Alice Mulder (she/her) is an illustrator and graphic designer from The Hague. She often uses observations and humour in her work. Influenced by the Riso printing technique, her work is colourful, playful, and sometimes absurd. She makes people laugh, and takes them to imaginary places where everything seems just fine. Her drawings are inspired by romanticized North American culture and everyday life, giving the viewer the feeling of being on a journey without leaving their home.
She draws for a local newspaper in The Hague and her work is for sale at The Hague's Finest, Hutspot Rotterdam, De Utrechtse Boekenbar, NOOK Gallery and Katoenclub in Utrecht. Studio Netto is an illustration studio she runs together with Cecile Hooijdonk. They aim to clarify complex information through drawing at (business) events or for print. She co-organizes Draw Club The Hague with Lotte Verweij, a weekly evening dedicated to drawing that takes place in a cafe in The Hague.
What is important to you in life?
Taking my passion seriously while having fun, pushing boundaries while I grow as an illustrator, walks in nature with coffee, and a good book. Finding inspiration in the small things and staying true to myself :)
Where is your ideal environment to create?
Sometimes it’s just enough to be sitting at a table with a drink and my sketchbook, and at other times it’s in the sun at the beach, or during a walk! As long as I have a fine liner, I can put my ideas on paper and work them out if necessary later in my studio, both digitally or analog. I prefer to have a bit of peace and quiet or some good music to stay focused.
Describe a day in your week (it can be any day)
During the lockdown most days start like this: I get up, feed our cat, and make breakfast. Sometimes I’m starting slow and work at home for a bit, or I go to my studio immediately. When I’m there (it’s only a 5-minute walk) I open my laptop, check emails and make an unrealistic to-do list of which I will only finish 2-3 things ;). I try to do the tasks that need the most focus in the morning, work out adjustments for commissions or start new projects/illustrations. When my studio friend Lotte is also there, we lunch together and we try to have a short walk after that, to talk a bit about what we’re doing and to have some fresh air. I work until 17.00–18.00 most of the time and when I get home I try not to work anymore and relax! On sunny days I try to finish work a bit earlier and bike to the dunes or a park and enjoy being outside and clear my head.
Who are your latest artist crushes?
Hmm, it depends on the Instagram algorithm, haha! But people who are inspiring to me are Anne Stalinski, a Dutch illustrator who makes funny comics and great drawings, Jacqueline Colley from the UK for her great use of colours and her risoprints! Margaret Kilgallen for her vibe, use of colours and shapes, and Fien Jorissen from Belgium is also one to keep an eye on because her work is very cool and mysterious.
What is your favourite technique, if you have one, and why?
I’m hooked on riso printing! I learned the technique during my studies and at my internship at De Kijm & zonen, a risograph-printing studio in The Hague. It’s a technique quite similar to silkscreen printing but with an actual printer instead! It produces beautiful textures and colourful results. You can play with overlapping colours and mix them into new shades, but my prints are mostly a combination of a line drawing with one or two spot colours.
Where do you find inspiration lately?
In recent years, I have started to focus more on North American culture and nature as subjects in my work. I often look back at my travel photos to Canada, not only because of the beautiful landscapes but sometimes the beauty lies in small details that are normal for the residents there, such as a roadside sign or a detail of a packaging or a building. I did an artist-in-residence in Canada, at Vancouver Island in 2019, which was fantastic. During that time, I have created several works and discovered new themes that keep recurring in my illustrations. Last spring (2020) I was supposed to go again, but unfortunately due to corona that couldn't happen. That has made me look at my daily life at home again and I started to make daily comics to practice seeing something positive and nice in the simplest and mundane things.
Do you have a dream project?
Someday, I would want to make a graphic novel or an illustrated book. I’m slowly working towards that goal by making more and more comics and developing longer stories in my drawings. I have made an illustrated book for my graduation and I loved making it, but it’s also a big investment in time and money. So that is a project for the future when all things come together in terms of story, images, and time. Next to that, I would love to make a mural!
What/who are you reading now?
At the moment I’m alternating between 3-4 books. A graphic novel I'm reading that has touched me is ‘Terug aan het Land’ (Paying the Land) by Joe Sacco. It’s a big, well-researched story about the indigenous inhabitants of the North-western territories in Canada and their troubled history and colonization. Not a book to read in 1 go! Next to that, I’m reading ‘Big Sur’ by Jack Kerouac, 'Pilgrim at Tinker Creek' by Annie Dillard and I’ve started reading 'Blue Highways' by William Least Heat Moon already two years ago... These books are travel novels of which I like to read a few pages of every now and then. It’s my way of escapism and traveling from home during these lockdowns!
Do you listen to anything when creating? (If yes, what are your latest favourites)
Oh yes, I love to get focus on work and listen to music or podcasts. Last year I particularly enjoyed new music by female artists, like Phoebe Bridgers, Hayleys Williams’ solo EP’s, HAIM and Taylor Swift :) But when I’m really in need of a good boost, I put on bands like Basement, Jimmy Eat World, and Fontaines D.C. (more male artists, haha). As far as podcasts are concerned, I can recommend ‘Creative Pep’ by Andy J Pizza, the ‘Nederlandse Illustratie podcast’ from Irene Cécile, and De Makers podcast by Dide Vonk.
How did you come up with your bestselling Katoenclub print?
‘Percolator’ is an illustration and print I made in 2015 when I was exploring riso printing at the academy where I studied (Royal Academy of Art). I made it as a line drawing with ink and then printed it with a riso printer. As a result, you can see the different shades and the texture of the ink beautifully. At the time I was inspired by Fernand Léger, who experimented with black line drawings and overlapping colours. The coffee pot is a print I still enjoy and that appeals to a lot of people! Who doesn’t like a good cup of coffee, right?
You can see all prints by Alice here, follow her on Instagram, and check out her website here.