About me

Hi there,


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

I am a Dutch, Amsterdam based freelance illustration artist who also happens to work as a 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 specialized in paper-cut illustrations 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 yesterdays newspapers. Oftentimes using recycled paper is not only more sustainable than buying new but also adds a double layer to the story of the illustration.

I would describe my style as bold, quirky, and playful in sparkling warm colours, jampacked with structures and details. Inspiration I can find everywhere. I love city life ánd nature and need to spend time in both. I cherish Mother Earth and do my best to take care of her.

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. Don't you agree?

On this website you will find an array of my work and possibilities. My work is available for licensing but I also love to do commissioned work. Obviously I prefer to work with clients that cherish sustainability. I am especially interested in designing pop up cards. That is probably the inheritance of my theatre background. For that reason I have made multiple illustrations for theatre posters too.


Have a beautiful day,



Others about me

I have asked some people around me what I would be if I were an animal and why. The replies are truly sweet, sour, and honest. I think they give you a good insight into the person I am. Professionally and privately. Although you might mostly be interested in the professional illustrator side of me it never harms to know how my friends and family describe me. After all, I am not only the freelance illustrator specializing in collage art. You hire and will work with my human side as well.

I am still working on visualizing most of the replies but this is what people told me so far:

Elze is curious and investigative, always jolly and playful. She is a nice person to work with.
Elze is like a spider in the web. She has an overview of things that need to be done and she knows how to communicate well between all parties
Elze is a calm and relaxed person. But when it comes to meeting deadlines she works swift and is very focused on the job. Elze is a trustworthy partner.

Elze is very approachable and easy person to work with. She can listen and does not stop asking questions until she really understand your needs
Freelance illustrator, based in Amsterdam. Specializing in landscapes, floral illustrations and animal art


Elze van den Akker

Henriette Ronnerplein 3-IV

1073KS Amsterdam

email me

VAT: NL001768118B55

KVK: 343848180000





The Copyright for the designs you see on this website belong to Elze van den Akker, aka the jolly illustrator. Please do not reproduce any design or part of it without prior consent.