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At an Age When Most People Retire, Chicago Resident Jan De Goede Picked Up Pen and Paintbrush and Began Mining a New Creative Vein

Chicago, IL resident Jan de Goede honored in national "Splendid Seniors Among Us" program recognizing people whose post-65 activities can inspire others at all life stages.

Nashville, TN, April 24, 2007 --( At the time of life when most people think about retiring, Chicago graphic designer Jan de Goede not only kept working but started four new vocations: drawing, painting, writing poetry, and creating striking illustrated books.

By the time Pearlsong Press chose him as its “Splendid Seniors Among Us” honoree for April 2007, the 72-year-old de Goede had 66 paintings and 130 poems to his credit, as well as 20 books—all created since the turn of the millennium.

“I’m having fun,” he says.

The paintings and line drawings are created with traditional media such as oil paints and pen and ink. But de Goede’s books, including clever full-color parodies of guides to wines, art, and even religion, as well as collections of his line drawings and poems, are created on computer and assembled by hand after being printed on a $79 Canon printer.

His graphic design skill and nimble use of the Adobe Illustrator software program make the coil-bound books at first glance almost indistinguishable from commercially printed volumes. It’s only when looking at the “guides” more closely that their tongue-in-cheek nature becomes apparent, as exemplified by the lines on the front cover of "The Book of Wines": “The Best Guide If You Don’t Want To Know Anything About Wines (Actually The Only Guide)” and "If You Can’t Find It Here, You’re Not Drunk Enough.”

Other of de Goede’s hand-assembled books are more serious, even poignant: "Chicago Drawings," "Talk to Me of Love" (drawings and poems), "Talu: A Childhood in the Tropics" (an account of his childhood on coffee and sugar plantations in Indonesia). Then there are the fanciful illustrated “children’s books for adults”— "The Book of Trains," "The Book of Ships," "The Book of Snakes," "The Book of Towers," "The Book of Taller Towers," and "The Book of Squares and Cubes." (See for a PDF sampler of the work he publishes through his whimsically named company Penand, Inc.)

Thus far only one of de Goede’s books, "Chicago Drawings," can be purchased in a public store (the shop at the Chicago Cultural Center). He sells the others on his own; email him at if you’re interested.

De Goede had drawn in high school and college, but never seriously thought of himself as an artist until picking up pen and paintbrush in his mid-sixties. Since then he’s displayed his paintings in a couple of shows and sold a few. “I’d like to find a gallery willing to take me on.”

De Goede has had his share of life challenges. It was divorce, for instance, that left room in his life for his new creative pursuits. His childhood idyll in Indonesia ended when the Japanese invaded during World War II; young de Goede then spent three years in Japanese concentration camps on Java. (Afterward, his family moved to Holland, where he studied shipbuilding and lived in Denmark and Sweden before settling in the United States to work as an engineer.)

When de Goede no longer enjoyed shipbuilding he walked away from a lucrative career and became a graphic design apprentice — “a nobody” — because “I just wanted to do something I enjoyed doing.” He was miserable for a while “because I thought I’d screwed up my life,” but his graphic design work eventually won awards. He’s now glad he made the leap from engineer to graphic designer.

As the “Splendid Senior Among Us” honoree for April 2007, de Goede receives a certificate and an autographed copy of "Splendid Seniors: Great Lives, Great Deeds" by Jack Adler (original trade paperback published by Pearlsong Press in March 2007).

Pearlsong Press is sponsoring the year-long “Splendid Seniors Among Us” program in conjunction with publication of Adler’s book, to honor seniors who are living inspirations. The program honors 12 “Splendid Seniors,” one a month from March 2007 to February 2008. The year-long recognition culminates with publication of a special "Splendid Seniors Among Us" Adobe PDF ebook that will be available free of charge at the Pearlsong Press website (

For more information about the “Splendid Seniors Among Us” program, see the Pearlsong Press website at

Pearlsong Press, founded in 2003 by psychologist and journalist Peggy Elam, Ph.D, specializes in books and resources that entertain while expanding perspectives on the self and the world.

Contact Information
Pearlsong Press
Peggy Elam
Attached Files
Splendid Seniors Among Us form
PDF nomination form for Splendid Seniors Among Us program
Filename: SplendidSeniorsAmongUs.pdf
Splendid Accomplishments
Interesting facts about senior accomplishments from "Splendid Seniors: Great Lives, Great Deeds" by Jack Adler (Pearlsong Press, March 2007)
Filename: SplendidAccomplishments.pdf
Sampler of Jan de Goede's creative work
PDF sampler of Chicago resident Jan de Goede's post-65 creative drawings, paintings, poetry and illustrated books.
Filename: degoedesampler.pdf

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