Born @ WdKA

Bonnie & Irene Getting Lost

Mon 27 Sep
Function Illustrator
Year 2021
Major Illustration
Practice Commercial Practices

Nominee Threshold Award Commercial Practices

Meet Marle Rodenburg! Marle was nominated for the 2021 Threshold Award Commercial Practices with her graduation project ‘Bonnie & Irene Getting Lost’. In this interview, Marle tells us about her work and future plans.

Can you tell us a bit about your graduation project and how it came about?

When I was younger, I liked to write stories. But since I am not so good at writing, I figured I could also draw them. In my third year at the Academy, I was approached by someone who was studying at AMFI, the fashion academy in Amsterdam. She asked me to create a book to showcase her clothing. That was the first time I worked with this medium, and I really liked it. Then, I made another little book called ‘Flowers Do Not Always Smell Nice’ (Bloemen Ruiken Niet Altijd Lekker), which was later published by a small publisher. This process was so much fun, and it drove me to do something even bigger and more complex.

So when graduation arrived—and I could literally create anything I wanted—I decided to make a graphic novel. The story I started with has changed about a hundred times throughout the process, but the characters always stayed the same. The story I eventually went for is about two girls—Bonnie and Irene—that get lost and try to find their way back. I also contacted some publishers who are willing to publish it.

Which themes or societal concerns are you addressing in your work, and how?

The central theme of the story is friendship. I think the message of the story is that facing challenging situations together with your friend can create a really strong bond, as you share the same experience. It is about going on adventures: sometimes the characters even choose to get lost. I also see parallels with the experience of growing up and graduating. A lot of new things come onto your path and you need to make so many choices, but you always come out of it with more experience.


What will you be working on in the near future? What are your next steps? 

My story ends with a cliffhanger, so now I will work on the second part of the story. I am not sure yet what it will be about, so it will be quite an adventure! I definitely want to continue making graphic novels, but I also need to be realistic. It is difficult to make a living creating books, so I will do broader illustration projects too. Besides that, I am starting a master's in illustration at Falmouth in September. The university is located in the UK, but I can follow the programme online. I am looking forward to it, and I think it will give me lots of new inspiration for the second part of my story. 


To read more about Marle’s work, pay a visit to her Graduation Catalogue Page. Furthermore, her journey can be followed on Instagram. The winners of the Threshold Award Commercial Practices will be announced during a festive ceremony as part of the Graduation Show. Keep an eye on our Graduation Show page for more information.