Instagram: @lienkeraben


1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

I’m from a very small village in The Netherlands, close to the German border. Now I live in Amsterdam. Quite a big step. In Amsterdam I feel like a village person and when I’m with family in the East of the country, I really feel like a city person. I always drew a lot, for fun, but when I started studying I focused more on graphic and interaction design. I didn’t really think about creating an income with illustrations, but I’m really happy to say that I’m a full time illustrator now.


2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

I like to work with a limited color palette, mostly black with one or a few other bold colours. My style is mostly character driven. You can also call it “doodlish”, although hounestly I hate that word. I also like handlettering and I try to incorporate that in some of my designs.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

Markers and paper, mainly Posca and Molotow markers. I like the coverage and bold colors that pop from white paper (or a wall, or a surfboard, or a foosballtable…). In the previous question I mentioned that I like a limited colour palette. That also has a practical reason: markers limit you to pick just the right colours to make it look nice.

4. What is your artistic process like?

When I work on a mural or other customisation, I mostly work with a list of words from the client that I need to find the right visuals with. I do that by mind-mapping and quick sketching first. Then, I choose colours, which I enjoy the most. When I’m working on my own work (not for a client), I don’t really sit and think first. Most of my ideas just came from drawing. I push myself to draw more and draw every day, and sometimes some ideas are nice enough to develop further. I also keep a list on my phone with some ideas and thoughts that pops up at random moments.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work?

Watching people and faces. But also seeing other nice designs, not illustrations per se, but also interior design, architecture, graphic design, signs, packaging… I just like to be in nice looking environments, it makes me want to create stuff myself. I also get a lot of inspiration from working with @Vonikdesign; we work on projects together, mostly murals, and it really helped me to get the best out of myself (sorry for the cheesiness, but it’s true).

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

As I said in the previous answer: I feel good in nice looking environments. So art plays a really important role in my life because I think it’s not only paintings or sculptures. We’re always surrounded by art and design.


7. Where did you study?

I studied Communication and Multimedia Design. During the study I focused on branding, communication and interaction design. I found out that web design is just not my thing, but the background in communications and interaction design still helps me.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?

I work at an agency and I really like it there. It’s great to work with a talented group of colleagues, work for big clients and making nice looking visuals. But it’s not only the production part that I like. We also focus on visual consultancy and changemanagement in companies. Trying to transfer the power of visualization into business really is a goal for me. I believe that visualisation leads to new insights. We’re using drawing or visualisation as a language instead of as a purpose or art. So I really like that balance. That’s why I see myself still working for this agency in five years. But combined with my freelance work, of course.

9. What about in ten?

I really don’t know. I have dreams to get a lot of mural and customisation projects abroad. To travel and make awesome stuff at the same time. But maybe I still want to combine it with working at an agency. As long as I can keep challenging myself: visually but also by learning new things and expand my knowledge.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

Make offices, homes and other environments look nicer and the people who work, live or are there, happier. Or at least get them to smile one of those big smiles.


11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

That’s difficult. The fact that I’m already thinking about this for a few minutes now, is the same problem I always have in restaurants. I always want to try everything and share food. But if I have to choose it would be pasta.

12. Favourite book?

Gestalten’s ‘A Map Of the World’. It was my motivation to create my map of Amsterdam.

13. Favourite genre of music?

I’m not really good at defining that. My Spotify 2016 year overview said: indietronica, indie rock, indie pop and alternative dance.

14. What are your hobbies?

Besides drawing I like longboarding, eating and having drinks with friends, (board) games and I spend a lot of time watching tv shows (Stranger Things, Sherlock, Fargo…) and movies.

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

I don’t know. Probably still something in a creative industry, in communications or brandmanagement. Or maybe an interior designer.

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