Art, Cats & illustrations

The child Francien

Francien van Westering, born and raised in Bloemendaal, grew up in an artistic environment. Her grandfather was a painter, her mother was an interior decorator and her father was the composer, who, among others, made songs by Annie M.G. Schmidt on music. (including Dikkertje Dap and the flute chain.) In addition, he was also a music journalist for the Haagse Post.

As a child, Francien did nothing more than draw, and there is nothing in this day until today. ‘ Drawing is just as important to me as food and drink. I’m just getting sick when I can’t do it, ‘ she says.

Gerrit Rietveld Academy

When Francien went to the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam there was no separate illustration training. However, that was what she would prefer; Create drawings in stories – which she would later write. At the academy she won an illustration competition, written by the publisher Andreas Landshoff. At his request she made her first internationally published picture book; The female of Stavoren. She also participated in the Grimm fairy tales. (Lemniscate).

Career

After her training she received many assignments for several weekly and monthly magazines (Libelle, Margriet, aside.) She also made countless book covers for various publishers. After the birth of her daughter Marte, Francien was increasingly working for baby and children’s publications. (Parents of Now, children, Bobo, Donald Duck E.V.A.)

The type of assignments took a long time in parallel with the age of her daughter, because after the Kinderbooks the elementary school period came with many children’s books and educational expenses, followed by countless book covers for youngsters aged 13 to 18 years. In this period, Francien also worked for several youth magazines. (Viva, Yes)

Meanwhile, together with Mies Bouhuys, she has made several books, among others. ‘ A boat in the wheat ‘, publishing house Landshoff (1977). The book is also published in German.

Technology and versatility

With the picture book ‘ Boer What you say of my chickens ‘, publishing house De Kern (1984), Francien has developed her unique colour pencil technique. In the more than one hundred drawings, Francien has left her imagination free – with surprising results. She sold almost all original drawings of this book during an exhibition in De Bijenkorf.

During the 1990s, her work was about important assignments for large companies (Bijenkorf, SNS-Bank, Nationale Nederlanden, Mona, Whiskas) and again many book covers for publishers in the Netherlands and abroad.

Francien regularly worked for periodicals of publishing house Sanoma (formerly VNU/Illustrated Press). Its versatility is evident from the assignments it has carried out over the years; From drawings for the Kinderblad Bobo to illustrations of short stories for ‘ Playboy ‘, and everything in between.

The birth of the Creative Cat Lady

‘ Bladen dokter ‘ Rob van Vuure, then editor-in-chief of Margriet, has given Francien the opportunity to specialize in her favorite subject; Animals. She wrote and signed a column about the experiences with her cats every week in Margriet for 14 years. The column ‘ Franciens Katten ‘ soon became very popular among animal lovers and got-and still gets – many reactions. For more than 25 years, several products have appeared with her drawings. Franciens Kattenagenda has been in the top three of the most sold diaries in the Netherlands for years. Her drawings are also reflected in, for example, cans, tableware, wood, textiles and various hobby items, such as embroidery kits and 3D cutting sheets.

Cat expert

Francien has become an expert in cat behaviour through the many publications about cats and has several books with the last published book ‘ Mischief ‘ about behavioral problems in cats.

Since 2001 Francien has been working regularly for the German weekly magazine ‘ Bild der Frau ‘. She has drawn several sticker sheets for that sheet, with subjects such as bears, elves, cats and Easter eggs. There are also regular cat drawings of her hand in the English Cat magazine ‘ Your Cat ‘. The Danish family weekly magazine ‘ Hjemmet ‘ places a column with a drawing of her cats each week.

Want to know more about Francien’s cats? Click here