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Roel Ottow

willem van den Heuvel

Roel Ottow was born in 1955 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where he also grew up. After secondary school he had to choose between studying biology or pursuing his other passion, drawing and painting. He chose the latter, with conviction.

He decided to study at the Academy of Visual Arts in Arnhem, the Netherlands, as this school was regarded top of the bill at the time and because of its great natural environment. After social service to avoid the draft as designer/illustrator/drawer at what today is known as Agape, he started working in 1980 at Richard Design in Laren and in 1983 at Dart Design in Amsterdam. In 1985 he took his next step as an independent designer/illustrator. From 1988-1991 he worked alongside his wife Alice for Wycliffe in Kenya, Alice as a linguist and Roel as a designer/illustrator. They have three sons and three grandchildren.

He illustrated many children’s books, the children’s Bibles Volg Mij and Hosanna and various magazines.

His daily design and illustration work is recognizable in his ‘free’ work. Above all he enjoys ‘making beautiful things’ and ‘making things beautiful’. To this purpose he uses various techniques and materials, from pastel and acrylics to felt-pen and ink. His style varies from dreamy to more realistic, with a subtle sense of humor.

His life statement: “Don’t complain, but color.”

His work has been exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Cat Museum, CODA and many other places in the Netherlands. He is a member of the Gallery Foundation Apeldoorn, the Christian Union for Visual Artists and the professional organization for Dutch designers.