Marijke Buurlage is an illustrator I have been following on social media for years. She always uses a lot of colours that just seem to fit together and transport you to another universe. Through her illustrations, she creates a new place where you can get lost in. Something amazing is that she was a part of a children’s book called “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls“. She created an illustration for one of the short stories. Even if I don’t have any children I just want to buy it for myself! If you love her as much as we do make sure to check out her webshop.
Could you briefly introduce yourself?
I am 28 years old, and I live in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands together with my boyfriend, our daughter Teske (born in May 2017) and our two cats, Puk and Flip. I grew up in a small village in the north of the Netherlands. My childhood was very peaceful and calm, but also full of adventures. When I was 17 I moved to Leeuwarden to study Management. I soon found out that this study wasn’t for me, and two years later I applied to art school. Since graduating, I have been working fulltime as an illustrator.
How did you start illustrating?
To be honest, I never thought I was going to study art and be an illustrator until I was about 19 years old. After finishing high school, I had no idea what I wanted to study. I started studying Media and Entertainment Management but it never felt like the right study for me since I only liked the classes where we got to create something. I was really struggling with making the right decision, until my mom gave me the idea to apply to art school. I always thought that art was interesting but I never thought my creations were good enough for art school. But I applied anyway and got in.
Now, 10 years later, I can say that this was one of the best decisions that could have made. I worked really hard during art school and I significantly improved my work. After graduating I worked even harder to improve my work and get as many assignments as I could possibly get. And now I still seize every opportunity that allows me to show my work to the world.
What inspires you the most?
I think what mostly inspires me is nature. All the colors, patterns and shapes that you can find in nature are so amazing and beautiful! I often feel the need to sketch when I am outside watching the animals and botanicals. These little doodles I make often reappear in my illustrations as decorative elements. My work often contains ornaments that are inspired by nature; I don’t think I could create anything that is really ‘me’ without these botanical decorations. Also, Children’s books from the fifties, sixties and seventies really inspire me. I often go to second-hand stores to look through all the beautifully illustrated covers of these books for inspiration. I love the use of color and shapes in these picture books and the characters are always so adorable. My vintage children’s book collection is growing every week!
How would you describe your creative process?
I always start with a rough sketch on the computer. After making this first sketch I start looking for inspiration; on the Internet, in books and outside. When I finally made up my mind about what I want to create exactly and how I am going to do this, I create a color palette that I am going to use (I don’t use more than 7-10 different colors most of the time). When I start working on the final version of the illustration, I begin with drawing all elements with a brush and ink on paper. Everything I make is drawn by hand first and then colored and arranged digitally. I’ve been working like this for 5 years now and I love it. It works so well for me.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
To use and treasure your stubbornness and authenticity, and not suppress it.
What are your three favorite instagrammers?
@gosiaherba I am a big fan of her work, and I love all her process pictures and sketchbook doodles, so inspiring!
@annakovecses Her beautiful color palettes are a feast for the eyes.
@stitchyfriday This is actually my mom’s IG page. She creates embroidery pieces inspired by my illustrations! It’s a really fun project that we’ve been working on for a little over a year now. Make sure to check it out!😊
If you loved this interview, make sure to check out the rest of the Discover the Creator series. Don’t forget to comment down below your favourite artists!