The illustrative struggle journal #2

Time for another update on my life as an illustrator.
Things are slowly changing, I received a reply from a concert venue and I was approached by a friend who needed artwork for something he wrote. I will give you more details in the future when things are published and/or a fact. The concert venue asked for prices and stuff so I don't know if they want to continue with me as an artist.

These are not the things that changed a lot. They are happy opportunities where I can explore the field of this certain project but it is not the thing that made me grow as an artist at this moment. We all have to look for that certain thing that makes us special as an artist. So I tried exploring the Dark Ages with all the religious aspects. After that I added some occultism and then you are just one step away from fantasy art and that is not what I wanted to do. We are not here to give our audience what they expect or want, we are here to give them what they need.

But what do people need when they don't even know it and what do I have to draw? I learned that I was asking myself the wrong questions. Questions like what could I draw and how can I communicate this idea to my audience are not the first questions anyone should ask. Take some time to think about things. How do I feel about this? What parties are involved in this discussion or subject? What is known about this tekst or band or music or whatever you are going to make art for?
Finally the most important question: How can I throw people down in the wrong rabbit hole?
I don't believe in a utopia anymore, we have to accept the fact that we live in a dystopia for quite a few years. But even in the most primitive terrible parts in this world the most beautiful things can happen or be created.
Now I had a problem. I made art that lived in the past. The only hint of the now were hints of comic strips. Not the way of panels but only in style so here and there. Here did a turning point appear. This turning point was my girlfriend who basically said: You don't focus on a subject anymore what the hell are you telling?
This threw me into a deep pit of I don't know what to do to make things better. This deep pit appeared to be a rabbit hole. Just like Alice I feel deep with such speed I couldn't see what was around. Finally I hit the ground and took some time to look at the world around me. This was where I took my sketchbook, looked at the art of my heroes and drew the first thing completely out of my comfort zone.

Dystopian zeppelin by CAVUMscriptorium
The drawing above was one of my first steps in that direction. This is where I just stopped thinking about what people expect from me. Since I am working on posters for Ritual Festival 2017 (for sale on the festival) I wanted to draw things for bands in a certain metal genre. I could draw all kinds of medieval weird stuff but it is not suited for every band. Metalcore/Deathcore bands look for a completely different form of illustration in comparison of Doom Metal. So I started exploring other artwork in this field. To be honest I am not really impressed by what I saw. I see some kind of trend and there is nothing wrong with that. The bad thing in this trend is that you can't recognize any artists anymore. You can see 20 different album covers and you see the same style basics in every illustration. I don't want to be one of them. The genre who suffers the most from this cliche is Death Metal. Piles of skulls and dead people and some guts but not too much since they are not playing grindcore or goregrind. So this is what is pushing me to look further then what I already do. I don't want to create my own cliche. I am not the one who just made this medieval type of stuff. I am still very happy my girlfriend helped me showing this.
Now I am going to mix things up even more and started a new journey. I don't know where I am going because every drawing is just one step. I have my "style" and now I should be able to put different things in the same drawing without losing my image as an artist. Glad to say I had the guts to set the second step out of my comfort zone.

The Afternoon Gentlemen and Corrupt Moral Altar poster for Ritual Festival 2017(You can buy this poster at Ritual Festival 2017!)

With the poster design above I forced myself to look around in the environment I just fell down into and I forbid myself to use the gothic type of fonts and the use of a massive amount of creatures. To my surprise I really enjoyed toying with this. The result was that my illustrations communicate better with the text and it brought up a strange mix of new and old.
The illustration by itself is based on a painting of Jheronimus Bosch. Yes, he still is a great inspiration but the Tank Girl comics are awesome too and artists like Glen Angus(R.I.P.) are perfect with their conceptual thinking.
The Temptation of St.Anthony (detail) Jheronimus Bosch
So now we have a new pallet of elements we can work with. The music is destructive, heavy, dark, anti everything and it kicks ass. I thought it sounds like a bomb dropping and it leaves everything destroyed (mainly your ears) so this is where I just added that thought literately on paper. The bomb is the music and with this it destroys a religious, praying man. The symbol of morality you can find in Nietzsches philosophy and a nice reference to Corrupt Moral Altar. The demons around St. Anthony are temptation we all experience during our everyday life. Especially when you have a drink or two and things are going wilde at a festival.
This was a bit of the mindset I started to use in this type of posters I am designing at the moment.
I am working on even darker and more experimental things who are way darker and crazier than I ever expected to draw, but I can't show you those at this moment, you have to visit Roadburn Festival 2017 and keep your eyes open for the backdrops to experience the full impact of those pieces.

All of my future art is not the thing you would expect in the genre, at least I hope you won't expect it. I want to push the boundaries of the music genres. Every time someone draws a awesome new thing for a genre you see them pop up everywhere from several artists. That is why I am not drawing a dead astronaut in space or corpses kissing under water or whatever you can think of.

Misery Index and All Pigs Must Die poster for Ritual Festival 2017
Also available on the festival! 
Finally I wanted to show you something I haven't drawn before at all. There is no medieval inspiration in this one. It is all about war, corruption and propaganda. I wanted to place some revolt type of stuff in there while the working class people are dying and living amongst the whores and pigs while being watched by intimidating soldier figures. So this is one I forbid myself to draw the things I already did but I kept my style on the spot. This is something I did with the hope I could surprise people. Bands like this couldn't use medieval little people but they could use war and corruption and even a bit from the punk movement. I tried to put this extra layer and my view on the world in this poster.

I know it is hard to lose the things you love and stepping outside your comfort zone. But it is worth it to look around in our weird dystopian world and think about what clients need. The only thing I can say at this moment about this is that we need NEW things. Soon we fall into a trend we are not challenging ourselves enough. When we moving with this trend we can only hope to become the best at this trend and not the most original. What do you want to become? The best at something what will last as long as a nasty fart or be the most original and be remembered and asked because you are pushing things a step further?


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