As a little girl I started making robots out of shoe boxes and toilet rolls and grabbed every piece of paper available in the house so I could draw. I ended up going to art school, where I graduated in Bdes Visual Communication. Nowadays, I work as a freelance illustrator and writer, working with publishers, magazines and other companies. I absolutely enjoy working with others, creating exciting projects. I illustrate (picture) books, design book covers, create editioral illustrations for magazines, create comics and cartoons for Tina and Flair. Next to my illustration work, I’m also a freelancer writer for magazines like Flow Magazine and Charlie. Although I felt in the beginning of my career I missed a few years in illustration by being a graphic designer, I find my design background very useful to me now as I can create my own books and projects technically, but also for clients I do design-related projects.
After graduating I worked as a graphic designer, art director and photographer for several years, but decided in 2010 to take the leap and work as an illustrator, which was the best decision I ever made.
As a little girl I started making robots out of shoe boxes and toilet rolls and grabbed every piece of paper available in the house so I could draw. I ended up going to art school, where I graduated in Bdes Visual Communication.
Nowadays, I work as a freelance illustrator and writer, working with publishers, magazines and other companies. I absolutely enjoy working with others, creating exciting projects. I illustrate (picture) books, design book covers, create editioral illustrations for magazines, create comics and cartoons for Tina and Flair. Next to my illustration work, I’m also a freelancer writer for magazines like Flow Magazine and Charlie.
Although I felt in the beginning of my career I missed a few years in illustration by being a graphic designer, I find my design background very useful to me now as I can create my own books and projects technically, but also for clients I do design-related projects.
Photo by Angélica Vis
Riding bicycles, pancakes, walking on bare feet in freshly mowed grass, grilled tomatoes, shaving pencils, book shops, hiking long distances, graphic novels, freshly washed bedsheets, the UK, wearing mittens, cracking eggs, Scottish accents and old photographs of people I don’t know.
2015 | Viva400, 2nd place Creatives
Awards & nominations
2015 | Drentse Talentprijs Cultuur, winner
2014 | Cultuurprijs Emmen, winner
2014 | Adobe Creative Jam Award, winner
2015 | Viva400, 2nd place Creatives
2015 | Masterclass picture book illustration, by Chris Haughton, Benji Davies and Alexis Deacon | Atapuerca (Spain)
2012 | Anglia Ruskin, course picture book illustration | Cambridge (UK)
2011 | Course Writing Children’s Books, by Tjibbe Veldkamp | Groningen (NL)
2007 | AKI, Academy for visual arts and design | Enschede (NL)
Flow Magazine, Ohh Deer, 3D Total, Leopold Uitgevers, Paperchase, NRC, Tina, TEDx, Lev. Publisher, Ravensburger, Sketchbook Skool, Flair, Luitingh-Sijthoff, Charlie Magazine, American Greetings, Uitgeverij Snor, Flavourites, Usborne Publishers, Provincie Drenthe, Lannoo, Character Design Quarterly, Memisa, Blossom Books, Blond Amsterdam, Van Halewyck Uitgeverij, Gallery Nucleus, Workman Publishers New York, Zwijssen, Lev., Hautekiet Uitgevers, A.W. Bruna Uitgevers.
I hope the answer to your question is in this FAQ. Due to the number of questions, I cannot personally answer all of them. Thanks for understanding!
Please note that if you’re a client, you are always free to contact me.
What do you do exactly?
I’m an illustrator, writer, cartoonist and designer.
What I do and make:
Did you go to art school?
I did! I studied Visual Communication which is a combination of graphic design, photography and video. I graduated in 2007 and got a Bdes. After graduating I did several courses and masterclasses in (picture book) illustration including at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. You can find a list on my About-page!
When did you start illustrating?
In 2010 I started illustrating for clients. Before that I worked as a graphic designer, art director and photographer for ad agencies, both in-house as freelance. I’ve been working as a design professional for about 15 years now in total. But of course I started drawing a lot earlier. I was 3 years old when I created art pieces for the fridge, and I was only in primary school when I declared I wanted to go to art school. So, I’ve always known this would be the path for me. If you’re interested in reading more, you can find pretty much my whole career here.
I’ve written a book! Can you illustrate it?
Right now, I only work through publishers on books so please ask your publisher if they see my work as a good fit.
Sarah McIntyre has written something useful about this, please have a read.
Do you take on personal commissions, like drawing portraits, wedding invitations or birth announcements?
At the moment I don’t as I’m focusing on working with publishers, magazines and my personal projects.
Do you work for free?
When it’s a charity, every staff member works for free (artists shouldn’t be the only one volunteering) and it’s a cause I support: I would love consider to work for free. Do get in touch and let’s see what we can do. In other cases: paying someone for their time shows you understand their time is valuable and you respect it. If you feel my work and time should be unpaid I’m afraid we’re not a good match.
Can I interview you for my blog/magazine/podcast/etc.?
Please feel free to send me an email explaining the type of platform and the questions you’d like to ask. If it’s a good fit we can set a date!
Can I use one of your illustrations to print?
I would really appreciate it if you buy my work in my shop. It is not allowed to print my work to make money, or to hand out to others. Please get in touch with me so we can talk about a license and print work.
Do you sell prints or products of your work?
I do! You can find them in my shop if it’s open. I might be possible it’s closed when you click the link so please check in another time. Unfortunately, I don’t do custom prints right now.
Can I use one of your existing illustrations for my logo/business/unrelated article/etc.?
I offer licenses for this. Please get in touch with me and let me know what you are going to use it for, what the purpose is and what your budget is. If you use my work without my permission, the fee will be much higher because you used my work illegally (duh). It is not allowed to use any of my illustrations without my consent.
Can you promote my product/services/business/[insert anything] on your Instagram?
I want to keep my Instagram personal and an honest reflection of my work, and if it’s something not directly related to that it would feel inauthentic. Everything I mention on Instagram is because I personally like that product, fellow artist, etc. On some occasions I collaborate with brands but only if it fits really well (like some art supply shops, certain books, etc.). If I work with a brand or company I always disclose this very clearly. If you think we’re a good match, feel free to get in touch (see on the top of the page) and let me know what you have in mind.
Can I share your work on social media?
For personal use, you can share my work. Please don’t forget to credit me properly, and it’s not allowed to edit my work, or cut off my signature. If you want to share it on Instagram, you can find a re-posting guide in my highlights.
If you want to share on Facebook, please only share from my own Facebook-page directly, or if you must upload again: please link to my Facebook-page. It’s @MarloesDeVries.
If you’re a business wanting to promote your services with my work: that’s not allowed. Please follow the guidelines my Instagram highlights to see how it works!
I’ve send you a DM through social media but you haven’t answered it. Why?
Although I do my best to answer as many messages as possible, I can’t answer all unfortunately because I’m just one person 🙂 Some days I get over 100 DM’s. I prioritise doing my illustration-work and client contact and if I have time left I answer DM’s.
I want to be an illustrator but where do I start?
I have written several articles about this on my blog. Feel free to grab a cup of tea and dive into it!
I’m an illustrator with business-related questions. Can you help me?
Due to time restraints I don’t offer one-on-one help for free. If you’re willing to hire me for a mentor session or guidance, please get in touch. If you’re looking for help for free: I have a blog filled with tips to help others out with freelancing and illustration. I hope this helps!
Just one quick question…
I get a lot of ‘quick questions’ throughout the day and if I were to spend my time to answer them all I wouldn’t be able to do my work, or spend it with loved ones. It’s nothing personal, I’m just one person. I’ve found that when I do take the time to answer questions, most of the time I don’t even get a simple ‘thank you’-reply back. This has demotivated me to take time to answer questions unfortunately.
Do you take interns?
As I feel that I should invest proper time into someone to show how the business works and I seriously lack time for that, I am not offering internships unfortunately.
Can you show me how you work?
I make a monthly exclusive video of my work process for my Patreon. You can join for $10 a month to get access to resources and exclusive content.
What materials do you work with?
I work with analogue and digital tools. I love working in Procreate (iPad) and on a Cintiq, but nothing beats good pencils (Caran d’Ache and Faber-Castell) and paints (Winsor & Newton and Holbein). I’ve compiled a list with my favourite tools here.
What digital tools do you use or recommend?
I currently use a Wacom Cintiq (older model) and Photoshop CC on my iMac. Next to that, I use an iPad Pro 12.9 inch. On the iPad I use the app Procreate for drawing, in combination with an Apple pencil. I get asked often what I prefer and I have to say: I couldn’t work solely on the iPad as I work for clients. Procreate doesn’t use the right CMYK colours which means they’re off when I send them to clients. That’s why I still use Photoshop to check every Procreate-piece I make on my iPad. Also, the resolution is a bit off in Procreate.
In general I prefer drawing on the iPad as it feels more intuitive to me than the Cintiq. The pressure on the pencil is more natural.
So, it depends on what you want to use it for. If you are a professional designer/illustrator, you can buy the iPad but always check your files on your computer in Photoshop before sending it to a client. If you’re not a professional and have money to spare, I’d recommend the iPad + Procreate as it’s more intuitive than the Cintiq.
Next to that I also use Indesign, Illustrator and I use an Epson V500-scanner for scanning my analogue work to digital.
Who are your favourite artists?
It’s a bit of a mixed bag, here goes: Carson Ellis, Oliver Jeffers, Quentin Blake, Nora Efron, Mary Blair, Fiep Westendorp, Wes Anderson, Miranda Hart, Chris Haughton, Maira Kalman, Rebecca Green, David Hockney, Gemma Correll, Sarah Millican, Jon Klassen, Maurice Sendak, amongst others.
Where and how do you get your products (prints, pins, books) made?
Most of my products are made in the Netherlands or UK. It’s been a process with a big learning curve for me over the years which is hard to explain in just a few words. I recommend doing research, talk to suppliers (because everyone has their own preferences) and try things. I don’t give out lists with my suppliers.