Roel Ottow has been drawing for his whole life: “It is safe to say that it started when I was still in the womb”. Roel got his education at the art academy and turned his hobby into his work.
Diversity in clients
Roel mainly works as a designer and illustrator for advertising agencies, magazines and publishers, but organizations also approach him directly for illustrations in books, board games, advertisements, labels, posters and comics. This way Roel did work for VNO NCW and the ministry of internal- and foreign affairs. Roel does not like being pompous about making illustrations: ‘some other artists can really use some posh language for it. I’d rather use my own saying: don’t talk, but draw. This pragmatic approach does not only work for the illustrations, but also as a designer/illustrator towards clients’.
Ottow and his wife worked in Kenia as designer/illustrator from 1988 until 1991. His drawing-itch kept him going and he found plenty of opportunities there. His backdoor neighbor printed t-shirts for tourists and Roel designed a series of the “big five” (the five biggest animals on the Savanna) for him.
Roel: “It’s very precise work. You need to make drawings that are commercially interesting but also technically viable.” Something designers in Kenia did not really grasp yet. He stayed in touch with his old neighbor when he got back to the Netherlands. He still prints and sells new drawings. Roel goes back to Kenia regularly for new drawings. They are now also sold in the surrounding countries and the illustrations are finding their ways to other applications.
A lot of Roel’s work lies between applied design and art. The main reason for Roel to join the Ateliers Apeldoorn (http://www.ateliersapeldoorn.nl/) and get closely involved with Gallery H10a (h10a.nl).
Export countries: Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Congo and incidentally Belgium, Germany, England and Sweden