Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Look here!

It's the week of the dutch invasion at my agency MonacoReps in The States! For the next few days they will be featuring their army of illustrators on their blog.

Wanna see what that looks like (of course you do): click click click!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Oh, the beauty of a story script in 25% zoom...

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Revista Göoo #12

'Cosmos' was the theme for Revista Göoo's 12th issue and for me it was the perfect excuse to mix some Prometheus with Flight of the Navigator, The Tripods and some ancient astronauts mythology. Get your hands on an issue if you can, because it promises to be 128 full-color pages of cosmic outer-worldly pretties!

I posted some sketches earlier on, which you can see here: (click click click!)

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Let's all meet up in the year 2020

So again I'm a bit late with my version of the Friday Afternoon Stammtisch assignment, but this time let's blame it on the fantastic Jens Lekman concert in Postbahnhof and enjoyable coffee dates that turn into long walks along the Spree during these last sunny autumn afternoons :)

I think in the end the lists that we end up with are just as much of an artwork as the pieces that evolve from it. This time it went as follows:

main character: Jezus
side-kick: a Princess
object: a Taxidermy Animal
location: a Discotheque
time/era: the Near Future

You can see what amazingly detailed piece Bart came up with over here and behind the jump you'll find some behind-the-scenes stuff about my piece, Disco2020!

So where are we exactly?

It's the year 2020 and the location is the infamous Club Bye Bye where a party is in full swing, celebrating all the extinct animals of Earth (yes, I might be a bit pessimistic here). It's a costume party, but seems like two people didn't get the dress code right.

The idea started with making a ‘Where’s Waldo’ kind of picture, with Jezus and his royal side-kick being the ones you’d have to find. But obviously this version is a lot easier to solve (I think most of humanity may have died alongside with the animals).

In this sketch you can see that there was an idea to put a DJ on top of the basalt eagle's head. Other ideas that didn't make it were the taxidermy butterfly wall and the heads of some hunted animals. The geometric figures on the bottom right were more intricate designs for the dance floor. Too keep the scene less cluttered I opted for the more classic 70s Saturday Night Fever version.

I came across the design of this sustainable dance floor on facebook, so I had to make a sketch version of it, just for fun. Also, I shortly fiddled around of using two mannequins with animals' heads as an entrance, but decided a full deer would work less confusing. And I'm sure I'll use the light pillar designs some other time.

Hope you enjoy the picture!

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Oh, the beauty of a render in progress...!

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Gold Rush!

Seems like Berliner seasons skip on autumn and dive from summer straight into winter - it's chilly over here! Reason enough to stay indoors and to work on a new Stammtisch Battle. I finished last week's assignment a bit late, but still I'm happy I finished anything at all. You know, with all the cute guys keeping me from my work and all.

The given elements list as follows:

character: a sailor
side-kick: a goat in a suit
object: a cart
location, location, location: under a table
time/era: goldrush

Sounds like fun? It was!

The above sketch shows the treatment I intended for the two game-playing deities. Mixing hand drawn lines with slick polygons seemed like a good idea on paper (actually, it still does), but I didn't take into account the absence of an Undo-button here in the real world and that I hadn't actually made a final drawing in years (I'm not counting sketches). So after a few retries I decided to simplify the characters and to stick to polygons.

There’s some Levi van Veluw in the original designs of the deities. Found out about his series ‘Origin of the Beginning’ only a few weeks ago - really amazing stuff. Definitely worth checking out!

UPDATE: Fellow Stammtischers Dana and Bart posted their pieces on flickr - have a look here and here!

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Building a Cosmos...

Some months ago Revista Göoo Magazine sent out an open call for their 12th issue, and this time the participating artists were asked to serve a new image under the theme 'COSMOS'. Now, seriously, how could I resist? After some deliberation Göoo selected a hundred (out of 805 candidates) artists for the publication and I was excited to hear my contribution made it as well!

The #12 issue will be launched at the TMDG Event in Buenos Aires in Mid-October, so I can't show you the final piece just yet. But I do have a bunch of sketches that I thought would be nice to share. Drawings and ramblings after the jump!

After dabbling with Greek cosmology and its deities (and listening to a very interesting Radiolab podcast on how fetal cells remain inside the mother's bloodstream) I decided to have a go with an old unfinished render from my imaginary astronaut game. The big creature you see sitting here was actually based on a little statue that was briefly shown on some TV-show on ancient astronauts (we all know how earth was visited in the past by powerful beings in flying saucers and how these god-like creatures guided the evolution of man-kind, right?). Throw in some H. R. Giger Alien design, Flight of the Navigator and weird forcefield pyramid ships like the ones from The Tripods and you end up with the above sketch.
Maybe the final image could be a poster for a rather dark sci-fi childrens' story? A sort of Doctor Who meets Prometheus? The kid would be the main character, tagging along with this ancient eternal statue-shaped god during its trip through the multiverse.

But every main character needs a side-kick! I don't know at what point I decided there should also be a canine fellow traveler, but the idea for an evolved humanoid horseshoe crab came after I read an article on horseshoe crab blood harvesting. These ancient looking creatures seemed like a perfect companion for such a bizarre trip; their earliest fossils have been dated at about 450 million years and their blue blood is often used in the pharmacy industry to detect impurities in the medicines.

The different universes were initially to be carried in large globes, carried on the backs and bellies (like egg yolks on newborn critters) by all kinds of creatures, like tortoises, elephants and humanoids, as if the characters were flying through ancient cosmology legends. But as I started building that in low-poly, I just couldn't get the feel right. It felt like the picture was getting too crowded and I couldn't get the image clear enough to show what each universe looked like. So, in the end I decided to have the universes simply represented by large spheres containing stars.

Here's two work-in-progress renders of the ancient alien pilot statue and the canine side-kick in his spacesuit. Playing with the phong tag to smooth certain surfaces allows for a nice distinction between organic and non-organic surfaces. Little lights that only use their specular channel were used to highlight the eyes, just for that little extra liveliness.

A little preview of the basic setup, which closely matches the original sketch. The spherical universes didn't really hold the picture together that well, so they were also changed to something a bit more interesting. More on that when the new Revista Göoo comes out.

To be continued!

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Where no illustrator has gone before...

Well, it's been a while! Blame it on Berlin to keep me from making new works. I've been madly enjoying the quirks and perks of this wonderful city, where I will hang out for another six weeks. In between bar-hopping, whiskeys and late night curry wursts I've been meeting up with my good friend Mark Verhaagen and his notorious group of Berlin-based illustrators at their Friday afternoon Stammtisch Drawing Club.

Two weeks ago Mark and I decided to do a little game: to each make an illustration, based on the same ingredients. In this case, a little sketch that Mark did of a spaceship on the surface of a volcano planet.

The final image should also contain some stacked boulders, just because they are so alien and cool, a subtitle of some sort and be presented in a 16:9 film format. Inspired by vintage sci-fi art and fueled by half a dozen latte macchiatos we both started setting up our respective projects. The above image is my final output and after the jump you'll find some behind-the-scenes stuff. Hope you enjoy it!

Pen sketch of the basic setup, based of Mark's drawing: a volcano planet with piled up rocks and a UFO. And, since I *love* spaceships, some mind wanderings on other types of spacecraft.

The first composition didn't really turn out too exciting. I liked the idea of the cliff, and the spaceship had a nice retro feel to it, but in its entirety it still missed something. Maybe it was the boulders. Maybe I should've stayed away from coloring the sky until much later in the process. In any case: back to the drawing board!

More exotic spaceships! I'd been re-reading Alastair Reynolds' mindblowing conclusion of the Revelation Space trilogy, titled Absolution Gap, which features descriptions of some truly other-worldly technologies and spacecraft, so those influences did bleed through. And I wanted the ship to have a very 60s feel to it, like it could feature in some old Star Trek episode. Along with that are some ideas for alien vegetation, but those didn't make it further down the line. And yes, there is a note on the very sexy song Until We Bleed by Kleerup & Lykke Li. Look it up!

The composition already feels a lot better in this new render. There's a better view on the planet surface and the gully for the lava stream on the left makes for some interesting landscape sculpturing. Here the old UFO was still used as I had not yet decided on a new design.

(Generating GI points)

The lava lighting up the overhanging rocks looks pretty nifty already! And the new spidery shaped spaceship makes a welcome debut.

Form here on it's just about adding details and making the scene more lively. The piled up rocks are actually three different objects rotated and scaled to different degrees to cut down on modeling time without making the overall scene too repetitive. Handy!

Little tryout with some local flora. Decided they'd just clutter up the scene, but I'm sure they will make a come-back in some future image.

This is what the final render looks like after some color balancing and with a new sky, which was done in Illustrator. All that's left are some detail light effects. Dailymail has some awesome pictures of volcanic lightning, where the charged ejected particles cause electric currents in the air (as I understood it).

Some stars in the background, volumetric spots on the spaceship (all done in Illustrator) and a cryptic dialogue and voilá: das Bild ist fertig!

Wanna see what Mr. Verhaagen came up with? Have a look on his flickr!

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Sunday, July 1, 2012


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Thursday, April 12, 2012


With me, side projects are always tricky. Most of them never fully mature and remain lingering in fetal stage for months before ending up lost and forgotten in my very organized but also very extensive stash of 3D data. The status of the project, to which the above image belongs, is still in limbo, but I really hope it will get realized at some point in the future. That however is not completely up to me!

So for now it's just an unnamed sneakpeek into a semi-secret project and I keep myself busy enjoying the hell out of Easter with my DIY buddies Sjoerd and Maartje and my Galaxy class eggs:

Hope you guys had a good one too. Live long and prosper! :)

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Greetings Earthling!

Happy new year everyone! Yes, I know the greetings are a bit on the late side and it has been a while since my last post. I’ve been occupied with some nice projects and of course the December holidays in which I somehow ended up in a continuos stream of epic diners, with a homemade six-layer rainbow color cake (a rarity here in Holland) at its apex. Also, I needed some time to recuperate from the already infamous ‘Cosmic Sans New Years Party’ that the amazing guys of the SingerSweatShop hosted and which lead to a city-wide shortage of tin foil, neon colored tape and silver make-up.

For those who weren’t there, but who will be in the neighborhood on February 10th: photographer Aad Hoogendoorn will exhibit some of the portraits he made that evening, so do drop by the SingerSweatShop to see what you missed out on!

FYI: My New Years Laika-the-first-dog-in-space-outfit was repeatedly mistaken for that of an Ewok. Which is mildly understandable and kinda cute, but also so much less cool. I mean: Laika was *cooked* to death – in space! Just sayin’.

In between all this fun I did manage to get some work done, like the desktop wallpaper in the above image. It’s available in several formats, so if you like it, grab yourself a copy at this link:


After the jump there’s some behind-the-scenes talk on how this image came to be. And I can tell you, it was a cumbersome delivery!

The initial idea was to make a new version of this picture, which seemed perfect to serve as a desktop wallpaper: plenty of empty space in the image to not scream off the screen and simple enough to make before the end of the year.

Over the holidays I had been paging a lot in the beautiful photography books ‘The Lost Vanguard’ by Richard Pare and ‘Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed’ by Frédéric Chaubin, which sample the beauty of old communist modernist architecture, so I was quite determined to merge some Soviet-inspired architecture pieces into the image.

But as it happened: sometimes an idea that looks good on paper just won't work out in low-poly. The image was kept empty on purpose, but that should not necessarily mean boring. Well, it was. I felt it lacked a 'punch' and the whole setup seemed unsteady and fleeting. Then I changed the scenery a bit, tried out a nuclear campfire idea and I kept coming back to the architecture. I lost myself in fiddling with the buildings' details, while I hadn't even figured out the complete image yet, so ultimately the image felt a bit lost.

Other ideas that were tried out were: a Sim City-like grid with old Soviet buildings, a wintery scene on top of a huge flat, and a tent & campfire setting that would be published in a day and night version, with different characters populating the two frames.

The above two images were from my next attempt: a short-lived idea for a '2012 Nuclear Winter Animal Catalogue', with critters neatly arranged in a grid. I don't know why this nuclear idea kept resurfacing. Maybe Fukushima made too much of an impact over 2011? Maybe it's something my subconscious automatically links to Soviet architecture? Maybe it's just an excuse to make weird animals? By this time I had given up almost any hope of making anything and started making my Laika costume (yes, *again* with the Russian thing!).

New year/clean slate: I was kinda intrigued by the mutant ape-man from the right bottom corner of the animal catalogue sketch, so I decided to promote him to astronaut. And with the trailer for the upcoming 'Alien' prequel 'Prometheus' fresh in my mind the new idea took shape pretty quickly!

It started out with a whole carcass, but with the ominous Big Giant Head being so present in Prometheus' promotional material the rest of the body was quickly discarded.

The sketch didn't feature a whole convoy of buggies and armored cars, but they were too much fun to make.

I *love* rocks! The tall pointy ones are actually only three distinct objects that were slightly rotated and scaled to look different from one another from this view.

The cone-shaped plants in the above render and the bamboo-like ones below were sampled from other scenes I made before, which saved me some time. And besides, they fit perfectly in this desert moon-like landscape!

A ringed planet with some moons was added as a finishing touch. The background gradient was made in Illustrator with a mesh object which allows for a more accurate gradient manipulation. The star grid was made by tracing the edges of a rendered icosahedron and in the end Photoshop was used to tweak the colors a bit . Voilà: mission accomplished! I hope you enjoy the view :)

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