I finally found some time to crawl behind my drawing table. Saturday morning. It is quiet in the street and in the house. I smell the delicious, familiar scent of my drawing pencils. Again, I’m a bit surprised about the drawing in front of me. I have been working on it for weeks, but because of my extremely busy days, I just couldn’t finish it. Still, with all these ten minutes here and 20 minutes there, I made good progress.
As I start putting lines on the paper with a sharp, green colored pencil, my thoughts quickly drift away. That is the great thing about illustrating. My hands do the work and my head can rest for a while. What if I had to choose between illustrating and writing, what would I rather do, I suddenly think. Writing is easy for me. The stories take place in my head like a Hollywood movie, including the music. I only have to write them down. It flows out of my pen too often. The biggest problem with writing is a lack of time. Because, just to let you in on a secreet between you and me, there is still a novel in my head that needs to be written. Everything is in its time and now there is no time for a novel…yet. No, I don’t think I could ever stop writing.
Illustrating then? Could I ever give that up. I’ve drawn all my life. Much to my mother’s displeasure, I was even drawing in church during the sermon. I loved and love doing it. It makes me happy. While the rest of my life is often a chaotic bad soap where I never seem to have any control on what happens, I can decide on what happens in my stories and drawings. I decide how something or someone will look like. How it comes on paper, what the picture will look like. It is relaxing. Nobody is breathing down my neck. But most of all nobody complains about the result. I don’t have to answer to anyone, like when I have to do too often in my work. There has been a long time that I no longer had time to draw, too busy with my company and two young children, but once I started again, I realised what I had missed. As if my very best friend was back in my life after years. No, I would not want to miss illustrating.
While my thoughts are flying in all directions, the green meadow, where Ralphje happily jumps around, is almost finished. I laugh quietly. My own stories and drawings always make me laugh a little. My second book is also almost finished, a third book is simmering somewhere in the corners of my brain.
I came to a conclusion. Writing and illustrating is both a way of expression myself. Choosing between the two is like choosing between my two children. Impossible. So if you can’t reach me for a moment. Or you can’t find me. Then quietly look around the corner of my drawing room, where you can hear me smile at my own stories and illustrations.