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Thursday 11 January 2024

Meet The Illustrator: Aniek Bartels

Aniek Bartels

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Colorful, hand and heart made, chubby, playful and uplifting.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My big pink donut mug, plants, drawing tools, my pink HÅG Capisco chair.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
Gouache is my all time favourite!

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
The Printed Peanut, Mark Janssen, Rachel Victoria Hillis

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
I think pop art.
I would go have a cup of tea with Andy Warhol and be greatly inspired by this colourful time. If a time machine existed I would have travelled to this time long anyway because of the music.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
I was always very encouraged as a child by those around me to draw. That was my way of relaxing and I think I was pretty good at it. The books by the Dutch writer Annie M.G. Schmidt with the drawings by Fiep Westendorp made me realize that drawing could also become my profession later on. So since childhood this has been my dream.

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it.
Attached you can find some photos of my workspace. I moved here this year. It was always my dream to have a colourful, inspiring studio of my own. This place is part of the Stookplaats, a cool building in my hometown Hilversum. It is an old salt warehouse transformed into workspaces where inspiring sustainable brands have now been set up. I work at a big, pink desk with drawing tools and material all over the place.

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
It may sound crazy but I think the part when it is finished. While illustrating, I am constantly working on my curiosity about the end result. In fact, I already have a picture in my mind before I even touch the paper with my brush. I always hope that the end result will be as successful as how I imagined it.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
It may be a cliché but I would say practice a lot and don't be afraid to make things you don't like. By experimenting, your own style will develop. And keep looking around you. Inspiration comes from all sorts of places. The neighbour's dog with a crazy haircut, an awesome colour combination that you put on that morning or the cloud composition in the sky. I often take a snapshot of it for later.


Aniek Bartels is a Dutch illustrator who opens the doors to the enchanting world of children and guides them towards personal growth, love for nature and promoting sustainability.

For more information, please visit Aniek's website or follow her on instagram.