Some illustrators who really work for children are just so darn good that they appeal to all ages. We’d love some of the plates, lamps and posters Francine Verhulst makes for her Grootzus (‘big sister’) web shop….

Tell us a little about yourself?
“My name is Francine Verhulst, 36, single mum, going steady, living in Rotterdam (where I’m from), together with my two children Veere (8) and Amos (3). I used to draw when I was little. Art school seemed the obvious choice after I finished high school. Making images is the greatest thing in the world for me. Making things prettier than they are, within a given framework. I think that’s the definition of happiness anyway, in all aspects of life. Decorating, adorning, I love all of it.”

How exactly do you make your collages?
“I collect pictures from books, from packaging, from stuff and a lot from the internet. I take pictures of all the things I like. Structures, colors, shapes, and I keep them in a huge archive I turn to when I’m making collages in Photoshop. Inside I keep – a bit like drawers in a chest – all kinds of folders that make up my digital archive. They inspire me. When I come up with an idea or a plan I turn to my folders to find the right images. While I’m searching I get all kinds of new ideas as well.”

Why did you start a web shop next to your work as an illustrator?
“When my niece was born I wanted to make her a beautiful gift. I started looking for a little lamp, one that I could adapt so I’d be able to add an image to it. That’s how it got started, because the lamps turned out so well! It’s a lot of fun selling items. I often hear that kids love their lamp so much that it’s become a part of their bedtime ritual. They need to say goodbye to the lamp before they go to sleep.”

Do you have any plans or wishes for the future of your work?
“I’d love to make a beautiful, fun book with pictures you can keep looking at for hours. For children AND adults !”