Marie Walgraeve


Marmushka is a wonderful artist from Ghent, Belgium. I will always be grateful of flickr for bringing me her beautiful photostream of quirky characters and  soft, lush colors. Also, her cursive font makes me feel so unbearably girly, but in a good way if anyone knows what I mean. So without a moment to lose, I present to you our interview…


Tell us about yourself : )


* Tiny.
* Apparently, I look like a 15 year old, but I’m actually 25…
* Green tea and coffee in all it’s forms are about the only beverages I drink during the day. I hardly ever drink a glass of water.
* I should wear my glasses more often.


What sort of illustration media do you use?


I use a simple pencil, eraser and black uni-ball micro pen to ink my drawings. After that I scan them and color them using my -very old- wacom tablet, in photoshop. That’s it, nothing fancy : )



Where are you from? What inspires you about where you reside currently?


I live in Ghent, Belgium (a small country in between the Netherlands and France). I don’t get inspired by this city to be honest. It’s a great city to live in, don’t get me wrong, but most of my inspiration comes from my daily life and experiences, my cat, fashion, music & lyrics and the internet (I know that probably sounds very dorky).



What are you currently working on?


I just finished the artwork for the EP “light & air” by alfheimr, a one-person postrock project. Still working on my christmas cards and some personal projects.


Are you a full-time artist?


I wish I was. I have a part-time job to pay my bills and the rent. Combining a part-time job and being an independent illustrator is difficult but luckily I have very flexible hours and I’m getting used to working this way. I  hope some day I’ll make enough money being an artist so I can stay home and focus on doing what I love most.


What is your background? Self taught? How did you get started in drawing and arts?


I have a master’s degree in graphic design, specializing in illustration. My teacher and mentor was Carll Cneut, I am so lucky to have been taught by such a brilliant illustrator. He taught me everything I needed to know and was brutally honest during those 4 years. But i’ve been drawing since I was a little girl. I used to have a lot of disney videocassettes and books. I loved disney, as any kid, and used to copy the artwork on the cassettes.



What/who keeps you motivated/inspired?


It probably sounds very lame but: my boyfriend…he’s a musician and very creative. He’s also amazingly supportive of my work and proud of what I do. Seeing him playing his guitar and composing music, watching him play the piano, pushing his own boundaries and getting better every time, evolving, …just to see he’s just as passionate about his music, the way I am passionate about drawing, it provides me with so much motivation.



I enjoy how cute and simple your characters are. The shape and color palettes of your little creations are just beautiful. How and when did you develop this style?


One night, I was watching tv with a blank sketchbook in front of me, hoping I would be able to draw something for my illustration class the next day. I just bought a new box of coloring pencils as well and decided to try them out. After some really horrible drawings I got so frustrated with myself that I started to scribble some characters out of the blue. I just held the pencil in a very awkward position and scratched the pages until they almost tore. The next day I showed my sketchbook to Carll Cneut, my teacher. He was silent for nearly 2 minutes, and I was getting more and more nervous every second. Apparently he was very impressed with what I did and he wanted me to fill the entire sketchbook with characters ’till the next day. So I got home and started drawing until my hand almost fell of. This was in my second year at the academy, I gradually developed my style from that day on. I also experienced with almost every possible technique there was available.


Do you have a sketchbook and would you mind showing us a page or two?



What does your studio look like?



What sort of music do you listen to while drawing?


Mostly postrock, ambient, indie and experimental music. I never listen to the radio. My favorite bands and artists are jeniferever, peter broderick, halo of pendor, wild dogs in winter, moddi and say hello to my kids.



Do you have any advice for artists who are trying to find their ‘niche?’


Hmm I’m not good at giving advice. Just give yourself enough time to evolve and grow, I guess. Don’t push it and try new techniques/materials when you feel like you’re stuck.


Marie Walgraeve aka Marmushka