Illustration | design


In bloom

close-up photo of a small jalapeño plant flower between the green leaves of the plant

There’s not much new going on with the pepper plants. We’ve got plenty of flowers blooming and falling away but no peppers growing in. Could be any number of reasons, from a lack of direct sunlight to overwatering to overheating. I’ve done a bit of pruning in case the plants are just spending too much energy maintaining leaves but I don’t think it’ll do much. If nothing comes from it in the next few weeks, I’ll probably move them outside to fend for themselves in the back garden so they free up some space. ### Today’s topics: * Game Boy photo book * More vacation please * Some old library * Belgian vs Taiwan * The drawings of Rick Barton * Sherlock Holmes * Watch report * More typewriter stuff

# Made #

old-timey postcard of the digue and beach of Wimereux

I made a small book of Game Boy photographs and sent it off to get printed in a small run (this is the front and back cover. It’s a selection from the pictures I’ve been taking for the past year and a half and comes down to 54 pages. Some of which I’ve shared in the newsletter and on Instagram in the past. If that’s a thing you would like to see and get your hands on, send me an e-mail. They will be € 9 (about $ 9.2).

# Vacation #

old-timey postcard of the digue and beach of Wimereux

We’re also back from vacation, after spending some time at the ‘Cote d’Opal’. It’s the Northern part of the French coast, which connects to the Belgian one. That explains why we heard a lot of Flemish being spoken by other tourists, but also similarities in the architecture. Or to be exact: architecture from the early 20’th century and before. There’s places on the coastline (like Wimereux), which still have a lot of Art Deco and ‘Cottage Style’ (English influence) houses, while in Belgium we mostly bulldozered those and replaced them with apartment buildings to accommodate the growing and changing tourist industry. Our main stay was nearby Boulogne-Sur-Mer, where we visited the medieval city center, the castle (there were exhibits of Greek and Oceanic art), a crypt and the biggest aquarium in Europe (Nausicaa).

a pixel photo of a building with some trees next to it

pixel photo of someone walking away down a street with trees lining 1 side and buildings the other

close-up of an old Greek vase featuring Icaros

# Seen #

Nottebohm Room

Another highlight of our vacation, but this time in a sunny Antwerp, was a guided visit to the Nottebohm room of the Antwerp Heritage Library. There’s 3 floors, 1 of which can walk in, which house the first 150,000 items of the library. The whole library has a fantastic history behind it but this room is a bit of a marvel to visit. I also just discovered they have a virtual tour you can check out. Highly recommended.

inside view of the old library's Nottebohm room

# Pictures #

The drawings of Rick Barton

Chances are, you’ve never heard of Rick Barton and that would make sense, since his work only got discovered a couple years ago, in the collection of The Morgan Library & Museum. A Beat era artist who never really got his big break, which is a real shame. I wish I could go see the exhibit but I’ll have to do with this video and a couple of blog posts on Rick Barton’s work.

# Moving pictures #


My cousin Tobias spend a few years in China and recently started a YouTube channel, vlogging about his adventures looking for Chinese/Taiwanese things in Europe. While it is spoken in Chinese, there’s subtitles in English. Anyway, I think it’s pretty funny, check it out here:

California typewriter

I heard that this documentary is what introduced a lot of ‘new’ people to collecting/trying out typewriters a few years ago. The big draw was Tom Hanks showing off his machines and talking so nicely about writing personal notes to people. There’s a couple of other (semi-)famous people in there and a bit of a tragic story about a small shop in Berkeley. While it all looks very nice and pretty, I find the contrast between the (wealthy) white people full of nostalgia and the folks working in Berkeley (or in art) to be really off-putting. From what I’ve read, the shop didn’t really get any benefit from whatever small media sensation and boom in popularity this documentary caused. But like Hanks said in one of the interviews himself, he’s tried to foster a community around typewriters for years and it hasn’t done much for its popularity anyway. These will never be fashionable items in the way mechanical watches are.

# Heard #

For the Dutch-speaking folks reading this, here’s a compact 4-episode podcast series about Sherlock Holmes. I started listening to it after having seen an exhibit on vacation, about Arthur Conan Doyle. The hosts are Vitalski, a Belgian writer, and Jean-Paul van Bendegem, mathematician and philosopher. They’re both quite funny and play off of each other and their guests in a really entertaining way. Oh, and if you like that, there’s a 4-episode series by van Bendegem about the city of Ghent that’s very interesting as well.

# Watch report #

Bronze diving watch with green dial, black diving bezel and round hour markers

This week, I recieved this beautiful bronze watch. It was made by Horizon watches, after a very successful Kickstarter campaign. The watch is inspired by Jules Verne and you see that throughout the design. There’s the engraving of an old diving suit on the back, porthole-style hour markers, the shapes of the buckle and rubber strap giving it that ‘steampunk’ vibe. The only minus I would give it, is that the date is sunk too deep into the dial, causing a shadow to be cast over the (very small) date. It’s borderline unreadable, really. But that’s a minor gripe, since I didn’t buy it for the date.

# Retro corner #

While on vacation, I brought a recently acquired Adler ‘Tippa’ typewriter with me, to document the trip. A daily journal type of thing, where I also stuck some printed photographs to the paper. With this, I took a bit of time every morning before breakfast, to write a bit of text about what we had done the day before and I used some time in the evening to print a few pictures of what we’d seen (using a very small black & white thermal printer). It was a different experience than I’ve had in the past, when I brought a sketchbook or notebook with me. Mainly because there was 0 stress or expectations. I wasn’t stressing out about either having ‘missed’ opportunities to draw something we were experiencing/seeing, or taking up too much time doing the drawing. Next time, I might bring a small quare sketchbook though, with a very limited tool set (eg. 1 black pen), so I can at least do a drawing if I really want to. The museum would have been a great place to draw a couple of the masks on display, for example. We also saw a few typewriters in the wild, once in a design/brocante shop in Wimereux and another time in the Arthur Conan Doyle exhibit.

2 typewriters side by side on a small table

An Olivetti Studio 44 and a model I’m not sure about.

A classic black typewriter with round keys, the logo says Underwood nr 5

An Underwood n°5 from the exhibit

photo of a Tippa typewriter

close-up of a logo depicting an eagle

The Tippa I brought with me

# Closing thoughts #

That’s gonna be it for this one. A lot to do this week but I’m looking forward to getting my hands on those new books. It’s been a while since I finished a project so this is nice. Hope you’re having a good summer or at least some refreshment. See you next month, maybe with some more mellow weather.