Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 7, 2020

Illustrator Saturday – Roozeboos

Roozeboos, a.k.a. Anne Roos Kleiss is a Dutch illustrator based in Rotterdam with a love for coffee, wrapping presents and singing in the shower! When she is not working in her studio you can find her on a corner of the street with her sketchbook, capturing the world around her. Besides these observational drawings she finds a lot of inspiration in her own childhood memories. Which is reflected in the name she uses to sign my drawings, ‘Roozeboos’ (pronounced: rose-a-boh-s), the way her family called her family when she was still a little creature. 

She graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor in Illustration at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam and in February 2020 she finished an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art.

​Here are some of the companies she has worked with: Loopvis, Villa Zebra, PearleDuizel in het Park, Vrije Scholen Gemeenschap and Oerol.

For children’s book inquiries in North America you can contact my agent Christy from the CAT Agency. 

Anne Discussing Her Process With ‘The Kids of Roffa West’

I picked one of my favorite illustrations I have made this year to show the process.

The piece is called, ‘The Kids of Roffa West’.
It’s inspired by the street I moved to in April in the West of Rotterdam, ‘Roffa’ is the nickname for Rotterdam. :)Image 1:
So I made these super quick and rough sketches in my A5 observational sketchbook of some people on my street.
I love how everyone uses the little stairs and the pavement they have in front of their house since people don’t have a front yard.
Also there are always kids playing outside! Super fun and playful children!

Image 2:

Inspired by my observational sketches, I wanted to make an illustration as an ode to my neighborhood.
This was the first composition I tried, but I wasn’t satisfied.
I wanted to focus more on the little stairs as I loved how people used them so much!

Image 3:
So I tried another composition, a portrait orientation with a more zoomed in scene.
This I liked!

Images 4 and 5:

For the colors I always make a small thumbnail sketch, this one also edited a little bit in Photoshop.
I wanted the houses to keep the brown bricks and grey stones of my street as I love it’s architecture.
But I still wanted to keep it playful and fun so I chose to pair it with some bright colors.

Image 6:

I then make a big sketch on an A3 paper. As you can see I redraw the characters a few times to get the right gestures and sizes.
Also I added a piece of paper on the bottom, the image felt a bit too crowded and I wanted to see a little bit more of the typical Dutch bicycles.

Image 7:

Then I make the analogue illustration!
I use gouache paint, colored pencil, Promarkers, Sharpies and crayons.
Some details change a bit in the process as I’m going. For example I changed the dog and some elements of the characters.
I love working analogue as I feel like it makes you go with your gut feeling!

Image 8:

After scanning the analogue drawing and a bit of editing on Photoshop I feel satisfied with the result!
Happy vibes in Rotterdam!

Finished Illustration.

Interview with Roozeboos

How long have you been illustrating?

When I was young I always loved to draw and create things but it wasn’t until I was about 17 that I realized being an illustrator is an actual job. When I was 18 I started my Bachelor course in Illustration at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. So I guess I have been illustrating since that moment! I have been working as a freelancer since about 4 years, but only started doing it full time since this year. I was always working in a coffee bar as a barista on the side, which I do miss a little bit sometimes.

What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

I think my first official commission was to make greeting cards for a charity who raise money for parentless children. It was a lovely project, a very long time ago, I learned so much from it!

How did you decide to attend Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam to get your BA in Illustration?

I really liked the atmosphere at this university, it’s a very creative course that really let’s you explore the boundaries of illustration. And the whole art school has a really inspiring energy, with all the different disciplines working together a lot. I also loved that it was in Rotterdam, as this is such a cool and diverse city!

Did you immediately start your MA in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art after getting your BA?

After my BA I was freelancing for one year. I got some really lovely commissions in this time with for example Villa Zebra, the children’s museum of Rotterdam. At the time I had an atelier in the gym of an old primary school, such a fun and inspiring place! I have great memories of this time.

Did something happen while attending Willem de Kooning Academy to make you decide the go for your Master in children’s book illustration?

At Willem de Kooning Academy I discovered I wanted to illustrate for children, but I wasn’t completely focussed on it yet. Then one day I went to a children’s book event where Marta Altes was giving a workshop where she also talked about the MA in children’s book illustration she did at the Cambridge School of Art and it sounded amazing. I still wanted to learn more about illustrating, especially for children, and I loved the idea of having another experience of living abroad. So everything combined, it sounded like the perfect MA for me!

Did Cambridge School of Art help you get work when you graduated?

We had a wonderful graduation exhibition in London of the MA where a lot of publishers always go to, so this has really helped me with the start of my children’s book career! One of the books I made for the graduation will be published next year. I absolutely loved the course, it has just helped me so much with  developing my artwork, storytelling skills and general eye for drawing. They do also teach you about the publishing world and how to handle the business side of being an illustrator which has been very helpful.

What types of classes did you enjoy the most?

I absolutely loved the first part of the MA where for about 2 months we had to go out everyday with a sketchbook and just draw, draw, draw. I fell in love with drawing from observation and this has really influenced my way of working. I also loved the workshops we got there from amazing artists about for example color, character design and story telling.

Do you feel school helped you develop you style?

For me, yes! It pushes you to try new ways of creating. For example, I don’t think I would have fallen in love with screen printing if it had not been for the amazing print room we had in Cambridge. Also being in a community of illustrators and talking about it with each other is so inspiring!

Did you make the 3-D bird sculptures in the store front windows?

I did yes! I made them for an exhibition of artists in store front windows in a street in Amsterdam. The theme was ‘new beginnings’, so I got inspired by the oldest known sentence of the Dutch language, which is a saying about birds.

What are they made out of? Did you do sculptures in college?

They’re made out of papier maché. When I was doing my Bachelor I started using this material. I was really into making kind of 3D illustration pieces, I was sewing big objects and making videos with them.

How did you get the job to create the house staircase mural?

Paul, the owner of the bakery I designed the bus for, asked me to make it in his house! We came up with the concept of the drawings looking like a window together. I then made a lot of different designs of the views, of which he chose the 2 that I painted on his walls in the end. The bicycle is based on one of his old bicycles that his daughter now uses.

How did the Paul Koekie Bakery find you to work on their brand identity and do the artwork for their bus?

I went to high school in the town Arnhem where the bakery is situated, so I got to know the owner Paul through friends. He really liked my work and asked me to create the outside of the bus. After designing this he asked me to make more pieces for him like stickers for the products, and so I build up his whole brand indentity. It was kind of scary as I had never done anything on a scale like this before, but I felt proud of the result and Paul was really happy!

It looks like you have a children’s picture book titled, Choices’ coming out next July. How did you get the job to illustrate that book with Child’s Play International?

I do yes! I am really excited for it to come out, it’s a story very close to my heart! I wrote and illustrated this book as part of my Master. Two editors of Child’s Play came to the MA degree show and were really enthusiastic straight away and offered me a contract to make it into a full picture book.

How did you get to illustrate Nooit meer naar school for Loopvis?

The owner of publishing house Loopvis found my work on Instagram and sent me an e-mail asking if I wanted to illustrate a small booklet with this wonderful story written by Floortje Schoevaart. It’s a story about children in quarantine, so they wanted to publish it really quickly as a reply to the situation we’re now in with Covid. I had to work really fast, but I loved it. I had a lot of freedom, but with great guidance.

Is it in bookstores now?

It is in Dutch bookstores yes!

Is the little girl in the picture with the time machine you created you daughter?

She looks adorable but no, I don’t have any children. She was visiting a festival called ‘Duizel in het Park’ with her father where the picture was taken by the festival photographer.

It seems like I’ve seen other time machine art from other illustrators. Is The Time Machine Interactive Festival something that attracts artist from lots of countries?

The Time Machine is an installation I created as a graduation piece for my Bachelor. It comes from my own interest in performance art combined with my slightly messy mind, which makes me forgot beautiful moments easily. So it’s not really based on anything I’ve seen before. I do know there are other illustration related festival performers out there, but for me this project was really a personal journey. As a festival visitor you can tell Time Machine a memory of which you don’t have any pictures, one that you could easily forget. Then after 5 minutes a hand comes out with a little drawing of your memory, and secretly it’s me sitting inside drawing this for you!

Your website says, “Where are you Mr. Stick?’ is a search-and-find story children’s book and it was something you did as part of your MA project. It is quite detailed. How long did it take that beautiful art?

Creating this book took me a while! I did a lot of experiments with story telling and art materials. Making the actual drawings also takes quite some time as I add so many details, stories within stories. Coming up with all of these takes some time, but is so enjoyable! You really have to push yourself to think of even more and more.

Did you get it published?

Not yet! But I’ve had some interest in it recently, so fingers crossed!

Was ‘The Curious Giant’ your first children’s book that you wrote and illustrated?

It was yes! I made it about 5 years ago. I think my visual language has changed but I still love this story and especially the main character, Oelie. He has a special place in my heart!

Amazon has it up on pre-order, but says it will come out July 2021. Are you still working on the illustrations?

As far as I know it is not being published and I haven’t worked on it since a lot of years so this might be a book with the same title that’s coming out. 🙂

You mention you did ‘The Curious Giant’ as part of my internship at Gretas Schwester. Are they a book publisher?

It’s a children’s stationary company in Berlin who also make some small books for children. At my internship half of the time I was helping in the shop, packing orders, sewing the stuffed animals etc. and the other half of the time I could work on my own project with guidance of Sarah, the wonderful designer of Gretas Schwester. She gave me advice throughout the process. It’s a book printed in a small edition of 50 that they sold in their shop in Berlin. I learned so much making it and this is when I realized making books for children is something that I love to do!

How did you connect with Christy Tugeau at The Cat Agency?

I had been an admirer of the Cat Agency for a while, some of my favorite artists are part of it! So when I read they are open for submissions I send Christy an email with five of my favorite images. She was really enthusiastic from the very start! I also was talking to a bigger agency, but I loved how with the Cat Agency the connection to you and your agent is so personal. Christy really is lovely to communicate with and they try to have a very varied body of artists.

Would you be open to illustrating a picture book for a writer who would like to self-publish?

I would yes! It really depends on the story, the timing, the budget etc., but I’m always open for new projects and also like working with texts written by others!

Have you ever illustrated a book or a cover?

I have made cover designs for two different design competitions that both won second place. One for the Stratford Literary design competition and one for the Templar Awards. I really enjoyed doing that and would love to do it more.

Do you plan to write and illustrate more picture books?

I definitely am! I have so many ideas still in my drawers, but haven’t had the time to really develop them yet lately. But I feel like writing and illustrating children’s books is something that really suits me and I am enjoying it a lot.

What do you think is your biggest success?

I think signing with Child’s Play to create my own written and illustrated book has been a dream come true! Also my work was chosen for the Illustrators Exhibition of the Bologna Book Fair 2020, which was so amazing as this is always filled with such wonderful work. Unfortunately the Fair didn’t happen in real life this year, but the exhibition was still online which was nice.

What is your favorite medium to use?

I love gouache paint, wax crayon, Sharpies markers and colored pencil the most. But I also really like riso printing and screen printing.

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet when illustrating?

I have a Wacom pad but I only use it to edit things I draw by hand. I have tried creating things solely digitally but for me it doesn’t work as well as the feeling of making a mark on paper.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I try to keep a normal working schedule now, and give myself a proper weekend. When I was studying I had such strange and insane working hours as I really pushed myself and was also doing the barista job on the side. It has been so nice to work normal hours, I feel really at peace within myself. Giving yourself some time off allows you to get some distance from your projects which is actually very important! And actually the world outside of my studio is where you get inspired for new stories or projects. I also work in an atelier I share with some other artists, so at about 6 o clock I just say goodbye to my workspace and can go back to my crayon and paint free home.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

I haven’t no, I would love to though! I did illustrate some things for teenagers and for an online editorial newspaper, but nothing for children in specific.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

I do a lot of research, preferably sitting outside with my sketchbook. I read a brief carefully and do a lot of sketching and visual experiments before I begin, or look at other children’s books to get inspiration.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

For me definitely! Some of the big projects I have done are solely because the commissioner found my work via instagram. Also it is a lot easier to get in contact with publishers via e-mail than through the post I imagine. And keeping in contact with my International illustrator friends via zoom and Instagram has been so great!

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

I would love to illustrate an anthology of children’s stories, or maybe a fairy tale! I think I just hope to illustrate a lot of beautiful books written by me or by others and keep developing as an artist and a writer. And designing children’s toys or clothing would be amazing as well! Making more 3 dimensional work is also something I aspire.

What are you working on now?

I am working on finalizing everything for my own book I’m doing with Child’s Play and I’m also illustrating a non fiction book for older children with a Dutch publisher written by a very inspiring writer. And I also work on small personal commissions from time to time like family portraits and birth announcements.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

I have been loving working on colored paper actually, mostly I layer markers with crayons and white China pencils. It’s really great for learning more about tonal values and gives your drawing a cool kind of 80s vibe!

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

I think keeping an observational sketchbook has helped me immensely! This is a judgment free place where you can experiment, and try and screw up and learn as much as you want. And it’s great for taking visual notes of the things you see around you. There are small things in the world that you just can’t make up in your studio. Little intimate scenes between a parent and a child, or a beautiful piece of architecture for example. All the inspiration you need is right outside your door 🙂

Thank you, Anne for answering the interview questions and sharing your expertise with us. Please let me know your future successes so I can share it with everyone.

To see more of Anne’s work, you can visit her at:

Website: https://www.roozeboos.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roozeboos/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Roozeboos-991372417557671/about/?ref=page_internal

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anne-roos-kleiss-446803137/?originalSubdomain=nl

The Cat Agency: http://catugeau.com/roozeboos

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Responses

  1. Wonderful, wonderful!

    Like

  2. LOVED seeing your artwork, Anne! Fun!

    Like


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