Netherlands-based illustrator Timo Kuilder applies his style to both his personal work and commercial commissions meaning there’s a consistency across his whole portfolio, which is full of pared-back characters, simple colour palettes and tight linework. “My work can be described as graphic, bold, reduced. I do quite clean vector work, but like to roughen it up by adding some halftone textures and playing around with brushes,” explains Timo. “This helps to make it more organise and I like it when these little accidents happen. I don’t work with a particular colour palette, but tend to use a small amount of colours.”
Timo has an impressive client list with commissions from Monocle, Adobe, Facebook, Twitter, WeTransfer and Bloomberg. It was the illustrator’s minimalist spots for psychology magazine Quest that caught our eye for their clarity. The images cover various topics including the positive effects of writing down your feelings, why people feel better when they see others doing worse and a very specific article on “why women like to drink white wine”.
Despite the stripped-back nature of Timo’s characters and lack of facial expressions, there’s still an energy within his illustrations. “I think they appear active because of their exaggerated actions and oversized accessories,” he says. The illustrator has recently updated his process, preferring to create preliminary sketches on an iPad Pro as opposed to sketching with pencils. “Sketching works well for just getting the idea across. After a rough sketch, I mainly hangout in Illustrator,” Timo says. “I have a background in type design, so I’m a bit nerdy about my vector handles. Most of the time I end up in Photoshop by adding some final touches, textures and stuff.” Timo’s work is communicative and reduces stories and ideas to their bare minimum, offering a refreshing take on complex subjects.