Silly project: brainstorming

This morning, while waiting for job feedback, I streamed ~2 hours of just throwing thoughts on a canvas and creating a mind map for a silly project. Since the video isn’t that interesting, here’s just the current status of the mindmap.
There’s no guarantee I’ll make this into an actual project; I simply enjoy the creative brain-drain.


This image started with me not knowing what to draw.

Like many artists, I have folders upon folders of inspiration saved on my hard drives. Some are artist-specific, some are themed, and some are just random images I found and liked but was too lazy to sort. This image started by looking through one of my landscape photo collections.
The winter-lake image you can see at the bottom center made me stop. Maybe it was the image by itself; maybe it was the soundtrack of “Jotun” by Max LL that I was listening to at the time, which made me pause. Something clicked and I knew I was going for some temple/structure in a lake that would fit into a Conan-like Sword & Sworcery story. With that idea in mind, I collected the other reference images from the web, then I just worked.
The references I used are Russian illustrator Ivan Bilibin, Japanese woodcut printmaker Yoshida Hiroshi, and French comic book artist Moebius.
Also, one thing that you’ll probably see reoccurring in future artworks is the exploration of “noise” or “digital texture.”
It’s something that I explored in the past, specifically for some of my bird stylizations. With my current exploration, I’m trying to add texture but to do it more deliberately than the previous technical explorations allowed for.

20230123 – I like the way you dance

TLDR: Every now and then, I leave my wife a note on her desk with a compliment or anecdote on why I love her. I did that again last Saturday, and it inspired me to do some postcard designs.

I’ll talk a bit more about the cards and process; if you want to read that, click on “Continue Reading”.

Continue reading “20230123 – I like the way you dance”


On instagram I got asked to show more of the style exploration.

I’m not going to show the full erotic drawings I made, but to provide a little bit more than just those detail shots I made slight variations of one drawing. On purpose, I only changed what photoshop-brush I used for the drawing and slightly altered the way I drew the image. This is nothing special, I just did it in the context of Lars’ request.

Version 1

This is similar to the drawing that kicked off the exploration I mentioned in yesterday’s post. To me, that looks very digital. Very clean lines, no open ends, solid black fills, all lines drawn with massive smoothing on to make sure there are no bumps/shakes in it. A little bit of sharpness and angularity to the drawing. The pen pressure/line thickness is spiking rather than increasing smoothly. The lines are drawn fast and fluidly.
I do like this style in general, and I think it goes especially with something a bit more exaggerated. And maybe that’s why it felt so wrong because the drawing of a woman I did, wasn’t exaggerated. Here are two examples of when I utilized the same brush/drawing execution in the past but pushed further than I did here.

Version 2

This is similar to how I drew the fantasy scene I posted yesterday. I used a photoshop brush that leaves a little bit of a breaking line. I did not use any line smoothing. The lines are drawn more slowly to let jitters show when they happen and due to the way the brush is set up, I had to use very little pressure when drawing to retain the brokenness of the brush. Because of that all the angle changes appear just a little bit softer than in the previous drawing (it’s most visible in the clothing folds). There’s also little to no shading done with the line itself, that has to come via the coloring. Since I had a worked-out sketch underneath these drawings I would say there’s a lot less “searching/questing” done in this drawing than I did for the previous fantasy scene.
I don’t like the look I created here, so this is something I will explore further in the future.

Version 3

This third one I made using a “dry ink brush”. Its basic shape is similar to the brush that I used for the first drawing, but it has a bit more texture. I utilized a little bit of smoothing and drew everything very impatiently. That led to hard edges, hard angles, sharp lines, toothy texture and sometimes linethickness variation that isn’t “perfect”. It’s leading to a look I haven’t really explored all that much because I just need to look at Sean Gordon Murphy’s inkwork and then what’s the point of doing anything anymore.

Version 4

I was using a solid line brush with just a tiny bit of texture to it, using medium line smoothing for the fundamental drawing so I get relatively smooth, even lines. Because that looked to clean (and digital) I altered the brush settings slightly to show a little bit more texture, turned of smoothing and filled in the blacks with very fast, short lines and left spaces unfilled. This adds just a little bit of an “analog” feel.

These differences can certainly be pushed quite a bit further. Especially when you add proportion variation or vary the coloring process. But that wasn’t my intention for these versions.

And for last here is a gif that shows the file setup. I don’t think it shows anything special, but maybe some person finds it interesting nonetheless.

Dino Trocknungen – construction

Lets’s close the first month of freelance with a set of illustrations I did for Dino Trocknungen GmbH and in collaboration with Kassel based design agency Lockruf.
Dino Trocknungen was going to brand a set of construction waste containers and wanted to utilize their mascot for this purpose. They were acquiring a new truck as well, which was potentially gonna get a print on the door(s). So they were looking for poses/actions of their mascot which would suit the theme but also needed to fit onto the containers.
With this info and some temporary design layouts from Andreas Bollerhey (of lockruf) I had a lot of fun just sketching proposals.
The client selected his favorite sketches, Andreas gave me some additional info on how he’d like the files to be set up so he could make adjustments for the final layouts, and off I went to create the illustrations.

Initial set of sketches
the three finalized illustrations, set up in such a way that they are adjustable
design layouts with illo adjustments by Andreas Bollerhey of