How many years have you been a freelance illustrator?
I’ve been working as a designer in advertising for over 20 years now. And I always had a weakness for illustration. Every time I had to work on a logo, I started drawing. And every opportunity I had, I did stuff in illustration and animation. About five years ago, I got to a point where I felt I should concentrate more on illustration. It was just so much more fun, and so much more personal. So I changed focus to emphasize on illustration, and character based work. About that same time, I started working on children’s audio plays with a couple of friends from the advertising world. We’ve got a fourth one coming out soon. They all come in picture books, 48 pages of illustrations to accompany the plays. The books are my doing, with about 25 illustrations each.
How reliable are you?
I would say I am very reliable. I have enough experience to see how long a job will take. There are, however, a couple of parameters that might help or complicate the process. As with everything, a clear brief is half the job. After that, I prefer to ping pong to the end result, so good communication is a second necessity. I sketch in a few different directions, discuss with the client. We decides direction. Then I start to fine tune, discuss with the client. all the way to the end result where everybody is happy.
In a commercial sense what can your work be applied too?
I had illustrations on children’s T shirts, on art prints, in editorial, in advertising, corporate styling and children’s books. I would say there is a broad range of possibilities. A lot of my illustrations do have a bit or a retro touch, so I am always happy to see them in that kind of context.
I would love to do more editorial work. And I would love to put cereal box design back on track.
Who are your top clients?
I do a lot of work for the top Belgian advertising companies; Duval Guillaume, Mortierbrigade, TBWA, Famous, …
I also have direct clients, but those come and go with the jobs.
Apart from that, I work for Belgian Television VRT and for Woestijnvis, considered the best tv production company in Flanders. For them I do broadcast design.
Apart from illustration what other skills do you have?
I do animation, motion graphics or character based work. I like doing handlettering. Since I am a graphic designer, I do that as well. And I make audio plays (but those I make in a collective called StuffMakers), for those I write some and do some dramatizing.
I also like to work on my own audio, soundtracks or soundscapes. In a very far, far away past, I had a bit of an early electro-band, and I still enjoy twiddling the knobs.
Sometimes, I get asked what the difference is between all those disciplines. To me, it’s basically all the same. It all comes down to finding the right balance between the elements that need to be in there. It all needs a clear reading hierarchy. And it all needs to be pleasing enough for the audience.
What’s your favourite sandwich filling?
Just give me a sandwich with cheese, please, and nothing else. I never understood why most sandwiches come with mayonaise or some other dressing, or why there always has to be lettuce or the such. To me it is like getting coffee with milk and sugar without anybody asking if you want that.