I am Marieke Middendorp, dutch illustrator and single mummy of two sweethearts. After I finished University in Rotterdam (I wanted to be a documentary maker) I moved back to Groningen and had several non-creative jobs. I started Studiopie.nl in 2009, besides my day job, first focusing at kids clothes, art and decorations for kids rooms. A little later I taught myself graphic design and designing websites. Only when I started the Lilla Rogers ‘Make Art That Sells’ course at the beginning of 2014, I realized I am a illustrator and not a graphic designer. So I picked up a pencil and could not let go. This is who I am. I have accepted my quirky, non-realistic- style as it represents who I am.
1. What’s your medium of choice and what do you love about it?
Actually I use a lot of mediums. I always start with pencil. Making clear lines. But I also use black ink, watercolor, gouache, clips of paper, ecoline and particularly Photoshop. I guess you can say I make collages in photoshop; I take all the bits and pieces, make my own patterns and textures, scan them in and make it a complete artwork in photoshop using LOTS of layers.
2. What are you working on right now? What’s on your camera/desk/easel or in your studio?
I’m working on some different pieces at the moment. On my desk there is a design for a tattoo; with lots of flowers, butterflies, hearts and birds in the shape of a scull. Love doing that, it’s completely different from what I usually do. And I’m working on a logo/banner for a website of a fantastic writer with whom I also am working on a childeren’s picture book. And I’m always working on my personal work, which is a bit more editorial.
3. What practices/activities are most valuable to your creative process?
The most valuable activities is keeping my body healthy. I take lots of breaks to reduce my RSI (which can be very frustrating, because sometimes I just want to surrender to my flow), eating healthy, making long walks and getting enough sleep. I think its very important not to stress about things. Have a little faith in the process and outcome. Sometimes I get scared something will not work out, or i can’t get inspired and actually almost all the times when I let it go, relax myself by making a long walk or read, I come up with the best ideas. Also, sometimes I just get started and it will all be allvcright. I get inspired by nature, reading books, seeing great beautiful things; art, patterns, other peoples work, photography, textures, quotes etc.
4. What’s one thing you want to share with others about your art and/or process?
When I’m working for someone else I mostly get inspired by the assignment, what they want it to represent, the message they want to send out, and I try to catch the feeling. Sometimes thats quite difficult, but I love it when you are brainstorming with a client and you complement each other and together you take it to the next level.
For my personal work, I’m a highly sensitive person and I use my art as medicine or diary. I love doing that. I need doing that. It is so soothing. And I always want to convey my feelings and thoughts. The biggest compliment is not that it’s beautiful but when somebody is touched by seeing my work.
There’s one project I’m very proud of. At my kids school there was a fundraiser for Penduka. Penduka is a foundation that helps disadvantaged women in Namibia to improve the standards of living by making beautiful handmade products. My contribution was the design for a playground for the kids of these women. They actually built this play pelican and kids there are enjoying it. That makes me very happy!
The whale was an assignment for MATS class. It turned out to be a very personal, timely and special for me. I saw the message with hindsight.
5. What advice would you give to your young artist self?
Do not be afraid to show yourself, do not be ashamed, do not listen to your own voice that says you are not good enough. Do not compare yourself to others. Do what you love, what you need to do, and show yourself to the world. Now I know, that when something looks like its going to suck: finish the piece. In most cases its actually turns out to something good! Trust yourself.
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