We recently had the great pleasure of catching up with Dutch artist & illustrator Doeke van Nuil, aka Studio Doeke. Born in 1988, Doeke lives and works in Zwolle, Netherlands, and is currently the editor at Tijdschrift Ei magazine. Originally studying graphic design at university and then moving to animation, it wasn't until much later that Doeke realised his true passion lay in illustration.
With a background in all three of these disciplines, Doeke developed a unique set of skills that blends perfectly with his work. Throw into the mix that he spent a year overseas studying in Barcelona and working with local creatives, picking up new techniques and approaches to work along the way, and you can start to see why Doeke has already gained much praise and recognition amongst his peers.
At the tender age of 24, he's has already won several awards including second place at the Boekie Boekie's Start Award in 2012 and third place at Stripgrafiek in the same year. We anticipate many more to come in the future!
How did you get into illustration? Was it something you knew you always wanted to do?
I've been drawing since I was very little, I used to draw Donald Duck all the time. At high school I became aware of art schools and it was the first time I realized I could make a living being creative. I decided to go study graphic design but in a year I changed my mind and switched to animation, and then later illustration.
We noticed you had a brief stint studying in Barcelona, what was that like?
Yes, Barcelona was great! Not only was it a great city to live in, (it is so inspiring!) the change of school was really good for me. The teachers and students in Barcelona showed me whole new ways of working, which was really cool to see and to do myself. I really found my own style and way of working! On the other hand, I hope we (I went there with 2 classmates) inspired the others with our ways of working.
Oh we're sure you did! Was there a noticeable difference in the art scene or culture compared to back home?
Yes definitely. In Barcelona there's a really different way of working and I'm really happy I learned some of both. The Spanish illustrators are really free and outgoing, while the Dutch are more conservative.
So what's it like to be living and working back home again?
In the Netherlands we have a really nice cultural environment, but since the crisis (GFC of 2008), things aren't as good as they used to be. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of opportunities here and as if often the case with these type of situations, new change & rebuilding starts to take place like new cafe's & gallery openings, etc. These are the type of things that are really helpful for upcoming artists like myself. So all in all, I like living in the Netherlands - the people are really nice, there's lots of space and there are good places to live.
Are there any challenges you've faced as an artist over the years?
During the first few years of school I was a little scared to draw the things I actually wanted to draw, so I often stuck strictly to the project briefs and guidelines. But since studying in Barcelona I have begun to focus more and more on myself and what I want to draw. So nowadays I draw what I like and follow mostly my own thoughts.
Key influences on your work?
I am inspired by a lot of things: people, plants, traveling, talks and coffee... I love coffee :)
You've been nominated and won several awards at a young age, has that had an impact on your career at all?
Yes definitely. It has given me the courage to draw my own way and to be confident about what I do. It's a really good feeling when someone tells you he or she likes your work, it really makes me happy to see people 'feel' my work. So when I won those awards it made me feel like my work really communicated with the audience, which makes me feel really good!
What are some of the most exciting projects you've worked on?
Before last week I had never worked on a mural, but La Nonette (Doeke's girlfriend and talented artist alike) and I made one at an exposition. We only had 3 hours time, but it was amazing to do. It gave me such a rush! When we were done I felt really proud! I usually like to draw quite small, but it's amazing to paint a whole wall!
Who is an artist (dead or alive) you would love to collaborate with?
I really like the work of Dutch artist Merijn Hos AKA Bfree. His work is amazing! But I think I would like to collaborate with a graphic designer to see what happens when you combine my delicate way of drawing with something really graphic.
Who are some of your favourite artists right now? Is there anyone we should know about?
If you could work with any client, who would it be?
I would like to work with a really big client like Nike to make something really cool and big and to have it featured to a lot of people. I also love making patterns, so I would love to work with a clothing-designer or studio.
If you could live and work anywhere, where would it be?
Barcelona for sure! It's perfect! But I if I had a lot of money I would want to live in several places for about six months in each place. Like traveling the world, but really slow, haha. I love getting to know a place.
What's one piece of advice you wish you were given earlier?
Make what you want to make, never just do what you think people expect you to make.
"In my work I like to show a bit of happiness."
"My drawings are traditional and basic, drawn with love and care."
My favourite artist right now is... Oi, difficult one. There's not one, there's a lot of them. But especially artists who do there own thing en enjoy it.
Your top 5 films are... Kill Bill, Melancholia, Jurassic Park , The Darjeeling Limited & Birds.
My favourite book is... The Matchmaker of Perigord.
In 10 years time I will be... a fulltime illustrator/artist.
After a long hard days work I like to unwind by... watching some of my favorite tv series. Right now it's Game of Thrones!