We like the liberal amount of inky washes and busy collection of marks in Utrecht-based illustrator Aart-Jan Venema’s work. The same feel is carried through in the range of mixed media he works in.
Also running throughout is the chunky, cut-out style in his creepy and mysterious characters. Looking through his sketchbooks, you can see that actual cut paper is used, although the same jagged edges are nicely applied in ink as well as digitally. Aart-Jan shows us some of these great sketch books and tells a little about the materials he uses.
Examples are from his recent graduation project set in the year 2026 and depictions of a piece of forgotten history involving Nazis and vampires.
I am an illustrator from Utrecht, the Netherlands with a preference for adventures, disasters, futuristic science, obscure history facts, and romanticism.
I do drawings with Photoshop as well as by hand, but prefer drawing by hand, because it allows for coincidences, and mistakes that make me find new ways of using the materials. I use acrylics and ink, often supported with all kinds of pencils, and sometimes Photoshop.
I like it when it’s not completely clear how an image is made, and if it is done totally by hand or with help of the computer. I like the image to have a clear message, but let the technique be a bit of a mystery.
I try not to standardise my drawing but keep it intuitive, because I like to challenge and surprise myself. Still, the image needs to have a certain ‘Aartjan’ feel to it that appears regardless of the technique. I love the dialogue with clients, and it’s always great to make something that’s pleasing for the both of us.
My influences are kind of diverse, Art Brut artists like Henry Darger , as well as more classical painters like Brueghel or Bosch, and contemporary artists like Charles Avery or Grayson Perry and writer Haruki Murakami. These are all artists that in their way create a complete world. Creating worlds is what I like to do as well, and what makes me a happy man.
© Aart-Jan Venema, 2012