We interviewed Timo Kuilder, illustrator of the "Everyday Life" collection
"We want to launch a collection that highlights everyday actions. Those aspects of life that we don't value very much, but that end up being the most important."
That was the premise we threw at good old Timo, and he picked up the gauntlet.
Below we interview Timo Kuilder, an illustrator with the soul of an artist with whom we have worked to launch this very special collection.
Timo has collaborated with big brands like Google, Twitter, Slack, The New York Times, The New Yorker, TED... and now he collaborates with us, Minimalism. The truth is that we are very excited 🤍
- Hi Tim! For those who don't know you. Could you tell us who you are?
Hello. My name is Timo Kuilder , I live in Amsterdam and I have a dog named Atlas. I work as an illustrator and basically spend most of my time drawing. A few days ago I moved into my new studio, which has a nice view of a windmill. It is a very bright space, so I am very happy.
- When did you start to be interested in the world of illustration?
I'm not sure when I started getting interested in illustrations specifically, but I've always been drawn to art, album covers and graphic design. I remember when I met my friends and we started to draw our own video games on paper. At that time "Commander Keen" triumphed among young people.
- Illustrator, graphic designer, storyteller, artist? With which term do you feel more identified?
I guess most of the time I consider myself an illustrator. But artist also sounds good. I think that when I am doing commissions for others, the term illustrator is the one that best fits, and when I am developing my own projects, we could opt for artist.
- Tell us about your influences. Where do you look for inspiration?
I think I get more inspired during my downtime.
When you do back-to-back projects, you're just working. Inspiration strikes on those days between projects or when you're on vacation. Or basically away from the computer, walking your dog or something.
But of course I also look at Instagram and follow a lot of contemporary illustrators. I am very attracted to the work that Alexis Jamet is doing at the moment. I am also a big fan of Braulio Amado and Jordy van den Nieuwendijk . Geoff McFetridge 's work has always inspired me, as he did the cover for Whitest Boy Alive.
- What is it like to work with big players like The New York Times, Google or Twitter?
They are wonderful clients! In these projects I work with different teams, which is very interesting. When you work with The New York Times there are times when you end up being part of the choice of the topic with the editors and journalists. I love when my work becomes more than just drawing. And it's always cool to see your works printed on newsprint.
In relation to Google, the work that I am doing with them is aimed at their applications, which are used by millions of people. When I think about it, it seems a bit overwhelming.
- How is your day? Because you're not only dedicated to illustrating and animating, in 2018 you launched Kontrast , an illustrated puzzle game for iOS and Android devices, and you're currently working on another platform video game. How does this union between development and illustration arise? And when can we test the game?
Yes, I love seeing my work in completely different contexts like we did with Kontrast. Right now we are working on a new game, again with my brother (who is a developer). It will be a mix between a platform game and a puzzle game.
Honestly, I have no idea when we'll be able to release it. We're still in the early stages, constantly breaking things and starting over. Hopefully we can have a prototype by early next year and then start building more levels from there. Right now we're not even working one day a week on the game, so hopefully we can step it up next year. Or try to get some funding or something to give you the extra boost you need.
- Tell us about your latest project, which you are currently working on. Perhaps one of the most personal. Do you agree?
Sure! I am writing a book about my father, who is bipolar. This is a very personal project for me. During these 2 years of work I have had to dig into my childhood memories to draw my feelings. As in the illustrations for Minimalism, the book is based on simple black and white illustrations. This book is about him and how he is dealing with his condition.
Right now I'm talking to the printer and I hope to release it in January. I'm posting it myself, so there's still a lot to do on this project.
- What advice would you give to those young people, or not so young, who are starting out in the world of illustration? Do you think they have to find their own aesthetic, like the one you have achieved, or do you think they should start by testing, copying, mixing... and then decide which style they feel most comfortable with?
It's okay to copy or look at other people's work while trying to define your own style. This is how you can learn, but try to find "your thing" as soon as possible:
What story do you have to tell? or what influences can you use?
Regarding the style, I think it's quite fluid. Mine is still slowly changing. Some things just stick around and become part of your style. It is an evolution. It is clear that now I can draw better than 5 years ago; dedicating those 10,000+ hours to your passion really works.
- From Minimalism we fight to make people aware. Our goal is that habitual actions such as going from one place to another, buying, recycling or eating, are as sustainable, conscious and responsible as possible. In your life, are you aware of it? How do you deal with it?
Yes, I try to be aware of the impact my actions have.
I don't have my own car, in Amsterdam we cycle everywhere. However, I still eat meat, although I try to limit it to a few days a week. I could probably do more, but I'm glad people are becoming more and more aware.
- Each illustration you create has a message, a purpose. As an artist, what is the message you would like to send with your ideas?
I don't think there is a super message behind all my works. My illustrations are fueled by my observation of nature and curiosity. There are times when I draw scenes that don't respond to much thought (I like to draw dogs haha) and other times when my work has a deeper meaning, like the book about my father.
- As an illustrator, what do you think of the upward trend when buying NO-LOGO products?
It is interesting what logos and branding produce for our identity, and how there is now a greater focus on what the product itself is.
- And finally, what do you recommend about Amsterdam?
Traveling is a bit difficult now due to COVID, but we have a lot of great museums. My recommendation would be to take a bike and lose yourself in the streets and canals of Amsterdam, or take the ferry to the EYE to explore the filmography of the Netherlands.