Category: Various

All things related to running your own businesses in the creative sector. The fascinating life of a freelancer. From apple pie to business card. Promotion and acquisition on old and new media. Maintaining a bilingual website and blog. Visits to completed projects. Exhibitions and more.

Close-up of a bollard between the cobble stones on the quay of Wilhelmina Pier in Rotterdam, The Netherlands with in the background a fiery sunset over Charlois neighbourhood

The Earliest Sunset and the Shortest Day

This will be an encouraging post for everyone with a winter depression. And in fact for everyone who passionately longs for the spring, and who doesn’t? I can appreciate a bit of snow and ice, but I’m certainly not fond of the dark, the humidity and the chillyness of winter in the region where I live. Harbinger of spring Keep courage! Even before mid-December, the first harbinger of spring arrives, the first step on the way back to warmth and light. On December 12, the earliest sunset of the year takes place. In Rotterdam, the measure of all things, the...

View from one of the Lijnbaan apartment buildings towards the newly renovated Pathé cinema on Schouwburgplein with the skyline of Rotterdam on the façade

The Secret Skyline of Rotterdam

A few years ago, in the context of a competition organized by Rotterdam Festivals, I made a graphical representation of the Rotterdam skyline as shown below. The competition was set up to create a new logo for the organization; until that time they already used a stylized skyline, but with the arrival of new landmarks like De Rotterdam, the Markthal and the Central Station, that urgently needed to be updated. Marathon My design was not selected. Usually that’s the end  of the story with a competition like this. But not in this case. I put the image in my webshop...

Almost abstract and multicolored image of the leaves of a sweet gum tree (liquidambar styraciflua) in autumn

Liquidambar Styraciflua, in Other Words: the Sweet Gum Tree

Oddly enough, I never really noticed them until the autumn of last year and now I suddenly see them everywhere: sweet gum trees or liquidambar styraciflua. Time for a photographic tribute to the mother of all autumn trees. America The amber tree originates from the southeast of the United States, roughly from the New York – Houston – Orlando triangle. In addition styraciflua grows in higher altitudes in Central America. Chewing gum tree The English language has a lot of names for the liquidambar styraciflua. Quoting Wikipedia: American sweetgum or simply sweet gum tree, American storax, hazel pine, bilted, redgum, satin-walnut,...

Long straight road with a line of trees and a farm in the North East Polder in the Netherlands

Hiking in a Dutch Polder

The Noordoostpolder (North East Polder) is a relatively recent addition to the Netherlands; it used to be part of the former Zuiderzee estuary and has been dry land since 1942. With its long straight roads it doesn’t seem like a perfect place for a day trip and certainly not like a great place to go hiking. But of course you’ll never know for sure if you don’t try it at least once. So on October 24, partner-in-crime A. and I travelled to the polder for a trip around three places of interest: Schokland, Nagele and Urk. Planning To go by...

Graphic comparison between light and darkness on one side and the waking hours of the average Dutch person on the other side, when daylight saving time is applied

Daylight Saving Time: a Graphic Argument

For decades it seemed to be one of the untouchable certainties of existence: at the end of March we move the clock one hour ahead and at the end of October we put it back again. Lovely long and light summer evenings, everybody happy. Survey European Commission chairman Jean-Claude Juncker put an end to that certainty on 31 August 2018. He mentioned a survey that supposedly showed that a majority of Europeans want to get rid of the clock shift. “People want it, so we’re going to do it,” Juncker said firmly. Those people, however, turned out to be mostly...

Collage of the numbers 1 through 12, photographed on house numbers, traffic signs and other found footage

Found Footage: the Numbers Challenge

It was on a bicycle path near the fortified town of Hellevoetsluis that I got a brilliant idea. Or let me rephrase that: just a good idea. At regular distances, I estimate about a hundred meters, nummers were written on the asphalt with yellow paint. As I got closer to the ramparts, the numbers counted down, until I arrived at 1. I took the following picture of the peeling paint on the rough tarmac, with some clover and withered grass by the side of the path. Photo project That was the beginning of a new photo project, which I refer...

Screenshot of the WordPress dashboard with a post about WordPress plug-ins under construction

WordPress: my favorite plug-ins (and a theme)

Four years ago, when I started my own company, 3Develop, I spent a lot of time building my own website. I had some experience: at the end of the nineties, with some simple html knowledge, I made a website for myself and for the Dutch chapter of the Mars Society. There have been a lot of developments in web design in the first years of the 21st century. I had to dive into new stuff like css and jquery but after that I managed to build a digital shopwindow that I was, and still am, happy with. Small changes, like...

Detail of a knitting pattern of the Rotterdam skyline

The Rotterdam Skyline Knitting Pattern

3Develop, the reliable source for all your knitting patterns … I have the feeling that a lot of my blog posts start with “… is not 3Develop’s core business, but …”. This is that kind of posts again. Graphic skyline It is yet another spin-off of my Rotterdam skyline project. I made this graphic portrayal of the city’s skyline a few years ago for a contest. Which I lost ingloriously but since then the picture, in different versions, has started to live a life of its own. It hangs on walls, it adorns birth announcement cards and on April 9...

Overview of all the Pinterest boards by Frans Blok/3Develop: webshops, photography, artist impressions, digital art and inspiration

Pinterest for Self-Employed Creatives

Of all the social media that emerged over the last few years Pinterest doesn’t seem to have a very cool reputation. The digital pin board is suffering of an image problem: it is thought to be populated primarily by elderly women who use it to exchange knitting patterns. There is of course nothing wrong with that, but apparentlyas a social medium you’re only taken seriously when you’re used by trendy food vloggers (Instagram), bored adolescents (Snapchat) or populist politicians (Twitter). Visual But on reflection Pinterest appears to have a much more diverse group of users. Women are, indeed, the majority, but one-third of all pinners...

The Forest Planetarium of Arnhem: eight stainless steel spheres in the Cold Pond in Sonsbeek Park

The Arnhem Forest Planetarium and the Lost Planets

A few years ago I had a brilliant idea: a model of the solar system on the scale of the municipality of Rotterdam. Just because it’s important to see the bigger picture, to know which larger system we’re a part of. And because it’s fun to be amazed about how big everything is. And how small we are ourselves. Streetplanetarium The city of Rotterdam is a very suitable place for such a streetpanetarium because there is a long trail of port areas attached to the city. Therefore, the distance between the center and the extreme outer regions is so large...