Mary and the Locks

Mary and the Locks is actually just Marianne Lock (she/her), the one behind the whole band. She is an illustrator and designer, based in Rotterdam, but she also cuts & pastes, animates, art-directs, sews, builds, crafts and writes. So she works in different media, but always in her own style, with her own view of the world. Preferring pens and paper over tablets and computers, there is a homemade, nostalgic feeling to her works. Fresh, funny and playful (but not only for kids) and more importantly: with a positive message.

Tell us what is important to you in life?

To treat each other, the animals and the planet with equality and respect.

On a more personal level: to keep creating, to keep a playfulness in all that I do and to surround myself with other playful people.

Where is your ideal environment to create?

A spacious desk next to a big window with lots of daylight and a view on some nature, or at least a couple of trees. And a closet with all my materials and paper.

I’m very lucky to almost have exactly this in a shared studio space in the center of Rotterdam!

Describe a day in your week (it can be any day)

A typical corona weekday:

I wake up around 07:00, greet my cat and scroll on my phone a little bit in bed until I am ready for some yoga and meditation, a tea and a shower. Then I cycle to my studio in the center of Rotterdam, where I will sometimes find my studio mates working. Before eating time I usually do mails/ administration/ orders and procrastination, after lunch I start the creative things. I work until am done with it (literally or figuratively) and then I walk home to my cat, or to a friend’s home for dinner. I go to bed around 23:00, like a real granny :-)

Who are your latest artist crushes? 

I love Pansy with her amazing, simple, bold, bright happy shapes and her incredibly cute shop, there is basically no way to not get cheerful when you see it.

Loes Riphagen has a new picture-book out, but I’ve always been a fan. You can get lost in every single one of her pages, there are always some teeny tiny surprises hiding. I especially adore how she draws insects.

I recently discovered the work of Lucia Heffernan and it gives me such nostalgic feels.

What is your favourite technique, if you have one, and why?

I work a lot with watercolour paint. It’s a very ‘forgiving’ technique, because if you make a ‘mistake’, it will usually actually turn out cool. So lots of happy little accidents :-) Also you can work either very rough of very precise with it and it always has a soft look, I like that.

Where do you find inspiration lately? 

Scrolling on Instagram and seeing other people’s work, although that can actually work very demotivating too…

Nature documentaries; always weird, obscure animals to be found there. When I see some out-of-proportion ears or odd shaped legs, I always want to get drawing.

What’s the story behind the name? (Mary and the Locks)

I thought of it when I was still in art school, which is ancient history, but I still like it.

It’s a band name, like ‘Iggy & the Stooges’ or ‘Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’, but only with my name (Marianne Lock). Because it’s rock ‘n roll and gives the impression that there is a whole group of people behind my work (which can be quite versatile).

Do you have a dream project?

I would like to develop my obsession with patterns more and see them on a nice range of sustainable products… But those are all still dreams :-) 

What/who are you reading now?

This is awkward, but I don’t really enjoy reading…I am just a very visually focused person, so I watch films. I will tell you the latest film I’ve watched: Concrete Cowboy. The subject and images are amaaaaaaazing; the black city cowboys that remained in the Philadelphian streets ever since cowboy times. Nowadays the stables are a kind of sanctuary for rescued auction horses and kids who would otherwise be on the streets. So beautiful!

Do you listen to anything when creating? (If yes, what are your latest favourites)

Of course, to music! Depends on my mood but Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist is how I start the week and go to’s for productivity are Drake and Bad Bunny haha!

How did you come up with your Katoenclub prints?

I’ve always loved animals (possibly more than people) and have been fascinated by them. When I was a little girl, I was always drawing horses, so that’s definitely where it all started :-)

In a quiet period in 2015 I wanted to challenge myself to make a drawing every day and asked myself what subject would always stay interesting to me: animals, of course! That’s how the Animal Series was born.

It now consists of over 100 specimens, each carefully chosen for their unique features. I don’t discriminate, but I particularly love the weird ones with silly big ears or crazy long legs. I exaggerate these a bit, so that each of the animals really gets their own character.

Slurfhondje for instance, is a very cute little underdog, and made it as a design for Katoenclub. Once I had a fair collection, I was able to build The Animal Poster. Inspired by old-school biodiversity posters, I made one with my own army of animals. Now also available on garments and tote bags. Parade was originally made as an illustration for my own birthday, once again consisting of a few of my personal favourite animal drawings, such as the polar bear. I just love his facial expression. Finally, Beer & Haas. I wanted to make a love story, so I thought of which animals would make a cute, but unexpected couple, because after all: love is love!

You can see all prints by Marianne's here and follow her on Instagram