Welcome to the new Sjusjun

Posted at April 22, 2015 at 15:44

After some pain, trouble and quite some help. I’ve completed the redesign of my website. It’s a lot cleaner and brighter now, with more room for illustrations in the gallery. I’ve also added some mini illustrations using my favorite animal. The website is now responsive so that means it’s mobile and tablet friendly. (Thanks for the deadline Google ;) The website is now also bilingual! So from now on everything is available in Dutch and English. You can change the language through the menu. It’s a little bit more work for me (oh and double chance of me making spelling errors ;), but I hope it’s more welcoming to the visitors of this site.

Another new thing is the showcase section, hidden under the ‘Illustrations’ link in the top menu. Check out the first showcase about Book covers. I’ll be adding more showcases in the future.

There might still be some things I need to patch up on the website. So if you find something that looks broken, please let me know.

Updating and redesigning my website

Posted at April 14, 2015 at 18:56

Please don’t mind the mess. I’m updating and redesigning with the least downtime as possible. Expect things to change around this week, while I find the best solutions :)

I’m going for a much cleaner open look. I do miss the parallax header a bit… but it wasn’t mobile or tablet friendly at all!

Blotches of digital paint

Posted at April 7, 2015 at 14:06

Wow! It’s April :D Hope you had a lovely Easter.

My birthday is this Saturday, I’ll be 33. For practice purposes and for fun I made this digital paint portrait in a single evening. The reference photo I used was me at 31. Time flies!

This is me at 31

It looks a bit unfinished, but I like that look sometimes, where you can still see the blotches of (digital) paint. This is also why I love looking at concept art. It’s amazing what artists like Aurelien Fournier can do with colour, textures and light.

Things to do in 2015

Posted at January 1, 2015 at 8:00

2014 has been a great year. I still need to cross off a lot on my mental to-do list, but I’m pretty happy with everything that I have accomplished so far. With the support of my partner, my friends and my family, this was the first full year I dedicated solely to illustrating. 2014 was also the year I met new people, new clients and that also led to new cool challenges. One of the highlights for me was working for GriDD, I made a lot of illustrations for different companies that I unfortunately can’t show, top-secret! :). I also had a lot of fun with the book covers I did for Gwen Gardner (One of my first official clients) and Katharina Gerlach. I also made birthday cards, portraits, comics and logo’s and much more.

For 2015 I still plan to rework my website. Mine is definitely behind on the current times! So next to my illustration work that’s a priority. I also hope to do a lot more free work. Best wishes to all, let’s make this a great year!


Secrets of Secret Keepers

Posted at October 21, 2014 at 12:32

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 ;)!


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.


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

Book cover reveal Ghostly Gallows

Posted at October 20, 2014 at 11:33

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!