Friday, 2 December 2016

5 Minutes With... Eefje Kuijl

For today's interview, we're catching up with Dutch illustrator Eefje Kuijl from her home in Breda in the Netherlands. We wanted to chat to Eefje about all things illustration, including her favourite Dutch illustrators and how she's always know illustration was the career for her! 

Where do you live/work?

I’m a Dutch illustrator. I live and work in Breda, a city in the south of the Netherlands, with my husband, two kids and a dog. I work at home from my attic.

What do you love about working there?

There, I can do the thing that I love most, and do it all day long and away from my noisy kids. I love them so much (of course) but I cannot draw well if they want my attention. 

What are your dislikes?

The attic is also the laundry room right now. I sit beside the ironing board and every once in a while a pile of laundry … Not so nice. My dream is to have a spacious workspace near my home, in a garden house or a garage. Sometimes I do miss having colleagues.

What do you love most about being an illustrator?

I love creating something. Most of the time the illustrations are published and you can literally hold the end product in your hands! It is always so much fun to come up with new characters and to be busy with colour and composition.

I also like the variety of being an illustrator. Every commission is different. It never gets dull.

How do you work – what are your techniques?

Usually I draw everything right away in Photoshop, using my Wacom pen. Every now and then I like to use photos and blend them with the illustrated elements in a balanced way.

What is your favourite thing to draw?

People! Their faces, haircuts, to decide what clothes I draw on them. Big people, small people, old people, etc.

Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator?

It is a business. ;-) Other (less fun) stuff also needs attention occasionally. Administration, finding new clients, reading contracts, social media, keeping your website up to date etc. etc. Also, I do love to work on my own but sometimes it can get a little lonely.

What or who are you inspired by?

So many things! My kids when I have to draw other little children. Some Dutch illustrators I really look up to are: Mark Janssen and Philip Hopman. They both make children books and can create such atmospheric illustrations. And Fiep Westendorp. I love all the little details in her illustrations.

What do you like to in your sparetime when you’re not illustrating?

I like to have diner with friends in a cosy restaurant. Spend time with my family and long walks with our dog. She is getting older but when we throw a ball she acts as she was a puppy again.

How did you get into illustration?

I seriously never thought of anything else other than becoming a professional illustrator.
Which is a bit strange if you know that my parents are not creative at all. As long as I can remember I wanted to draw, so I went to an art school in The Netherlands (University of the Arts Utrecht) where I studied illustration. I have worked as a freelance illustrator for various clients ever since. 

What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?

1) If you really really want to be an illustrator, go for it! Even if it means drawing late into the evenings to work on your portfolio. 

2) I am not the best at it, but use social media. I have seen and heard from other illustrators that they found many clients and commissions that way.

3) Try not to copy a style that you like, but find your own way of drawing. And always keep developing.
What’s your ultimate dream?

To make a series of big picture books for children. Books with illustrations from my heart. If you see the illustrations you'd want to rip them out of the book and hang them on your wall ;-). It would be even nicer if they sell really well. So I can make more picture books but even better haha.

We really enjoyed catching up with Eefje and hope you have too! To see lots more of her gorgeous work, visit her PP portfolio here and have a look on her website here! See you next time! 

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