A unique, custom made painting as a farewell gift for a manager

What farewell present do you give a manager who leaves the company? KPN (one of the largest telecommunications providers in the Netherlands) employees found a creative answer to this question. A personal and custom made painting, especially for the occasion.

This gift is more durable and more valuable than the default bottle(s) of wine, more personal than a ticket with signatures and at least you come up with something substantial during a farewell dinner. Below I’ll explain what the challenges were, what choices I made and how digital tools played a decisive role in the preparation.

In recent years, I was commissioned several times to make an artwork on the occasion of the departure of a manager. Often the assignment came from Director KPN Online Peter Sonke. But now that he himself gets a different role within KPN, the assignment for a custom made painting was given by some of his employees.


Like the previous assignments, this artwork also had to be finished quickly. And of course it needed to tell something about the recipient, Peter. After all, it is a painting especially for him, about him. Fortunately, as with other farewell presents, I received a small list of character traits. But that didn't make it any less difficult.

Art is always a personal affair, like clothes which makes it a tricky gift. In addition, the abstract style of my earlier series of Bold Lines paintings is less suitable for displaying personal characteristics. 

Earlier I did made paintings with more recognisable forms. More recently I put my doodle style illustrations for sale in a fresh webshop. But now, with this commission, my need for a combination of these three styles became painfully clear. A more transparent, more narrative style and less abstract style was needed. Now, but also in the future.

Digital tools

For years I have been storing inspiring images, ideas and insights in the (mobile) app Evernote. Viewing other feeds from other artists on Instagram also proved very useful. The combination of these digital sources has helped me to determine the right style for this specific assignment. And to top it off, I realised that sketching on the iPad gave me the benefit of the 'undo' function.

So after I had painted the background of the painting, I put a picture of the painting in Adobe Draw (the iPad version of Adobe Illustrator). By drawing on top of the picture with a brush with the right size, I created a fairly accurate picture of the possible end result. The iPad offered me the opportunity to search for the right composition in complete freedom. To focus on the concept, the story and the display of the personal qualities of Peter.

Painting and more

The painting was handed over last Thursday during a dinner. Together with a card with a personal note of myself. In which I thank him for all the assignments and creative challenges Peter has given me. But also a Certificate of Authenticity was added, as with every painting I deliver.

May I help you?

Interested in a custom-made painting as a unique and personal gift? Maybe as a gift to yourself. Or because of a newly bought house or a fresh new interior. Feel free to contact me! We'll discuss the almost limitless possibilities. In the meantime, have a look in the 'commissioned' section of the webshop.