HI! I AM MARIANNE VAN DER WALLE,
a freelance illustrator from Nijmegen in the Netherlands. For as long as I can remember, I spent every free minute as a child drawing and often had the wildest ideas about what I wanted to put on paper. Even during phone calls – which were done with a handset and a coiled cord back then – I would be doodling with a pen on small pieces of paper.
You might think that choosing to pursue illustration professionally would be a logical next step, given my passion for drawing from a young age. However, that wasn’t the case. I opted to pursue a career in education and mainly used my pencils to grade my students’ work. For many years, I taught children with great passion and joy. Reading stories and conducting drawing lessons were among my favorite moments.
It wasn’t until after 10 years that I realized something was missing in my life. Soon enough, my drawing pencils and paints made a comeback. It was as if a spotlight had been cast on what had long been in the dark: my joy in illustrating and bringing my imagination to life.
For the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to engage in this almost full-time as a profession. In addition to being an illustrator, I also manage a household with my husband, where our two sons play a significant role.
My workspace is in our house, on the first floor where there used to be an old bathroom. It has since been transformed into a spacious walk-in closet and, more recently, into my ‘magic happens here’ spot. It’s so small that I can hardly turn around, but it works perfectly for me
ABOUT MY WORK
Whether I’m working in a traditional medium like gouache or digitally on my iPad, texture and layering always play a crucial role in my work. I cringe at the thought of ‘flat images.’ By incorporating a lot of shadow and playing with light and dark, I bring depth to my creations. Throughout this process, I strive to ensure that you can still see pencil strokes or a ‘mistake.’
In my illustration work, I always try to inject a bit of humor whenever possible. I prefer illustrating children’s books with dirty, ominous characters or a setting filled with suspense, or something that will make you chuckle.
In addition to illustrating children’s books, I create a lot of editorial work. This combination of children’s book illustrations and illustrating for an adult audience works perfectly for me. Consequently, my editorial illustrations often take a completely different approach. They are fresh, playful, feminine but with a touch of toughness. Flora and fauna, portraits, and still lifes take center stage in my work. In short, illustrations that shine in articles about lifestyle, gardening, and travel.