Sarah van Dongen’s Cozy World

Yum! It looks like somebody’s been very busy in the kitchen. Cakes piled up everywhere! And they’ve been at it for awhile –see the curly red-haired girl on the table who’s resting on the pink cake?

Maybe I should volunteer to help them eat some of their creations. Surely they could spare a cupcake or two. 🙂

Amsterdam-based illustrator Sarah van Dongen.

Was so happy to stumble upon Sarah van Dongen’s work recently. She checks all the right boxes for me: charming, whimsical, lots of detail, cozy and child-like. 

Sarah’s a Dutch illustrator based in Amsterdam who creates children’s books and images for stationery, magazines, and newspapers.

A childhood love of drawing and creating story-worlds led her to study Comparative Literature as an undergraduate, followed by an MA in Contemporary Literature with a focus on children’s books. She then went on to earn another MA in Children’s Illustration in Cambridge, UK.

Taking her sketchbook everywhere, she draws inspiration from observations of daily life, dreams, and memories. Her favorite themes include food, gardening, nature, mental wellness, social interactions, childhood and imagination.

She likes to explore how color, the use of details, and different settings influence the atmosphere of an illustration. She works with colored pencil, crayons, pastels, gouache, and watercolor.

Though most of her pictures feature sweet and safe scenarios, she also likes to address difficult subjects such as loneliness, loss and insecurity.

I enjoy the freshness of her pictures, the natural, unstudied feel to them. Her inner child seems very present in their composition and the inclusion of minute details makes it extra fun for the viewer. I also noted the presence of a curly redhead in some images – both child and adult – who looks delighfully familiar. 🙂

Sarah’s clients include Adobe, Flow Magazine, Cricket Magazine, Domestika, Tiny Owl Publishing, Querida and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

She enjoys inspiring others to live a more creative life through online tutorials and workshops. (See more of these at Domestika and Etchr Studio on YouTube).

Visit Sarah’s Official Website and Instagram for more. To purchase prints, check out Toi Gallery and InPrint.

Enjoy this fun DrawAlong video where Sarah draws cakes (!) at the Edinburgh International Art Festival. You can purchase the book she mentions, The Neighborhood Surprise, here.


*Copyright © 2022 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

10 thoughts on “Sarah van Dongen’s Cozy World

  1. Lovely to meet Sarah, Jama, and her whimsical art. I loved the classroom drawing (no surprise) and the video. The colors, too, are enticing! Thanks!

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  2. So, I’ve become a bit of an online tutorial addict! Mostly, it’s papercrafting. But, I think I just might add this illustrator. Her work IS fresh, colorful and whimsical. I love it. Thanks for the introduction and links to find out more.

    Liked by 1 person

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