I was born in 1959 and grew up near Nijmegen in the Netherlands. When I was 19 years old I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Strangely enough this has been a curse as well as a positive element in my life. A curse because of all the limitations I have to live with. Positive, because these limitations gave me an opportunity to find a creative source in myself, which I probably would not have discovered otherwise.
In 1986 I married Tom and we have two adult sons. We have always shared our life with animals, from hamsters and rabbits to several cats. We live in a small town in the north of the Netherlands. Because of my physical limitations I did not have much opportunity to venture far beyond the house, but for many years I organized and hosted creative children’s birthday which were a big succes.
The street we have lived on for many years now is called ‘Cypressenlaan’ or Cypress lane in English. That’s where the name ‘Sandrak’ comes from. ‘Sandrak’ is fossilized resin of the cypress tree. It is the name of our house, but also the name I use for all my creative activities.
At some point I learned how to use a computer and that led to a new hobby, making small digital drawings and turn them into animated GIFs. The drawings became bigger over time and evolved until one day I had published my first children’s book, also translated in English, Sunshine on bare Feet. In October 2014, my second book, so far only available in Dutch, Joppe zoekt zijn ei, was released.
Aside from digital art and writing, another one of my passions is photography. At first my subjects were mainly my garden and direct surroundings, but after I had an ileostomy in 2010, my world became a lot bigger. My favourite subjects now are landscapes, but most of all animals, which I find and capture often in zoos, but also try to find in the wild whenever I get the chance to do so.
I always dreamed of learning to draw lifelike animals. In 2015 I came across Gemma Gylling‘s website and fell in love with her work. She draws animals with coloured pencil in a style I admire very much. Gemma teaches a wonderful video course at Craftsy. After following this course I was hooked. I already did several drawings and I will show my progress in my blog.