SA Illustrators: Maaike Bakker

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Name: Maaike Bakker

’n Skrikkel/A Leap, by Maaike Bakker


What is your day job?

I’m a part-time Illustration lecturer and the rest of the time I’m making art or working on freelance jobs.

What road did you follow to launch your career as an illustrator?

I studied visual arts. The illustration thing happened out of curiosity. I also started doing illustrations in order to have some kind of balance between my more serious, research-driven practice and something more direct. I’ve curated a few light-hearted exhibitions, through which illustration also came to me.

Have your illustrations been published?

I’ve had illustrations published in online magazines, not so much print. I’ve done only one editorial illustration to date. So that is a branch of illustration I would love to explore further.

What is your preferred medium, and why do you enjoy working in this particular medium?

I work mostly in vector or with ink.

Are there specific genres or types of texts that you enjoy illustrating?

Not particularly, but I think sci-fi novels are generally pretty fun to use as a reference for illustrations.

Who are your illustration heroes? Were your development as an illustrator and your personal style influenced by the work of other illustrators?

I love the work of Micah Lidberg because he uses unusual colours in a successful manner. I’m a big fan of Stacy Rozich because of her imaginative monsters. I love Paul Blow’s original approach to editorial work and  Brecht Vandenbroucke’s work because of the unusual subject matter. My favourite local illustrator is Jean de Wet – just  because.

Are you an avid reader? Who are your favourite authors?

My favourite authors are Haruki Murakami, Kurt Vonnegut and Herman Hesse.

What is the one existing text that you would most want to illustrate?

This is tricky. Probably one of my friends’ diaries. I am not sure who still keeps a diary, so I’d have to find out.

Which writer, living or dead, would you most like to collaborate with? What would the fictional book be about that you would work on together?

I think it would probably have to be a collaboration with Vonnegut’s ghost. I’d let him do his thing and then see what I can come up with.

Do you have an ideal audience/reader in mind when you create an image or a series of illustrations?

Not necessarily. If it’s not for commercial purposes I don’t really keep audiences in mind.


What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on some self-initiated projects. A few illustrations that I might end up exhibiting. A few commissions, and a few projects for Werner Burger and my up-and-coming company called Sagan.

Which one of your illustration projects so far stands out as a favourite, and why?

That’s a super-tough one. I don’t think I can specify. It would probably be one of the more insignificant illustrations/sketches in one of my sketchbooks. I really enjoyed doing the illustrations for A Skyline on Fire’s album Slow. I referred to a specific lyric line from each song and made an illustration for it.

Where else can one go to see samples of your work?

My blog –

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