Update training Voor de Kunstenaar: Target in sight!

The last (start-up) months of Voor de Kunstenaar have been so incredibly informative in terms of crowdfunding and social media (not to mention product photography – a surprise workshop by Fred van Welie!).


Last Saturday the official launch of Voor de Kunstenaar had finally arrived: first day of training!


Before us stands Martin Buursen, a smooth guy stuffing our eager little souls with the promise that in 2012 we will have achieved our dream?! Yes, he is, and this gentleman is also using the same techniques I have used so often with others, can you believe it?


Imagine yourself a year from now at exactly the place you want to be, being a successful entrepreneur. What would that look like?


It turns out to be a wonderful day. Fantasizing is being encouraged, in fact, ‘yes but’ is being swept under the carpet: anything goes.

My idea of success has been clear to me for a while now:


Since I’ve been to Hamburg last year, I want to be a Hamburger!


In Hamburg graphic designers and illustrators have ‘open’ studios everywhere (especially in the quarter St. Pauli). Nobody seems to be only one thing or does only one thing. Everywhere the most fantastic combinations are being made . In their workspace designers are running a bar, a barber shop or a store. I would love to rent a large space together with a fine group of people from different disciplines. A large space in which we can work and simultaneously sell our own work and that of others. A place where doors are always open and where there’s a lot of interaction going on.


“You can not get there from here, but you can get here from there,” says Martin.


After all the dreaming comes the practical part: how are you going to make this happen? We chop the dream into small bite-sized chunks, consider possible obstacles and well, why not also their solutions?

On the wall in my studio now hangs the greatest poster ever. Who knows…will you join me in celebrating the opening of my studio and shop on October 1, 2012?


Website Voor de Kunstenaar:

I got selected! I will be trained to be a creative entrepreneur!

voor de kunstenaar creative entrepeneur ellen vesters illustrator graphic designer


Prepare yourself…
A big piece of text…
About me.


Woohoo! Two weeks ago I got selected for “Voor de Kunstenaar” (for the artist): a huge crowdfunding project in which, together with nine other artists….


…I will receive intensive training for three whole months on being a creative entrepreneur!


The aim of the project:

“Times are changing, budgets are under pressure, many artists and creative people are not adequately equipped to bring their product or service to the market. Naturally. Still, few art or design schools focus on entrepreneurship. While knowledge of entrepreneurship and business skills are essential in order to function successfully as an artist//creative! ‘Voor de Kunstenaar’ ensures that the artists//creatives who participate can start a viable business. After following the courses involved they will have the tools to bring their product or service to the market in the best way possible, and build a successful creative life for themselves.”
(if you would like to read more (dutch), go here:


My story:

For this project I had to write some pieces for the website. I really had to open up this time. For my English readers I have translated my bio and my first blogpost:

My name is Ellen Vesters, 32 years old, born in the village of Ulft, in an area of the Netherlands that’s called the Achterhoek (mmm, it actually means something like ‘the rear corner…?!’). A village that’s lovely for building huts and jumping over streams, but also for being utterly bored. I remember hours and hours in which I was doodling: comics, elf-figures and caricatures of my teachers. In my boredom, I discovered that drawing was the best thing ever. All that work is still in a big box under my bed; a valuable possession.

When I was eighteen I went to a view day of art school. My dream. I still see myself standing there: in a gray sweater, my long hair before my eyes, while the students that were there flew along in the most colourful outfits.


I was scared to death and went to study psychology.


Once I had arrived in a good job as a psychologist, my old dream revived. After years of scientific thinking, it took time for my right brain to wake up again. I did a preparatory training at the art school of Arnhem, got my prepaedeutics at the art school of Amsterdam and got accepted to the second year of Fine Arts in Utrecht… at the same time that I was accepted for a postgraduate training as a mental health psychologist.


Again I opted for psychology.


Then I became 30 years old. After completing the training in mental health psychology, now nearly two years ago, I finally admitted that seven days a week as a psychologist in life is not what I want. My creativity is shouting out louder with every day I get older.

Back to art school is no longer an option. As a result of the economical crisis the tuition fees have increased alarmingly for students who already have completed an education. So in recent years I have tried to develop myself as much as possible by making lots of work, following courses (among others the Art & Design College in Utrecht) and training with colleagues.

One month ago, just when I want to take the step to actually move the balance in my working week from psychology to illustration I get the chance to jump on board of the project “Voor de Kunstenaar” (for the artist).

My resume is now a versatile one. I am and always will be someone who enthusiastically indents and tackles many exciting projects. Now that I am open to all creative possibilities that life has to offer, ideas are flowing and want to break out, and I find myself in many inspiring collaborations. I’m mainly working as an illustrator and an illustrative designer, but frequently I also let myself be tempted to work on independent projects.

In my creations you can often find a connection between my artistic background and my experience as a psychologist. In both fields I work from a (positive) naïve perspective.
To make contact with my environment is paramount, in my visual works that often involves laying down tension and making use of humor.

In the coming weeks, the place should fill up with examples of this. My focus within this program should be: to focus. Plus a considerable amount of acquisition.




Why I want to participate in this project?

One month ago:

I get the feeling it is time to make some important decisions. I want to focus more on my art work. I start working less as a psychologist and rent a studio with other creative people. In the same week I see a twitter message from coach Marion Beltman being very enthusiastic about the project “Voor de Kunstenaar” (for the artist). The boot camp feel of the course immediately appeals to me: a kick in the butt towards a more businesslike attitude. Just what I need!

Unfortunately, the spots in this project are already filled. Never ventured nothing gained, so using google + (still nice and quiet there so few competitors) I let initiator Marca know that I really really would like to participate. A few days later everything is arranged. Someone has canceled and in a final selection round I am being chosen.


What an opportunity!


The past year and a half I have put myself out in the creative life as much as possible and fully enjoyed it. I have sought colleagues, initially to learn from them and later to make the most fantastic things together. A dream that seemed impossible went to being real just over night: suddenly a 3D artwork of mine is put up in a huge gallery!


I never thought I was a networker.


Currently there are some final steps to be taken, that I avoid time after time, because they bring me tremendous frustration. Being such a flutter, they feel unnatural to me. Thinking businesslike. Planning. Acquisition. Words that evoke an allergic reaction, but that I would like to learn to embrace. I need them to get to do more of what I like doing the most. I am convinced that Marca’s warm blanket will bring me exactly what I’m looking for.


How nice to begin this inspiring journey with this diverse group of people!