From the monthly archives:

May 2007

Second blend (Study: Color tree second blend 1th sketch)

by Henk ter Heide on Wednesday May 30, 2007

in Technique

It seems that I was wrong when I said that it wasn’t possible with pencil to put a lighter color on top of a darker color. It is possible only you have to prepare to the color you draw first.
Color tree second blend 1th sketch
Color tree second blend 1th sketch

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You start out with a thick line and blend it with a piece of paper (I suppose a tortillon would also work). After that you can put a lighter color on top.

Even yellow on top of blue doesn’t seem to be a big problem. I never tried it because I was convinced that it would turn green.


Mission statement (Drawing: Sea edge)

by Henk ter Heide on Tuesday May 29, 2007

in Blogging

After I decide that I would like to reach a situation in which I could live from this website I’ve been reading up on ways to get more traffic to your website.

Apparently there are two way you can do that. (Well actually there are three but the third is almost cheating and I don’t cheat.)

See edge
Sea edge

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Quantity or Quality.
Problogger Darren Rowse posts up to 50 articles of a few hundred words a day. That way search engines have a lot of points of reverence to find. Steve Pavlina on the other hand post only a few articles a week but they are usually very long articles (a few thousand words) with a lot of advice in them.

Although my articles also only have a few hundred words in them they will always be only a part of the posting. The main reason to post is to show you a drawing and there is no way that I can make 50 drawings a day.

With a lot of experimenting in the last couple weeks I’ve found that I’m especially fond of the technique of blending colors. (Sometimes together with different techniques). Blending colors takes a lot of time. Depending on the subject a drawing can take several days.

I’m asuming that as I gain more experience the blending technique will take less time but I will never produce much more then three or four sketches or one (or two) drawings a day. And I won’t be drawing daily. I also have a day job.

Since quantity is impossible I will aim for quality.

Up till now I mostly posted the finished drawings. When I made several sketches I’d post those only to my Flickr account. That is something I’m going to change. It seems that some of my sketches also have some “strange” qualities. By posting them here you can see how I develop my drawings. Why I change the way I draw subjects.

Then there is the textual part of the posting. When I started the blog the main reason I had to post little stories was that search engines have a difficult time finding pictures without text.

But I can write stories. My “Henk’s verhalen” (Dutch) page proves that. I wrote most of those stories some 15 years ago. The last few years I was so tired from thinking about all the things I should tell people that they drowned out. But the last few weeks, while I try to talk less and less, I feel that the stories are slowly returning.

I will be adding some categories to the “blog” section. Probably something about the Netherlands and about drawing lessons. Maybe something about sheltered workplace in the Netherlands.

But the main focus for this site will always be on the drawings.


For decades every town and province in the Netherlands had it’s own public transport company. Each with there own kind of tickets. To travel from one town to an other you sometimes needed three or four different tickets.

About 20 years ago the Dutch government decided that having all those tickets was to much of a hustle and introduced one ticket for the whole of the Netherlands. That is the “strip ticket” could be used in every form of public transport in the Netherlands except for the train. The Dutch railway company kept a monopoly on it’s own tickets.

Now the world is digitizing and so is the Dutch public transport system. At the end of this year everybody using the public transport will have to get an “OV-chip card”. A little plastic card with an RFID chip inside.

The Dutch government has been testing this new card in the city of Rotterdam for close to a year so you might think that most problem should be spotted by now. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

The last few months I’ve visited the city of Rotterdam at least twice a month so I decided that I might as well take a OV-chip card an try it out. The Rotterdam public transport authorities (RET) are pressuring people to take one so I applied and within a few weeks I got one over the mail together with some information on how to use it and how the charge it.

To use the OV-chip card you first need to deposit money on it. There are three ways you can do that. You can go to the counter of the RET, pay them and they will charge your card. Or you can go to a kind of ATM machine and use your bankers card to deposit money on the card. The third option is to fill in a form and autorize the RET to take the money from your bank account.

When your card is charged you can travel with every kind of public transport in Rotterdam. When you board a tram, bus or tube your OV-chip card will be credited for 4 Euro’s. The charge is some amount per kilometer. When you leave your OV-chip card will be debited for the remainder of the four Euro’s.

At some point your OV-chip card will run out of money and then you can take one more trip. You only have to charge your OV-chip when the balance is below zero Euro’s.

I chose the ATM machine to charge my OV-chip card . A large yellow metal box with a screen with instructions, the ATM part and a metal basket to put your OV-chip card in. Most of these kinds of machines have some restrained so you can’t take your card out at will. Here there isn’t. The basket is large enough to hold four or five OV-chip cards (maybe more) and there is no restrained. You can take the card out whenever you want. The screen asked me how much money I wanted to deposit. Then it instructed me to swipe my banker card. The ATM part of the machine told me that the transaction had been completed and I took both my bankers card and my OV-chip card and had to run to catch my tube.

Color drain
Color drain

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When I checked out of the tube I had my first surprise. Instead of 10 Euro minus 89 cents I had a balance of -89 cents. How was this possible. I had just charge the card.

I went to the RET counter to lodge a complaint and was told that thousands of people had already made this mistake. Contrary to every other ATM like transaction with this machine you can’t take the OV-chip card out when the ATM tells you that the transaction is completed. You first have to tell the machine that you want to use the money to charge your OV-chip card. (What else would you want to do with it?) Only then is the transaction completed and can you take you OV-chip card out of the basket. You are in no way warned for this difference in procedure. Even experienced users could make this mistake since people will always be in a hurry. At the end of the year everybody in the Netherlands is going to use this system and millions of people will make this mistake.

But the clerk told me that I could get my money back. I only have to sent a copy of my bank statement together with a complaints form to the RET and I’ll get my money back within six weeks.

Still waiting for my money I’ve been using the OV-chip for the last couple of weeks and I must say that it is a very easy system. The RFID chip is a radio chip. Which means that you don’t even have to take it out of your wallet. You can just wave your wallet in front of  the scanner.

The trouble is that the RET isn’t the only company serving OV-chip cards. The Dutch railway company has also started handing them out. So Thursday I got my new season ticket for the train complete with RFID chip.

I never thought about it. I just put the season ticked in my wallet. What else should I do with it?

Yesterday I had to take the tube in Rotterdam and to my surprise both OV-chip cards where credited for 89 cents! Apparently the scanner can’t distinguish between the two cards.

So I’ve been thinking. What would happen is I would put both cards in the ATM like machine. The basket can hold at least five cards. Could I deposit ten Euro’s on both cards while only having my bank account credited for ten Euro’s. I wonder.


Escaped tiger (Drawing: Flowing colors)

by Henk ter Heide on Saturday May 26, 2007

in Personal

A few days ago a gorilla escaped from a Dutch zoo and attack a women. She was injured very badly and had to be rushed to hospital for surgery.
Flow colors
Flowing colors

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The next few days the papers where filled with stories about the possibility of the family of the victim seeking compensation for damages. The zoo was quoted saying that it was quit possible that the women caused the attack herself by teasing the gorilla. In which case she wouldn’t get very much money.

Apparently zoo’s are going to post signs near the entrance warning the public not to teas animals. The next animal to escape could be a tiger.


Tennis (Drawing: Hard to soft)

by Henk ter Heide on Friday May 25, 2007

in Personal

Hard to soft
Hard to soft
When I was in my early teens I found an old tennis racket and a few tennis balls in the garage and I played some tennis for a while.

Looking back it’s a bit strange that we’d have a tennis racket since I can’t remember one of my parents ever playing tennis. Actually I can’t even imagine one of them playing. It might be that my mother tried to get me to play with other children.

Anyway I started out with hitting a ball against a wall. I was very good at that. I could aim the ball at a specific point on the wall and get it straight back. I hardly ever had to step left or right to hit my ball.

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After doing that for a few weeks my mother suggested that I should join a tennis club which I did. From that point the problems started and very soon I lost all interest in the game.

At first we started with learning how to hit the ball over the net vaguely in the direction of your opponent. That was easy since that was what I’d been doing for weeks. The only difficulty was not to aim up.

Within a few weeks my teacher decide that I could go on with the next step. hitting a ball that was thrown from the other site of the net. Again this wasn’t very difficult. The trouble was that I lost the ability to aim. I’d hit every ball but they went all over the place. Mostly up. Almost every ball I hit went over the five meter high fence designed to keep balls in.

Even when I tried to do the game I started with, hitting balls against a wall, they went up on top of the building. Soon I run out of balls and lost interest in the game of tennis.

I haven’t hit a ball since.


Life! (Drawing: Topgraphical face 1th sketch)

by Henk ter Heide on Thursday May 24, 2007

in Personal

I’ve been reading the weblog of Steve Pavlina for the last two years (or so). Although he can be a bit to new agie at times he also writes a lot of articles I find really interesting.

Over the past two years I have saved several articles planning to get back to them and do something with them. I never did.

The problem is that a lot of those articles are about things like setting goals and having priorities. But I never quite got what the relationship was between those two. I did understand the logic of applying priorities to the things you find important to get the things you want. But I never got what kind of goals would lead to what kind of priorities.

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Apart from the dream of having a half a million Euro drop in to there laps people hardly ever talk about there goals. They do talk about there priorities but to me it always seemed as thought they (wanted) to spend a lot of time doing things I really don’t want to do: Going to the movies with your boy (girl) friend, having a career. (A few years ago while I was trying to improve the working conditions within Promen I was told that I’m very ambitious. Am I ambitious?)

Yesterday Steve finally wrote an article about the relationship between goals and priority: “You want to make the greatest amount of progress towards your goals with the least amount of effort.

While reading this article the penny dropped. Setting goals is about what I want. Setting priorities is about getting the things done I want to have done. And since I’m autistic I need different things then most people.

So what is my goal? My goal is to reach a situation where I can live as a kind of a reclusive and talk with as few people as possible.

What do I need to reach that goal?

Not having a job. There is no way you can have a job and meet colleagues and not talk with them. I’ve tried. They always think that you’re in a bad mood and try to brighten your day. Which in my case just causes a bad mood.

To live without a job I need to find a way to earn at least €1500 a month after taxes.

When I started this weblog it was meant as a way to publish my drawings. Drawings are my voice. Drawings are the way I express my self. Not having a way to publish them would be like giving a speech to an empty room.

Although I’m not all that in to brandnames I did want to have a Google search engine on my site. I wanted one on my last site and I search high and low before I found out that the search engine is actually meant to earn money. I never quite understand why I’d wanted a Google search engine but now I do. Having a Internet landmark on my site is a way of giving it a bit of structure to my site. It’s not something I’m doing for my visitors but for myself 🙂 .

After a while I also decided it would be nice to have a “donation” button. Not that I expected to earn a lot of money with donation button, but it would be a nice way for people to let me know they appropriate my drawings.

Having a goal will change the whole layout of my life. I will get to make different choices, do different things. A whole new way of living.


Today’s drawing is a bit experimental.

Topographical face 1th sketch
Topographical face 1th sketch


Luxury and eyes (Drawing: On route to the Eye lake)

by Henk ter Heide on Wednesday May 23, 2007

in Technique

After finding that there is something wrong with the colors in my drawings of faces I started experimenting with the color purple for my Purple music drawing. Very soon I discovered that to get the effect I want, I’ll have to start with a very light shade of purple even pink. Which means that I have to start with a very clean sheet of paper.

You get better results with drawing if you use the right kind of base. You want something soft that will yield to pressure. That way if you draw a sharp line your point won’t break. You can use some kind of mat. But that has the drawback that it will get dirty and cleaning a mat usually leaves little threats and some dust.
On route to the Eye lake
On route to the Eye lake

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I use a sheet of paper of 200 gram(/m2) that’s about three times the size of the paper I’m drawing on and a paint brush to clean off pieces of pencil grinding.

While drawing the edges of the paper it often happens that you’ll also draw on the base. Or it can happen that you pull color from the base to your drawing. With a drawing like this one that gets very dark on the edges, that doesn’t matter that much because I know it won’t be visible in the end product. But with a drawing that has very light parts like Purple music it will. So I had to stop with the drawing to first buy a new clean sheet of paper for my base.

Only after I had bought it, it dawned on me that I shouldn’t have wait. I’m in the very luxuries position where there are three pictures I want to draw plus the ongoing faces project. I’ve never had that.

Up till now if I had a picture that would take a few days to draw it would be a few days before my next entry in this blog. But from now on I can (hopefully) work on several projects at ones and post more frequent.

That also means that I can write the story that goes with every drawing before I start making the drawing. Up till now I first made the drawing and had to constant distraction of words tumbling through my mind. Now I’ll just write them all at ones and save them.

I’ve have a lot of eyes in my mind. Even the last few years when I got really tired from trying to be like other people and running into one problem after an other, never knowing that I was autistic. I kept seeing eyes in my mind.

Often before I went to sleep, when I closed my eyes there would be a pair of eyes in my mind looking at me.

I often wondered what they meant. If they meant anything at all.

One of the reasons I want to draw faces is because eyes are part of faces.

But now I’m discovering that I’ll probably won’t be able to draw faces (or at least not in the regular way) I have to think of different ways to explore the eyes in my mind.

One way is to enlarge the picture and look at what else it could be.

It could be a lake.

People in love often tell each other that they are drowning in each others eyes. I’ve only ones been in love over twenty years ago so I don’t really know about drowning in some ones eyes.

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Sleepless night (Drawing: Face blending color 5th sketch)

by Henk ter Heide on Tuesday May 22, 2007

in Drawing

Drawing a face with blending colors is proving a lot more difficult then I thought.

Tonight I had an idea about how to do it and I drew five sketches (of which you can find three on Flickr) before I gave up. I watched some television and went to bed.

But lying in my bed I kept thinking about drawing faces. I had some new ideas which I was trying out in my mind. In the end I decided that I might as well get out of bed and try it for real.
Face blending color 5th sketch
Face blending color 5th sketch

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This sketch isn’t to bad. The colors are quit good. But the proportions are off. The distance between the inside corner and the outside corner of an eye should be the same as the distance between the inside corner of one eye and the inside corner of the other eye. This eye is to small as compared to rest of the face.

The problem with drawing a color face have to do with the synthesis between sight and touch.

I’ve discovered that when I concentrate on a drawing of a face I can use my imaginary hand to feel the shape of the face.

When I’m drawing the face and I use the right colors I also can feel the shape. But at the same time the pencil in my hand is moving over a flat surface. The contrast between what I seeing/feeling and what I feel with my hand is very confusing.

The other problem has to do with my memory. I can almost see the eyes in the drawing looking at me before I put a pencil to paper. So I’m tempted to start with the eyes. But when I do I get so distracted by the eyes that I can’t draw anything else. The two drawings I didn’t post only consist of a few lines around the eyes.

No! The colors are all wrong. When I wrote this last night at 2.30 AM the colors felt right but looking at them this morning I saw that they were wrong. I didn’t understand why though.

After thinking about it all day I do know what is wrong and why. I’ve also some ideas about how to use this in a new drawing.

But that will have to wait a few days. I also had some other ideas for pictures I want to draw and I will start with those.

Business is slow at my work so I took the rest of the week off. That’s a good thing because the first drawing will probably take a lot of work.

I’ll start with figuring out how many shades of purple I can make…


Least scariest (Drawing: Face blending color 1th sketch)

by Henk ter Heide on Monday May 21, 2007

in Drawing

I’ve several project lined up. This morning I started on a drawing were I have to trace a memory. Up till a few weeks ago I thought I couldn’t do that but it’s coming. Coming, but not jet here.
Face blending color 1th sketch
Face blending color 1th sketch

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So I thought I’d just wait for a few days till it came to me. But as I wrote yesterday I need to draw. So I decided that I might as well start with something I’ve been putting of for a while: Drawing a face with blended colors.

This is the first attempt and I’m sorry to say that this time the scan looks better then the actual drawing. Usually the scan looks worse but not this time 🙂


Baby steps (Drawing: Hunebed)

by Henk ter Heide on Sunday May 20, 2007

in Personal

For the last one and a half year I’ve been learning how to play poker.

At the end of 2005 the BBC television had a news show about a poker site. I’ve always been the worst card player but I was curious as to how a cardgame would look online. But I wouldn’t spent a penny on a game like that.

But it turned out that you can play online poker for free. They have a “pay” button that will give you one thousand artificial dollars and when your run out you just press that button again.

So I tried it and within a few days I lost my free dollars and got some more. I went on playing in part because I had nothing better to do and in part because poker has a kind of logic to it that gives me a nice feeling.

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After playing for about six week I realized that although I hadn’t added new free money to my account for several weeks I had $5000.

Without paying any attention to what I was doing I had been winning money.

Off course at that point I thought that if it was that simple I should try playing for real money and winning some real money.

I tried and lost $50, went back to playing for free and again lost. How strange. Why would I loose while earlier it seemed so easy.

After some thought I realized that while playing for free you make your decisions on the bases of the cards you have in your hand. But when playing with real money you tend to also way the risk of loosing your money. Apparently that leads to different decisions.

So I went back to playing for free and I started reading a lot about poker in the hopes I would somehow be able to figure out what I was doing earlier.

After eight months of study finaly the penny dropped and I started winning again. This time I paid close attetion to what I was doing and a few weeks ago I decided that I had studied enough (and saved enough) to again try to play with real money.

This time was no different from the last. I started loosing all most immediately. Only difference was that I saw what the problem was. I recognized the problem as something I’ve had earlier.

It seems that after learning one skill I can only learn a second skill if I’m willing to sacrifice the first skill. Except that it isn’t really a choice. I can be content with having one skill or I can risk loosing that skill while I learn a second skill. When I’ve learned the second skill the first one come back. Only to disappear again – together with the second skill – while I learn a third.

You can imagine that as a child I didn’t like to learn new skills. While I was doing the best job I could teachers kept telling me that I should try harder.

My heart dropped. If I can’t learn new skills what about learning how to draw? Poker doesn’t matter. It’s just a game. But drawing is something I need. Without it I would be a mute.

Friday while strolling over a local market I remembered something.

Last year I first became interested in dyslexia. Someone told me something about it and I recognized some symptoms and started reading.

It seems that some people with dyslexia think in pictures. (Psychologist doubt that. Thinking in pictures is considered to be a symptom of autism.) Up till that point I’d never thought about how I thought. I thought that everybody thought the same way. My way. In pictures.

Although thinking in pictures has some advantages it also has some disadvantages. One of those is that people who think in pictures can’t learn by root. They learn by experience.

Which is true. I do learn by experience. One of the most important things I’ve learned over the last 20 years is how to understand people. I did it by utilizing something I learned in the IT. Systems analyses (Dutch:”systeem analyse” my dictionary doesn’t have a translation). I observed behavior and analyzed it. It took me years but nowadays I understand people almost as good as most neuro typicals.

So I can learn new skills but when I do it my way. By trying things and sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding. I’ll just have to take baby steps.