Featured Artist: Nelleke Verhoeff
Nelleke Verhoeff is an artist based in Rotterdam, Holland, who creates quirky and playful illustrations for her and her partner’s multidisciplinary creative company, yepr. Coming from a circus-inspired theater background where she came up with performance productions using handmade masks, Nelleke’s passion for all things theater is clearly apparent in her artwork.
About eight years ago, Nelleke discovered and fostered a passion in painting. With her growing interest in painting, she realized that she would have to choose between theater and painting. She chose painting, but her love of theater plays a huge role in her work. Her subjects are believable in their expressions and actions, and they strike a chord because they remind me of a person, a place, or an emotion. Nelleke writes that the rosy cheeks donned by her characters are visual representations of the feelings of enthusiasm, shyness and excitement; emotions she is very familiar with.
Nelleke was kind enough to answer some of my questions about her art:
Where do you get your ideas to create these great illustrations?
From many things. My theater past, where “circus” is a theme which keeps inspiring me. I like to watch the facial expressions and postures from people around me on the street and on TV. I also get inspiration from little things or scenes I see; sometimes from a single word or a sentence, and from photos, artbooks, children picture books. All of this and much more fuels my imagination…
What keeps you motivated?
I like to create things, so every illustration is a new challenge. I love what I do and that in itself keeps me motivated.
Which creatives/artists inspire your creativity and/or your work?
There are many artists who inspire me so it’s difficult to name just a few, but here are a handful: Mark Chagall, Paul Klee, Hundertwasser… also illustrators such as Sara Fanelli, Carll Cneut, Camilla Engman, Wolf Erlbruch and Eloudie Nouhen. You can visit my blog to find out more about the artists who inspire me.
What is the process you use to create these illustrations?
Sometimes I make sketches on paper, scan them and finish them in Photoshop. And sometimes, I work only digitally. I have a drawing tablet and I use a lot of handmade scanned textures in my work.
I also like to experiment with different techniques, such as monoprint, pen and ink, colored pencils, collage, and then combine them with digital elements. I enjoy the mixture of hand-drawn and digital because it creates so many possibilities.
For more artwork and information on Nelleke, visit her website: Red Cheeks Factory.