Illustrator • 3 Children • The Hague, Netherlands
Saar Manche, illustrator and photographer, welcomes us in her Dutch house where she lives with her husband and their 3 children. Saar tells us what inspires her work and shares some memories from her trip to California.
Dear Saar, can you tell us a little bit about how you became an illustrator?
Saar: As a child I was drawing all day. My mum was an illustrator and my grandma was an illustrator, it runs in the family I guess. After finishing my museology and history studies I started working as a history teacher and interior advisor, but I was missing to create by myself so I started drawing again. Tas-ka found out and started to sell them, and than everything started rolling.
How do your children influence your illustrations?
Saar: I started drawing again when my children were little. Just precious moments of my daily life. Like a photo album, but than my impression in paint and colors. So they are a great part of my inspiration.
Did your parents influence your unique style?
Saar: Oh yes they did. My dad is an antique dealer, always looking for nice shapes, colors, materials. My mum is an illustrator and a big fan of Carl Larsson. So when someone told me my illustration made her think of a modern Carl Larsson I had to smile.
Can you describe a typical workday of yours? How do you manage to reserve some ‘me time’?
Saar: We start the day with family breakfast and then the children go to school. They attend Waldorf so that means my youngest finishes at 12.30 each day. On two days he goes to daycare till 3 pm. I always pick him up from school so I work in the hours he’s over there. I make my coffee, open the garden doors and start drawing or editing photos. And when it’s busy I work in the evenings when they’re in bed.
Can you share 3 attributes with us, which make your home the perfect home for your family?
Saar: The big table in the living room as it’s the centre of the house. The dressoir table where we put on little things we find that fit with the season to insert the outside into our home. The daybed; to relax, read a book, listen to music while looking at the garden. Not the couch as I’m still looking for a nice one that’s also comfortable.
What is important to you when choosing clothes for your children? Do you have some favourite brands?
Saar: The material; I prefer cotton and wool. And try to make my oldest two aware of that, so they’ll look at a label before buying. I love clothes with a nostalgic touch like zigouis, Bonton and april showers combined with a more modern cut or print like FUB or Bobo Choses. And it needs to be comfortable like misha and puff and le petit germain.
Do your children decide what to wear or do you help them?
Saar: My oldest picks and buys everything himself, sometimes he asks my advice. He prefers plain clothes and jeans, he is a careful label reader. My girl is in between. Sometimes she picks something and sometimes I buy her something. We always try to find something we both like. For my little boy I buy everything, but in the morning he often says what he wants to wear and than I combine it.
You live in The Hague with your husband and your 3 children. What is it about the city that intrigues you?
Saar: We live 10 minutes cycling from the beach. So we go there a lot. The Hague also has some lovely old woods. There are some nice neighborhoods with lovely shops and good coffee so it’s a city with a good combination of both worlds: outdoors and city life. I love the buildings in The Hague with their high ceilings and steep stairs.
Last summer you made a family road-trip through California. Can you share a special memory of that trip with us? What did you find very different from home?
Saar: We all are so impressed by that trip. We still talk about it very often. Everything is immense: the cities, the woods, the sea, the desert. And the contradiction in everything. The organic foodshops in SF and no fresh food to be found in Wal-Mart. The rooftop party at the Ace hotel in LA with homeless people sleeping outdoors on the corner of the street. The high-tech cities compared to empty no-where-land, the luxurious life in Palm Springs after two days in the desert without a toilet. It was our most special journey ever. The fireplaces, our car with rooftop tent, just being together, on the road, and look and feel.
Thank you Saar!