“I consciously decided to draw a woman, since 70 per cent of all illustrators are women”, says Rachel Sender, illustrator and teacher at Rotterdam’s art school. “Her arm holding the pencil is clearly very strong. It stands for the illustrator’s main strength: a kind of superpower of reflection.” According to Sender, the pencil is the icon of illustrators’ profession. “Or it could be a huge cliche – it depends on your perspective.”

You can find all sorts of work as an illustrator, in her experience. And this is also something she keeps telling her students at the Willem de Kooning Academy. “Illustration is booming. You can find a job in branding, communication, animation, but also work on children’s books or infographics.”

Sender herself was trained as a graphic designer. “And you can still see this in my work. It has a minimalist style and sparse colour schemes. And when I do use colour, it’s often quite two-dimensional.” She enjoys editorial work most of all. “You get to sum up an entire article for the reader in a single image. And you’re adding a whole new layer that can’t be captured in words.”

Dronken Erasmus uit Quod Novum – Rob Figee 1989

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Exhibition presents old cartoons about university life

Illustrations and cartoons published in former university weekly Quod Novum on view at…