LOISH Illustrator & Character Designer

Lois van Baarle


Born in Holland, Lois van Baarle more commonly known as, Loish, has had the opportunity to travel since a young age. At age four, she moved to Falls Church, VA; she lived in Indonesia for three years; France for four; and spent another four years in Belgium. All of her life she has felt that art was something that she was good at, and at a young age it became a part of her identity.

Early Work

At age 15, Loish discovered the online community of DeviantArt. While she did not favor a particular anime or manga, she loved the style of this foreign art in its Westernized form. Loish began first experimenting with digital painting by drawing Oekakis on a Dutch drawing site. In 2000, Loish got a trial version of Photoshop and experimented a lot using her computer mouse. After a year, her parents bought her first drawing tablet at age 16. She was familiar with using acrylics but felt that her skills never developed enough using traditional mediums. She preferred the "nicer" results that she could get more quickly while making digital art.

Early Sketches
Improvement over the Years
My learning process is consisted mainly of a mixture of observation and practice.


Loish's inspirations include Art Nouveau - the flowing lines, movement, and curves of the female figure - the Disney Princesses, and girly things. She, like many artists, admires the work of Disney animation veteran Glen Keane.


Loish began attending Kask & Conservatorium School of Arts Gent in Belgium, but found that the educators were not into commercial and mainstream styles. They wanted fine artists who took risks with experimental traditional mediums, not digital work. They were strict on style, and wanted to push her in the direction that they thought was best for her versus allowing her to make her own choices. So, after a year, Loish switched to the Dutch animation school Utrecht School of the Arts where she attended for four years, graduating in 2009. While her general style remained pretty childish and girly, going through art school also helped her to push herself and try new things that were more edgy, gritty, and dark.

Freelance Work

Loish did not find it difficult to find work after school because she has been building up a following with her work since 2003. She had been getting freelance job offers for years while still attending school, but now she was finally able to pursue some of those offers. She was never really interested in working in a studio environment, and has interest in doing all kinds of things - concept art, game art, animation, portraits. Freelancing was the perfect option for her as she did not want to make the decision to specialize in only one form of art, and she preferred the variety and freedom that path offered to her.

Loish's character design concepts that were used for a Coca-Cola ad.

Personal Work

While Loish continues working on her freelance jobs, it is her personal work which she shares on social media through Instagram and DeviantArt that has really gained her a supportive and dedicated fan base. Last year, with the help of her following, Loish was able to successfully fund a Kickstarter campaign that saw the creation and publishing of her first art book, The Art of Loish: A Look Behind the Scenes.

Loish's Kickstarter Campaign
Trouble Letting Go

My Personal Favorites

I like to draw female characters that aren't only for a male audience - appealing in a way that isn't limited to sexiness as it is seen in the world today.
These types of characters have become a creative outlet for me to express the things that I like in terms of style, fashion, attitude.
I really like to explore the type of character that I would really like to see in real life and get to know and walk up to them and get to be their friend ... working in this way has a natural result of putting a lot of female perspective into my work.

Check out more of Loish's freelance and personal work on her website:

As a big fan of Loish's work and the alluring characters that she creates, she has been a huge inspiration to me as I move forward in discovering my own art style. I've found that we actually have a lot in common when it comes to our experiences and interests in visual art, and I look forward to the amazing things that she will create in the future.

Created By
Yvette Shanks


All images by Lois van Baarle (Loish)

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