Friday, April 20, 2012

At the Zoo

Yesterday I spend the afternoon at the Amsterdam zoo, Artis. It was a lot of fun, although it was really cold. (We're not having much of a spring so far.) 

If you have been to Artis you might be surprised by the sketch of the tiger. There are no tigers at Artis but in the Aquarium building they have a small museum with mounted animals. At the moment most of it is closed though, because starting next week they will have a new exhibition showcasing the legandary Artis hippo Tanja. She died back in 2009, aged 49. Tanja was extremely popular and starting April 25th she will return to Artis.

I'm looking foward to do some sketches of the hippo; the great thing about the mounted animals is that you can get real close to them. Also they tend to move less than their living counterparts. Which makes for easier drawing. 

If you're wondering why I didn't finish the stripes on the tiger if it was stuffed anyway, it was because I had to leave in order to be on time for a masterclass by storyboard artist Jim Cornish at the Imagine Film Festival. Really cool to see and hear him talk about storyboarding for feature films. (He worked on Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, most of the Harry Potter films and X Men: First Class.) Check out his site for some cool storyboards!    

All sketches are ink (Papermate Flair & Pitt Pen) and marker on grey sketchpaper.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


This is a drawing I did as a gift for my parents. This month they celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary! It is a picture of the old city Hindeloopen, one of the eleven cities of the Dutch province Friesland.

This piece was done with brown bistre ink, I am having a lot of fun with this material. I used different washes of ink to create the difference in tone, mixing the ink with water to create lighter tones. To get those sheep I had to carefully tape of the areas where I wanted the sheep, using a scalpel to cut the tape in the desired shape (those sheep in my previous post were setches for this drawing), after inking the background with a brush I removed the tape to fill in the details of the sheep. I used brushes for the main shapes and background tones, and then used dip pens to fill in the details.

This piece is prety big (44 x 19 cm) and the ink has caused the paper to curl a little. Because of this it was hard for me to make good scan. I'll post another pic when I have it framed.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Some sketches of sheep. The image above is a really small doodle with brown bistre ink (brush and dip pen). The image below is done with pencil and the last image was done with a Tombo.

I'd never really drawn sheep before, it always is a lot fun to draw something new. You think you know what a sheep looks like but when I started to look at pictures and did some initial sketching I discovered that, as always, you never really see something until you draw it.

These are sketches for a bigger illustration that I will show you here soon.   

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Coloring Denis Bodart's Hellboy Cover

I am a big fan of Denis Bodart's work. This Belgian artist makes some amazing comics. He is probably best known for his Green Manor series, a series of short stories about a  Gentleman's club in nineteenth century London, with rather violent members. He has done a lot of other stuff too, but it is hard to find most of it here in Amsterdam. (I believe that apart from Green Manor and his very first comic Saint-Germain des Morts, his work has not been translated.) Luckily we are living in this digital age, where artists have blogs to share their work!

Last week there was an awesome post on Denis' blog showing a drawing of a Hellboy cover. I posted this drawing on my tumblr and mentioned that I'd love to see it colored. The next evening I started to color it myself, using Photoshop. I didn't intend to finsih it, it was just a little experiment. I have always loved Hellboy and am a real admirer of the understated coloring by Dave Stewart.

Because I had a lot of fun coloring this thing I kept going at it, even though I actually had something else I had to do. Some hours later I had done this entire mock-up of a Hellboy cover. Even though I quickly discovered that I'm really not Dave Stewart I sure had fun and learned some things in the process too.

I posted this colored cover on my tumblr and of course I dropped Tony Lariviere (the moderator of Denis' blog) a line, to inform him that I had used this image on my blog. And this morning I discover that he has actually posted it on Denis' blog! A pretty good way to start my day!  

Below is Denis Bodart's original drawing, the image above is the colored cover mock-up I did.