My name is Elze van den Akker and I am The Jolly Illustrator.

I am a Dutch, Amsterdam based illustration artist that also happens to work as theatre-maker and scenographer.

I studied Object theatre at the School of Arts in Amsterdam and graduated in 1995. I have worked since with national and international theatre groups mostly as stage- and costume- designer.

In 2022 I diversified into working as an illustrator. I felt the need to create art that could be enjoyed outside the closed environment of a theatre. I love changing all the things we use on a daily basis into precious little treasures by giving them bright and happy illustrations. I strongly believe happiness lives in the joy of daily life.


I like telling a story with one image and I love bold colours. I would describe my style as bold, quirky and playfull. Inspiration I find everywhere. I love the city life ánd nature and love to spend time in both. My illustrations are paper-cut from hand-painted paper with an additional handmade stamp or painted shadow here and there. The paper is mostly recycled paper and comes from all imaginative places. Old theatre scripts, the paper stuffed in new shoes and newspapers from abroad that people bring home from their travels. Oftentimes using the origin of the paper in the illustration, using recycled paper is not only more sustainable than buying new but also adds a double layer to the story of the illustration.

I make my art for human beings who dance in the living room, love to travel, eat ice cream or drink hot coffee, cry whilst hearing good music, and do not mind some rain. Obviously I prefer to work with clients that cherish sustainability.

On this website you will find an array of my work and possibilities but I have also made commissioned work for municipalities and companies.

Do you like my style? If so I would love to work with you. Please do send me a message



If you are interested in my theatre work you check my other website