Artist Interview with Marijke Buurlage

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You're a new mama! Congratulations!! How is it being a freelance illustrator AND a mom?

Thank you so much! It’s an adventure, that’s for sure  But it’s actually going better than I expected! My daughter (4,5 months old now) loves to sit in her rocker on my desk and watch mommy work! Although I work less hours now, it’s definitely more fun, I love the fact that I am not all alone anymore in my studio.

Monster Project Submission 2015

Monster Project Submission 2015

Your illustrations are so vibrant and playful! Do you think your personality comes out in your artistic style?

YES, I do, and I think that for most artists this is very recognizable. If you put everything you’ve got into an artwork, then your personality shines through almost every time. I often wished I could live in one of my own illustrations or turn them into clothes and wear them

Can you give us some insight into how you go about creating an illustration? Perhaps using the example of one of your previous Monster Project contributions?

I combine analogue and digital work for everything I make: I first draw everything by hand with a brush and black ink, and then I arrange all elements in Photoshop and color everything digitally. This works perfectly for me, because I like both the roughness of hand-drawn details and the comfort of digital working and being able to make changes easily.

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Where do you draw your color inspiration from?

I am actually collecting beautiful color inspiration all day! I take lots of pictures of cool color combinations (my last one was of a red onion with a baby blue potato peeler while cooking dinner), and I experiment with the use colors a lot. I think that actually takes up most of my time while working on something new – determining what colors I should use to make the artwork look perfect! 

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You've been doing some amazing embroidery projects lately. Tell us a bit about that!

YES, I am so excited about this project! It’s actually a mother-and-daughter project, and it’s called ‘Stitchy Friday’. The concept is really simple: I make an illustration and my mom makes an embroidery out of it. We post our works in progress and all final results on our Instagram page @StitchyFriday (on Fridays, obviously). It’s so much fun to work together on this project with my mom, and hopefully my daughter will join the Stitchy Friday team one day when she’s old enough! Three generations of women from one family creating something special together, wouldn’t that be fun?! So happy to be able to do this with my mom, and it made our bond grow even stronger. We call each other every day to chat about our new followers, nice comments we get via Instagram and of course when we receive new orders. Yep, we also sell DIY embroidery kits via my Etsy shop ( and we’ve gotten such a great response already! YAY for mom-and-daughter projects! 

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Describe your ideal pet monster.

Ok let’s see, first of all he should be mint green or turquoise-ish of color (my favorite!) and he should be super fluffy so my daughter could cuddle with him all day. Also he should be super big so he can reach the top cabins in the kitchen for me so I don’t need to get a chair every time I need something. Oh and he definitely needs to have 6 eyes (he would make such a great baby sitter!) and horns, so my daughter could hold on to those when she rides his back. And his belly should be an oven so he could bake cookies for us all day (am I taking this too far?).

What do you do to get yourself out of a creative rut?

Going outside and taking a walk through nature always helps me clear my mind and reload. I live in a beautiful place with lots of nature surrounding me. I used to take these walks alone (or with my boyfriend when he has a day off) but now I can take my daughter with me, even more fun!

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Why do you participate in The Monster Project?

I got so excited when I first read about The Monster Project! I actually did a similar project during art school, but I used my own drawings I made as a kid instead to create something new. And this was even more fun: showing a kid what their imagination and creativity can turn into and therefore what they can accomplish. And I know exactly how important it is to show this to kids, because I wished that there was a similar project at my school 20 years ago when I was a kid myself. I was always very insecure about my drawing skills and never got super high grades for it, so I figured that I just wasn’t good enough. But I am sure that when the Monster Project came to my school at that time it would have stimulated me so much to go on with drawing and maybe I would have applied for art school a few years earlier than I did now. I am sure that there are so many potential artists out there that will never express their talents because they are afraid that they are not good enough, and that’s such a pity! I am sure that The Monster Project will bring forth many great little artists, and it makes me so happy that I can be a part of that!


What artist would you want to see make a Monster Project monster who hasn't done one yet?

I would love to see what Louise Lockhart, Virginie Morgand and Gosia Herba would come up with!

What question would you like us to ask the next Monster Project artist we interview?

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Monster Project contribution, 2014

Monster Project contribution, 2014

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