Rik Schlimbach is a 30 year old illustrator from Groningen, a city in the north of the Netherlands. As a child he would spend most of his free time drawing, and after high school decided he might as well start taking his hobby seriously and go to art school.
After graduating as an illustrator, he got himself a day job as a mailman and spent his evenings developing his drawing skills and doing freelance work. In that time he rediscovered his childhood love for pop-up books and took up paper engineering. Little has changed since those early days: you can still usually find him at his desk, listening to pop music and drawing Tomb Raider fan art. He feels weird writing about himself in the third person.
Designing merch for my favourite YouTube movie review channel, MovieBitches
Seeing people from all over the world wearing shirts I designed (thanks, Redbubble!)
Getting to quit my day job after 8 years
Other Interests or Special Skills
Staying humble despite all of this beauty and talent
Describe Your Work in Seven Words or Less
I think “colourful nonsense” covers it quite well.
Tell Us About Your Residency Project
I’ve been working mainly digitally for the past eight years. Because I really started to miss the feeling of working with something tangible, I started experimenting with paper engineering and fell in love with the medium. I’ll be spending my residency working on a colourful pop-up book about the natural wonders of the world.
What Role Does Art History Play in Your Creative Process?
God, this question really brings up the guilt I feel about barely remembering anything from art history class. That said, my favourite illustration I ever made is heavily inspired by Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, so maybe I’m not that bad.
One of my friends insisted I make an illustration based on a scene from Hustlers (2019), in which Jennifer Lopez wraps Constance Wu up in her gigantic fur coat to shield her from the cold. Being too lazy to draw realistic looking fur, I decided to go for something stylized and immediately thought of The Kiss, and ended up making this:
Would Klimt be proud? Is he spinning in his grave? Who can say?
Favorite Painter of All Time?
Alphonse Mucha (sorry, Gustav).
Advice For Aspiring Artists?
The most important thing I was taught in art school is that you can’t sit around and wait for inspiration. Right after graduating I was very unsatisfied with my drawing skills, so I made a blog, titled it “illustration-every-day” and guilted myself into uploading a new illustration daily for a full year. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I didn’t have the option of waiting until inspiration would hit me, I had to find it in daily life.
After that year I retitled the blog “illustration-weekly” and still have not broken the streak. It’s been very rewarding to look back and see my skills improve over time, and the only way to really do that is to simply make yourself produce as much content as you can. Long story short: my advice is “no excuses, don’t wait for inspiration, practice as much as you can”.
Discover more of Rik’s art in his Redbubble shop.