Ep.1: Color combinations and inspiration with Loish

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Sep 01, 2017 •  Interviews

After she lived “all around the world’, including the US, Indonesia, France and Belgium, Lois van Baarle a.k.a Loish works now as a freelance illustrator and animator from her home in Holland. She has been drawing since she was a child and most of her amazing colorful artworks are now created digitally. You can see the process examples on Vimeo.

We met while we were working together on one of the projects for LEGO and it was a great pleasure to work with her and get to know her better. She has many years of experience working for the different industries and brands. She was also featured in many publications, like Imagine FX and published her own art book The Art of Loish: A Look Behind the Scenes for her amazing fan base.

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Get in touch with Loish

Key Takeaways

“Draw what you really want to draw and indulge in your guilty pleasures!”

Resources mentioned

💡 Please note: We are supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! For more info, please read our disclosure.

Special thanks to Loish for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Lois van Baarle, used with permission

Episode Transcript

Announcer

Creative, artistic, happy! That’s you. There are endless possibilities for living a creative life. So let’s inspire each other. Art Side of Life interviews with Iva.

Iva Mikles

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the next episode of Art Side of Life, where it’s all about how you can turn your creative passion into a profession. My guest today is super talented digital artists and character designer from Netherlands. She is one of the most popular artists in social media inspiring hundreds of 1000s of followers. We met while working on one of the projects for Lego and it was a great pleasure to get to know her in person. She is currently working on a second book, but our The floor is part two and the Kickstarter campaign launches halfway through September 2017. So please welcome Lois van Baarle, very excited to have Lloyd here. So please, welcome.

Lois van Baarle

Thank you, Iva.

Iva Mikles

I would like to start with 10 questions about past and I would like to know, how was it like to grow up in so many different countries? And maybe what do you love about Holland?

Lois van Baarle

Oh, well, it was it was interesting, growing up in many different countries, because like, for a lot of people, they’re like, Oh, it must have been strange to leave to move so often, but for me, it was like my reality, it’s what I like, is the only way that I knew. So I was like, totally used to it. And I was used to having like a fresh start every four years. So every now and then I would just be able to like switch schools and then make totally new friends and like sort of craft my persona and a new way. And it was really like freeing actually. But I like living in Holland the most because I like, through my parents, I really absorb a lot of Dutch culture. Like they say that Dutch people are really, like, really practical and straightforward. And like rude, I guess. But like just brutally honest, basically. And, and when I when I moved here, I noticed that it just made the most sense to me. Like it was the most sort of like, logical way of handling things. It felt like right to me. So I feel like this is my home. And even though I grew up living all over the world, the the sort of mentality of Dutch people has always been like in my family. So that’s why I like it here.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, I heard this question about from other podcasts when they asked like, do you remember how your childhood smelled like,

Lois van Baarle

oh, yeah, I do. I remember how like, when I lived in the US, we lived in Fairfax County in Falls Church, and like, it was really super green. And they’re like, lots of trees. And I played a lot in our in our garden and our yard. And it was like, so long. And whenever I smell like sort of nature II smell, it reminds me of my childhood. Like really big Association. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

And you always like to draw at least that’s what I heard from also many podcasts or interviews you did before. And so what was the kind of the first conversation with your parents, maybe when you told them you want to do this professionally?

Lois van Baarle

Oh, I don’t remember. But I do remember that, like, from a really young age. I always thought I was going to be an architect. Because we had like a friend of the family who drew she was like a really good artist. But she said you have to be an architect because then you can make money. Because if you just draw, then you can’t like make a living off of what you do. So apparently, when I was like, eight or something, I told my parents that I’m wanting to be an artist, and they were probably like, well pick a profession that you can still make some money. So that was like an idea that I had in my head. All through my childhood.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. And so what do you like the biggest decisions you had to do in order to follow your passion?

Lois van Baarle

Um, I’d say the biggest decision was to study animation. Because like, when I was 18, I was sort of at a crossroads. Like I could pick all these different possible paths in life. And I thought maybe philosophy or history or like all of these different ideas because stuff that I liked in school, but I ended up picking animation because I just knew that like I would always feel like drawing I always would have a passion for it. So when I decided to do that and just take that leap it’s that’s when it sort of became like a fact you know that I was going to be an artist.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. And was there something you change your opinion about the like the whole career What do you had so far, something you believed in before and now you think differently. You mean

Lois van Baarle

like before I went to study or Yeah, yeah. Yeah, of course, like, I thought that I couldn’t make any money as an artist. And now I know that I can make a living off of it, you know. So I really had to change that attitude like, and I had to change the attitude that artists are always like struggling and should be grateful for any work that they get, you know, like, take on a much more professional attitude.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. And what was the best advice you ever received?

Lois van Baarle

Oh, God, I don’t know. I can think of some good advice that I got.

Lois van Baarle

Like, my dad once told me that I should start drawing from my imagination, because I was drawing from reference all the time. And I don’t know if he meant it as really good advice. But it was in practice really good because I forced myself to start drawing from imagination from that point. And it was like, a real turning point in how I approached drawing. And studying animation was advice that I got from my art teacher in high school, because I was telling him that I was worried like, that drawing wouldn’t give me enough work. And he said that animation is a field with lots of commercial opportunities. So that was pretty good advice. Yeah, I don’t know if it’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten. It’s close, though.

Iva Mikles

When did you find out that actually, the animation is not for you? Or what did you learn about yourself?

Lois van Baarle

Um, I, well, I think animation like, was a really good choice, because it like enriched my way of drawing and I learned that like, you know, it’s good for me to like, challenge myself to, like, go deeper with my work like not just come up with like a simple drawing, but also think of a story and a character and go the extra steps. But I ended up just continuing to make digital paintings in my free time. And now that’s like more when I get approached to do for paid work. So like, after graduating and doing more freelance work, I sort of learned that animation like that I’m not really as much of an animator as I thought I would be a more a character designer and more like somebody who makes drawings. But it did teach me a lot.

Iva Mikles

And who is kind of like your inspiration? Or maybe did you have a mentor? Like, during the whole this time? You mentioned a teacher?

Lois van Baarle

Um, no, I never really had a mentor because I’m like, super self motivated. And I’m like, mostly self taught when it comes to drawing. So I never really like seeked out like, an individual person to help me learn more. But my main inspiration has always been Art Nouveau and Disney, like a mix of Art Nouveau and Disney.

Iva Mikles

And when we are talking about the inspiration, is there something maybe strange which inspires you?

Lois van Baarle

Um, usually, that’s, yeah, I’d say not so much strange. But I can get inspired by like a color combination that I see. And I can see it in the most random place. Like if I’m walking in the grocery store, and I see that somebody has like, certain color combination clothing on or, if I see like a, I don’t know, just anything in my daily life that has a certain color that can really spark me to make like a whole whole drawing because colors are like, they’re like, my main motivator, like I always want to capture when I think about a drawing in my head, I think about a certain color combination and the mood that it creates.

Iva Mikles

And so how do you do it then with the with the colors? When you see something you just remember it? Or do you take pictures? Or do you do notes? I want to do this color combination later on.

Lois van Baarle

And usually remember it but now with the smartphone, I always take a picture really quick. Yeah. So I have like a picture of random stuff. And I like I sometimes when I don’t know what to draw, I go through Google Photos and just go through all my random photos of things and usually see something there. That was like, an idea that I had for drawing.

Iva Mikles

Okay, yeah.

Lois van Baarle

So now with the you always have a camera on you.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. Because you had this idea or the goal that you want to create 12 drawings right for the calendar every year, the like, or do you add to it?

Lois van Baarle

And now I still have that goal. I think that it’s like kind of hard to keep up. You know, it’s hard for me to make like 12 Illustrations every year, that can be used for the calendar because I try to use like my own original art and not any client work. And it’s so if you’re like always doing client work, one project after the next. It’s so hard to find like a week to just come up with a new painting and like sketch it and painted and put it all the time. So I’m always proud if I can do like 12 of those. I always think it’s like an insane achievement for myself.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, it’s really good. I’ll do basically managed to do everything.

Lois van Baarle

Yeah, I also don’t understand when I look back into your old When did I do that?

Iva Mikles

For example, now you did the one with lemons. And so is there something as you said, like you had the inspiration? And, for example, how this one came to be, or what is your favorite fruit? Maybe?

Lois van Baarle

Ah, oh, you know, my inspirations were just really like, random, you know, like, the lemons thing. I just literally had lemons on my table. And I was like, having a bad day, you know? So I was like, lemons. And then it just made sense in my head just clicked. So I’m very, like, intuitive about that, you know, I just, I’m like, Okay, this, this will feel right. I’m never trying to, like, generate some kind of deeper meaning, but I just want to, like, convey a feeling, you know, but, but not really like not that the drawing is only about the feeling. But the feeling is like a layer that’s, that’s on the image. That’s how I see it.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. And then when you are creating works, and how do you design your day? Or what do you do daily, maybe which contributes to your work?

Lois van Baarle

Oh, I actually, like try to let go of things like daily work like routine, because I did go through a phase where I was like, I have to do this every day. And then it’ll help me in the long term. But it I ended up like always being disappointed if I didn’t find time to do it, you know, or like, things would get in the way. And I’d be like, Okay, this day is wasted, even though it’s not always. So I actually think that the most important thing that I do for my creativity is to just like let go of routine. And sometimes like because I’m a freelancer, so I decided myself what my hours are. So sometimes I like wake up, and I’ve slept in way too long. And I’m like, oh, no, the days ruined, it’s wasted. And then I’m like, I tried to force myself to be like, No, it’s fine. You know, like, it just go with the flow. It’s okay, whatever, whatever I come up with today is good enough. And so it’s more like a sort of ritual of letting go and not putting too many standards on my activities. That helps me the most creatively.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, and so you have the studio now at your house? Or do you travel somewhere to do studio,

Lois van Baarle

I have a place I like rent this space. It’s close to my house, it’s like 10 minutes walking from where, where I live. And I rent the space away from home, because otherwise it would be like, I wouldn’t get around to doing the work that I need to do. You know, I’d always just notice other things and other tasks and chores and end up doing that instead.

Iva Mikles

Play with the kid or yeah, that kind of stuff,

Lois van Baarle

or just like chill on the couch all day, you know?

Iva Mikles

So and how do you plan, you know, maybe a week or month? How do you kind of do it digitally? Or traditionally on the board? Or how do you set your goals? I do

Lois van Baarle

that on paper, definitely. Like I try not to do that too much digitally. Because, like I have a habit of brainstorming. So whenever I have an idea, I’m like, Yes, I’m gonna write it all down. And then I’d type it and Type and Type and Type. And like, half of these ideas don’t lead anywhere and the other half do but then new brainstorm documents come in under there. So whenever I go to my drive, it’s like full of plan, plan and plan and plan and, and it’s really distracting. You know, so I tried to like, I only try to head like, go for that stuff when I’m in the mindset like of being able to take in tons of information. So I write on paper to just like get away from computers and input and and like the association that I have with like my endless stream of thoughts that makes any sense. You know, like, I just, I go to paper and I just write it down real simple. And then it feels better to plan on paper and then I try on Sunday to just plan my week and think about especially in terms of like how much free time how much time do I have to do what I want and how much time do I have to meet deadlines that that’s the most important thing for me to look at.

Iva Mikles

Can you share with people what do you like to do in a free time?

Lois van Baarle

Free time? Um, well, I still like drawing a lot I have an iPad with procreate so I just like sit and draw with it. Or like browse the internet which isn’t really like the best way because I get very scatterbrained from that but I do love it you know I love it when I have like a couple hours to just browse pointlessly on the internet because then I always find random stuff I’m like, Oh, that’s so interesting. And I also really like to go out and walk in nature and be in in amongst trees and in the sun. And and I yeah, I think that’s it like I like walking and I like being on the computer.

Iva Mikles

Like the Botanical Garden we’ve been really cool in LA I loved it.

Lois van Baarle

Yeah, I love it to me and me and my me in our in my boyfriend. We were together for 10 years and we went to the botanical garden and we were just like looking at play That’s just looking like this. Wow, look at that one. It’s like, the sort of type of visual information that you get from Chrome like nature is really pleasant. No, it’s like a nice rhythm. Like the

Iva Mikles

shapes and colors and how exactly. And when you mentioned area and how, kind of because you were together for a long time, how did you influence your art career?

Lois van Baarle

Oh, yeah. Well, our it’s been sort of like my cheerleader. And from the beginning, Arianna always had the feeling like, you know, I mean, he always encouraged me even before we had a relationship, he would come up to me and be like, Have you sent your work to ballistic publishing? And I’d be like, what, what is that, and you’d be like, you’ve never heard of that. You have to send your work and do it, they’ll love you. They’ll love your art, you know, he’s always been like, that he’s always been like, has has tons of ideas. And he’s like, he’s somebody that knows about a lot of stuff that’s going on. And he knows about many different artists and platforms. And he’s always like, coming up with ideas and, and helping me and supporting me with my career. So I think if I didn’t have arienne, I would still be just like, you know, making doodles and not really advancing in my career, because he’s always, like, encouraged me to be career minded, you know? Yeah, it’s really. Yeah, it’s so important, because he’s very, like, he’s taught me how he, he really encouraged me to be more professional and to believe in myself more. So. Yeah, he’s had been really important.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, that’s really nice. Because I mean, you’ve inspired so many people, you know, through online, and you’ve been online for so long. And I hear from every side, you know, like, oh, yeah, new lawyers. And yeah, she inspired me online. And so you started with DeviantArt. Right? And then two other networks. And so what is your go to platform right now?

Lois van Baarle

Instagram? Definitely. Yeah, Instagram, I spend the most time on I try to post like, every day, even though that’s not very realistic, but I try it because it’s like, it’s, it’s about pictures, you know. So like, people really want to see images, and they want to, like, they quickly engage. So it’s like, really, I think, the best platform for artists right now. Because DeviantArt is, it was like the best platform in 2004. But it hasn’t really like rolled with the times, you know, it doesn’t have like this algorithm. It doesn’t have like a sort of like, a way of getting people really engaged with the art, whereas Instagram does have that. So yeah, yeah. And

Iva Mikles

so with the networking you do mostly in social media, and do you go also to events, maybe you can share with people where they can see you in?

Lois van Baarle

You? Yeah, yeah, I started doing that recently. I went to CTN last year, which is really awesome. And then I’m gonna go again, not this year, but hopefully the year after. And, and I’m also doing workshops, more nowadays, like, I’m actually like, writing a two day workshop at the moment, like thinking about how I can sort of share my knowledge over a two day time period. And I’m also going to attend more comic cons and do like live demos there. I did a few Comic Cons last year, but it is new for me. So it’s like kind of scary, I have to sort of force myself to do it. And like get over my fear of being in front of lots of people.

Iva Mikles

But add to Milan CTN.

Lois van Baarle

I was terrified, you know that because you had dinner with me before the live demo

Iva Mikles

wasn’t visible at all. So you were like, perfect.

Lois van Baarle

Well, once I’m once I’m up there, I my eye relaxed, because I just know, like, I’m just the kind of person that like, once I put my teeth in, you know, once I get started, then I know what to do. But beforehand, I think about like, oh, what’s it gonna happen? And how’s it gonna go? And like thinking about it too much. And then once I’m in the situation, I’m like, Okay, I know what to do, you know,

Iva Mikles

just go in the flow. And yeah, that maybe which was like the highlight or good experiences from this event?

Lois van Baarle

Oh, definitely the live demo because like, all these people came to sit and they were like sitting on the ground. And in this, the atmosphere was like super casual and relaxed, and I made jokes and people laughed at them. And I was like, whoa. I felt very like, I don’t know, like, I had a good bond with people. And I remember every time I made a joke, I heard one person laughing like super loud. And it was REM you know, he was standing afterwards. He was like, You’re so funny. Oh my god, I never knew you were so funny. And I thought like, Oh, this is a really big moment. Like not just for my career, but also like, you know, just like how I’ve evolved personally since starting because I started out like really isolated and alone behind the computer. And now I’m much more like out in the world.

Iva Mikles

Oh, yes, it’s really nice to do the connections. And actually now when you mentioned the demo, there was one girl sitting next to me. And she was like, Oh, he’s the guy just like, that’s her boyfriend. Okay, that makes sense.

Lois van Baarle

It was really like, in just as nervous as I was, and he was like, twice as relieved when it was over, you know, really.

Iva Mikles

It was really fun. Because she’s, like, someone really kind of why? Why is it talking to her all the time? They’re,

Lois van Baarle

like some kind of some kind of like cleaning fan or something.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, but anyways, it was really

Iva Mikles

fun. Yeah, it was awesome. Let’s talk about your new project. What is it you can share? Maybe because you shared something already on Instagram? And can you talk about your new project? Oh,

Lois van Baarle

yeah, that’s, that’s my upcoming art book, I decided. I have my old my old my first art book, The Art intuition. And, and I didn’t expect that it would do so well. But it’s it went really well, the Kickstarter went well. And it’s also still selling quite a lot of copies. So and So me and the publisher talked about doing like a second book in the series, like in a sort of series, or like a sort of part two. Because when we were putting together this book, I noticed that like, you know, we had to cut out a lot of sketches and a lot of rough work, because you know, there’s only a limited amount of pages. And people also want to see the more finished stuff. So I felt bad about that. And we were thinking about like giving, you know, doing a book that was just focused purely on sketches and rough work. So that’s what the new book is going to be, it’s just going to be like, it’s going to be like a collection of rough work, it’s going to be like the sketchbook version.

Iva Mikles

So it will be also hardcopy, or in the same amount of pages more or less. Yeah,

Lois van Baarle

it’d be pretty much the same, just with like, new content and just like a part two, so if you get both of them, then it’ll look like they belong together. You know, it’s gonna also have like a similar aesthetic for the club, but front and back cover, it’s gonna have like, similar type of layout, but it’s going to have much more like sketches and rough things and new tutorials and new tips in there.

Iva Mikles

Sounds exciting.

Lois van Baarle

Yeah, it is exciting. It’s really fun. Because I think that like, sometimes rough work is better than finished work. You know, because it can be more can be more raw, it can be more inspiring. And, and I really, like sort of right now I’m writing the text, like, literally today, I’ve been writing some of the chapters. And, and I like sharing my sort of ideas about sketching because that’s really where the, the process starts, you know, so it’s like one of the most, like, real parts of being an artist, I think. I think it’s going to be a good book. I’m excited about

Iva Mikles

it. Yeah. And you are going for a Kickstarter again.

Lois van Baarle

Yeah, yeah, we’re gonna do it the exact same way. So again, with a Kickstarter, and we’re gonna do like slightly different prizes. Because last time I did Commission’s, that seemed like a great idea. But it was like, super time consuming, and I just like barely had the time to fit those in. So we’re just gonna like, do it a little more simple now. But for the most part, it’s going to be the exact same process.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. And it will be in September.

Lois van Baarle

Yes, halfway through September most likely.

Iva Mikles

Okay. So when we will launch this interview, it will be just about to happen.

Lois van Baarle

Yes, yes. Oh, exciting.

Iva Mikles

Very cool. And so what? Maybe what is new as well about the book, is there something else you are planning to do in the book differently as well,

Lois van Baarle

I think the main difference is going to be it’s going to be like more dense, there’s going to be more artwork in there. And it’s because it’s going to be a lot of rough art and sketches. So and there’s going to be like a bigger variety of work because my sketches are just have more variety than my digital paintings. So I think that the tutorials are going to focus on ways that you can use like, sketching, workflow, and to create like a finished piece, but it’s going to be mostly about like speed painting, and using rough line work and stuff. So it’s gonna be like the same but different.

Iva Mikles

So I knew when you were doing Kickstarter, last time, it was like, super successful and it went out like crazy fast. It was like two hours, right? Yeah. And were you nervous before you launched?

Lois van Baarle

A little? Yeah, I was like, a little nervous. But it’s like one of those things where like, I knew that there was no point in thinking about it too much until I did it. You know what I mean? It was like, I just had no idea what would happen. So I was just thinking like, let’s just do this and see. And then and then it became like, way more were overwhelming than I had planned. So that was like, actually, I was more nervous after the Kickstarter. And then

Iva Mikles

how are we making it happen? Right? So now you have already one book and you still do client work and commissions, maybe sometimes, how do you combine your income streams are what is still your main income.

Lois van Baarle

My main income is still client work. And, but it’s becoming more like I’m getting, I’m getting more income from like, print sales and royal book royalty. So more and more from my own art, which is really nice, because that’s been one of my long term goals for a while, because I really, I always feel when I start new client work, I’m always excited. And I always like the new experience. But at the same time, I always have to put aside so many plans from my own personal work, and I have to just leave it and it always feels kind of sad, you know, having to sort of delay my own personal projects. And I’m hoping to get to a point where I can like, just spend more time on my own thing. So my income stream is still mostly client work, but it’s slowly changing. And I hope it continues to change.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, hope. Yeah, I really hope so. And then I’m looking forward to see more of your work.

Lois van Baarle

Thank you.

Iva Mikles

And so when you have so many different projects, how do you decide to or what is yourself though, you know, like, when you have to say no to some project,

Lois van Baarle

I try to prioritize the projects that are like, the biggest learning experience for me. So the stuff that like really has added value to you know, because I’ve been doing more and more character design work. I’ve been doing that for like four years now. But I also just want to keep doing work that challenges me on a new level and like, applies my character design aesthetic to like a different medium that I’ve worked with before. So I gained more experience. And lately I like working with, with on projects that helped me sort of like, sort of, like, strengthen my brand, I guess, you know, so I can I can like, you know, because I do I draw a lot of female characters, and I draw on a specific type of style. And it’s always nice if I can like, use, apply that style to a project. So I can keep my sort of brand going in the client work and strengthen the ways that I can like sort of express my brand. Basic. Yeah, that’s like what I think about the most because like, if I get like a job offer that that’s potentially interesting, but has like, is going to be like, I have to step completely out of my comfort zone and do stuff that’s like, I’m not sure whether that’s my strength at all, then I’ll be less likely to do that. Like, I’ll be more likely to want to do something like that, in my personal work and not as client work. Yeah, and

Iva Mikles

how would you describe your brand, or what is the vision you are always communicating?

Lois van Baarle

I think my brand is really like I it’s hard for me to describe it, because I’m so like, on top of it all the time, but I want my work to be like very feminine, but relatable. That’s what I’m always going for, like work that has a sort of human feeling. And like a sort of warms to it. But it’s also very, very feminine, very decorative, and colorful. And that’s what I also try to try to express in my personal sort of, and how I handle on my social media, you know, I always want to be like, you know, because I noticed that I’m often seen as a role model for artists starting out like they want to learn my techniques, but I still want to be relatable. I still want to be approachable. That’s that’s very important to me.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, because you also do a lot of tutorials for free and all of it for your community, which is super nice. And I think with this book as well, it’s a way where people can give you back.

Lois van Baarle

Yeah, yeah, exactly. And I really like sort of opening up, you know, and then being like demystifying it a little bit and being an artist because I remember like, before I really develop my career, I was like, I had so many questions, and it was also vague and scary to me, and somebody had just sat down and been like, it’s not that scary. And this is how I do it, I would have felt very relieved. So I always try to like, give that you know, like, think about what, what, what I would have wanted to hear when I was like very nervous and afraid about being an artist.

Iva Mikles

Do you have a role model is known as an artist but someone you know, is a like human, you know?

Lois van Baarle

I don’t know. Yeah, I probably do. But I can’t think of it right now. I mean, I don’t know you know what, I don’t have a specific role model. But I have like all these sorts of random people that inspire me that like Like, I’ve read a lot of self help books, it’s kind of like a weird confession. But like, I really love reading books that are like about, about like the brain and about neurobiology, but that explain it in a in a sort of relatable way. You know, things like that really inspire me. And like, my big sister, she’s a, she’s a biologist, and she like, but she’s really passionate about, like, explaining complex ideas in a way that people understand. And she’s always sort of like, when she explained it, to me, she’s always like, checking and looking in my eyes, like, Does she understand that she follow this, you know, like this sort of need to communicate and be understood. She also really inspires me and, like, Aria, and really inspires me with his, like, sort of cheerleader mode, you know what I mean? So I think there’s like snippets of all these people that have influenced me and all these books, things that have influenced me that, that, that that inspires me, that I use for my own person.

Iva Mikles

So it’s kind of like a combination of your real life. And, yeah, yeah. But then you also mentioned that you have different kinds of not liking but what what you like, with the TV shows and books and the look and feel of your art. So how does that kind of combiner?

Lois van Baarle

I don’t know, I don’t I combines because, like, I don’t know, I It’s kind of a goal of mine to like, somehow combine them. But I don’t know if I will get there, you know, because, yeah, the TV shows that I really love, like, my favorite TV show is the wire. And it’s about like drug crime in Baltimore. And it’s like, really negative, it’s really a lot about how many problems will never be solved. And I really like my favorite movies, the children of men, which is like a dystopia where people can no longer have children. And like, it’s like, defined by like, really long, uncut camera shots of like, death and things falling apart, you know, so. But like, I, what I love about the movie, and that TV show is that it’s very, really raw, and it’s very, like, nuanced, there’s, like, so much nuance. It’s not like a black and white story. It’s like, it’s very complicated, and many different people and different visions. And that all comes together. And I think it’s very important to, like, have this. Yeah, I don’t like making really extreme statements, you know, and I don’t like being like, Oh, this is what somebody should do. And this was what works. And this is what doesn’t, you know, I always feel like everything is different in every different situation. And that’s what those, like, really negative and sad TV shows, and movies teach me. And I try to use that in a way. But sometimes I feel like my art, you know, like, hope someday that maybe I could collaborate with a writer or something that has like more of an edginess because like, I use my art as an escape from a lot of negative things in my life. You know, I use it as a way to like convey, like this happy, relaxing and nice peaceful kind of mental state. And, and maybe it would be interesting to like, use it for the opposite, you know, to convey more like drama, or like a dystopia or something. It’s just that I’m not like a natural storyteller. So I wouldn’t know where to begin, you know?

Iva Mikles

Yeah, for sure. Because I was thinking as well, like, if you because your worlds in the art, they’re so dreamy, and colorful. So it’s like a really nice contrast to some of the series and TV shows. So yeah, it also can feel like a escape escape and inspiration for and maybe they try also a lot of people follow you because there’s really nice inspiration and how the world can be, you know, like colorful and positive. And,

Lois van Baarle

yeah, I think people I think people like it as a sort of escape as a sort of ideal image or something like that, you know, just fine. That’s, that’s I mean, that’s how I intended. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

And if we talk about, like, maybe difficult moments, can you share, like, the most difficult moment of your art career? And how did you overcome that?

Lois van Baarle

Let’s see, I think, I think maybe, like I could talk about a project that went really badly. Like one of my first freelance jobs was for two scientists that were creating some kind of like prototype for old people, like really old people who are often in isolation to indicate their mood. So they would get like a device with various emoji emojis on there, too, they could indicate their mood, and they wanted an artist to make like faces with the different moods, but they wanted it to be like, scientifically correct. So they wanted, they wanted like the majority of people that used it to instantly understand that specific emotion. And it was like really hard for me to work on because their feedback was like always different. Like one time, they gave me the feedback in the form of raw data that they had gotten from a focus group. So they did some kind of focus group and then they gave me graphs with like random dots. all over the place and like various distributions, and then I was like, Damn do, what does this mean? You know, and I spent like, hours just sort of figuring it out, you know, I did a lot of biology in high school. So I was like, okay, I can do this, you know, so I was like, understanding the graphs and, and I ended up like, sort of making minor adjustments to the characters based on that. And then they wrote another session of feedback. And it was like, super specific, it was like, literally just change this line on this drawing. So I was like, why couldn’t they do that? To start with, you know, and the feedback just kept coming? And then they were like, Oh, we also asked our secretary what she thinks. So there was like, even more feedback. And then they were like, Oh, by the way, when are you going to color them in, and I was like, Oh, my God, I thought it was gonna be black and white, because the example pictures they sent were in black and white. And turned out, they wanted an in color. And they wanted it in Illustrator, which I didn’t know how to use. So I ended up having to, like, hire somebody to help me and I was just like, Okay, this is a disaster. I also learned from that project that I really shouldn’t work with people who have like, totally different goals than me, you know, because they were like, Oh, we just want generic characters that convey emotions instantly, which is like more of the work of like a cartoonist, you know, and I wasn’t, and I was open to trying anything. But now I’ve learned that like, being open to try anything doesn’t really help you all the time. You know, sometimes it’s like, it’s more of a burden than anything else.

Iva Mikles

So how do you agree now at the beginning of the project, what do you request maybe from the client to give you or how do you? How do you How is the process maybe working? If you can describe one example?

Lois van Baarle

Well, now it’s like, my work is very different, because I do character design work and an early part of the process. So we’re usually looking at like a number of days. So usually, my client is like, Okay, how many days do you have? What do you think that you can complete this in those days, so then I just look at it and I’m like, Okay, I need like a month to do that. And then we just negotiate for my day rate. And usually, they don’t need like, really, really super finalized stuff. Usually they need sketches, or like developmental work, and then they finalized with another artist or like with somebody that works in house. So it’s become very different. And now when we work with specific deliverables, it’s like, we just agree beforehand, like if the client, you know, I work with different types of clients that like have a way clearer indication of what they need. For me, that’s the main difference. I think those other guys also didn’t really work with artists very often. So they also didn’t know how to like, explain what they needed. And now if I get an email from somebody like that, explaining what they want, but in very vague terms, I just say no to the project, because I just know that it will be too complicated. You know, that’s for like another for another artists who’s just starting out and needs to learn their lesson. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

Is there some tool which simplifies your life? Something maybe you purchased? Or?

Lois van Baarle

Um, I don’t know. I think Google Keep does a lot for me. It’s free. First, it’s just, it’s just like a node thing. But you can like, click off. And that simplifies things. Because whenever something gets too complicated, it just break it down into like, little checkboxes.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. And when you were like, first out of school and thinking about like, different jobs and finding, like a new paint job, you said that you like find it through social media, right? And but what do you do, such as maybe two people comparing like brick school and, like sell thought online? How would you find like New Page jobs?

Lois van Baarle

I think that the best way, for me, the best way has been really to just get on social media and try to get as much exposure for your work as possible. And then like, also just find ways to get in touch with, like, the art community, because I’ve noticed that almost all the clients that approached me, like followed my work before they joined the company, or, you know, like, or followed my work in their free time. I recently spoke to a client that bought my art book for his daughter, you know, and that’s how, you know, it’s my work. And so all those, like, if you get in into the art community, sometimes it might seem at first as if you’re not really connecting with your clients. But eventually, your clients will get into positions where they can really think of you you know, and and, yeah, also, you have to, I think a lot of people could benefit greatly from just being on LinkedIn and finding business contacts and finding ways to like sort of, you know, keep your contacts close and emailing companies where you really want to work. But I don’t have that much experience with that because I usually find my clients through social media.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. And how do you still learn new things and drank and improve? What is your maybe go to the source to learn stuff,

Lois van Baarle

to learn new things like withdrawing in general? Um, you know, my main way of learning you Things is just to sketch and doodle and try new things. And I’m always sort of following artists on Instagram and on Tumblr and Twitter. So I’ve got all these social networks, I have these artists, and they’re always like, really inspiring. And they remind me that there’s so much that I still need to learn and do. And then if I finally have some free time, and I’m able to sketch and just draw whatever comes to mind, I always find that like, my brain says, okay, now’s the time to try this new thing, you know. So it’s sort of like an ongoing habit of being exposed to new work and finding the time to sort of try it out.

Iva Mikles

And you mentioned some books as well, what would be like a book you would recommend to people?

Lois van Baarle

Well, in jet, like, Okay, I have, I don’t really have an art book that I would recommend. And I have a lot of artists that I really like. And then their books are probably really good to get like James jeans, fables, covers and stuff. And if you want to learn more about my technique, you buy my book.

Iva Mikles

Yes, that’s for sure. That’s in the show notes. Right. And,

Lois van Baarle

I’m sure. But an inspiring book, like for life, like in general, I think I really love a short history of nearly everything by Bill Bryson. And it’s like one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read. Because it’s literally a short history of nearly everything. So he starts with, like the creation of the universe. And he goes on to like, the creation of the world. And it’s like, mostly, it’s very sciency. So it just talks about, like, how the world was came to be from a science point of view. And then he talks about how those theories came to be, like how those scientists learn the theories and and I think it’s a really inspiring book, because like, not only do you learn a lot from it, but it also shows like how big the world is, and how expansive the universe is, and how much there is out there. And it takes for me, it helps me to realize that like my own little life, and my little goals, and my drawing, isn’t that important, but there’s like, a lot out there, you know, and it helps me to sort of see everything in a sort of fresh perspective, like a little bit distant from the stresses in my life. So I think that that’s like super inspiring read for anyone.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. Do you have a favorite quote? Maybe as well?

Lois van Baarle

No, I don’t, I thought about that. But I really try to avoid motivational quotes. I know I understand why you love them. But I personally don’t like them. Because, because for me, because I might change so much. So something that like has meaning to me one second, doesn’t have very much meaning the next. And anything that’s meant as a motivator. If I see it at the wrong moment, or on a bad day, it just feels to me like pressure, I like very negative pressure. So I always, it only works if, if I get it at the exact right moment. But I do like the quote, everything is complicated. But I don’t know where it’s from. I don’t know, my little sister says it a lot. So

Iva Mikles

I imagine you know, with these, you know, signs with different codes, like Yeah, no. Okay. And

Lois van Baarle

yeah, different codes work at different moments. But most of the time, I find that a quote is like, a little too simple for me, you know, like, my mind is always looking for nuance and everything. You know, if somebody says like, this is how it is, I’ll be like, but what if, you know, so I can’t like it just doesn’t have the impact that it should on me?

Iva Mikles

And where would you see yourself in maybe five to 10 years, if you imagine like this dream scenario, like the perfect weight or being

Lois van Baarle

I’d say living off of my own art, and like not having to do any more client work, just only doing what I feel what I feel like drawing, because drawing is so close to like, I could also say like, Oh, I’ll go out and travel or whatever, but or like go to space. But that stuff isn’t very, so really cool. But it’s like, not sent, like fundamental to my personality. Like, what is fundamental to my personality is like how I express my creativity. And I do that through art. And if I had if I was able to do that in any way that I wanted. So if I didn’t have to say, Oh, 12 digital paintings a year for my calendar, and if I didn’t have to say, oh, client work and blah, blah, blah. So if I just drew whatever I just painted, like use any tools that I could I think that that would be like, amazing if I could live if I could make a living just doing whatever creative activity I want. That that would be amazing.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, that sounds really great.

Iva Mikles

And the last question I would like to ask is about the far far future and how would you like to be remembered maybe in 100 years?

Lois van Baarle

I get I just hope as an artist with like, I hope that like Like, my art reflects the time that we live in, because right now I just tried to draw, like what I really love. And I hope that like in 100 years people can see like, oh yeah, this is what people liked back then. Because this was like, I hope it gives historical value, you know, because my arts very light hearted, so it doesn’t have that much deeper meaning and it would be really cool. The future of my work was sort of seen as like, alongside many other artists but just seen as something that like was reflective of that time in, in the in the world. I think that that would if my art got that meaning then it would be worth it for me, you know?

Iva Mikles

Yeah, that sounds perfect.

Lois van Baarle

Yeah. I hope I hope it happens.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, yeah. And I heard you know, like, you can draw your vision, you know, and then if you have it somewhere and you see it every day that it kind of helps your subconscious mind to follow the dream.

Lois van Baarle

Yeah, that’s true. Oh, always remind yourself.

Iva Mikles

But thank you so much for being here. And taking the time from your busy schedule.

Lois van Baarle

No problem. It was really fun. If you have

Iva Mikles

like parting piece of guidance for like everyone before we say goodbye. Oh, yeah,

Lois van Baarle

that would definitely be like, draw what you really want to draw and indulge in your guilty pleasure, because in life, you need to do what you really want to do. That’s it.

Iva Mikles

So thank you so much again. Hope you guys enjoyed this interview. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode at artsideoflife.com. Just type a guest name in the search bar. There is also a little freebie waiting for you. So go check it out. If you enjoy this episode, please leave a review on iTunes, hopefully five stars so I can read and inspire more people like you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to Art Side of Life podcast, because I post new interview every single workday. If you want to watch the interviews, head over to artsideoflife.com/youtube. Thank you so much for listening. Don’t forget to inspire each other. And I will talk to you guys in the next episode. Bye.

Announcer

Thanks for listening to the Art Side of Life podcast at www.artsideoflife.com

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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