Lois Van Baarle Highlark


Dutch artist Lois Van Baarle is best described as an illustrator-turned-animator-turned-illustrator tenfold. Other than the animation clips featured on her site, Van Baarle’s style combines aesthetic, technical prowess, and narrative. Fortifying a hard-to-ignore connection between subject, audience, and the artist herself, this is the kind of animation that doesn’t sacrifice profundity for universal appealthe kind that is made for everyone with a spark of curiosity.

Van Baarle’ website seperates her work into specific categories: “Ambrosial,” “Contraptions,” and “Fruit-Flavored Pin-ups,” to name a few. Each category houses different pieces loosely bound together by their shared series. What I like is that these pieces aren’t necessarily grouped by theme, palette, time, or place, but by creative intuition. The four main illustrations under “Ambrosial,” for example, have a vintage postcard feel, mixed with a decidedly elfin forest scene. “Fruit-Flavored Pin-ups” is more literal, featuring a cast spunky characters that each represent a fruit.

Van Baarle’s characterization is another aspect of her work that warms the viewer up to her images: every cartoon girl, whether ethereal pixies or wearing baggy pants, exudes an earthly “girl-next-door” vibe. There’s no idealization, and hardly any perfection; it’s so important to tell the stories of quote-unquote “normal” girls, and Van Baarle does just that, no matter the scenario.

Van Baarle illustrates by hand and digitally, exploring the expanding reaches of a familiar medium while combining them with the animated world she knows so well. Her style is entirely distinguishable thanks to the technique, color families, and emotional investment in each face and pose. Despite the broad spectrum of emotion she brings into her scenes, her work is steadfastly good-natured. All her pieces hold on to the happy-ending mentality, but don’t hesitate to give the yin as much influence as the yang. The result is a fine-tuned balance of imagination, the real world, and unassuming beauty lurking beneath.

Based in the capital city of Dutch province Utrecht, Van Baarle is now a freelance illustrator, continuing to gain experience and feeding her passion for art.


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Lois Van Baarle Highlark


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