Welcome to the creative sanctuary series. A new series here on the blog where I get to talk to inspiring creative people about their work and how they got to do what they do. I get to peek into their studios and find out what their 5 essential things are that make their creative space a true sanctuary.
For this instalment, I’m taking a look at the creative sanctuary of illustrator and writer Marloes de Vries. You might know Marloes’s work from Flow magazine, Charlie magazine or her own Instagram page of course.
Marloes always wanted to draw. When she was around 3 or 4 years old she wanted to be an artist. A little after that a comic artist. Marloes eventually attended the Academy for visual arts and design AKI in Enschede and choose the graphic design department. After she graduated in 2007 she started her career as a graphic designer and art director. She enjoyed her work but felt that something was missing. So after years of not drawing, she started illustrating again in 2010. She was a little anxious about that but it turned out alright. Marloes then started taking different courses and masterclasses for writing and children’s book illustration. One of which was a summer course at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge (UK). Marloes also participated in a masterclass by Benji Davies en Chris Haughton in Atapuerca (Spain).
It took a little while before Marloes got her foot in the door of the illustrating world but she has found her place now. It has become clear to her that what she loves most is to tell stories using a combination of text and images. Those are the projects she is gravitating towards at the moment.
Like most people, Marloes started drawing when she was really young. She says that she started her career at 3 years old. When she was in her teens she really learned how to draw. These early years definitely helped her hone her skills. Marloes started building websites back in 1999 when she was only 14. She developed her technical and marketing skills building websites for people for cash. She kept on with her side hustle all through college adding freelance graphic design to the list. The jump to illustration came in 2010. So all in all Marloes has been in the creative business for about 30 years, 14 of which as a paid professional.
There have been many awesome experiences through the years and a couple not so fun ones too. Marloes says it’s always nice to hear that people started drawing because they were inspired by her work. Another special moment is when people say that a particular illustration touched them deeply.
There have been these beautiful moments during events where Marloes was live drawing mini portraits. This is such a vulnerable moment for most people, having someone really look at you and draw you. She has had beautiful and moving conversations with people that sometimes end up with a little tear. Marloes says that she finds it really special when people confide in her in that way.
Marloes actually has two workspaces, one at home in a little corner of her bedroom and a studio in the city. She uses the studio mainly for workshops and independent work. The home office is used more for commissioned work. The studio in the city is a shared space. Marloes shares it with another illustrator. It’s white and clean there is an easel, two desks and a bookcase full of books on illustrating.
In contrast, the home workspace is full and busy. There are postcards on the wall for inspiration. Marloes often works on her dining room table which is in the living room. She does most of her painting and drawing there. The table has been taken over by lots of paper, pencils, paintbrushes and other drawing essentials that it cant be used as a dining table anymore.
Nice temperature (not too cold, not too warm)
No noise, not too many distractions
Nice art supplies
What’s next for Marloes
Marloes says that she has already achieved her big dream of being an illustrator. She would like to write and illustrate a couple of picture books. A novel for adults and a book for young adults are also on the wish list for Marloes as is a movie script. Marloes says she has noticed that every time she checks a box on her wishlist another one gets added. It’s a great position to be in because it ensures that she has projects to do for a lifetime. There will never be a dull moment.
At the moment Marloes is working to get a picture book published in the new year. She just finished a children’s book with Annelies Fontijne, (Welke superkracht zou jij willen hebben?). Make sure to follow Marloes on her Instagram to see more of her funny, awesome and poignant work.
I want to thank Marloes for taking part in the creative sanctuary series.
If you want to see other creative sanctuary interviews go here.
All images by Audrey Victoria