The peculiar illustrations by Herlinde Demaerel offer relaxation, fantasy, and enchantment.
Belgium & Greece
Herlinde's work portrays grainy textures and often contrasts bright, warm colours with cool, mellow colours. Her illustrations emphasize animals, nature, women, and slowing down in life to rest and take a breath.
Is there anything you like to illustrate in particular?
I love [to illustrate] anything nature-related, emphasizing ephemeral elements like light, texture, shadowplay, reflections, planets, geology and such.
Why does illustrating interest you?
It provides an escape from the trivial and allows me to shape more abstract thoughts that are hard to put into words. [Illustration] is a non-verbal communication that shows a different angle on life and our relation to nature. Hopefully, it will also connect me to people that are interested in creating and appreciating beauty in daily matters.
Are there any thoughts, feelings, or philosophies you aim to express through your artwork?
Yes, however, nothing explicit or grand. Drawing is more like a visual diary in which I try to grasp certain sensitivities or details that may otherwise go unnoticed. There is definitely a lot of attention for the female, a caring attitude towards earth and life, and the need to slow down.
When did you begin creating illustrations?
I always drew as a kid and have kept a sketchbook since I was a young teenager. After high school, I went to art school in Brussels and studied graphic design. I then started working different kinds of art-related jobs and developed my business as an illustrator on the side. These days, I still split my time 50/50 between illustration and other work. It keeps the drawing fun and refreshing!
How did you learn illustration techniques?
I went to art school, but I firmly believe this offers a mere context for setting goals as an artist. Learning a particular technique is something that you can only do by going through a creative process over and over again, until you find a way that works for you.
Are there any colours and textures that you prefer to use?
I am drawn to luminous colours, often working with contrasts like yellow/pink/orange (which may convey light) against blues (the night, the sky, the sea). I often work with grainy textures. I like the idea of almost being able to ‘feel’ a drawing, even if, in reality, it is digital and flat.
Why do you participate in challenges such as Inktober? Also, what does the ‘peachtober’ hashtag mean?
It’s a way of connecting to other creatives and showing my work to a larger audience. It’s almost a time of the year in which we all compare our portfolios! Peachtober is the Inktober challenge curated by @furrylittlepeach a.k.a. Sha’an d’Anthes. I like her prompt list because it often holds the middle ground between concrete and abstract, which means they can be interpreted in several ways.
Is there anything that helps you get into a creative mindset?
I go for a walk almost every day. I listen to music too. Getting into a rhythm and going at a steady pace helps me to get out of my head, which is when my best ideas come to life! I’m an overthinker, so [listening to music] allows me to embrace spontaneity. I also like the idea of giving body to sound, even if it is just with a colour that the ambiance of the instrument, or the music, seems to convey.
What is it like to animate your illustrations and see them come to life?
I wouldn’t say I like the process of animating much; it’s time-consuming and enervating. However, it can bring an extra dimension to the subjects I like to work with.
Behind the creation of the 'ABSTRACT COLLECTION'
The idea was to conceptualize four fabrics for a line of clothing with an abstract angle. The outcome is more 'surreal' than abstract, but I love it regardless!
Can you give us an overview of your creative process?
- Sketch objects in Procreate - pick those that stick out
- Sort according to colours, proportions, and the way they interact
- create four subcategories
- Lay out as a pattern
- Choose background colours, textile colours and textures.
What were you aiming for at the time you created it?
To create something fun, humorous and slightly absurd, which allows children to dream away, but also captures the eye of an adult.
What influenced your choice of colours/colour tones and compositional elements?
I enjoyed playing with proportions and making things that would be small in real life enormous. It creates an absurd and funny angle for many things.
What software/programs did you use?
Procreate & Photoshop
How did you feel about the initial release of the work back then, and how do you feel about it now?
I created these patterns a very long time ago; the actual production of the fabrics was delayed due to unforeseen events. I am not often crazy about work I do in the moment because the time I've put into it and the hours spent adjusting the design often make me unable to imagine what the result looks like at 'a glance'. However, when the designs were finally printed on fabric, I could observe them from a refreshing distance, and I loved the outcome, even though I may have done some things differently now. It's an art to let go! ;)
Did you run into any difficulties while creating it?
Many! Creating a pattern is not as easy as you may think, especially when the design holds many details like these do. I've had to put it together again several times. Also, the size of these files is enormous. My computer and iPad were not too happy about it.
Who did you collaborate with?
All the lovely people that made these fabrics into the cutest clothing. A genuine thank you to them!
How was your overall experience of putting it together?
The commissioner of this project and I did not exactly share the same view of what we thought the collection should/could look like, resulting in a lot of 'to and fro'. It was frustrating at times, but as a result, there has been a lot of output for this project. I've had to push myself to do better, or at least differently. It was challenging for sure, but I believe we learn most from these kinds of assignments and how we can professionalize our communication in tricky situations.
THE ABSTRACT COLLECTION
THE ABSTRACT COLLECTION
Herline has worked for brands like Snapchat, Het Laatste Nieuws, De Morgen, Flanders Kitchen Rebels, Naturfreunde, Food Winners, China Dialogue, Bxl Foodwaste Mission, Buro Muro, Bossy., Capsule Fabrics etc.
How has your collaboration experience been with Capsule Fabrics? And what is it like to see your illustrations printed on clothing and accessories?
It’s very much fun! I often work digitally, so I am always thrilled if my flat image ends up on an object, especially when it gives you the extra touch of texture, as the Capsule Fabrics do!
What are some ways people can support you and your artwork?
Ask me for a print! I’ll gladly send it your way.
Do you feel your portfolio is an accurate reflection of your personality or your interests?
I think people often mistakenly think I’m very soft because of the dreamy way I draw, however, I can be slightly introverted and even cynic. Drawing is like ‘softening up’ for me.
Check out more of Herlinde's work on her website: herlindedemaerel.com, and Instagram @herlinde.demaerel