Tineke Meirink is a delightful Dutch illustrator whom I learned about this past weekend while participating in Free Museum Day. (See details below*.) Museum gift stores are one of my favorite places to shop because they tend to have wonderfully creative products that are hard to find elsewhere. When a memory game is called Can You See What I See? And subtitled, “It’s just more fun when you take a closer look,” it is begging me to buy it.
As you can see from the accompanying pictures, Tineke takes photographs of ordinary, often unattractive objects (even trash) and converts them into whimsical illustrations – most often of people and animals – with the addition of a little carefully added paint.
The game has 30 “Before” and “After” picture sets and comes with no instructions whatsoever, which leaves you free to create your own rules. You can obviously play it as a memory game by turning all the pairs (or for an easier challenge, some of the pairs) face down on a table and taking turns to find the matches. But you can also play it as an imagination challenge. Take out all the “before” pictures and then ask each player to imagine what the “after” will be. Who came closest? Did anyone have a better, or at least an equally good idea?
Imagination is one of the best exercises for your brain because it forces you to make new connections; when you can do so using humor, you will come away relaxed and smiling.
I was delighted to find that Can You See What I See? is available on Amazon. (Learn more and/or order it here.) You can also see many more of Tineke’s illustrations on the official website for her products, http://www.stop-watch.nl/, and on her personal website, www.tinekemeirink.nl, where you can also see samples of her work from the many years of her career spent as a children’s book illustrator. The pictures reprinted here with her permission are from her now discontinued blog and are different from those found in the Can You See What I See? Game – which will soon be out in a new edition.
It would appear that whimsy comes naturally to Tineke. How lucky for the rest of us.
* Free Museum Day is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine – calling attention to the fact that all Smithsonian Museums offer free admission every day – that now has about 1400 museums throughout the U.S. participating on the last Saturday in September. If you missed it, mark your calendars now for September 27, 2014.