Designer Spotlight: Miriam Bos

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

My name is Miriam Bos. I am an illustrator and surface designer from the Netherlands. I live in Apeldoorn, a city that's located in the middle of the forests and moorlands of the Veluwe. I really enjoy living here, as it gives me plenty of inspiration for my illustrations.

IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR 10 YEARS YOUNGER SELF ONE KEY PIECE OF ADVICE OR AN INSIGHT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I would tell myself to try and go to bed earlier, instead of working late nights to catch up with deadlines. I still need to remind myself that this is often very counterproductive in the end. You exhaust both your body and mind at some point, which, in the long run, slows down your productivity during the day. But it's hard to get it out of your system once you get used to it. I still struggle with it sometimes because I'm also by biological design more of a night owl than a morning person. But going to bed early makes me feel better during the day, which means I'll get more done in the end. :)

WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK OR IN A DESIGN RUT, HOW DO YOU GET YOURSELF OUT OF IT AND BACK ON TRACK?

Sometimes there is no time for it, but if I can, I will put away that design and do something totally non-related. Which usually means I start working on another creative project, haha. But it can be anything, really.

One of the things I like to do is going to the gym and work out on a cross-trainer for an hour straight. It's not as much fun as working on a creative project, but when you are trapped on a cross trainer, there is just no other way to go. It's just you, your body and your mind. To me, it works wonders most of the time. I like the exercise and the routine. It keeps the blood flowing.

When I am working out, most of the time I'll get all kinds of fun and creative ideas which I tend to write down in the little notebook I bring along. Or I use the time to brainstorm when I am stuck on a project.  I can't do this at home for some reason :) (Too many distractions, I guess.)

Another thing I like to do is going for long walks. It kinda works the same way as a work-out, though I always get distracted more easily by my surroundings.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

Definitely my gouache paint and my Wacom Cintiq

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? FAVOURITE APPS AND PROGRAMS

My design process can be quite impulsive sometimes.

It can start with a sketch, but more often I sort of brainstorm, and simply start drawing randomly until an idea comes to mind. 

Then I start working on a composition and work out the details. 

A lot of the time I start with gouache on paper (and any other material that's within my reach). Then I scan it in, and when needed I will cut out elements and adjust the composition on the computer. Enhancing or changing colours is also part of the process. 

Photoshop is the program I go to most of the time. And Adobe illustrator comes in 2nd. 

My favourite app is definitely instagram. I love to see what people create and it's a great medium to share my own artwork as well.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

I like a lot of the projects I've worked on, but if I have to choose, then I think it will be my Hidden Garden collection for Birch Fabrics (http://miriambos.com/the-hidden-garden-birch-fabrics-2) and the Mistigri game with cats and dogs that I made for the French publisher Auzou (http://miriambos.com/jeu-de-mistigri).

In 2015, Birch Fabrics approached me to create a fabric collection inspired by ‘The Secret Garden’. A classic novel (1910) by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The collection has been released in December 2016.

'The Hidden Garden' is a beautiful story about the friendship of a girl and two boys who find a secret garden and work hard to make it bloom again. I was listening to the audio version of the book while working on this collection. If you look carefully through the designs within this collection you will notice that I've hidden the old padlock key among the characters a couple of times. It's the same key that the girl is holding in the main design with the old entrance door that leads to the garden.

The Mistigri game was a lot of fun to work on. French publisher Auzou approached me to illustrate the so-called 'old maid game with cats and dogs', and of course I couldn't refuse. 

The game contains playing cards with pairs of dogs and cats, and it was a pleasure to create all these fun little characters. One of the dogs, the little dachshund who's drawing cute butterflies, was named after me by the art-director. 

In French the game is called ‘Mistigri, de chats et chiens’, and it's available on Amazon.

WHO ARE YOUR DREAM CLIENTS OR WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?

Someday I'd love to have a product with my design on it with Anthropologie or perhaps Land of Nod.

I realize these are two very different clients, but both work in categories I really love. I personally don't feel bound to either adult or children's themes.

My dream project would be a set of dishes or pottery with my artwork on it. Or perhaps a collection of Tin Tea cans (which I collect myself).

And for the Land of Nod I would enjoy designing a whole room for children that includes bedding, furniture, plushies, playtents, whatever would be fun. Who knows... someday? You'll never know. :)

THERE HAS BEEN AN ART SUPPLY SANCTION IMPOSED AND DESIGNERS ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO POSSESS 3 ITEMS/TOOLS, WHAT DO YOU CHOOSE?

A large tube of gouache paint (W&N Ultramarine blue), a fine cat tongue brush and a big moleskine watercolour sketchbook. 

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

Everywhere I look. Designs I see on people's bags or Clothes. The flowers and trees in the gardens and, store windows or sometimes simply a combination of colours.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

Hmm that is always a tough question because for me that changes all the time. But I guess I've always been a fan of our Dutch Fiep Westendorp.
She was an illustrator who was pretty famous here (and still is). She is from the same period of Marie Blair, and you may find some similarity in their techniques, though they both had their own styles.
And lately I discovered my fondness for Gustav Klimt, technically not a designer, but his work is so gorgeous.

When I'm long gone, I hope people remember me for someone who made art that leaves you with a warm happy feeling or a smile on your face.