Our designer of the month is Matthias von derholle. His showroom is teeming with rare animals and illustrations that make your mouth water.
Name: Matthias Holländer
Lives in: Bonn
Profession: Freelance Illustrator
Software: Adobe Photoshop CC
Hardware: Wacom Companion 2
Joined Spreadshirt: 2017
Hello Matthias and compliments on your illustrations! As a freelance illustrator, what’s your speciality?
I’m glad you like my style! I illustrate for various book and game publishers. Among others things, the complete design of a board game including the layout of the game rules to illustrations for kids’ books and teaching as a lecturer. As far as my freelance work is concerned, I am quite broadly based.
Next to commissioned work, I also take time for free projects and regularly feed my sketchbook with drawings. At the moment, for example, I am working on my pictures for the next Zoom Bonn exhibition with the theme “Beethoven”. Come and visit me in Bonn in May!
A look in your Showroom will tell us that you like cocktails and burgers. Where does this passion come from?
Besides drawing, cooking is one of my favourite pastimes. It is fun to combine the two passions. It’s comforting that I can at least not destroy one of the two with salt 😉 That’s how the idea with the illustrated recipes and extraordinary burgers was born. The idea for the cocktail recipes came from my friends.
What’s your favorite burger?
A vegetarian black bean burger with wholemeal bun, rocket, root-beer onions, cocktail tomatoes and sour cream sauce with mint and cheddar.
That’s quite a relief! It’s a good thing that you don’t devour real unicorns… Speaking of (fantasy) animals – you have published several illustrations of already extinct or endangered animals. Why’s that?
In his book Last Chance to See, Douglas Adams wrote a heart-rending text about the flightless and extinct dodo, which certainly impressed and touched me. With my illustrations, I want to draw attention to the fact that some animals once existed, and others may soon no longer exist. I would describe myself as a discoverer who is always on the lookout for new animal designs in nature that I capture with pen and paper.
Were you one of those kids who could never put the pen down, or did the drawing come later?
In my childhood, not walls but cupboards became paper substitutes for curious pencil drawings. When I was at school, it was my classmates’ exercise books that I filled with caricatures of my teachers. But it was only during my studies that I learned what makes a good illustration and developed my own style during this time.
What got you into customizing clothes and accessories with your illustrations? And how did you end up at Spreadshirt?
I always liked the idea of seeing a stranger walking around with my T-shirt design one day. I heard about Spreadshirt from friends, tried it and quickly realized how easy it is to publish a design on the platform.
Do you get on well with the features of Spreadshirt’s platform? Anything you like in particular?
I love the “Load Template” button! It saves me a lot of time and work. I’m also more than happy with the user-friendly and clear user interface. For the Showroom, I would like to have a little more creative freedom and the possibility to arrange my designs myself and sort them.
What should illustrators look for when they want to offer their designs at Spreadshirt?
The design should be neatly cut out. My tip: place the design on a different coloured background and check for blown highlights. For all other technical requirements, the Vector and Pixel Graphics help page provides excellent advice.
Your Showroom designs display a great sense of humour. Have you ever sat in front of a white sheet of paper and didn’t know what to do? What did you do then?
Scrawl away! I just draw on it without a goal in mind. If that won’t help, I change the environment and go out to catch some fresh air. Or to a café for a change of scenery. This always gets my creative juices flowing.
And how do you keep track of all your projects? Are you very organized?
For many projects I plan a fixed day a week so that I can concentrate on them. I also get along very well with to-do lists and create daily, weekly and monthly goals.
Which of your designs from the Showroom is particularly popular? Why do you think that is?
The burgers “Bitter Sweet Unicorn”, “The Island Burger” and “Summertime” have been very popular so far. I think it has something to do with the palate 😉 Surely the burger trend has also contributed to this. The new shirts with animal designs like the kiwi or dodo seem to be well received, too. I’m very happy about that and it motivates me to continue working in this direction.
We love your recipe posters! When is the next one coming in?
Thanks! I have started with a few sketches and will certainly publish a new recipe design soon. The already mentioned “Black Bean Burger” is one of them…
How do you know your target group? Do you have a person in mind for whom you design?
I imagine two target groups: The recipes and burgers are more likely to appeal to young people or young families who enjoy cooking and like to try out new things. And the animal designs go down very well with people who have a connection to these animals.
At an exhibition two years ago, a geologist was very pleased with my exhibition picture. She was one of the few who recognized the African bird Abu Markub. She was so enthusiastic about this rare bird that she bought an art print of the design. I’m also very enthusiastic about the diversity of specie, so I imagine the target group who like unique animals to be similar to myself.
Finfing a niche is the key to success. We recommend this to all our marketplace designers. Do you have three tips for designers who want to start their own Showroom at Spreadshirt?
- Your designs will not turn out great on some T-shirt colours. Disable these colours!
- Test how your designs will look when printed in the correct format and printed on fabric. Order a shirt with your design as a test.
- It may take a while until you sell your first designs. Use social media channels for advertising to promote them.
Thank you for your time, tips and ideas, dear Matthias! We wish you the best of success with your Showroom Matthias’ creative illustrations can also be admired on Instagram.