ‘n Match interior. Finds, vintage, cheap stuff, too-much-money-spend-on antiques, furniture from the blue shop with the yellow letters. Nothing matches really, not many things belong together, few things are sets. But it all works. And visitors feel at home. Most of the time. Even amidst my famous clutter and sky-high piles. And always I wonder why. Why does it work…? Why do people feel at home in my abundance of colour and textures. Nothing is thought through really. I never think “Well, what style do I like, what will I choose? Oh, let’s opt for…!” So how does it come together?


This is how it mostly goes.

I find. Things. A lot of things. Or maybe they find me. Sometimes I get them from someone else (always a tricky one). I hardly ever go out with the one goal to buy a so-and-so, unless I really and most urgently need it. A chair just happens to be at the right place at the right time. Then I walk in. And the chair screams “Pick me!!!” and I do. It feels good. Love at first sight (never happens with men though…). And that’s the whole point of the intuitive style, to me. No endless thinking and measuring. Simply check how it makes you feel.

When I do go out to find something specific, I often end up buying something I don’t like (or I find things I don’t need but that still yell at me). Which is why in these cases I apply the trick of buying the best choice, at that blue shop with the yellow letters for example. These buys are mostly things that I label “to be replaced at a certain point in life by a certain replacement that picked me”. And I always trust that the replacement will appear, whether it be right now, a week later or in 10 years.

I can't make it any less chaotic...[ The mood board I made with bits and bobs that I found in my many drawers and pictures from old magazines. I choose 3 big pictures to form the background; pictures that breathe my taste. As you may notice, I like colour. But don’t think my house is all pink and glittery! I simply have a thing for flowers, prints, delft blue, ceramics, beads, pictures, piles of books and stuff, buttons, ribbons – I LOVE ribbons – fabrics, tea cups, glass… well, you get the picture. An indeed, you’ve got it right: I tend to be very clumsy, although my brain will stop me the moment I climb on a pile of books on a chair. My brain just picks a chair that spins around its own axis. ]


I love my things and furniture; they make me happy when I look at them. I bond really well with my teapot. The dining chair I upholstered myself still makes me smile. And maybe, because I really love them and they make me feel happy, they work well together? When friends ask me for interior advice “because they don’t have that feeling” that’s what I tell them: as long as you buy it because it somehow makes your heart jump with joy, it makes you smile, I don’t think you’ll make terrible decisions.


However, I could say all this above is my pitfall at the same time. I don’t think of a strategy. I don’t decide on a style, because I’m not really looking to label my style. At times this makes the assignments of my study a challenge within a challenge and I guess it tells a lot about me…

In reality an interior designer often works for clients who have their own style and taste. If that taste isn’t yours, you will have to let go of your own taste because it’s about the clients new interior. Secondly, there is a time schedule to stick to. A design for a bedroom, bathroom or kitchen can’t wait untill the right bathtub, sofa or table has found its way to you. You will have to go and find them. Sketch the ideas, draw it, make mood boards. Decide on colours and materials. And present that to the client. That is your responsibility. That is your job.


Groundbreaking discovery. Challenge to be grabbed with both hands.