Friday, March 30, 2012

Tarzan - or never say never again!

In 1992 I stopped doing comics. But a few days ago, first time after twenty years, I drew a page of Tarzan comic, and the reason for that was quite exciting…
Stay tuned  especially if you are from the Netherlands, or speak Dutch, and if you are a fan of good old-fashioned Tarzan comics, for I will soon reveal more about this project!

Friday, March 23, 2012

More posters

Two weeks ago I posted an entry about my beginnings as a commercial artist and about the posters that I did almost 20 years ago for VerkerkeReproducties.
Here are some more  posters painted between 1993 and 1997. This is a selection from the various poster genres that I was doing at that time.

When I was young I believed that a proper commercial artist has to be able to cover different subjects and types of illustration, and I did my best to develop the necessary skills in order to achieve this aim.
Nowadays, after I have tried all of that, I must say that I am happy that I have found my own “voice”, which is, I believe, the ultimate purpose of this journey.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Northern Light Workshop

Here is an exciting information for you who might be interested in a workshop :
The first Northern Light workshop is now scheduled for April 20-22, 2012, to be held at Mäster Olofsgården in picturesque Gamla Stan, in the heart of Stockholm, Sweden. The guest instructors will be Jesper Ejsing, Petar Meseldžija and Justin Gerard. This is a fantastic chance to work alongside these three internationally-renowned artists in a hands-on class environment, as they demonstrate their painting and illustration techniques and discuss the philosophies and ideas behind them. The class size is limited only to 25 students.

To see more information about the workshop click here.
As you can see, the number of students is quite limited and if you really want to be a part of this event, I advise you to act quickly. 

Jesper Ejsing

Justin Gerard

Petar Meseldzija

Sunday, March 11, 2012

French comic-book artist "Moebius" dies

French comic-book artist Jean Giraud, alias "Moebius", best known for his gritty Wild West character "Blueberry", has died at the age of 73 after a battle with cancer, according to his publisher.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Giraud developed his experimental side by branching out into science fiction under the "Moebius" name.

Giraud also ventured into cinema, working with director Ridley Scott on the visual effects for "Alien" and the computer-effects-driven movie "Tron".

His death was confirmed by publishing house Dargaud on Saturday, which said the comic-book world had lost "one of its greatest masters".

Friday, March 9, 2012

Posters and learning a trade

In 1993, I started to work for Verkerke Reproducties, a Dutch company that was one of the biggest poster and art print companies in the world. The poster business was a booming business in those days and the successful poster artists were getting rich. Unfortunately I was not one of them, but I had a friend who was a leading Verkerke artist and he was a rich man! At that time I was a starving artist who just came to the Netherlands and was struggling to survive. Any opportunity to earn some money was most welcome. In the subsequent 6 years I produced (designed and painted) about 120 posters, prints and greetings cards, most of them for Verkerke. I never got rich, but thanks to the jobs that I got from this company on the regular basis, I was able to earn my living. Also during this period, which I consider to be a period of my apprenticeship, I learned a lot and experienced all sorts of things that provided me with important knowledge and insights. 
The first few posters that I did for Verkerke were the posters of clowns, who were always playing an instrument, mostly violin, and were accompanied by little dogs and boy clowns. The art director would explain to me what kind of paintings they needed, and because it was a highly commercial work, I obeyed all their wishes and, if necessary, I did all the requested changes and corrections. Typically the clowns had to be depicted as latently sad, melancholic people. The compositions and colors had to be sweet and appealing,  and they had to answer to the somewhat cheap aesthetic needs of the public who was buying the posters. The sentimentality was one of the main ingredients and a key to the commercial success of the poster.

This was my first clown painting. The initial expression on the clown’s face was sadness. I can’t remember whether the art director has  requested such an expression, but the painting was accepted and published as an oversized greetings card. After that the art director asked me to repaint the clown’s face and to make him smile, which I apparently did. However, this painting was never printed as a poster.

Back than the headquarters of Verkerke Reproducties were far from the place where I lived. In fact they were at the opposite side of the country. Although  the Netherlands is not very big, it took me a few hours to get there by several  trains. Once, I brought one of my clown paintings to the art director (see below). She was at first very pleased with the painting, but after a while she started to doubt. At the end she told me that she wants me to bring the painting back home and to paint a red rose on the ground next to the plate ( this was before the internet and Photoshop). Why, I asked. Because, she said, they have found out that, regardless the main subject, the posters that have a red rose included in the composition sell better than the posters without it! Also, a red rose was selling better than, for instance white or yellow rose. So, I brought the painting back home. A week later I was again sitting in the train with the same clown painting next to me, but this time with a red rose in it.

There were many situations of a similar kind during that period. I never complained about not having enough artistic freedom while doing this kind of job. I guess I did not need the artistic freedom at that time. Instead I needed enough work in order to survive physically and mentally, and I needed a challenge that would help me to develop my artistic skills. Most of these 120 paintings were not very good, some of them were really bad. There were only a few of them that I was completely satisfied with.  And although I now don’t like to look at most of them, these works were extremely helpful and important to me. I have had my share of ultra commercial art which does not deal with the terms like artistic freedom, or free self-expression. I have tasted the humility and the obedience,  which are the indispensable elements in the illustrator’s arsenal of qualities.

Nowadays the things are different. I guess I have earned my artistic freedom. I know now what I want, and what I don’t want, and when to insist on my own freedom of artistic expression.  But I also know when to put the thoughts about this freedom aside; I know when to shut up and do as the client requires, in order to refill my piggy bank.

This is one of the few paintings which I did for Verkerke posters that I am pleased with.

All creatures great and small, 1994, oil on wooden board, 100 X 70 cm,  39 ¼ X 27 ½ inch.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spectrum 19 Award Finalists

The Spectrum 19 judging took place this past weekend and the list of award nominees was posted shortly after. This year’s Spectrum Gold and Silver award winners will be announced at the awards ceremony during the Spectrum Live show in Kansas City,  May 18th-20th. 

Click here for more  photos and info about the judging.  
Tyler Jacobson: Daask Crime Lord

Jutin Coro Kaufman: Mothead
Android Jones: Boom Festival
Tyler Jacobson: Talon of Umberlee
Tyler Jacobson: Daask Crime Lord
Lucas Graciano: Temple Guardian

Dragan Bibin: Vid the Vampire

John Jude Palencar: Bared Blade
Edward Kinsella: Wooden Bones
Petar Meseldzija: Eowyn and the Lord of the Nazgul
Dragan Bibin: Vid the Vampire
Jean-Babtiste Monge: Ragnarok

Jim Murray: DOTA 2: Tales from the Secret Shop

Jim Murray: DOTA 2: Tales from the Secret Shop
Sonny Liew: Malinky Robot
Andy Brase: DarkSun II
Phroilan Gardner: The Destroyer
Alex Alice: Sigfried III

Justin Sweet: Jack the Giant Killer

Concept Art:
Justin Sweet: Jack the Giant Killer
Brian Matyas: Spartan Victory
Robh Ruppel: Yemen
Daniel Dociu: Hangar
Allen Williams: Unknown One

Thomas S. Kuebler: I am Providence

Jonathan L. Matthews: Batman, Black and White
Thomas S. Kuebler: I am Providence
Virginie Ropars: Jack
Allan Carrasco: Rhinatuar
Michael Defeo: Octopus

Jean-Baptiste Monge: Mic Mac Cormac

Chris Buzelli: Strength in Numbers
Jean-Baptiste Monge: Mic Mac Cormac
Bobby Chiu: Early Bloom
Ture Ekroos: Beneath
James Gurney: Kosmocertatops

Petar Meseldzija: The Rescuer

Android Jones: Water Dragon 2012
Petar Meseldzija: The Rescuer
Bill Carman: Three Wishes
Raoul Vitale: Turin and the Glaurung
Omar Rayyan: Crow and the Picture

Eric Fortune: Last Embrace

Eric Fortune: Last Embrace
Andrew Theophilopoulos: Princess of the Pleia Dians
Justin Gerard: Portrait of a Monster #3
Kei Acedera: morning Chill
Michael Whelan: CK Unmasked