6 Months Later …

It’s become somewhat of a joke — every new blog entry opening with the following words: “It has been six months since I posted my last,”  but what can I say? I’m not much of a blogger. At best, I’m a seasonal one, but probably not even that. But hey, at least this way, when I blog, you can bet I’ve got something to say. And boy, do I have some news to tell you! I’m talking N-E-W-S News here! Plural! That’s right. So keep reading.

Let’s start with the big news. About four months ago, I migrated to Norway because my better half was made a job offer she couldn’t refuse even though it meant — well, moving to Norway. As you can imagine, it has been a bit of a busy and hectic time. Funnily enough, me emigrating was, paradoxically, also a bit of a non-event, not least because, for the first two months, I had to do without my computer and drawing gear and, of course, I also had to settle in from scratch. So, in a way, my social and creative life came to a halt.

Well, I’m all settled in now — my computer is at my place in the picturesque city of Bergen, I got my music, and my new friends. I got everything I need to get shit done … and, nope, there’s no “buts.” I’ve been churning out cartoons and other illustrative work at a steady pace. Let me show you some stuff.

  • Sint is Dead

I drew this cartoon in reaction to the ongoing “Black Pete” debate in the Netherlands in which one gets labeled a racist no matter what one says or thinks about the Dutch Sinterklaas celebration.

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  • The Teddy Project

I’ve been doing some character designs and model sheets for some guys at the Bergen University who are working on their first indie game.

tumblr_ofj3frzwz11tlpjb5o1_1280tumblr_ofj3frzwz11tlpjb5o3_r1_1280

  • The Grand Gnome

I don’t know why, but for some reason, I have a fondness for gnomes. Perhaps it is because, as a child and youth, I spent many enjoyable hours drooling over the gnome illustrations of Rien Poortvliet and watching the televised adventures of David the Gnome.

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  • Dauthuz

Currently I’m working on some album and T-shirt designs for everyone’s favorite Death Metal band, Dauthuz.

death-metal-manga


There, now you’re all to speed on what I’ve been doing lately.

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Yuccalele

I did it! I just finished my last homework assignment for the course I’m taking on video game character design. The assignment being, “Draw a character, inspired by a real object, in three ways.” But I misread the assignment as “Draw three different characters, all based on (the same) one object.” Oh well, whatever. Anyway, I based these characters on a yucca(?) (Fuck if I know. I mean, do I look like a botanist?) plant I have had for years — and still have, for that matter. 

cartoon, illustration, gorgon, medusa, tiki, cannibal, headhunter, greek, mythology, islander, character design, video game

plant

 

Bumstein

So, what’s cooking? Well uh, I started doing a course on video game character design. For my first homework assignment, I had to draw some variations of a character design. I chose to do a character I was already working on for a webcomic — which I hope to publish sometime… well, sometime next year.

Cartoon, illustration, characterdesign, character design, video game, Bumstein, webcomic, conceptart, concept art, Gerrit Rijken, Iosua

Also, I’m currently laying out the plans for a collaborative art project together with my sister who, by the way, is well on her way of becoming an airbrush master. I’m really excited about that!

And uh… of course there are still some commissioned pieces I need to finish soon.

 

LTTP

It’s funny, I’ve been toying around with my Intuos tablet for about three years now — but it’s just now that I decided to figure out what those ExpressKeys are for. Turns out, they’re not just there for aesthetic design reasons. (I know, right? Who knew?) So I mapped them to some macro’s that I plan on actually using, for a change. (How could I ever have done without Display Toggle?) And now I’m all geared up for my next challenge: starting a course in digital painting.

Character Sketches (2013)

Pictured above are my first fully digital illustrated characters (Jan 2013).

Shape of the Week: Return of the Gnome

I haven’t done much drawing for the past few days since I was bent on finishing reading Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. It’s a great read with imaginative, inspiring characters in it — like, for instance, industrial remade chimeras, sapient talking birdmen, and human-like women with chitinous heads. But yesterday it came to me that, arguably, the greatest of all characters is New Crobuzon, the city in which the story takes place. I say ‘arguably’ but it seems pretty clear to me that Mieville spent more time fleshing out its background, history, politics, demography, etc., than detailing or explaining the characters — bar one exception, perhaps. So the city becomes more than just a backdrop, it becomes an active agent in the story… Anyway, why am I telling you all this? Well, here’s the thing, I was thinking of ‘cartoonifying’ some of the book’s characters. I thought of how to draw machinery, feathers, and city scapes. And then I went on thinking… and thinking… And during all that time, the (digital) canvas remained empty. Which brings me to the point of this post.

Today I decided to ‘kickstart’ myself, again. But instead of going through my usual routine — participating in a design contest, always against my better judgment — I decided to partake in a challenge set by Mallory Carlson at the Nickelodeon Artist Program. Let me tell you, it has been a fun experience. Not only did it get me drawing again, it’s also been really inspiring to see what fellow-artists came up with!

Gnome, dwarf, concept art, character design, cartoon, illustration, whatmaldraws, nickelodeon artist program

 

The Rush of the Sprint

This week, I participated in a design contest for some marathon event. I was to draw a Viking helmet with a Viking running on top of it. So I came up with this idea… to make the helmet look like a naturescape, a runner’s paradise of sorts, with some running figures on the path. But sadly, the contest holder deemed it “too colorful,” so that was it…

Floating island, viking helmet, cartoon, illustration, trees, mushrooms, scenery, exterior

I say sadly, but in truth it was a “bi-winning” experience nonethelesss. After all, the contest provided me both a deadline and an opportunity to practice drawing scenery — which I have been wanting for months but which I have kept postponing –, and in the end the drawing came out pretty decent. So, uh, the takeaway from all this is, that sometimes it’s good to have a deadline.

Full disclosure: As someone who majored in history, I know damn well that Viking helmets in actuality never had horns attached to them. But, let’s face it, they do look better with horns.

Storyboarding

‘kHeb eindelijk weer wat concreet nieuws te melden…

De afgelopen, zeg, 24 uur heb ik storyboards gemaakt voor Van Vlier Media, een awesome audiovisueel bedrijf.  Een toffe ervaring op zich, maar ook een waardoor ik meer zicht heb gekregen op wat mijn mogelijkheden zijn als tekenaar en wat mijn beperkingen. Zo weet ik nu bijvoorbeeld dat sneltekenen een kunst op zich is, die ik niet down heb. Maar toch is er kennelijk een markt voor mijn trage stijl…

Van Vlier Media (2014)

Het is niet mijn bedoeling daar zelfgenoegzaam over te doen. Ik begin er alleen maar over omdat, als je me een maand geleden had gezegd dat ik nu storyboards zou maken voor een commercieel bedrijf, no less, ik je vierkant uitgelachen had. (Ik was zo gefixeerd op editorial cartooning en comic art, en zo.) Dat geeft mij te denken. Hoeveel meer zouden er zijn die eenzijdig en met oogkleppen op hun talent ontwikkelen? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Mixed media

Daar ging mijn voornemen om op z’n minst elke week iets te posten. Maar goed. Ik ben met wel met nieuwe dingen bezig geweest de afgelopen weken, dingen die tijd nodig hebben…

Zo heb ik bijvoorbeeld, voor het eerst sinds de middelbare school, weer ouderwets geschilderd, met acrylverf en Oost-Indische inkt. Daar is toen het volgende uitgekomen — na enige digitale bewerking :

Alien; cartoon; Iosua; Gerrit Rijken

Ik vind het wel wat hebben. Het heeft het spontane van een handgetekende tekening en de ‘polish’ van een digitale tekening.

Toch, ik weet niet of analoog schilderen echt iets voor mij is. Maar er is maar één manier om daarachter te komen…