Please note that I have written several articles about the illustration-business on my blog. If you’re interested, do check that out: marloesdevries.com/blog
What is your background?
I have a Bdes in concept and graphic design, and worked as a graphic designer and art director for several years. For the first few years at a design company and later on I started working as a freelancer. I developed concepts and designed for large companies mostly, and worked as a freelance (editorial) photographer on the side. I realised creating stories and images was my biggest passion and I did several courses and masterclasses in picture book illustration and writing.
Although my work is mostly focused on illustration, I combine it with my graphic design background. I design book covers, packaging, books, magazines, products, etc. I know how to make designs print-ready without any trouble.
Are you available for commissions by companies and magazines?
Absolutely! Feel free to get in touch with me.
Are you available for personal commissions (portraits, weddings, birth announcements, etc)?
Right now I’m not available for personal commissions.
You can sign up for my newsletter and you will get an email when I do personal commissions.
Do you do live illustration at (private) events?
I also do live portrait drawing at events a few times a year. Check my workshop & events-page for dates.
If you want to book me for a private event, please send me an email with the details of the event and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Can I share your work on social media?
If you’re not a business or wanting to do so for commercial reasons: go ahead. But don’t edit my work and don’t cut off the signature.
Also make sure to link to my website or instagram-account. Thanks!
If you’re a business: contact me and we’ll talk about it! Please do not post my work without my permission.
Can I write a blog post about your work?
Absolutely! You can share my work by embedding the images directly from my instagram-account.
Also, don’t forget to link to my website: marloesdevries.com
Any editing to my work is NOT allowed. All my work is copyrighted protected under the Dutch law, so if you want to make translations to another language, please ask my permission first.
Can I use one of your illustrations for my logo/promotional item/business/unrelated article etc.?
If you would like it to use for promotional purposes, blog post, article or business, please contact me and let me know what you are going to use it for, what the purpose is and what your budget is. As all of my work is copyrighted and protected by the Dutch law, I will make a license for you available.
It is not allowed to use any of my illustrations without my consent.
Can you promote our product on your social media account(s)?
If I do a promotional or sponsored collaboration, please know I will always make clear in the post that it’s sponsored. Not only to keep it honest and clear for my followers, but also because it’s legally obliged in the Netherlands.
I never do free sponsored posts, as my social media is an extension of my illustration business.
Where did you learn how to draw/Where did you study?
I learned by doing it. I studied Visual Communication at the AKI in Enschede (NL) which was more about graphic design. I always wanted to be an illustrator but I’m mainly self-taught regarding that aspect.
After my graduation I took several courses and masterclasses in writing for children, illustrating picture books and other illustration and drawing workshops. You can find more about this on my About-page!
What was your journey to illustration?
I wrote a bit about this on my About-page but I also did an interview with Ballpit Mag about this. You can read the article here.
How did you develop your style?
It wasn’t so much of a conscious process but a slow evolvement. I’ve been drawing since I was really young and a while ago I looked at old drawings from when I was 8 years old and I saw I drew the same noses as I do know. Over the years I developed my drawing skills by taking classes, drawing a lot and trying new things.
The tools help too: when I draw with pencils I tend to be more detailed than when I paint with gouache for example. So the medium defines your style as well.
How do you create your illustrations?
I start with a rough sketch for composition. I use a 2B graphite pencil for this. After that I pick a colour palette with watercolours.
Then I use a mechanical pen to re-draw the sketch in final, on thick watercolour paper or slightly textured paper. I prefer using a 2B pencil which is a bit softer than a HB pencil.
Then I either work out the illustration in watercolours, gouache and coloured pencils, or I do it digitally.
After I finished everything to my liking, I scan the illustration with my good old Epson V500 scanner. Then comes the last part: colourizing or fixing some bits. I use a Wacom Cintiq for this. I add layer over layer with colour to my illustration. I do a bit more of shading and add highlights digitally. I use brushes and textures I created myself mostly.
If I have done the colours with paints, I don’t do digital colouring of course.
In my spare time I like to create mini-animations, which I make digitally. I make illustrations frame by frame and put them in order with Photoshop.
What brand of gouache/watercolours/pencils/etc. do you use?
At the moment I love Winsor&Newton, both watercolours and gouache, and I use Faber Castell pencils. I’m not that picky with brands as long as the materials have enough pigment in them, I’m happy. Although good material can help to create good work, it’s not the main ingredient of course: that would be you! I can’t stretch this enough 🙂
How do I get started in the illustration world?
I’ve written the elaborate story already on my blog about this but the short version is: invest a lot of time drawing.
Make sure you practice a lot and be patient. Build a portfolio and then go out into the world with it.
I worked part time jobs in illustration studios until I was 31 years old, to make a living next to illustrating for clients. Nowadays I work as a full time illustrator, but it’s hard work (which I love). I live very simple to keep my overhead low so I can dedicate my time to this job.
Who are your favourite artists?
Carson Ellis, Oliver Jeffers, Quentin Blake, Mary Blair, Fiep Westendorp, Chris Haughton, Maira Kalman, Rebecca Green, David Hockney, Gemma Correll, Jon Klassen, Lucy Knisley, Maurice Sendak, amongst others.
Can you help me/explain to me/advice me/tell me how I [illustration-related subject]?
Even though I appreciate all the questions I get, I can not answer them all, as it would be a full-time job. If you’re genuinely interested, please sign up for a workshop.
I’d like to get a coffee with you to discuss my project/my portfolio/my illustration career.
Unfortunately I don’t do guidance projects or portfolio reviews in my spare time, as I would love to spend more time with my friends and family. Thanks for understanding!
Do you take interns?
Due to time restraints I unfortunately can not, I’m sorry.
Do you teach workshops?
I do! Please take a look at my workshops-page. You will find all the answers there!
Do you sell prints or products of your work?
Yes, I do! You can find them in my shop.
Which print shop do you recommend for prints?
If you haven’t got a lot of experience creating art work ready for printing, I highly recommend getting advice from a print shop in your area. They can help you through the process, as it’s a very tricky process.
If you have plenty of experience, you can also choose to go with an online printer. In the Netherlands most of them deliver good work, the differences between them don’t vary that much. Most online printers offer a sample pack with examples of the paper they use. Sometimes they’re even for free! So go online, ask for samples, pick your paper and get your beautiful artwork printed!
I don’t recommend specific online printers as it depends on what you want and what you like.
Where do you get your products made (like badges, enamel pins, etc.)?
All of my products are either made within the Netherlands or the UK, unless stated otherwise.
Can I ask you more questions?
I’m afraid I don’t have time to answer all the individual questions I get. Please know that I did my absolute best to answer as many questions I possibly can here, on my about-page and on my blog.
For general questions regarding illustration or drawing, please try searching through Google. You will find that most things are covered there. Thanks!