Tessa de Graaf is a fashion illustrator who works from the Netherlands. She stylishly combines black ink lines and soft pencil drawings with bright watercolours. She’s been commissioned by Swarovski, Femmes du Sud and Studio JUX...
Tessa what’s your story? How did you get to where you are today? As a child I always was very creative, I loved to draw. My parents supported it too; my sister and I spend a lot of time in our special ‘creative room’. I went to fashion academy in Amsterdam at the age of 18 and after that I worked as a freelance stylist for several years, eventually I decided to create a fashion illustration portfolio.
Which is your favourite illustration project to date? A couple of weeks ago I spent 5 days in the studio working on a personal project for a Dutch radio program ‘de Torenkamer’. I really enjoyed spending time experimenting with my style.
What did you want to be when you were 10 years old? I wanted to be just like Madonna.
Which uni did you go to and what did you study? I went to the Amsterdam Fashion Institute and I finished a master degree Fashion, Design & Strategy at the fashion academy in Arnhem.
Which project has been your career highlight? There have been so many proud moments but my Swarovski portraits and illustrations for the Holland Herald Magazine (Royal Dutch Airlines KLM) are two of my favourites.
How do you promote yourself? Social media and networking along with postcard or bamboo mail-outs to brands and magazines.
Do you love or loathe social media? Love!! There are so many possibilities but it does take up a lot of time.
Which tools do you use to create stuff? Paper, pencil, ink, brushes, watercolour and lately I have been using other things like buttons, coloured paper, fabrics and beads.
Where do you find inspiration? Do you go to fashion shows? I went to a few of the fashion shows last season during Amsterdam Fashion Week. But I also buy a lot of fashion magazines and people watch the streets for a person whose style stands out.
What’s your favourite music to work to? I adore Zaz, Tori Amos and Selah Sue…
Favourite pair of shoes? Adidas sneakers.
Which magazines do you read religiously? Vogue, Elle and L’Officiel…
What do you spread on your toast in the morning? Nothing, I prefer oatmeal with banana, raisons and cinnamon…