Tessa M. de Graaf’s two greatest passions have always been fashion and illustration, which she ultimately found a way of combining. Born in a small village in the North of the Netherlands, she moved to Amsterdam at the age of 18 to study fashion. While there, she admits that fashion drawing and figure drawing were her favorite subjects.
“After an internship at Cosmopolitan magazine, I immediately started working as a freelance stylist,” she recalled in an interview with I Love Illustration. “But Illustrating was what I loved most so after a few years of styling I decided to change course and started working as an illustrator.”
Now based in Alkmaar, she’s known for her intuitive work, which relies on loose lines and watercolors. Her work tools also include ink, paint, crayons, and pencils. “I like to color outside the lines,” she says. “I don’t sketch with a pencil; I just create lots of silhouettes or faces with watercolor/ ink directly on paper.”
Her motto seems to be “less is more,” focusing on simplicity rather than over-embellishment and using her hands rather than the computer. Her clients include brands like AvantGarde, Viva, Elegance, Libelle, and Margriet.
Follow her work on Instagram.