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Mies van Hout

Mies van Hout (1962) is an illustrator. She trained as a teacher in Tilburg, specialising in drawing and textile techniques and then studied Graphic Design at the Art Academy in Groningen in the evenings. Since then she has been working as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. She specialises in writing and illustrating for children. As well as illustrating picture books that contain stories written by others, such as Bang Mannetje [Brave Ben] and Schatje en Scheetje [Lovey and Dovey], she has also produced her own picture book series inspired by popular children’s songs, such as Daar buiten loopt een schaap [Sleep, baby, sleep, outside there are sheep].

When working on her picture book Vrolijk [Happy] she adopted a new approach and developed a different style. Rather than producing lots of sketches and working with a storyboard, she created the illustrations for her books Vrolijk [Happy], Vriendjes [Friends] and Verrassing [Surprise] in an intuitive and organic way. This involves doing lots of drawings, with one drawing leading to the next. The context has to be clear from the start, but, other than that, there is very little planning. This allows the book to emerge organically. Above all, Mies van Hout devotes a great deal of attention to the way in which her characters’ feelings are depicted: sometimes in a very expressive way and other times in a more subtle way. Colours play an important role in this respect.
Ik voel me zo ...
The title of her Miffy statue is Ik voel me zo ... [I feel so…]. ‘The fact that Miffy rarely shows her feelings allows children to project their own feelings on her. I took this idea and depicted it literally. The red line that winds its way around Miffy is made up of faces that express all kinds of feelings.’