Featured Artist: Marijke Buurlage

Marijke Buurlage is an illustrator from the Netherlands.

She graduated Academie Minerva Groningen as an illustrator in 2013 and has been working as a freelance illustrator ever since. Alongside editorial illustration for magazines, children’s books, posters, apps and e-books, Marijke is nurtures a number of self initiated side-projects, such as her Marching Bird Project.


I draw all kinds of birds; focusing on staying true to their original shapes and forms, so that they are immediately recognisable, but at the same time have their own personality.

How would you describe your working process? What materials do you most enjoy working with?

I always start with a rough sketch on the computer. After sketching 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 make a color palette that I am going to use (I don’t use more than 7 different colors most of the time). When I start working on the final version of the illustration, I begin drawing all elements with a marker or a brush on paper. Everything I make is drawn by hand first and then colored and arranged digitally after. I’ve been working like this for two years now and I love it. It works so well for me.

Do you take day trips or travel often? How does this fuel your creativity?

Going for a walk is the best way for me to clear my mind and to get new inspiration. When I get stuck during a project and I don’t know what the next step should be, I go outside and I walk, and I don’t think about anything for an hour or so.

It’s so important for me to take a break sometimes from my creative process and to take a step back, so that I can see my project with fresh eyes afterwards.

Almost every time I do this new ideas pop into my head.

Tell us about the last book you read / documentary that you watched – is there a subject matter interests you most?

I really have a thing for animals. If I had to choose one topic to illustrate for the rest of my life it would definitely be animals. This also means that I watch an awful lot of wildlife documentaries for inspiration (and for fun, of course).

Are there any creative projects out there that you’ve seen recently that you wish you’d made?

I have noticed that some of my illustrator colleagues from all over the world are working on illustrated cook books. That seems like so much fun! I’d love to illustrate a cook book someday.

Do you work from home or share a studio with other illustrators? 

I work at home. One of the bedrooms in my house is transformed into my personal little studio. It’s small, but it’s perfect for me. I often thought about looking for a studio to work in somewhere in the city, where other creatives also work so we can inspire each other and keep each other motivated, but then I realized that I work best when no one is around. I guess I am easily distracted.

What would you most like to be doing with your illustration in 5-10 years time?

I hope that in 10 years I will be able to say that I have made lots of picture books, worked on the coolest projects, and that I am still able to work full time as an illustrator. And I hope to do so for as long as I live!


Posted on Mar 24th, 15 by | Twitter: @lisahassell

Founder & director of Inkygoodness, Lisa is a published writer and arts journalist, focusing on creative business, graphic art and illustration and design education. Her words regularly appear in Computer Arts, Creative Bloq, Digital Arts and IdN.

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