The museum recently had the opportunity to acquire part of Martijn van der Linden’s immense archive of illustrations, the highlights of which can now be seen in an exhibition.
Following his dream of becoming an illustrator, Martijn van der Linden decided to enroll at Rotterdam’s Willem de Kooning Academy, landing his first jobs even before graduating. Van der Linden is now one of the foremost illustrators in the country, illustrating the work of authors including Paul van Loon, his wife Maranke Rinck, Annie M.G. Schmidt and Edward van de Vendel. His internationally published work has seen him win countless awards, including the Woutertje Pieterse Award for Dutch children’s book Stem op de okapi (Vote okapi) and the 2016 Gouden Penseel award for Tangram Cat. In 2020, he was awarded a Zilveren Penseel award for Wat moet je doen als je over een nijlpaard struikelt (What to do when you stumble over a hippo).
Van der Linden’s arsenal of techniques spans everything from beautiful linocuts to colourful, detailed illustrations, and variety is probably the descriptor for his style. High-realism is followed by abstraction, colour by monochrome shades, and large drawings by fine, meticulous work. Although he had first expected to gradually develop his own signature style, he now believes that it is this quest for different techniques and styles that best characterises his work. ‘This is what I do: no two projects are the same. It’s what keeps my work exciting.’