What’s this?

Ask me anything and I’ll answer in text as well as an illustration. Depending on the response I’ll try to tackle one question a week.
Send in questions via email or twitter using #bamsequestions.


“Tennis shoes or high heels?”

(Asks Cristina Herrero)
Interesting question, thank you Cristina! I’ll start with the high heels: I am not that kind of guy. Then the tennis shoes: As for working out, I don’t play tennis. I play even worse than people that say they’re really bad at tennis. My sports are skating (both inline and ice) and cycling, which require specific footwear. As far as fashion is concerned: I am wearing my brogues almost every day. Tennis shoes should be worn only at the tennis court. The illustration I did reminds me of this photo. It is myself in a tennis outfit, shot by my friend Greg Lutze that someone manipulated for a photoshop contest.


“What can’t you draw?”

(Asks Richard Hakvoort)
This sounds like a trick question to get me to draw something that I can’t, but I still like to honestly answer your question. I find it really hard to draw a realistic, anatomically correct horse. I am not alone in this I suppose, since there are numerous books on drawing horses and even a model horse to help you get it right. In the illustration above I even traced a photo of a horse. That being said, where’s the fun in drawing realistic and anatomically correct horses? Or anything anatomically correct, for that matter? I guess the fun starts when you translate the real world into something that’s within the range of what your brain can imagine and your hands can make. In my case, a red horse with fake teeth and a toupee.

“What is your first memory?”

(Asks Michael Madrid)
One of my first memories (but probably not the very first) is of camping. Every summer, my family would go to the same campsite that also doubled as a small farm. After milking the cows, the farmer removed a big iron bar keeping the barn doors closed to release the cattle into the field for the day. Not caring much for any campers trying to sleep in, he threw the iron bar on the concrete floor. Every day. It was my summer alarm clock. As soon as I heard that clanking sound, I jumped into my overall and wooden shoes to help walk the cows out.

“What’s your morning routine like?”

(Asks Wilbert Kramer)
My two year old son usually wakes up the rest of the household around 7.30am. We get up and eat oatmeal together as a family. I start up the ol’ machine, pour a second cup of coffee and visit a couple sites that I’ve bookmarked as ‘Dailies’. News, sports, Twitter, Instagram but mainly design and illustration blogs. Then I’ll tackle some emails and make a small to-do list for the day and get to work. Sometimes I squeeze in a short walk or bikeride with my son.


“Cat or Dog?”

(Asks Retno Hadiningdiah)
I am a dog person. My favorite dog is a white russell terrier with beige spots. However, I married a girl with a cat. Luckily, our cat Aad has a very dog-like character. He tries to attack the mailman. He loves to play catch. He wags his tail when he’s happy. We really like having him around and I haven’t missed having a russell terrier.


“Where do you find inspiration?”

(Asks Hanne Toet)
I love this question. Inspiration is such an abstract subject. Some people feel that it’s a switch that you turn on: You wake up, you make coffee, you stare at your blank sheet of paper and then you turn on the inspiration switch. It’s really hard to get started when you’re waiting for inspiration. To me, inspiration is not something I turn on or off, it happens everytime, all the time. I read books, magazines, walk around town, ride my bike, listen to music, talk to a friend, watch someone mowing the lawn, play with my son. All the time my brain saves shapes, colors, mechanical processes etcetera to a hard drive that I pull from constantly. I think this is what comes with the package when you hire an illustrator. I don’t get paid extra to go look for inspiration, I already am inspired, all the time.


“Pencil or Wacom?”

(Asks Nicky Lauwerijssen)
I’ve tried Wacom a long time ago but I don’t like the evenness of the lines. No brush set or pressure sensitive feature comes close enough to the real thing. I’m so much happier with the irregularities that happen with pen or pencil on paper.


“What would your workday look like without a computer?”

(Asks Lucas Reinds)
I would be lost without a computer, as I have focused entirely on working digitally. I probably would have a real hard time paying the mortgage. I would have to try selling pencil doodles, communicating with clients by sending them letters. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be watching Tony Rice videos on YouTube all the time so I might get more work done without a computer.


“Did a certain young, left-winged politician’s campaign inspire your studio’s name?”

(Asks Johannes van den Akker )
This one needs a bit of background information for some. You’re obviously referring to Tofik Dibi, who ran a campaign with the catchphrase ‘BAM!’. But no, Bamse Ontwerpt does not refer to that campaign. Bamse is a Swedish cartoon bear that I read when I was a kid. In a way, I’m still playing around in a fantasy world so I wanted the name to represent that.

Join in by sending me questions via email or twitter using #bamsequestions!