7 questions for Marieke Nelissen

In the photo you see how I illustrated Marieke, made with watercolors. But what is Marieke’s favorite material and what inspires her? Read about it here.


1.  What is your favorite material to work with?
I love to work with all kinds of ink. I like their transparency and their Unpredictability.
They keep my illustrations alive and exciting. As a counterpart I like to use pencil. Pencil provides a soft finish and uplifts the colors where needed.

2.  What do you like the most about drawing?

Drawing allows me to wander outside the border of what’s real. Everything is possible in an illustration. How fantastic is that! But the most wonderful thing you can accomplish in a drawing is when people really feel the atmosphere and emotions you want to share with them.

In the corner you see the sketch for this final work. Source: Marieke Nelissen
3.  How do you work?
When I see a scene in my head I sketch it really small to see if the composition works on paper (you can see it above, in the top right corner). This small sketch is my base for the illustration. I scan the sketch and print a blow-up in the right size. Sometimes I need to shift a bit with the elements.
I always try to sketch as little as possible to preserve the spontaneity in the final drawing.
When I’m happy with the composition I start illustrating.
First the background and then the elements in ink or aquarelle. Finishing touch is always in pencil.

4.  Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Inspiration can come from different things. Sometimes it’s an artist that inspires me. I like to find out the techniques of the artist. You can always learn something during that quest. Inspiration can come from my children. Maybe it’s a conversation or the way the are playing. It can come from a photograph. I like photographs from old and abandoned buildings. They have atmosphere and there are no distractions in the image. Inspiration can come from a movie. I watched many movies during my young adulthood. I think it’s because of the many movies I watched I use movement in my illustrations and particular perspectives.

An example of the inspiration by an old house. Source: Marieke Nelissen
5.  What is your favorite workplace?
I’m a very private artist. I like to work in my studio where nobody can watch me working. Making an illustration is a solo project. The proces is intimate and vulnerable.

6.  What is your favorite travel destination?
I’m not sure. There are so many places I haven’t visited yet. But I feel myself at home in Scotland, Ireland and Brittany. I love rough coastlines and weathered environments. I don’t like hot weather. I like coolness and dramatic skies.

7.  Do you have any advice for people reading this blog, what is this?
When you want to become an artist, try out as many things and materials as possible! There is much to learn from failure during this exploration.

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