Long Story Short

A northern Italian went South, only to travel far away from there and end up in the Netherlands.

Hi! I’m Irene, illustrator, coffee drinker and owner of Soft Moka – find my shop on Etsy.

Soft Moka is a one-woman studio where watercolor paintings and thoughtful paper gifts are made. This adventure is no instant coffee and had to simmer for a while before taking off.

After completing my PhD in cognitive science, I yearned to do something more practical. I picked up the brush again and found out my artworks had never been better.
So, while fruitlessly sending out post-doc applications, I started getting illustration jobs as a freelancer. A year later my passion for nature illustrations fused with sustainable, beautiful paper and Soft Moka was born.

Based in Hilversum, North Holland, my studio is surrounded by natural monuments. I often draw inspiration from the incredible variety of waterbirds that visit the Netherlands every year or by the deep-seated in my memory natural landscapes of Italy. But you’ll rarely find me painting en plein air. I love to do some research on animals, plants and the environment they live (or used to live) in. First I read, picture a scene, and only then I paint.

Hope you enjoy the browse and my works bring you a little closer to the “endless forms most beautiful”.

If you fancy quirky travel photographs, you can look through mine here.

In the studio
In the studio