Thursday, December 15, 2011

Creating 'Creating Tomorrow'

It's been quite a few months since I worked on this project together with ShopAround, but I can finally show you the final outcome and some behind-the-scenes goodies! The illustration was made for the new 'Creating Tomorrow' campaign for the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam (HvA) that the wonderful people at lemonscentedtea came up with. Each faculty has been represented by a different illustrator and I got the honors to make a piece for the School of Economics & Management, which apparently has the largest group of students (a number of around 17,000 has been dropped on an occasion, but don't pin me down on this one!).

Lemonscentedtea had a very clear briefing from the start. They showed me this sketch which already consisted out of six boxes, each with their own theme relating to the Economics & Management faculty: data management, sustainability, connectivity, international, economics and Amsterdam. The hands are a recurring and connecting element throughout the entire campaign.
My first sketch looked more like a diorama of landscapes, with the boxes for connectivity, economics and Amsterdam looking pretty similar to the final output. In the end the box for sustainability had to go and some style adjustments were made to clear up the image.
The process of creating the mini-people look was a bit cumbersome, as you can see. What was I thinking?!
Building the final boxes was a pretty straightforward task, as I couldn't stray too much from the approved sketch. The only box that went through a bunch of iterations was the one for management. The earlier versions had larger and smaller characters to visualize hierarchy, but in between an embarrassing amount of color tryouts (not to mention the embarrassing color schemes!) that idea got cancelled and the client opted for the version with same-sized characters.
Piet Oosterbeek photographed the hands and supplied me with high-res images that I could map onto a digital placeholder hand. Or rather fingertips in my case, as I only needed the little elements to drop shadows on small parts of the fingers. This way I could get an almost Hollywood-like quality integration of the 3D elements with real-life photography!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winding Up

This Friday, November 18th, dutch jewellery designer duo ZWARD will open their temporary minishop at De Meent here in Rotterdam. For a period of six weeks the ZWARD Wind-Up Store will feature and selection of works by 15 designers, illustrators and artists, alongside ZWARD's own jewellery line.
They've asked me to join the crowd as well, so I'll be selling two limited edition Ecology prints (I and III) and some prints of the smaller Island Still Life series. With the holidays coming up, why not drop by and see if there's a special gift to your liking?

In the mean time I have finally finished my little big planet! The fine people at Studio Output are currently busy making it work, so now all there's to do is wait and see. There's some work-in-progress goodies, once again, after the jump:

Aeroplane alphabet

Weird stuff going on with, as it turned out, some wrong settings for my irradiance cache file

My first attempts at animating bone objects

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Work in progress...

My little big planet is coming along just fine! I'm really anxious to see this thing when it eventually gets launched, as there will be a lot of tweaking and faking needed to get it on the platform. What platform, you might ask? Well, let's just say for now that the above interface is enough of a hint (not to mention that first line).

Regular readers might have noticed that I've renamed (or finally named) my blog; from now on it's Bridges and Stitches!

It's named after two tools that I use a lot when 3D-ing and it seems appropriate: connecting to new and old places, or anything interesting.

Speaking of new stuff: I've been asked to participate with an upcoming initiative by the ever gorgeous Jelmer and Kirstin from ZWARD. They're still working on the invites and official announcements, but as soon as it's out, I'll post it here as well. And if you happen to be in Rotterdam on Friday the 18th of November: save the date!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Building Better Worlds

A few more pics after the jump!

Generating a new evolutionary tree.

Floral configurations.

View from inside :)

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Friday, October 28, 2011

The party must go on!

I know, I know, it's a been long long while. Over here in Rotterdam we're enjoying a strangely mild autumn, which is fine by me after that miserable excuse of a summer. For the past two months I've been working closely with my agency ShopAround and advertising company INDIE to create a new campaign for the 'one happy island' of Aruba. It's kind of a torture when all the reference photos you need are defined in just two categories:

(1) White sandy palm tree beaches lining a gentle turquoise sea, bathing in a bright tropical sun,
or (2) Photos over overtly happy and uninhibitedly smiling people standing on said beaches.

Meanwhile, the average temperature in my living room was 15.3 degrees Celsius.

Of course, I mustn't complain too much, because there was fun to be had. Like finding out that Google images thinks the typical Aruban man looks like Joran van der Sloot. And that the typical Aruban woman has a DD cup. And yes, the rumors are true: I had to look up photos of Paris Hilton... and chihuahuas!

It's been a very busy two months, but I think it was worth it. The complete campaign, that the wizards at INDIE came up with, celebrates the happy-go-lucky attitude of the Arubans and consists out of five illustrations. While the other ads should roll out before the end of the year, I can show you the first one here:

Also, after the jump there's some work-in-progress goodies. Enjoy! ^_^

Happy islanders!

The first decor pieces.

Low-poly tropical plants in not-so-tropical shades of grey.

The first setups still featured a cute mini-van and a little girl making her way to the party, surrounded by local animals. Her orange avian friend is a typical islander: the troupial.

One of the almost-final versions of the illustration. The van had to go and after this version so did the girl and the iguana, to make room for the ad's layout. Luckily the troupial and the burrowing owls could stay. The fallen palm tree got accompanied by two crabs as the client didn't want to give the idea that a tropical storm might have hit the island (apparently, the ABC-islands, unlike the rest of the Caribbean, don't get visited by hurricanes).

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Computer Arts #190

A copy of Computer Arts magazine Issue 190, casually resting on my very first Daan Botlek screenprint :)

I got featured in the new Computer Arts magazine: Yay! You can find the 3-page piece in the Inspiration Workshop section, where I talk a bit about my influences and how the Ecology series came to be. Check it out!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Design Reboot

Design reboot is a wonderful lecture by Jonathan Blow in which he tackles issues of storytelling and/in game design and challenges us to take game design to a next level. Highly recommended stuff, even for people in other fields of design!

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An Astronaut's Life

Summertime, is a fascinating thing, regardless of what the weather outside is. Some people automatically slip on sandals, others get the irresistible urge to have ice-cream after every meal. Me, I stay indoors and wide awake 'till late at night, designing imaginary computer games. Fun!

On a side note: researchers postulate that Mozart may have come to his premature end because of vitamin-D shortage due to his indoorsy and nocturnal working habits. I'm not saying I'm Mozart, just be assured, I do go outside during daytime (pizza delivery services are quite lacking here in Rotterdam). So if you happen to spot me, say hi. God knows I need to practice my social skills.

(More pics after the jump)

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Today's the day

Just a few hours before the people of Letterfreak/Wallcover will deliver my new work, titled Roots, to Het Gemaal. Pretty damned exciting! Let's hope Murphy's Law will pick on someone else today, since we have no way of coming up with a replacement, should something turn out wrong.

The format of the work has changed by the way, to 2 mtrs wide and 2.5 mtrs tall. Still, it should be impressive, so come and have a look! Opening starts at 20.00 hrs and fashionjournalist Aynouk Tan will guide us through the pieces and interview some of the artists afterwards.

Note to visitors: public transport is on strike today in all of Rotterdam! So join us by foot, fixie, car, or even better: by TARDIS. In which case you'll get my piece for free after the exhibition's over ;)

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's gettin' crowded

Just a few more days to go before my file heads towards the printer and still plenty to do, but at least the pieces are finally starting to fall in place; literally. I tend to model the different kinds of objects in separate files and only in the final piece start arranging them together and add color. This helps a lot with memory issues, but the downside is that you work without a whole image for so long, it can feel very undirected.

The piece will be part of an exhibition, titled Far from Fong, which will open thursday June 9th at 20.00hrs in Het Gemaal op Zuid in Rotterdam.

If you want to be part of my entourage, the complete official invite text follows after the jump:



Fenmei Hu, Khitan, Erwin Kho, Kwannie Tang, Zhen Tian, DaDa Wang and Fong-Leng

09/06/2011 – 27/08/2011

Far From Fong sheds light on young Chinese-Dutch artists from various disciplines, who draw on their cultural background to create a new idiom. Over thirty years ago, fashion designer Fong-Leng did likewise in her extravagant fashion creations. How do their views relate to one another?

Opening: Thursday 09/06/2011, 20.00 hrs Fashion journalist Aynouk Tan introduces the exhibition and interviews the artists. Music by DJ David Zee. Chinese snacks served.

Friday 01/07/2011 & Saturday 02/07/2011 The China op de Kaap festival erupts in Katendrecht from 1 to 3 July. Het Gemaal op Zuid hosts public activities incl. by artists’ collective Studio Zi, young creative professionals with a Chinese background.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tea time, time for tea

(Render in progress...)

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The next 3 weeks are going to be craaaaaazy! I'm working on a huge piece for an upcoming exhibition (the previous post showed the announcement illustration) and I have dozens of little critters and plants to finish. Luckily I have the new fabulous Doctor Who (the TARDIS as a woman!) and the mesmerizing Game of Thrones (decapitated horse anyone?) series to keep me sane, from time to time.

More pics after the jump!

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Coming soon...

Save the date!

June 9th 2011
Time: 20.00hrs
Location: Het Gemaal op Zuid, Pretorialaan 141, Rotterdam

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Friday, April 8, 2011

April is...

And suddenly it was April already! The sun is shining, people are noticeably less cranky (including myself), and my stack off anti-hayfever pills has been dusted off for the new season. Time flies when you're having fun, but also when you're busy doing nice projects.

The above image is a little preview of a piece I just finished for the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam (HvA), and came into existence together with the combined forces of Lemon scented tea and Shop Around!. Actually, for the final image I needed to call in help of a render farm as well, in order to make it for the deadline. How professional!

On a side note: a few days ago I discovered this wonderful, funny and insightful essay on a certain group of very misunderstood people, titled 'Caring for your introvert'.
"Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

If so, do you tell this person he is "too serious," or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and that you aren't caring for him properly."
There are so many little gems in this text, by now I must have read it half a dozen times. And when someone quotes Sartre with "Hell is other people at breakfast", how can you go wrong? Seriously, read it.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Promoting...Tomasz (& Edgar (& George))

Sadly no updates on my own projects. Though I have been rewriting some dialogue on a very sad story, I've mostly been really busy doing commisioned work. Which actually isn't all that bad since I'll be able to pay my rent and have pancakes with bacon for breakfast, lunch and diner.

Instead I'd like to point you guys out this very interesting animation project by my friend Tomasz Kaye: 'Edgar the Exploiter'.

It's a currently a work in progress (to which you can donate btw!) and will follow up on his previous animation 'George Ought to Help', which dealt with the subject of stateless society. Judging from the preview artwork Edgar will look even better than George, and knowing Tomasz, will deal with some interesting views on modernday society. Have a look!

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Inner geek ramblings

A few weeks ago my inner geek totally freaked out when Florian showed me this new Battlestar Galactica paraphernalia: QMx' official map of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol! This is soooo awesome, but if you've never heard of BSG or Kobol, or Cylons, raptors and vipers, here's the how and why on this particular piece of awesomeness:

At the start of the reimagined TV-series, humanity populates a collection of worlds named the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. Then the Cylons – robots created by humanity who later rebelled and fled – return and nuke every planet, forcing the remaining survivors to take to the stars, searching for a new home (the fabled planet Earth), guided by the warship Galactica.

Now, we didn't get to see much of the Twelve worlds themselves, so naturally – as sci-fi geeks do naturally – there was some debate on how a solarsystem with twelve habitable worlds could be even remotely possible. The short-lived spin-off series Caprica didn't deliver us many answers either, only showing the titular world orbiting so close to Gemenon, you could see both worlds at the same time from orbit.

For comparison: Venus, our closest neighbouring planet, only appears as a small dot in the sky. So what the frak were the creators of the series trying to tell us? This is a question that keeps geeks awake at night, I kid you not.

With the above mentioned map QMx delivers us from our doubts, but raised a new question in my once-again-restless inner geek. Caprica and Gemenon apparently orbit each other, but whats going on with Aerilon, Hestia and Canceron? Three planets sharing the same orbit? Sure, this is sci-fi, but really?

The designers made us of a scientific phenomenon known as Lagrange points. A little explanation from the NewScientist website:

"When one body (such as a planet) orbits a much more massive body (a star), there are two Lagrange points along the planet's orbit where a third body can orbit stably. These lie 60 degrees ahead of and 60 degrees behind the smaller object."

Our own solarsystem has an example of this in the shape of the Trojans asteroid groups, which lie at Jupiter's Langrange points.

And a few days ago news broke that the planet-hunting Kepler telescope has observed a rather interesting system, dubbed KOI(short for Kepler Object of Interest)-730. Out of the four planets observed, two seem to be sharing the same orbit, cirling their parent star "every 9.8 days at exactly the same orbital distance, one permanently about 60 degrees ahead of the other". In other words, one of the planets is fixed at the other's Lagrange point! How nifty is that?

So, with science catching up with sci-fi once again (compare the Star Trek communicators with modern day cellphones for example), any chance we could have our first alien encounters any time soon?

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Eureka moment

Quick note to self:

getting up earlier in the morning = enjoying longer periods of daylight = better matching colors in work = happy face!

(Two more sketches after the jump)

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dead Island

Wow, this one made me stop for a sec. The trailer for the upcoming game Dead Island just came out and it's... beautiful. Which is unexpected considering the game is about zombies taking over a holiday retreat and you get to be a lone survivor amidst a horde of bloodthirsty corpses.

One would expect raging guitars to blast out of the speakers and copious amounts of digital blood to squirt across your screen (though, that last bit does happen), but instead we get treated to a much more emotional non-linear approach, akin to a certain Coldplay music video.

If this doesn't do anything for you, you're probably a zombie already.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

First new steps

Once every while you have these talks that just get your head unstuck, rebooted and back in the game. Yesterday I had one of those conversations with fellow pencil-lover Sabine ten Lohuis, who has lately been very busy – and successful – in getting her blog up and running. We talked about the advantages of the internet and what it can mean to one's exposure – God knows us creative freelancers need some of that.

However, in order to get noticed, gain followers and – more importantly – keep them coming back to your blog, you'd better have some interesting stuff to show. And that's where I get a bit hesitant.

Though I have piles and piles of doodles, sketches and unfinished drawings lying around (you should know I take my sketchbook in bed with me), I have a hard time deciding which ones to share on the web. In my opinion, most are just to fugly to show anyone without hurting my public image. And since I don't go out much, that image is pretty much all that stands between me and a lonely corner of the dance floor.

Then again, as Sabine reminded me, sketches are works in progress. Snapshots of a search for the right shapes, compositions, materials. So it's okay for them to look lousy, uncontrolled, failed. Personally I love scouting the web for concept art from films and sketches from artists – especially the ones that look so different from the end result. Those give the final pieces so much more context and history.

So... Practice what you preach, I guess?

I hereby pledge to update my blog on a regular basis and include in these posts not just the finished works, but also a myriad of doodles, sketches, ideas, unfinished drawings and failed experiments. There, I said it.

Oh, and by the way – as you may have noticed – I'm going to be posting in English from this point forward. I know there's a handful of non-Dutchies out there who are interested in my ramblings. You know who you are!

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