Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pleasing the client vs. artistic creativity

Last week I posted a link to a pdf-file, containing some painting advice from John Singer Sargent. LINK
One of the many interesting things I read was this:

"Sargent was well aware of the pitfalls that await the painter of the fash-
ionable world, and as sitter after sitter took his place on the dais in his
Tite Street studio he seemed to become more sensible of them. He tried 
again and again to escape, and he often, in his letters, expressed his fatigue.
He wearied of the limitations imposed by his commissioned art. Painting 
those who want to be painted, instead of those whom the artist wants to 
paint, leads inevitably to a bargain, to a compromise between the artist’s 
individuality and the claims of the model. Mannerism becomes a way out; 
that which pleases becomes an aim. Artistic problems give way before per-
sonal considerations."

Apparently every artist  (and illustrators) who works for hire have to find the balance between their own artistic freedom and the clients desires. Still, somehow it is comforting to know that even Sargent struggled with this issue.

It made me think of Edouard Manet. Although he was a painter himself, he didn't like the way Edgar Degas had painted the face of his wife, and decided to cut off a huge part of the painting so the face could no longer be seen.

Later, when Manet had passed, his wife did not comply to his last wish, which was to destroy all of his unfinished paintings and drawings.
Instead, she decided to sign them, she cut up group portraits, so she could sell them as separate portraits, and she even finished some of the unfinished works, so she could sell them at a higher price. How about pleasing the client?

I have not been able to find examples of the paintings altered by Mme. Manet. I suspect this painting to be one of them. The hat seems to be painted more crude than the rest of the painting.

Before Mme Manet had her way, all of Manet's paintings were photographed by Fernand Lochard. LINK

If anybody can find before/after images of Manet paintings altered by his wife, please send them, so I can add them to this post.

Reference for this story is this documentary by Matthijs Deen (dutch only): LINK 

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Plein air Rotterdam

Sundown in Rotterdam. The sun allowed me 30 minutes only to do a quick sketch of her. The changing scenery demands quick and clear choices, which is nice. 
I used white, yellow ochre, cad red and indigo for this sketch

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Endangered species


Recently I did this illustration for the project 'Endangered Species'. LINK
Endangered Species is a fun, engaging and visually rich endangered species interactive game which pushes all boundaries of today's digital device technology.

The game allows users to look after endangered animals in their natural habitat.  Users can collect and craft items using materials from the environment. Each time a different endangered animal is purchased a percentage of the purchase is donated to that particular endangered species. These donations can be viewed and tracked within the game itself.
Check out the website for this great project and find out how you can support it.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Caricature - art

From a young age I have been fascinated by the art of caricature. In art school caricatures were looked at as low art, and I wasn’t allowed to create caricatures there.
After school I got paid to do caricatures for magazines and newspapers.
Although I have always disagreed with the teachers who told me caricatures were not ‘real’ art, it is amazing how much impact their response had to how I looked at caricatures. After a while I even stopped drawing caricatures at all, because I felt I wouldn’t be taken seriously as an artist.
When I realised I started to have the same viewpoint on caricatures as the people who forbid me to draw them in art school, I realised something had gone very wrong. I started looking at the work of the people whose work had inspired me for so long. Caricaturists, like C.F.PaynePaul van der Steen , David Levine, Natalie Ascencios but also painters from long ago. Then I realised there is no such thing as high art and low art. A portrait artist looks at his subject and decides what he wants to express. he chooses what he wants to emphasise, wether it is shapes, colors, textures, attitude… A painter exaggerates. he makes you look at the subject like he does, by showing this to you with his painting. Over time painters have done many portraits in many different ways.
Some of the portraits that are considered ‘high art’ by some, are not much different than how I would have loved to paint a caricature in art school

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


I'm happy to announce I'll be teaching 'fundamentals of character design' at CGMA starting this february. In the classes I'll explain my approach on creating characters by using shapes, gesture, dimensinal drawing. I'l combine technical instruction with playing, experimenting and most of all, having fun! 

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Monday, December 22, 2014

Chasing the bird

I like to compare art-skills and talent to chasing a beautiful bird. The bird stays hidden very often, but if you put a lot of effort and patience into it, sometimes you will see the beautiful colourful little bird. This sensation of finally seeing the bird is so awesome, that you now try and catch the bird. But when you succeed, and put the bird in a cage, the bird will die. The only way to achieve this incredible feeling again, is to let the bird go, and start over, trying to find him again.

There is no golden rule, no shortcut, and no way to own the recipe to good art. It starts with a need to express yourself, and every single time, you have to start the journey, and try to spot the colourful bird, just to let it go again…

Monday, September 22, 2014

Der 7te Zwerg

Tailer

Past weekend 'the seventh dwarf' premiered.
I worked on this project both on character design and visual development. I was lucky to work with the late Harald Siepermann, (known for his character designs for disney's Tarzan and Alfred J. Kwak)

I attached some of the designs I did.












Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Fundamentals of character design

I'll be substituting David Colman's character design class for the summer term. I hope to see you there. You can enroll using this LINK