Currently Listening To: OM – Advaitic Songs
Favorite Halloween Monster: Zombie
tell us about yourselves and the kind of work you create.
Hi! We are Laurens & Chantal working under the moniker Loulou & Tummie. Both born and raised in the countryside of small villages in the Netherlands. We had an extensive view, but besides this not much to do… that might be where the imagination started. We both went to art school and that is where we met. After graduation, we both moved to Tilburg to live together and started off working as individual illustrators, but within a few years decided to join our forces and our styles started to grow into one. We create very colorful, bold, but also graphical and balanced illustrations and characters, paper toys, children’s’ clothes, wooden robots, plush, and some other stuff in between.
what is your typical day like? are there any challenges that you face on a consistent basis?
Our two kids! And Mario Kart, we play this every day during lunch break.
Our typical day… get up early, make breakfast for our kids and try to eat something ourselves. Bring the oldest to school and the youngest to daycare, or wait for grandma to babysit (or Tummie stays at home). After this, we can go to our studio to work. First, answer all our emails, check our planning, drink some tea (Loulou), or coffee (Tummie) and get started. Around 5 pm Tummie goes home to the kids and Loulou finishes up at the studio and goes home at around 6. Then we have dinner, clean up, kids to bed and fall on the couch exhausted.
Sometimes when it’s very busy, Loulou goes back to the studio after dinner to work some extra hours. Otherwise, in the evening we watch Netflix, stare at our phones, sew some clothes (Tummie), or do some gardening or woodwork (Loulou). We spend our daytime mostly illustrating but every now and then we’re also designing products, sewing clothes, turning wood, making plush, painting walls, searching for new toys and cute stuff, and procrastinating on the internet.
you two have created some very elaborate, amazing illustrations! what goes into collaborating on such detailed pieces together? how do you balance the workflow?
It depends on the project. When it’s one illustration/print, Loulou works on it and Tummie works on the administration, promotion, or website and webshops. When there are bigger projects, like a big city map for example or lots of icons, then we work on this together and merge it later on. Sometimes we even work with three people or another studio on a project. We just have to divide the work logically (“You do this part and I’ll start on that part”).
you have three online shops, one on your website, one named tummietown, and one called loulou’s woodshop. what led you to sell merch and create separate merch brands? how does it blend with your overall creative practice?
We’ve always liked to make our own toys and stuff. It started with plush, t-shirts, and paper toys. Tummie always loved sewing, and since we have kids she started sewing kids clothes and we thought it would be nice to create our own fabric and sew the clothes/plush and sell it online. This is a side project and hobby and that’s why we have a separate webshop. The same with Loulou’s workshop. This is a side project and hobby for Loulou. He loves working with wood in our shed and started woodturning and making his own wooden robots. They are for sale in very limited quantities on the Loulou’s woodshop website whenever he finishes some. On our Loulou & Tummie webshop, we mainly sell prints related to our illustration work. We don’t want all this stuff together in one webshop because it’s too much, and with Tummietown we need to try to reach another audience as well.
you have a lot of fun things like vintage toys around your studio! what are some of your favorite items you keep around for inspiration?
Ha, yes, our collection is getting bigger and bigger. Tummie likes the more cute stuff like toys by Bubi Au Young, Hey Duggee, vintage toddler toys, Rilakkuma etc. And Loulou likes the ugly, weird and eighties stuff. A lot of robots, monsters, famous and lesser-known stuff like He-Man, TMNT and wonky bootlegs. We surround ourselves with it, it’s all very inspiring.
do you have any tips you can offer up-and-coming illustrators who are just starting to build a brand and develop their style?
A bit cliché… but just do what you like the most. When you love to illustrate you work out your own style automatically. Get your work out there, create a good portfolio, Instagram, Behance, participate in collaborations, exhibitions etc. Be inspired but don’t copy. Stick to your own thing.
what is the prettiest picture you’ve made recently?
During summer work is slow, so our favorite is from a while ago but it might be our Ohm Sweet Ohm print. We like robots and are pleased with the colors.