Learning Dutch with Pim

I think I could write five blog posts about this huge and awesome illustration project I’ve done for the city of Enschede. An educational project for which I’ve made more than 800 illustrations! Let’s start at the beginning.

In the middle of 2017 I came into contact with designer and project manager Petra ter Keurs of Queenie Productions. She was looking for an illustrator to lead a new project that would change the face of preschool language development in Enschede. A project of considerable size. More than 2000 words had to be illustrated in a period of about 9 months. The illustrations would be used in a fun way to help children whose first language isn’t Dutch or children who have to improve their Dutch language skills. A workgroup┬áled by Leanne Jansen and Rianne Buist-Pasveer would be responsible for the lists of words and communication with the schools. And so ‘Praten met Pim’ got created.

We started with conceptualizing a family. Pim is our main character, together with his parents, his little sister Sara and his baby brother Mert he lives in the World of Pim. A world that is constantly growing.

Pim and his family

Petra and I looked for two other illustrators to support us during the ‘mega project’. I’m very grateful that I got to work with Linda van Ballegooijen of Studio Appeltjesgroen and Katrien van Schuylenbergh. I had a great time collaborating with them, they made me feel a little less like a lonely illustrator ;)

The world of Pim started out small and simple with word-cards. Simple words like ‘elbow’ or ‘ball’ had to be drawn. But also more difficult words like ‘gezelligheid’. How do you translate such a very Dutch concept?

A tiny selection of the word-cards I illustrated

All these word-cards need pretty boxes to go in. Well, there was no shortage of that! There is hardly any greater fun than to see your illustrations actually being used. 95 percent of the schools and preschools in Enschede have joined ‘Praten me Pim’. They will all get a lovely box.

Besides making word-cards. I’ve also made two extensive talking boards. Illustrations where you can talk about what you see or search particular words.

‘In the classroom’ Praten met Pim Project

‘Playing outside’ Praten met Pim project

Is the project finished? Not quite. The ‘Praten met Pim’ project has been received so well in Enschede that there may be more to do in the future. I’m looking forward to it!

2 thoughts on “Learning Dutch with Pim

  1. These illustrations are absolutely adorable! I’m in awe that you were able to create over 800 of these in such a short amount of time. That is beyond impressive, to the point where my inner artist faints just thinking about it, haha. What an amazing project to be a part of!

    1. Some were only 15 minutes work (drawing a pinky finger or a button doesn’t take a lot of effort luckily), others… not so much haha. It was a great opportunity, one I thought I’d never have. I’m going to miss it when it’s really finished.

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