Observing the Overlooked with Joost Stokhof

For Joost Stokhof, the process for creating his intricate, finely detailed illustrations starts with a keen eye and considered observation.

Joost’s work is about creating intrigue through exploring complex scenes and presenting his findings from his unique perspective.

Sometimes, these elements are simply his thoughts on a subject shown through note-like typography, while on other occasions, his skilful, linear drawings fill the page in gorgeous excess.

Joost talks to us about evolving this process and some of the techniques he uses to channel his ideas.

“Working for me always starts with collecting: photographs, memories, thoughts, dreams. I am always looking for the smallest details that tell more than they seem to at first glance.”

Small things that are often ignored or overlooked tend to play a huge part in my work. Almost nobody sees these small details consciously, but everyone will recognise them once I show them to you.”

“Once I start drawing all these things will fluidly appear on paper. In a different size, a different order, I never try to overthink this part, but let it come out naturally.”

“I simply collect them on paper and give them the space they need to let them tell their story clearly.”

“These collections are always drawn with cheap felt-tip markers. I buy them in buckets of 100 pieces, made for kids, but I love them.”

“The different colors, the fact that you will see a slightly different shade of color whenever you go over the same piece of paper twice. It all adds up to the energy I try to put in every piece.”

A piece is complete when a piece of paper is full of these small elements, this way telling the bigger story by painting the smaller picture.”

“These pieces are always the starting point for assignments or personal projects.”

“I simply take parts to work out for editorial pieces, or take a quick drawing and make it into a product I release in my webshop.”

“For me, it’s the perfect way to keep my work fresh, keep surprising myself and to keep it close to myself.”

All images © Joost Stokhof

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