Scrolling through Gemma Koomen’s Instagram page feels like leafing through a vintage children’s’ book. The freelance illustrator and artist creates tiny, magical scenes inspired by nature, nostalgia, and simplicity. Each work begins by hand with gouache, ink and the occasional color pencil, and (according to her website) is driven by the desire to capture little moments of calm and joy, recreating the familiar and domestic into elements of magical possibility.
“I love finding vintage books in my local second-hand shops, collecting beautiful picture books by my favourite illustrators, and spending time on Pinterest finding images that speak to me,” said the artist in an interview with Freelance Wisdom. “I also enjoy learning new techniques. I get really motivated when I have a new art supply to try out, it’s fun to try out new materials. All these things help spark a desire in me to create art work. My biggest way of building my creative appetite is by simply drawing every day. I become so much more attuned to working in my own visual language that the ideas flow more naturally.”
Though she decided to commit to being a full-time artist only later in life, Koomen’s love of painting and drawing blossomed fairly early. As a child, she would spend her days in an imaginary world created with crayons and pencils on the backs of her artist father’s rejected screenprints, on walls, and underneath furniture.
“She went on to study Fine Art Photography at Glasgow School of art, go on to complete a whirlwind Masters in Illustration, and continue to work as a photographer, web designer and occasional illustrator in between raising children,” she writes on her website. “Through the years, the love of drawing and painting remained, and inspired her to start illustrating freelance full-time.”
Now she’s hard at work as an illustrator and runs an online store where you can buy selected prints and other goodies. Check out some of her creations in the gallery below: