Ellis van der Does wants to take you on a trip to wonderland
Dutch illustrator and animator Ellis van der Does promises that "if you take a trip to illustration wonderland" with her, "you'll enter a colourful universe with popping colours and different textures".
She's not wrong, as evidenced in her gorgeous work for the likes of Disney, Vice, Cambridge University, the BBC, Medium and more.
After spending five years in London, having graduated from the MA Graphic Design Communication course at Chelsea College of Art and Design in September 2015, van der Does recently returned to Amsterdam and works across such client projects alongside creating personal work. Her first children's book Tabitha and Magoo Dress Up, in which a glam fairy godmother-like drag queen teaches two siblings about the magical possibilities of expressing yourself through dressing up and the imagination, was published by Feminist Press New York earlier this year.
She says that whatever the project, her process always "starts with the idea… I will write down words and very basic scribbles that look like shit on paper (at that point in the process)". Her classical but slightly wild, off-kilter style priorities clarity, and she often combines various forms and figures to create new stories. Once she's settled on the idea, she draws and colours her illustrations in Procreate on the iPad. "I think it's a nice space to play with colours, composition and easy to re-draw a certain part of the work," she says.
"After I'm done in Procreate, I move the work to my computer and finish the illustration in Photoshop. This is the place where I add textures and sometimes gradients. If I'm working on an animation or GIF, I will have an extra step in my process and move to After Effects to animate."
Editorial projects are particularly enjoyable for Ellis van der Does since she often finds the stories interesting or offering new insights into what's going on in the world. She adds that most of the time, these projects have tight deadlines – "but I like the thrill of creating something from scratch in a short period. I don't have time to think too much and just go with my gut feeling and idea."
However, she adds that she enjoys long-term projects, too – saying that she simultaneously worked on Tabitha and Magoo Dress Up Too and smaller editorial projects, meaning she'd return to the book work with fresh eyes.
"My favourite clients are the ones that give me a certain amount of freedom to present my own ideas, but then also give constructive feedback, so it's a nice collaboration," she says.