Look to the world, with an open mind

LET’S START WITH A BRIEF INTRODUCTION OF YOURSELF.  ALSO, WHAT ARE YOU UP TO AT THE MOMENT? I am a Belgian artist who grew up in Courtrai (Kortrijk), a small commercial town in West Flanders. I am huge comicbook fan and have a large collection. I never go sleeping before reading a comicbook. I am doing some different projects now, commissioned and personal projects… One of the commissioned ones is an illustration for an adoptioncard, very pleasant to do. I am also doing a children book on a script of my wife …

YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS ARE WONDERFUL! WHERE DO YOU COME UP WITH YOUR IDEAS FOR YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS? When I start a new illustration, I always first go for a walk. While just thinking about anything, ideas start to come. Almost everything I encounter on a walk can lead to an idea, a picture on a wall, something lying on the street, somthing that happens on my way, a strange house … But the greatest source of inspiration are the people I meet and see in the streets… Everyone can be the next person in my illustration : )

I SEE ON YOUR WEBSITE THAT YOU HAVE MANY DIFFERENT STYLES THAT YOU WORK WITH. WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE STYLES AND WHY? I make digital and painted illustrations, but I prefer the classic way of drawing and painting a lot more, because I like the smell of acrylics and holding a pencil feels much more comfortable then moving a mouse or holding a digital pencil. Sitting on a table with a paper in front of me gives a much more relaxed feeling then sitting before a computer.

AS A KID, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?  WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PATH TO BECOMING AN ILLUSTRATOR? As soon as I was old enough to hold a pencil, I knew I would do something with drawing… As a child I drew on every surface in the house: walls, tables … My parents were very happy when I was old enough to go to the local academy and started to draw on regular paper instead. One of first things I can remember is a comicbook about a knight I made when I was the age of 10. When I was older I completed a master in St. Lucas, School of Arts, Ghent, where I studied Graphic design and illustration. That was the start of my career as an illustrator

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN INTERESTED IN CREATING A TV SHOW SERIES OF YOUR OWN?  WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CARTOON ON TV? I never considered it. I think my style is to complex for a tv-show, it would cost to much time to make a show or I should have people helping me and I rather work alone like I am doing now, so …
I don’t watch much television, I am more a reader, so I don’t know much about the cartoons that are on television right now. As a kid I liked ‘Tom and Jerry’ and I still like ‘The Simpsons’ … And animation like ‘Despicable me’, ‘Spirited away’, ‘Persepolis’, ‘Rango’ …

I SEE YOU HAVE A VARIETY OF THEMES IN YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS.  WHAT IS A THEME YOU ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON?  WHAT IS THE ‘TEKENINGEN’ SERIES ABOUT?  The theme coming back most of the time in my illustrations are people. I love to draw people with all the strange habbits they have, how they dress, behave, how the act funny. You could say that the human behaviour is my most popular theme. But I do love drawing animals too, but even the animals always have a human touch, the act like humans, not like animals would do…
The ‘Tekeningen’ series are live-drawings. Every week I hire a model for making quick sketches. This is important to evolve and try different things. These drawings are exercices in technique, motion, colour, line … I make hundreds of them, most of them arrive in the wastepaper basket. On a drawing session of 2 hours I make 20-30 sketches. A sketch doesn’t take more than 5 minutes, so I can’t get lost in drawing details, it has to be basic and direct…If I have one drawing at the end of the evening I find good, then my evening was succesful…

WHEN YOU ARE NOT DRAWING OR CREATING, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO? Being in nature is the thing I do most when I am not illustrating. It gives me the peace I need to keep me going on with fresh ideas.. I like hiking, esspecially in the Scottish Highlands, where I go at least 1 or two times a year. Or walking in nature closer to home.  I also love to read books (mostly fantasy) or comicbooks, which I do almost every evening after drawing. Otherwise I would be thinking all night on my illustrations… It’s like making my head empty. And riding my motorbike is a favourite too…

YOU HAVE SOME EXHIBITIONS COMING UP.  PLEASE LET US KNOW ABOUT THEM.  WHAT ARTWORKS WILL YOU BE EXHIBITING? Next week I have an exhibition in London on the Parallax Art Fair. I will show some artworks I recently made for a memory-game and for a puzzle-game. In april there is an upcoming exhibition with some other illustrator. The brief was to make an illustration about the pencil in the artworld… There will be shown only one illustration… 

WHICH ARTISTS INSPIRE YOU TO CREATE? jheronimus bosch, a dutch painter from the 15th century, has always been a great inspiration, he must have been a little insane I guess, because he drew very strange things : ) And illustrators like Shaun Tan and Rebecca Dautremer, because they are very passionated… And also Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died to young..

THE AUDIENCE IS FOR KIDS AGED 3-11, PARENTS, AND TEACHERS SO IF YOU HAVE ANY TIPS, ADVICE, OR WAYS OF ENCOURAGING OUR SCRIBBLERS, THAT WOULD BE GREAT TO INCLUDE.  If you have a dream follow it, no matter what it cost. Working hard and practicing everyday is much more important then talent, of course you need a little talent but at the end it is who works hard that will be the winner. Keep your eyes open, ideas and creativity are everywher, you just have to see it. The most important thing I learned at art school, is not how to draw, but how to look to the world, with an open mind…

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