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About me                            HI! I'm BARBARA    Illustrator

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Here you can read a bit more about me and my journey

I am a Belgian illustrator currently living in a small town somewhere between Brussels and Antwerp with my 2 teenage boys and my husband. 

MY JOURNEY:

 

I started my career as a child psychologist. For 11 years I put my heart and soul into working with troubled children and their caregivers. The development, experiences, emotions and wonders of the young child have always fascinated me and have certainly had (and still have) an important influence on the work I do today as an artist/illustrator. 

So how did I become a full time illustrator? 

Well, in 2011 a job opportunity for my husband made us take a major decision in our lives: leave Belgium and move abroad. This made us all 5 years in India and 1 year in New Zealand richer. They were 6 wonderful, but also very intense years. 

In India I wasn’t allowed to work, so I became a full time ‘staying at home mum’ focusing on adapting to a whole new environment, language and culture. Reading bedtime stories to my kids was a daily routine in those days. The beautiful picture books ignited my forgotten passion for drawing and painting (until my late teens I drew a lot and followed art classes). I studied every illustration in detail, took several courses on drawing and illustration, but most of all learned a lot through hours and hours of practice. 

In 2016 we returned to Belgium. This was a difficult time for me with a lot of self-doubt and feeling lost. After applying for different kinds of jobs, rejections and feeling even more lost, I decided to participate in the 2018 Key Colours Competition, an international competition for children’s books concepts. My illustrations got selected for the exhibition and eventually led to illustrating my first children’s book for Clavis Publishing. 

For a while I combined my illustration work with working part time in a children’s book store. I took on commissioned work and created illustrations for all kinds of occasions. In my free time I started to design some greeting cards and participated in lots of online art challenges. This led to an increasing interest in my work and new job opportunities, like illustrating another children’s book (released December ‘23; self-publisher). 

TODAY:

Since 2022 I work as a full time illustrator, taking on both private commissioned work and assignments for bigger clients.

Medium: I mainly work digitally nowadays, but sketching in the early stages of an illustration project are usually done with traditional media on paper. I have a strong preference for painterly, textured brushes and pencils and warm, vibrant color combinations.

Commissioned work include: picture books, birth announcements; personalized cards and prints; (non-realistic) portraits and profile pictures; kids birthday invitations; poster illustrations; avatar for small businesses; ...

Clients include: Borderleap (for Apple Arcade); Vladi Toys; Local hospitals (AZ Turnhout; COS KULeuven); Atlas Copco; Mail-Box cards; Puzzle Roots; Square Peg It (UK); Nieuwjaarsbrieven.net; Clavis Publishing; ...

I am very excited to have my own greeting card collection published by a Belgian greeting card company, selling them in shops across Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. I will also start a collaboration with a UK based greeting card company.

One of my strengths is that I always listen carefully to the stories and wishes of my clients, translating them into images that resonate with their hearts and souls. Strong story telling, warmth, atmosphere and emotions are very important in my work. 

WHAT I ALSO ENJOY:

If I am not drawing (and not having teenage discussions with my sons), you can regularly find me at a restaurant or in a cozy coffee shop together with my family, friends or just by myself. I enjoy a good conversation AND am addicted to cappuccino with a beautiful design in its foam. 

I love nature, warm colors and certain color combinations make me genuinely happy! 

I very much believe in the power of creative expression. Letting go all the rules and ‘musts’, not thinking about the results, but just freely following the process of creating… . I used to create some abstract art in this way and I feel I should do this more often to set myself free and find back my childhood spontaneity.

My Favourite quotes:

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”

                                                                 ---- Pablo picasso -----
 

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