We didn't invent creativity, but we have found a new way to apply it. Interview with Inge Nouws

We interviewed Dutch illustrator and Barcelona based artist, Inge Nouws, as part of the FLIC Festival. After having transitioned from a career in fashion design to being an editorial illustrator and freelance artist, Inge also collaborates on various art projects for children and adults. She is also a fundamental part of La Casa de Carlota, the first design studio in the world to include creatives with intellectual disabilities in its team.

Inge, your drawings and illustrations tell stories, what is your personal history? Why did you choose Barcelona to live and work? How were your beginnings in our city?

In 2000, we decided to make a change and moved the whole family to Barcelona. It was thanks to a job opportunity from my partner. I took advantage of this change to leave behind my work in fashion. I wanted to experiment with new creative paths and I studied children's illustration at EINA. There I found a new world of incredible professionals that made me want to continue exploring. The world of illustration took me to New York to continue studying at the School of Visual Art. My adventure in Barcelona, which was initially only 2 years, now 24 years later, continues to be the best experience of my life. And I feel fortunate to be able to enjoy the energy and creativity of this city on a daily basis.

Since 2014 you are the Creative Director of La Casa de Carlota, how has your path been to become a reference in the field of design and illustration?

La Casa de Carlota was founded in 2013 by JM Batalla, a reference in the world of design and advertising. We have several artistic directors and each one contributes to the final result. Since 2014, I have had the great fortune of being able to lead an inclusive creative team. We work on creativity from a different point of view, with diversity in mind. Professionals from graphic design, advertising and art come together in our projects with a surprising and fresh result. We didn't invent creativity, but we have found a new way to apply it.

As a guest artist in this edition of the FLIC Festival, can you tell us what we will find?

The activity is aimed at an early childhood audience. The idea is to look for animals hidden in a mural. Objective: to find an artistic aesthetic using a material that is comfortable for small hands. With simple arm and body movements, children create strokes and scribbles in random directions with reduced colours. The hidden animals are not revealed until the mural is completely covered.

In addition to the Casa de Carlota, you have also participated or promoted other projects, such as POEM EXPRESS! Can you tell us about your creative process, how is it to produce content for a children’s audience?

I studied Fine Arts Pedagogy at Hogeschool in Rotterdam, but I didn't go into teaching until much later. I think that, to be a good educator, you have to go through many creative processes and experiences before you can feel how your students understand what you want to teach. After many years of living and creating in different fields, I started to feel more comfortable in the role of an educator. I have the spirit of a child and I hope it will continue to accompany me until my last breath. When I think of setting up a workshop, I am always accompanied by my childhood memories and how much fun I had as a child. My creative process always starts with curiosity, excitement and experimentation. The main aim of my classes: to offer artistic tools and to make people enjoy themselves without expectations. So I leave a lot of room for beautiful and unexpected surprises from the participants. But yes, always with a script in mind to reach a surprising aesthetic.


Inge Nouws (1965) is a Dutch illustrator and artist based in Barcelona. In 2005 she made the leap to children's illustration after 15 years as a fashion designer. Her first book "Kars in the Poepfabriek" was published that same year. Since 2009 she has taught creativity and illustration classes to children and adults in Spain and Holland. Inge's illustrations and works of art have been exhibited in several countries such as Republic Tsjech, Bulgaria, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Japan, Arab emirates and Spain. She was awarded in Bologna in 2012 with an award for excellence. In 2012 she received an honourable mention at the ABW Lidu edition in Prague. She was the selected Artist in Lisbon at the International Illustration Biennial 2014, as well as the selected Illustrator at the 2015 Sharjah Reading Festival. Inge was also a Finalist in the Salon do Livro Pontevedra 2017.

Ajuntament de Barcelona