Category Archives: Commission

Rejected sketches

Most of my sketches hardly see the light of day. They have been crumpled up, stashed away in folders both real life and on my computer. Some of them I end up throwing away. Especially the unfinished ones. I know it’s a bad habit, but I hate to be reminded of illustrations that didn’t work out or frustrated me. Sometimes (especially with commissions) I really like the sketch but they do not match up with the wishes of the client. Sketches can also be a ‘light bulb’ moment, reminding the client that this is not what they were looking for. That’s okay, that’s why I make multiple sketches! Sketches are a crucial part of the journey to a finished illustration.

Here is one of the sketches I made for a recent commission for a school:
rejected sketch
This sketch wasn’t chosen. I ended up making something that better suited the clients wishes. But I still liked the sketch, I liked these kids! It’s also a style that’s been missing in my portfolio. So instead of having the sketch disappear into the black hole that is my computer’s hard drive… I wanted to bring this group of kids to life. Here’s the final result (click on the illustration to see the bigger version):
Rejected sketch brought to life
I really enjoyed finishing it! I’m pleased with the colorful result. Who knows, maybe some other old sketches will turn up in the future…

Portrait commission with a twist

I was asked to draw a portrait of S, based on a rough sketch I made last year. It’s going to be printed on A2 sized paper. So the final illustration ended up pretty big on my computer screen, combined with all the layers I used in Photoshop I could almost hear my computer groan! I learned a lot while making this portrait. I’d probably wouldn’t add so much detail next time. I have a tendency of going too far in details and that can make it look static. I’ll continue to nurture my eh… rough side, but drawing birds is so much fun!

Zeenaxe

I took the liberty of adding some symbolism: a pomegranate, a raven on the left and a crow on the right (there’s a difference in size and feathering).

By the way, you can now also find me on Instagram. You’ll find sketches, snapshots from daily life, that sort of stuff. Follow me if you’d like.

Check out the details of the illustration behind the cut.
Continue reading Portrait commission with a twist

Secrets of Secret Keepers

Here is the third book cover of the novella trilogy titled Secret Keepers by Gwen Gardner. This is by far my favorite one, it also has the most detailed bits of the three covers. On the cover you see Hazel, a witch who helps the main character Indigo Eady. She also has some secrets of her own. In this post I’d like to show you more than just the end result. I guess you could say I’m also revealing secrets :) So please scroll down to view the sketches and the different stages of progress.

First, here is the finished cover, click to view a bigger version:

And this is how it all started, with a rough grey scale sketch. As you can see the idea is still the same in the end result, the end result just looks a lot better (I hope ;)!

sketches

I always save multiple drafts and versions of an illustration. So a lot of space is taken up by ‘concept A’, ‘concept B’ and so on till I start running out of letters. Still, it’s necessary to do this, because you never know if you need to get back to an older version of the illustration. In the finalization of an illustration I often tend to leave it alone for a day or two. Being away from an illustration is important. It gives you a fresh point of view. Here’s the adjustments I made before and after my ‘pause’.

Hazel adjustments

To make the changes more clear, I’ve made an animated gif. The difference is also important in Hazel’s eyes. She looks much more ‘blank’ in the early version.

secretgif

Hope you liked seeing how this book cover illustration came to be. Secret Keepers is now available on Amazon.

Book cover reveal Ghostly Gallows

I promised to show two more book covers. Here is the cover of book 2, Ghostly Gallows:

Ghostly Gallows cover

Gwen Gardner and I discussed this cover a lot. The first idea was to have a much darker scene. There would be gallows from which ghosts were hanging. We weren’t sure if the subject matter would fit the target audience. So we chose another scene. Hannah, a young seventeenth century ghost, looking for clues in an old underground archive.

Prior to drawing I did some research. We all know the Halloween style ‘Serving wench’ costumes, which includes a sort of mob cap and a sassy bosom revealing costume. This isn’t entirely accurate of course, but it was quite hard to find the right sources, especially from the seventeenth century. Serving staff wasn’t often the subject matter of paintings. The movie ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ helped me get the right century and cap style. And the paintings by Gabriël Metsu and Johannes Vermeer helped me with the outfit.

Detail of Hannah

Here are some more detailed shots of the cover. I used several textures for the peeling wall. There’s also vermin and and a rat:

Some more detail

Detail of a curious rat

The cover of book 3 will be in the next post!

Book cover trilogy

To draw a trilogy of book covers is very challenging. Especially when there is a lot of time between the first and the second/third cover. The first cover was made over a year ago, and the other two these past months. I’m constantly trying to work on my style. Trying out new things, enhancing my personal workflow (the amount of brushes I’ve accumulated, both made by me or others, makes me dizzy sometimes!). The first of three books with my cover was recently released by writer Gwen Gardner. It’s a supernatural tale called Second Death. It’s available for purchase on Amazon. Now that it’s published I can finally show you the cover!

And here it is:

Second Death cover

I hope to be able to post the other two covers soon. The third cover is my personal favourite :) Please stay ‘tuned’!

Illustrations everywhere!

As an illustrator I know how useful illustrations can be, but often clients surprise me (in a good way :) by their wishes. One of these assignments was designing a pattern for a legging. Something combining orange and pink. I designed a bright and really unique pattern involving big lilies on an orange background. You can find (and buy) it at Aparteleggings.nl

I’ve been doing more stuff, like bookmarks, book covers and logo’s. I wish I could show you, but I’ll have to wait for my clients to do the big reveal first.