A chat with

Lucas van Esch

Lucas van Esch is an art director with a background in photography and graphic design. Having studied at the Royal Academies of Fine Arts in both The Hague and Antwerp, he now lives in Madrid & Amsterdam working for Dutch quality newspaper de Volkskrant.


Lucas started working for de Volkskrant in 2008 as a graphic designer for its weekly glossy - Volkskrant magazine. In 2010 he was given the opportunity to create a new daily supplement with an emphasis on art and culture titled V. This new supplement was developed in close cooperation with Spanish creative director Luis Mendo. V launched in March 2011 and has since then evolved into an award-winning supplement, renowned for its creative and conceptual covers.

Here are some of our favourite covers for V and other Volkskrant supplements for which Lucas did the art direction and editorial design.👌

V Zomer 2017, photography: Aisha Zeijpveld
V Zomer 2015, photography: Ernst Coppejans
V Zomer 2018, photography: Eva Roefs
V cover, photography: Io Cooman
Book section Volkskrant, illustration Leonie Bos
B&W Volkskrant, photography: Aisha Zeijpveld
V cover, photography: Hilde Harshagen
Sir Edmund, photography: Rein Janssen
Sir Edmund, photography: Valentina Vos

Hi Lucas, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! For starters, what led you into this creative career?

When younger, I was intrigued by the paintings my father made. He also introduced me to the world of analogue photography so studying photography at the KABK in The Hague seemed the only logical thing to do at the time. Afterwards I went on doing so in Antwerp, but ended up in the graphic design department. After a huge detour, working in all kinds of fields but graphic design (think Antwerp docks, olive oil, coffee), I got a job opportunity at a small design agency in The Hague.


Where do you find inspiration?

From silly Instagram accounts to abysmal websites, books, magazines, museum shops (hence my huge collection of postcards), or just staring out of a window - preferably one in a moving train.


Can you show us how your workspace looks like?

Here's an impression of my workspace in Madrid 🙂


How do you conquer a creative block?

I've had a lot of those, thinking I would never conquer the creative block at hand. But taking some time off, taking some distance from your work (literally) and drawing or writing down even the strangest of thoughts always seem to help.


What gives you energy outside of work?

Lots of sports, be it running, boxing or whatever are a must. Wandering the streets with no particular place to go works magic as well. Seeing art, and particularly other people's sketchbooks in museums, makes me want to start drawing and sketching every single time. Roof terraces in Madrid aren't bad either.


What are your 3 favourite spots in The Netherlands?

1. Museum De Pont, Tilburg

2. KNSM-eiland, Amsterdam

3. Any long distance train, outside of rush hour


What are your 3 favourite Instagram accounts?

1. @willmcphail4


2. @yup.that.exists


3. @coverjunkie


Any cool projects you're working on right now?

In addition to continually developing the cultural supplement V, I'm also creating other new supplements for de Volkskrant. One of my latest designs is a weekly supplement focusing on literature and science. I love keeping all the different supplements up to speed in their design and I'm always looking for ways to improve them. So this actually has become a cool ongoing project for me to work on.


What have you recently seen that you think is great creative work?

I went to see the late Tetsuya Ishida's work the other day. I'd never seen his work before, but was impressed by his work on Japanese culture, being critic, sad and funny at the same time.
Richard Estes is another artist, be it from a different era, whose work really impressed me.

Tetsuya-Ishida, Recalled, 1998
Richard Estes, Six Views of Edo Shinjuko-III, 1989

Can you give one piece of advice to young creatives?

Don't get rid of your pencil and sketchbook, and switch off your computer on a regular basis. Look around and make a picture or write down a silly idea, whatever - anything to keep your mind and eye awake and flexible. Sorry, you asked for one advice only, so I'll stop here.


Thanks a lot for your time and your answers! You can find Lucas' work on his Instagram or in the daily supplements of de Volkskrant.