August 7, 2014

Political cartoons

The past three weeks I was a part-time political cartoonist!
For the summer period I was asked to make 6 cartoons for newspaper Trouw.
They 'hired' me after this cartoon about the World Soccer Championships. (Orange is the Dutch
national colour). This was a test, so it wasn't published.

Then, a few days before I had to make my first official cartoon, the MH17 was shot down, killing
almost 200 Dutch people.
I was shocked about the comments online of people wanting revenge and war, and it inspired
me to this cartoon. But I was too early, the rest of Holland was still in shock and mourning, and
my idea (people thinking too lightly about war, and with a war we'd do the same to the innocent
people in Russia and the Ukraine as what happened to us) didn't come across well enough.
The newspaper turned it down (oops, great start...) and I quickly had to draw a new one.
This one was about the lack of houses for people who flew their countries and finally got to
stay in Holland legally. Sometimes there was no other place than tents.
The text says 'Greeting from Holland' and there's a 'Green card' on the washing line.
For my next cartoon I still wanted to draw something about the MH17 disaster. At the time
the government was unsure about what action to take against Russia, and our prime minister
Rutte (the R guy) tried to keep calm. This drawing was based on the saying 'the last drop makes
the cup run over', in the Dutch translation the cup is a bucket.

I wasn't completely happy with this cartoon, since it felt too 'standard' and cartoony, and caricatures
aren't my forte.
So for the next one I aimed for a more illustrative style.
The government was still contemplating (military) action,  but over time it went from sending
soldiers, to soldiers without weapons, without uniforms, etc.
This Dutch soldier is now only bringing some 'stroopwafels', the classic Dutch cookie we offer to
all our foreign friends.
The text says Dutch Military (crossed out) Mission.
Then the rain came pouring down in Holland and many streets were flooded. I combined it with
all the mourning and sadness of the past days.
The text says 'flooding' but in Dutch it's more like 'the burden of water'.

The style of this cartoon was the one I felt most happy about that far.

Now I wanted to focus on the 'conflict' between Israel and Palastine. This cartoon is about
how protesting against war, quickly turns into accusations of antisemitism.
The text says 'against war'.

But the newspaper had ran another cartoon with a swastika just a few days before (that resulted
in a lot of angry mail from readers) and that many swastikas was a bit too much for them. They suggested that
I added some other symbols as well, so this is how it was printed in the newspaper.
(no angry letter that I know of, was sent)

Then it was time for my last cartoon already!
This one is about the sanctions Russia has been putting on the import of flowers and vegetables,
but meanwhile their oil and gas is still flowing.

Actually I wanted that last cartoon to be about Obama's speech on torturing their prisoners.
This news was never mentioned in the newspaper though (....), so they couldn't use it (the readers
wouldn't understand). But I decided to draw it anyway and just post it online.
It's been a great three weeks!

July 13, 2014

My illustration-idea process!

Hi everyone, I wanted to show you the process of an assignment, from brief to final illustration. 
And especially the process of searching for a good idea, because I believe that is one of the most 
important aspects of my work.

So one of my clients, an accountant company, asked me to design a pictogram (logo) for an internal 
project about putting ideas from employees to the test. The brief I got was short, and consisted mainly 
of some buzzwords like ‘out-of-the-box’, ‘together’ and ‘challenging’. Pretty generic, so I worried a bit 
about how I could turn this into an interesting visual, without getting too close to a stock illustration of 
a lightbulb…
But then I started thinking and sketching, followed by some more thinking and sketching… 

...... and then I had all THIS!


As you can tell my sketches are one big mess! But I’ll never show these to clients, they’re just to help me.
It’s hard to escape the lightbulb as a symbol for ‘ideas’, but I tried some other things as well…
.....like an egg! With a chef, thinking of how to cook it (= test and execute the idea) and a hammer, 
ready to crack it open and release the idea’s potential.

And then I went on to stars!

I even combined these into the tasting of an idea (testing it).
But then I worried that people might mistake it for a cooking course, and I turned all my sketches down.

So it was back to the lightbulbs, and I did a few lightbulbs, bursting out-of-the-box, that then turned
into some kind of superhero-lightbulb.
But these also got turned down (by me) because they seemed a bit too simplistic and boring.

I also thought about ‘challenging’ (mentioned in the brief) and drew some boxing lightbulbs. 
But since the project was not an idea-competition, that visual didn’t seem to fit completely either. 
(wow, this is one rough sketch… Can you still make out the boxing bulbs in this sketch?)
This is also when I started noticing how the wire inside the bulbs seems to give them eyes. 
Check out the mean looking one at the right!

Then I thought again about the purpose of the project: Testing ideas. And of course lightbulbs are tested…. 
.... in a LAMP!
So I started drawing lightbulbs and lamps, running to each other, hands putting them together, or trying to 
get out-of-the-box…

I quickly switched to a desk lamp, more fitting for an office, and tried different poses and multiple bulbs.

The bulbs were all excited to be tested in the lamp, but that made it look like they were dancing. So I made 
some new sketches with a bulb just holding the lamp and striking a powerful pose.
Then suddenly, the pose in that last sketch reminded me of an astronaut planting a flag on the moon… 
... and I knew I found my pictogram.

I worked out the sketch and then decided this was going to be it. Usually I send in several ideas to my clients, 
but I felt like this sketch was so strong I wanted to stick to it.

I scanned my last sketch, adjusted it in Photoshop (I especially made the ‘joint’ of the lamp smaller 
because that made it look a bit old fashioned), added some colour and send it off. 
Fortunately my client loved the idea just as much as I did and immediately gave his approval! 

In the final I decided to enlarge the bulb to put more focus onto it. I also slightly tilted his fist to give 
the bulb a more powerful gesture. My work is often so minimalistic that such a small thing already 
makes a big difference. 
I traced the borders of the background by hand to give them the same drawn feeling as the illustration 
itself. Oh, and I had to change the blue colour to the official company blue. 

That’s it! 

All assignments are different of course, but hopefully this did give an impression of how I put my 
illustrations together. 

June 2, 2014

Pictoplasma part 5

The second day of the festival; More lectures!
...and the THIRD day! Animations and lectures again!



(Luna the Vampire is Yasmin's character)
....to be continued at home!
(I actually changed my workspace right after this trip!)
* THE END * (but not really)

May 15, 2014

Pictoplasma part 4

The festival starts with a lot of animations.... and then a loooooot of lectures!
To be continued....

Pictoplasma part 3

The festival is about to start....
Sorry, it got a bit small, but the text says:
"We pick up our tickets and visit the Pictoplasma Academy participants exhibtions. 
The expo is wonderful and so playful!"
To be continued...