Amazing artists I discovered this week #5

Do you think you are doing pretty good with ink? Think again. Today I am going to talk about someone who knows where to put the line, ink stain or black spot. This comic artist and illustrator is not all about drawing comics or album covers for bands. He is here to tell stories and he does something you don’t see that often. The living proof why photography could never replace illustration, Mr. Kim Holm!
Portrait I made of the artist himself as an art study.

Experience the moment by not taking a picture?
First the thing he is most known for. His live drawing at concerts. This is something that I admire a lot about him because I don’t know if I could draw in front of a band you really love AND with the audience behind you. But he told me one of his secrets „know when you are lucky.” He really knows when he is lucky and he is extremely good at solving problems in his drawing proces. No pencil drawings at forehand just the ink on the paper and capturing the moment.

Keep of Kalessin by Kim Holm

Vreid by Kim Holm
This brings me to a interesting topic. There are always photographers at festivals and gigs to capture the band preforming. There is nothing wrong with that at all. It is always cool to see some pictures of your favorite band. 
When photography was taking it’s first steps towards news papers and other commercial media, illustrators were pushed away from all this documentation. This seemed like a threat but it actually is not. We should not be afraid of change. As illustrative designers we don’t have to bother to draw portraits or other things, we can do more. We are lawless, we can do whatever we want on paper! No gravity, no color limits, no whatever! Photography freed us from a lot of things. So now we can explore this field.

Kim Holm is one of those illustrators who added something more to a photo. He paints the moment like expressionists did back in the day. It is all about shape, gesture and how that moment felt. That is what a picture (and a lot of us artists) can’t do as pure as he does. He knows when he is lucky when he puts down his brush and he knows how to make us happy too.

It is amazing to see an artist work with black and white this way, I learned a lot just by looking at these drawings. The most important thing I learned was to not be afraid to start. You know you can draw, you did it many times before. You just have to know when you are lucky when you placed your brush on the paper. When you are not lucky you have to fix it.

Album art and the storyteller.
At Roadburn 2016 I had the pleasure to drink a few beers with Kim and of course I recognized his artwork on Solstafir's album Svartir Sandar from 2011. This is how we came upon the topic of story telling.
Kim is a comic artists and as you understand comic artists want to tell stories in a series of drawings. The more panels or pages you get the more of a story you can put on paper. I wanted to become a comic artist myself when I was at art school. But my problem is that I want to tell too much in one image. That is why I put a lot of symbolism and elements in one drawing. Kim is still an artist that works a bit more traditional. He told me that making comics was his first love and always will be. Making an album cover seems to be something else. But since he is able to become as important as photographers at a gig because of his creative input he started to tell his visual stories in the album art as well. This is something that ads something more to an album cover and it gives you a reason to actually buy the album for it's art too. So for those who don't believe in cd's or vinyl anymore, well.. you probably mis this part of the experience. He also made album art for bands like Vreid, Vinterbris and Endstille 

Solstafir album cover Svartir Sandar
Design: Kim Holm

Solstafir album cover Svartir Sandar
Design: Kim Holm
Trve comic artists
Finally I wanted to talk about comics. I already said Kim is a comic artist. Maybe I could say he is the rough metal version of Doug Tennapel. Both artists mainly use black and white which is a hard thing to tame. I learned the most of my black and white balance in an image from making prints with the woodblock printing technique. I even created a complete alphabet in a book to get things a bit like I wanted it to be. You have to work with the suggestion of detail and that is something I learned from looking a lot at Holm's work. There is a really fine line between a black spot and a chain mail or a coat.
Other artists who work with this challenge are Mike Mignola and Frank Miller. What are you going to paint black and what can stay white? is one of those questions you have to ask yourself the entire time. Now I mentioned two other artists who work with the same high contrast technique but what makes Kim special in this line of comic artists?

I think he adds a second element to his comic pages. Both Mike Mignola and Frank Miller work extremely clean and they have to work with composition and poses to create dynamics.  When you look at the work of Kim you can see a lot of dynamics just in the lines. He seems to explore the medium of the brush and ink by splashing and playing with a lot of ink in the brush or just a little to create a dryer effect. This gives the drawings a lot of dynamics in just the lines by itself. The final result looks the same way he creates them nothing keeps him back and he is not afraid to get ink on his hands.
I think this is an important element in his work as an comic artist. When you create this type of dynamics in your lines alone you will give the reader the same feeling in a certain situation. When you know how to handle your lines you can play with the viewers feelings without showing any actual images. When you mix composition, expression, pose and lines like he does, one creates a dangerous cocktail of mind-blowing story teling.

Finally I wanted to post a video of himself about his view on free art and you get to see some of his comic pages. I am glad he made this video because it is a complicated story and I don't want to distort his thoughts on this topic. Do check out his views, it is extremely interesting and maybe we should rethink our opinions and of course help him out with his quest!

Things I should think about
A struggle for every artists is how to make your work talk. When studying the work of Kim Holm I discovered I should pay more attention to my lines. I don't just want to make beautiful images. I do respect those artists online who create the most beautiful portraits with a ballpoint pen or with stamps or whatever weird medium they use, but I think they are just beautiful almost static images. When you learn how to control the ballpoint lines in a certain way you can communicate in several ways with your audience just by choosing the right lines.

Links to the artist:

His Facebook fan page:

Support his freedom views!

Check out more if his art over here:

And even more on his instagram account:


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