Cari Vander Yacht’s creative career started out with her thinking illustration wasn’t a “real job”. Instead she decided to study design at university, which led to getting a job soon after at Wieden + Kennedy in Amsterdam where she soon became an art director. “I ended up hiring a few illustrators for a project and that interaction made me realise illustration was indeed a job where people didn’t just survive, but thrived and I started shifting gears,” explains Cari. “My free time became dedicated to pushing my illustrations more and, thanks to the magic of the internet, people started to hire me.” After more and more illustration commissions, the creative eventually moved to New York to fully dedicate herself to her new career.
Cari describes her style as “overenthusiastic” and her ideas come from “walking around or while I’m making coffee”. “Most of the time though, I have to coax it out and spent a lot of time hunched over my sketchbook, dumping my brain out until something good falls out. This can be fun and painful at the same time,” she explains. Cari’s illustrations see her personifying inanimate objects like donuts, mobile phones and petri dishes, as well depicting an assortment of characters performing tasks like yoga, tyre pushing and sneezing.
The illustrator works on ink and paper to scope out the linework, Cari then moves to the computer to refine the drawing and add colour. The illustrator also animates many of her illustrations, adding another energetic layer to her works. “It’s just fun isn’t it? Some ideas only work when they move,” she says. “There’s also something really satisfying about making something move, even if you do it badly.” Her process remains relatively similar to how she approaches her illustration work, but it’s a bit more haphazard. “I still draw a lot of main elements out on paper but the majority of the heavy lifting takes place in Photoshop where it’s a collaged disaster until very near the end,” explains Cari. “I haven’t taken the time to learn any other animation programs despite my adamant declarations that this year will be the year I learn After Effects. It’s never going to happen.”
The intention for all of Cari’s work is to “make something fun” for the audience to engage with. “For me, if I can have a moment with a viewer, either by giving them a lot to look at or having a funny idea they can come back to, then I feel pretty good,” she says.
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