Inspired by: The Hired Man


Hello and welcome to another episode of Inspired by! If you haven’t seen this before: my friend Riikka and I challenge each other on a monthly basis to be Inspired by… something. That something can be anything, really… and we love to surprise ourselves and each other with the results!

We are always on the lookout for something new to try and this time we agreed on a book. As in a whole novel…

Harold likes to watch De Wereld Draait Door and I always pay attention when they discuss their ‘Book of the month’. So when Riikka and I agreed on a book for Inspired by, I went through the list of books I wanted to read and I found ‘The Hired Man’ by Aminatta Forna. It’s was DWDD’s book for the month September.

I remember the panellists being a very enthusiastic about it, so I was already convinced it was a good book. But… would we (Riikka and I) like it? And would it spark our creative imagination?!


Well… The short answer is yes. Yes! I don’t know how we pulled this off, but I don’t think we could have chosen a better novel for the task!

The story is told by a man in a small quiet town in Croatia. The arrival of an English woman and her two children stirs things in the town. They’ve come to renovate an old house outside of the town, that has been empty for years. It’s a house with a hidden history, that goes back to the Yugoslavian wars in the 1990’s.

I don’t want to reveal any more about it… You have to read it yourself. It’s beautifully written, it’s subtle, it’s… a page turner. I highly recommend it!

As I was reading the book, I took a couple of mental photographs of scenes that really caught my imagination. I thought this would be hard to do, but it wasn’t at all. I didn’t even have to write anything down!

I won’t share what I saw ‘in my head’, because I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone. If you’ve read the book and you really want to know, you can shoot me an e-mail and I will tell you. I still remember each of them vividly!

If you remember the last Inspired by, you might recall my love/hate relationship with markers… Well, I’ve treated myself to a couple of new Letraset Flexmarkers and I’ve been trying to get to know and understand them a little bit better. Of course I had to start off with a colour chart:


And then last week (with the book still unfinished), I was just playing with my markers and I loosely drew this…


I didn’t even try to do my best… That’s the reason why I hardly ever share any of my art journal pages: they’re not intended to be shared online. I just create them. And on this one I wasn’t interested in creating something really pretty… I just tried to get a feel for the Flexmarkers!

But then I knew I had to come up with something to share here, for real… So I did another page:


Ah… and this time I think I tried too hard!


In the end I like my first page better… But it definitely was an interesting exercise!

I think I’ve said it here before: most Inspired by‘s spark far more inspiration than I ever give myself time for to explore. This challenge is so much more than just another challenge! I always say that I need to revisit a particular topic, but frankly: I never do. Maybe it’s time to change that. It feels a shame to let all these wonderful mental photographs I ‘took’ go to waste!

But first it’s time to take a look at what Riikka has come up with… I’ve already seen it and man… she’s going to blow you away with her creation! (Edit: I forgot to tell you the significance of the bird in both my pages… But Riikka will tell you all about it!)

Thanks so much for stopping by!

2 thoughts on “Inspired by: The Hired Man

  1. Ze hebben allebei wel iets maar ik snap je keuze voor de eerste tekening. Ik doe het je niet na!

  2. I adore these! They are captivating! The first one is more carefree, but the second one has a lovely atmosphere, a bit dark yet sunny at the same time.

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