Rien Poortvliet, made famous for his Gnome books, was a skilled and clever draftsman and painter of animals in the wild. Starting out as a book illustrator, he made albums from the 1970s with only drawings and watercolors of birds and other forest animals, clarified with a short text. He called them 'Kijkboek': large-format educational plate works in which certain subjects were portrayed in all their aspects. His animal images were preceded by thorough preliminary studies and long-term observations in nature. Poortvliet strived to make his paintings, drawings and watercolours a story in themselves. He therefore called himself a 'drawing storyteller'. In 1992 the Rien Poortvliet Museum was opened in Middelharnis, entirely devoted to his work.