Sella Molenaar (27) is an Amsterdam-based illustrator who has done jobs for big brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, H&M and Harper’s Bazaar. Because she draws women with a strong appearance, many people categorize her work as feministic, and she is totally fine with that.

“There’s a piece of me in every illustration I make. A subconscious self-portrait crawls into the picture, I guess introspection is a part of my creative process. I do not necessarily see myself as a strong woman, but I would definitely like to become one’’

Sella shares her fascinations through her work. The women she illustrates always show some kind of disfigurement and have a mystic, intense look in their eyes.

It wasn’t like I had an epiphany, like, I didn’t draw this kind of women right from the start. It is a process that has to lead me into this direction.”

According to Sella, we need strong women now more than ever, because our society is ever-changing.

“Right now we long for people who know what they stand for. To do that, you need a certain kind of strength and confidence. When you share your beliefs in a way the world can’t ignore, other people will follow.”

“I focus on women in particular. My drawings are very personal and I can only draw them like this because I know what it’s like to be a woman. I also think that there is still a lot of progress to make in that area. The privileged white man already owns a well-defined spot in society, so they’re less interesting to draw.”

Sella has collaborated with several major brands.

“I really like that I don’t have to ‘sell’ myself. People and organizations approach me and ask me to illustrate for them. I do a lot of live illustration sessions and I’m actively showing my work on Instagram. I make sure that I put myself out there, that I’m visible for the world.”

This young ambitious illustrator is not the type of artist that sits around in her studio, waiting for people to come to her.

“It helps that I like to meet new people. As an artist it is very important to make sure you keep developing yourself and that you keep reinventing your concepts. Sometimes I do that by simply proposing my client’s something completely different than what they have asked for. You have to take a risk from time to time.’’

One of her biggest dreams is to have a place of her own, where Amsterdam’s creatives can join their forces. A shared workplace for people who work with their hands.

“I used to have a beautiful classic studio, where I worked a lot by myself, but it didn’t make me as happy as I thought it would. I need other people around me. To make good work, I need to be stimulated. It would be amazing to create an inspiring environment and share it with others. A place with a monthly open exhibition and where we can host events.”

One thing is for sure: she will never put down her pencil.

“This is what I am meant to do. Drawing gives me the peace and quiet that I need. I will keep on illustrating strong women, but there are definitely going to be different projects in the future.”



Inky face #freework #ink #face ##illustration #fashionillustration #portrait

Een bericht gedeeld door Sella Molenaar (@sellamolenaar) op


Sunday sketch #sunday #sketch #marker #minimal #illustraton #fashionillustration Een bericht gedeeld door Sella Molenaar (@sellamolenaar) op

Big one framed ?? #freework #framed #illustraton #fashionillustration #minimal #ink #marker #acrylics #blackandwhite #athome

Een bericht gedeeld door Sella Molenaar (@sellamolenaar) op

Interview by Yalou Slöetjes
Photo’s by Janneke Nooij