Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Drive Corner

As you might have noticed I thought Drive was a pretty cool film. I especially liked the whole 1980's vibe of the film. I also think that Ryan Gosling's jacket is pretty cool. I had this image of the Driver as a comic book character; the jacket is really not unlike a superhero's costume, it even has a logo on it.

The image of the Driver as some kind of comic book hero inspired me to the illustration above, for the awesome Cornered Blog. Some of you might remember that I did another corner for them back in March. (That one was also based on a film, btw.)  

I really hope you also like my Drive Corner!

Ink on paper, digital colors and lay-out.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Another Driver

Another drawing of the Driver. The color is based on an effect I saw in The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke, it is not completely similar but that also has a lot to do with my lines, Darwyn Cooke left more open space and also draws with color; he does the inking and coloring of the Parker comics himself. The colors are also done tradiotionally with a PITT artist brush pen.

This drawing of mine was done with ink on paper and digital colors. I will try to do some colored drawings the way Mister Cooke did his, might be a cool exercise.

Recently I'm experimenting a lot with different halftone effects. I have always liked halftones and had a tough time to find out how to recreate the old fashioned print effects in Photoshop. It feels like I'm getting closer, though!

That line is from the book by James Sallis btw, which is also pretty cool.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Driver

A couple of weeks ago I went to see the movie Drive. I had read quite a lot about it on a number of blogs.   Unfortunately it took a while before Dutch cinemas picked it up, but I guess we are lucky that they showed it at all.

Anyway, even though I had high expectations, Drive did not disappoint me. This is especially surprising since the plot of the film is in no way spectacular, it's the atmosphere of this film that makes it awesome. Ryan Gosling is also great as the silent Driver who makes a living as stuntman and getaway driver for thieves and robbers.

Ever since I saw Drive I have been doodling the Driver. My first attempt were pretty far off, but I believe I'm getting closer. This is a compilation of different driver doodles I did the last few weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if there will be more of this...

Ink on paper, digital colors.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Doodle Thug

Whenever I'm working I usually have a stack of blank paper lying next to me. At the end of the day most of the paper will be filled with doodles of random tough guys and gangsters. I don't much worry about it, that's just what I put on paper when I'm not thinking about what I'm doing too much.

This drawing is a typical example of one of my doodles, although I have to say that I usually won't leave so much empty space on my doodle sheets. I've got some marker brushes in photoshop that I really like so I gave this some quick color using those brushes, as way of exercise.

Papermate Flair on paper, digital colors.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Your Lips Are Venomous Poison

I hear you calling and it's needles and pins (and pins)
I want to hurt you just to hear you screaming my name
Don't wanna touch you but you're under my skin (deep in)
I want to taste you but your lips are venomous poison

A warm-up sketch of Alice Cooper, inspired my iTunes shuffle. I love the song Poison, although I'm not really a fan of Alice Cooper in general. You've got to love that guy's look, though! 

Ink on paper (Papermate Flair, Pentell pockt brushpen, and Tombo brushpen) digital colors. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Vacances en France

And again more than a week between posts, and again I had skipped town. I spend the last week in France, far, far away from modern things like internet, television or even cell-phone signal.

The drawing above is a sketch of the house where I stayed, together with a good friend of mine,. The house is owned by his parents, I did this sketch as a gift to thank them for letting us use this place. It was great, the weather in Amsterdam wasn't too great when we left but in France we had sunshine almost the entire week!

After the hectic graduation year it felt good to take a break from everything, I got some good rest and feel ready for the next step. I did some more sketches that I will shre with you later this week, I wanted to upload this one now though, since I'll be giving it away tonight.

Ink and color pencil on light grey sketch paper.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Animal Sketching

This morning I went to the Amsterdam zoo, Artis. Earlier this year I became a member of Artis, giving me free admission for a year. Since the zoo is at walking distance, it seemed like a smart investment. 

So now I can drop in whenever I feel like it. The last months I have used the oppertunity a lot. (Artis is awesome at the moment! They had a real babyboom this summer: there's a lion cub, a baby elephant, a baby giraffe and two baby gorillas, just to name a few.) Of course I always bring my drawing kit, but for some reason I wasn't happy with my last sketches. Drawing animals is always a challenge and I often suspect them of conspiring against me. (When I approach them they are in a great pose, sitting perfectly still. But the moment I put pen to paper they begin to move, usually opting for the hey-how-do-ya-like-my-behind-position.) 

But today I can't complain. I was in the zoo for almost four hours, the animals were great and I got to do some nice sketching. I sure hope you like 'em too! (All sketches were done with a Papermate Flair, and/or Tombo Brushpen. Colors added with Photoshop)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Skateboard Dude

A sketch I did in my sketchbook. I threw some quick colors on it with photoshop. It was based on a pic from the satorialist

Monday, November 7, 2011

American Storyboarding Workshop

As I mentioned in previous posts, last Saturday Daan Jippes and me gave a workshop on storyboarding at the special edition of the Klik animation festival, here in Amsterdam. Daan of course was the main attraction, my role was mostly a supporting one.

During my internship with Daan I heard him tell many great stories about his experiences as a storyboard artist over at Disney, Warners, Dreamworks etc. At the beginnnig of our workshop we sat down and I asked Daan about some of those things. We hoped that these experiences would shine some light on the differences between storyboarding as it is done at the major (American) animation studios and the way storyboards are used in Dutch productions.

After this little chat we got down to business. I had prepared a storyboard based on a scene from a book by Elmore Leonard. I had worked it out digitally in Photoshop and pitched it from a computer. It is quite cool to see your boards up on the big screen. Of course I was a bit nervous, (I think there were 40 to 50 people at our presentation, including some very talented artists) but it was a lot of fun!

Here I am pitching my board, below are four panels from this version. I will post more soon!

Daan of course had many suggestions on how to improve this scene so when my pitch was done it was his turn to step into the spotlight. The great people at Klik had arranged this amazing projector for him to use. Using print-outs from my boards Daan could use this projector to draw on top of my panels to show exactly how he thought they could be improved. Everything he did was projected on the screen, so everybody could immediately see what his improvements would do. 

He invited the people in the audience to join in the critique wich worked very nicely. A lot of people had questions and suggestions about this board and storyboarding in general. It was a real fun atmosphere where everybody felt free to say what he or she thought about our presentation. 

Daan's advice on my board was, of course, rock solid. This is the main reason why I post so little of my board now, I have all his notes and will use them to do a final version that I will post here as soon as it is done.

A big thing in Daan's critique was a note on screen direction. I had made some errors on this, Daan showed how these errors were based on me thinking logically. He illustrated his point with a story he heard from Simon Wells during the production of Balto. It was a story about an argument between Spielberg and a cameraman on the set of Hook. The cameraman argued that a character had to enter the frame from the right because of the set-up within the previous frame. Spielberg acknowledged this thought but argued that logic was not the concern here. Since the character had moved from left to right in the previous frame, for the audience it would be confusing if he would suddenly be moving in the opposite direction: senses over logic.

The whole workshop was a lot of fun and before we knew it our time was up. I need to thank my friend Dennis Kleyn who took all these awesome pictures. And of course I want to thank everybody who was there for the amazing experience. We sure enjoyed it and I hope you did too!

Friday, November 4, 2011

When in Rome... - Conclusivo

Today it already a week ago that I returned from my trip to Rome. Although the weather in Amsterdam is pretty good for this time of year I'm afraid that Rome has it beaten. I sure miss walking in the sunshine. Not that I did much walking this week, I had to sit inside because of this stupid cold/flu/coughing combination that I mentioned in my previous post.

Good news is that I seem to be getting over it, although I'm still coughing like a 67 year old, chain smoking miner. If you want to find out how this sounds exactly don't miss tomorrow's workshop! 

People have been asking me if they need to reserve tickets, since it's in the smaller room of the Kriterion  theater I think it might be advisable but I'm not really sure if it's actually possible to book single tickets online. (check the klik site for more information) I hope to see all of you tomorrow, I'm anxious to present my storyboard to you. And of course I am very anxious to hear what Daan Jippes has to say about it! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When in Rome - Numero Due

Two more pages from my sketchbook. The first shows some details of everyday Roman life, the second one is the interior of a museum. I miss Rome a lot, especially since I fell ill the day we got back, not the best way to return to the Dutch fall. I am quite literally sick as a dog: I have been barking two days and nights and it is annoying the hell out of me.

To make things worse I am still working on my storyboard for the Klik festival. I want to do a real good job, but I'm not sure I will have the time to do everything the way I want it. It might be a bit rougher than I intended, we'll see...

I hope to feel better soon and I hope to see many of you at the Klik festival this Saturday. (Yes I will be there, sick or healthy, 11.00am, Kriterion, Amsterdam!)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

When in Rome...

More than a week without posts, I better have a good reason! Well I do, or at least I like to think so: I was in Rome for a week for my honeymoon. Me and Daphne got married back in May, but because I was so busy with graduating we planned our honeymoon in October. We had a great time in Rome. It is a beautiful city with great people and the best food!

I also brought my sketchbook and I did a few sketches, I focussed mostly on the surroundings; buidlings, statues, trees etc. Here are some of my sketches, I'll post some more later this week.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Storyboard Workshop

Have I got something for all you people out there interested in the simple art of storyboarding: During the special edition of the fantastic Klik Animation Festival there will be a workshop on storyboarding, presented by Mister Daan Jippes and myself!

The Klik special edition (special in that it is only lasting one day this year, so I guess it's a limited edition as well) is on Saturday November 5th at Kriterion in Amsterdam. We will give a short presentation on the role of storyboarding over at the American studios, after which I will pitch a short storyboard. After my presentation Daan will review my work, live on stage. He will do this as he draws over my panels, to show how they could have been improved. This will be a confronting but (hopefully) fun experience. 

We hope this workshop will give you valuable insight in the story process, and the diferences between the American and the Dutch approach. Daan's juicy stories about the different studios he worked at are, of course, always a blast!

Ticets are €8,50 (or €30,00 for a daypass), the workshop starts at 11am and will last 90 minutes. I hope to see you all there!

This picture should give you some idea of what the workshop will feel like, it was taken during my intenrship with Daan and shows me pitching a board, as Daan offer suggestions on how to improve it. (Of course the actual workshop will be at least five times more glamorous than this picture!)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Looking Solid

A rather quick sketch of Old Snake; the Metal Gear hero as he appears in Metal Gear Solid 4. I want to do a more dynamic drawing of him, this was mainly a study to get the likeness and to try some more sketchy techniques. When I get the time I want to use this sketch to do a cooler, more action packed Snake. 

I love the original designs by Yoji Shinkawa, Ashley Wood's versions are also fantastic. To be honest I have never played MGS4. I am an X-Box owner, so I just never had the chance. I am looking foward to that HD package that is coming to 360 and PS3 next month!

Ink and marker on paper. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Skater Boy

Character sketches from school project from last year. This was part of the original approach of my graduation project; a story of a young hipster girl who falls in love with the non-hip, fat skater pictured above. Although that story didn't work out at the time I might revisit it some other time. I've got the feeling that there might be more there, than I originally thought.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Digital Scrapbook

During my graduation project I was asked to create a Tumblr blog to document my research. Now I'm not a big fan of Tumbr; I sincerely hate the way their interface works. (Good luck to you, if you wish to customize the appearence of your Tumblr blog.)

But at the same time I quite like Tumblr as a way to share stuff. I've always liked to keep scrapbooks with all kind of influences, and Tumblr is a real easy way to share somthing similar with the world.

So I started a second aapstra blog, it will in no way replace this existing blog. Instead it will be the place where I will post the stuff that inspires me. As you might have seen I have added a permanent link to my Tumblr on the right. Please check it out, if you've got the time:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


These are some studies of fauns for this small side project I'm working on. There is not much more that I can say about it right now, but there will be more on this soon.

I'm still working on my blog, as you might have seen. There have been a few changes, and there will be some more. I hope that it won't cause too much inconvenience.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dr. Sketchy's

After seeing awesome Dr. Sketchy drawings pop up on blogs from all over the world I finally had the chance to experience this fantastic drawing event first handed. Because there is now

I had a great night drawing beautful girls, listening to the amazing singing MC: Shai Sahar, and drinking beer together with my friend, and super artist, Mensah.

My favourite moment of the evening was a small contest: we were challenged to draw a pose using our 'wrong' hand. I'm a rigthy myself, so I had to do it left handed. In the end everybody handed in his or her drawing and a winner was picked by the Dr. Sketchy jury. There were some extremely talented people there so I wasn't expecting to win at all, but I did!

The winning drawing can be found beneath, the model was the lovely Spaanse Ans (Spanish Ans) with 74 years, the oldest burlesque model in Holland.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Hi there! No, this is not some mistake or digital error. After almost three years of blogging I have decided to start all over again.

The past months there have been almost no updates here, because I was all tangled up in my graduation project at the HKU. It really hurt my pride because I have always tried to update regularly, but there just wasnt anything to show you.

It wasn’t for nothing, though. I am now a Bachelor of Animation and a Master of Design! When I started this blog it was a student art blog, and I was finding out about blogging as I went along. Now I am no longer a student and I feel that there are some changes I want to make to this blog. I have decided to remove all previous posts and make a clean start. (And of course I will take the right to repost some of my old art every now and then.)

There will probably be more changes here the coming months, but for now I just wanted to start on a clean sheet of paper: and get back to posting! When I started Aapstra I had no experience with blogging but I really love it. I really want to thank all you visitors for sticking with me the past months, I intend to show you lots of drawings, doodles and storyboards! (And if you ever wonder what all that old stuff looked like there is always my Flickr gallery where quite a lot of it can still be found.)