Describing her style as vibrant, colourful and whimsical with a dash of retro, Ellis Tolsma creates work that shows a love of graphic lines and shapes, along with a "little bit of weirdness", as the Dutch illustrator and animator puts it.
A recent graduate from Artez Academy in Zwolle, the Netherlands, the theme of her illustrations and animations is playful and magical, reminding us to not take the world too seriously. "I want to bring back a little childlike innocence and care-free madness," she tells Creative Boom – something she aims to achieve by working with colour, wood, Risoprint and acrylic paint, and in some cases, animation. "I don't mind combining different materials and I think my style is very much signified by my use of colour and shape," Ellis adds.
Recent work includes Ellis making some bespoke costumes inspired by Bauhaus, crafted from plywood and decorated with acrylic paint in her signature style. Titled, It's In The Small Things, Ellis donned the costumes and performed in them, creating a theatrical film as part of her graduation project. We also love her recent collection of risoprints, which she made throughout 2020 – each boasting a vintage colour palette with a textural feel.
"I knew that I wanted to be creative really young. I was always drawing and painting and making things, using my imagination. When I was a grade-schooler, I remember being allowed to draw when I was done doing my schoolwork, so I would always finish it very quickly. I filled a lot of sketchbooks that year. It was when I went to high school that I cemented my dreams to pursue a career in art and design."
Following graduation, Ellis is currently setting up an online shop where she hopes to sell her Risoprints and offer workshops. "I also have a couple of big projects in mind that I would love to work on: an animation about a young witch growing up and I'm also designing a set of tarot cards which hopefully will be ready soon," she says.