Photo by Gabrielle de Kok from Be Louder
Hi! I’m Alice, a graphic designer, and illustrator from The Hague, The Netherlands. I was born here and have lived here ever since, although I did make an exception to study Illustration abroad in Ghent (Belgium) for six months. So far, my life has always been influenced by a strong interest in text/language, image, and magazines, so naturally, during my study, I quickly discovered that illustration combined all of these interests. I have always looked around and learned a great deal from friends and other artists, either during presentations or discussing art with them.
It’s always a bit of a challenge to position myself towards clients because in my graphic design work I play a more supportive role whereas my illustration work is more autonomous. As much as I love to create assignment-based solutions with typography and strong design, I perceive illustration as an opportunity to express myself and explore new ways to tell a story.
Studio Netto is a great example of this while incorporating a commercial element: my partner Cecile Hooijdonk (who I met during art school) and I illustrate live at large business events such as conferences or meetings. We visualize the abstract and often complex information in order to create a more accessible summary of the discussed topics. The attendees are always pleasantly surprised by our results.
Draw Club Den Haag, on the other hand, is a weekly drawing night which I founded with Lotte Verweij (another art school classmate) in 2017. The initiative stemmed from a collective urge to draw more frequently, without any restrictions. So no rules, no assignments, no competition, no expectations, just a table in a café where Lotte and I invite other drawing lovers to join us! You don’t have to be a professional, we want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable. Every week we meet lovely and inspiring people thanks to organizing these nights. It also created a weekly moment of experimentation in drawing which I missed in my daily practice.
Tell people what you’d like to do when it comes to projects, your career, your dreams, etc. If people don’t know what you want, they won’t reach out to you to bring your goals to life. Besides, when you say your wishes out loud, it will also help you visualize them!
As a child, I would sit with my typewriter to write little stories about a boy and his adventures. I never turned out to be a writer, but my love for stories and books never stopped growing. Pretty soon I started creating my own magazines, one of which was named ‘Girls United’ (haha), and in high school, I joined the school newspaper. I realized that this is where my love for print and the combination of text and image came from only a few years ago, long after I had applied for art school.
All of a sudden I was in this artistic environment, overwhelmed by what graphic design really was! In my third year, I did an exchange in Ghent (Belgium) at the Illustration department, simply out of curiosity. I didn’t have my own ‘style’ by then but it was so great to meet other illustrators. This was the starting point of my passion for illustration and I did more and more projects with illustration as a medium. I graduated with a fully illustrated, riso-printed book and nowadays I combine my graphic design practice with my love for illustration! Illustration gives me a lot of freedom where graphic design is more strict.
It might sound like a cliché, but I think working hard and staying true to doing what you love is the main thing. It’s easy to fall for hypes, trends and score success easily, but the ones working on their own development and concepts are the ones who will outlive the hype. Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to be able to reflect: do I like what I’m doing now? Is this the best way to get to where I want to be?
‘My Heart Will Go On’ by Celine Dion! She’s the godmother of Studio Netto and whatever happens in life, your heart WILL go on hehe.
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