Vonik Design

Vonik Design

Esther is a Dutch illustrator working under the name Vonik Design. Her (usually nature inspired) illustrations come in the form of lino prints and ceramics, but also woodcuts, riso prints and murals. Strong lines, fun characters, outspoken colours, all there to make you smile for a minute.

Tell us about yourself!

This can be a long story covering the time span of several beers, but the shorter version goes something like this: I've loved drawing for as long as I can remember, so applying to art school was not a surprise. Getting rejected on the first attempt was though. However, I tried again after a year of traveling, and luckily it all worked out. After completing 4 years of illustration at the Willem de Kooning Academy, I worked a wide array of random part-time jobs before finding a proper illustration job at an information design company. On the side I was always freelancing and creating personal work, which eventually became too much to combine. So in 2017 I took the deep dive to become a full-time freelance illustrator.

I've been exploring ever since, working on all sorts of projects ranging from murals to branding and from patterns to portraits. The one constant is that I've always been creating my own prints and postcards, first digitally, then I learned screen printing and Lino printing, and in the past few years, I've also fallen in love with Riso Printing.

Describe your style in 3 words

Difficult! But I'll give it a go: optimistic, quirky, handmade.

Where do you work?

For several years I worked at a shared studio in Amsterdam, but I was always too easily distracted. When we moved to Hilversum (a small city next to Amsterdam), I opted to work mostly from home. Luckily, we have a spare room, which I turned into a little studio: two desks, storage for my materials and prints, walls filled with knick-knacks, books, and posters, and of course, too many plants. My home studio is too small though to make prints comfortably. So, I'm also a member of the local Graphic Workplace, which is an amazing building filled to the brim with all sorts of printmaking machines. Absolute print nerd heaven.

What do you get up to when you aren’t illustrating or designing?

When I'm not illustrating, I tend to shift my focus to the 'natural world'. There probably is a better term, but I can't think of it. Either way, this ranges from working in our garden (when I have little time) to hiking the woods around our city (when I have some more time) to road tripping with our camper (when there is plenty of time). When it’s more inside weather I enjoy cooking, going to thrift stores and everything Wes Anderson. I also just started a volunteer job at the Natural History Museum (I LOVE natural history museums), working on photographing and registering the butterfly collection.

Most frequently played tune in the studio?

I'm not saying this because you're in the UK and I'm just trying to be nice; I'm saying this because it's my honest answer: most of the time I listen to BBC Radio 6! That station is just brilliant! On occasions where I need to concentrate and want to listen to something without in-between chatting, it's usually either of these playlists 4AM Comedown or Boerderij van Dorst.

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