Sometimes a picture can capture your imagination and leave you feeling a sense of nostalgia and inspiration synergistically. That's very much how I feel about the work of Lieke Van Der Vorst, whose new collection of work inspired by her recent travels around the world has just landed with us.
We caught up with Lieke to chat about her work, life and life, life and what inspires her. This is the first on a 'Meet The Makers' series where we'll be talking to the artists, makers and doer's that make up the wonderful world of NGNG....
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us about your makes?
Hi! I am Lieke van der Vorst, the illustrator behind Liekeland. I grew up in Kaatsheuvel, a very very small town in The Netherlands. Every Summer my parents would pack up our De Waard tent and we would drive 13 hours to the Provence of France to camp among the lavender fields. It was these times in nature that have influenced my life and work the most. Being kind to animals and the environment became an important part of my vision. I use my illustrations to make a positive impact on the world, and to keep people honest and humble. I try to practice green living as much as possible.
What do you think the future of handmade is?
I think we are much more aware of where our products are coming from and how the products we buy are made. If the product is made locally or shipped from the other side of the world. And if the product is made by hand or made in a factory.
Have you ever collaborated with anyone if so what is your favourite collaboration, if not - who would you like to collaborate with?
I never did a real collaboration, but if I could choose a collaboration it would be with a organisation who fights for animal rights or nature. Maybe Greenpeace, that would be cool.
Whats your favourite tool to use for producing your work, why, how did you find it, and does it have a story?
I always illustrate with black ballpoint pencils and soft colored pencils. I’ve tried many different techniques but always got back to the ballpoint pencil.
I think it’s because you can varied with different tones and textures and how you put the line, is also how it stays. Ink can finish or go it’s own way, I don’t like that haha.
How do you achieve a balance between intuition and practicality in your work?
I always try to illustrate and make choices on which colour to use on intuition. Also the ideas are often from intuition.
Practical is more the financial aspect or how to ship/make products, not really in making the illustrations.
Autumn / winter can be a time of great inspiration, what do you do when you feel stuck creatively and what tools do you use to reignite you creativity?
I feel stuck creatively so now and then, it’s always difficult to experience that moment. You know it can happen and often it happens when I’ve done to many projects at the same time.
A friend of mine once told me about the apple tree, it’s a beautiful story and I love it. You have the spring, when the tree (or you as designer/illustrator) is making new things, but don’t show them to the world.
It’s a hidden project, all in the little blossom of the tree. When it’s summer you will show your new work, do an exhibition, publish it online, just like the tree shows it's beautiful leaves and flowers.
Then the autumn starts and the tree will harvest it’s apples, just like you earn your money. And then the winter starts, a time to reflect and think, not making or doing anything. I forgot for a for couple of years to do the winter.
I skipped the winter and just started with the spring again. But after a few years my apples were pretty ugly I think; you really need the winter to get pretty apples. So that’s something I do when I’m empty, I have a winter :-)
Describe your studio space, what is it about this space motivates you the most?
It’s in an old building, an old school, and every designer or illustrator has their own classroom. It has big windows and a lot of light and I like it very much. I think the light and the trees outside motivates the most.
What do the words No Guts No Glory mean to you? Do you have a personal motto, or a favourite quote?
I love this line! It is a little bit of a life-line even. If you see everything in life as ’no guts no glory’ you will experience and see the most wonderful things and have no fear.
Thanks Lieke! You can find a collection of Lieke's latest work as well as our favourites in our online shop