I made illustrations for an article about the shady calculation methods of Toll Collect, the monopoly that runs the system that collects road fares from trucks on German highways. Here two sketches. The finals can be seen in today's DIE ZEIT. Later more about it.
I spent the last week's drawing a lot with pencils, gouache, and markers, actually more than ever before. I spent the last ten years mainly drawing digitally, and somehow the time feels right to do this now, for my own work, and who knows, what the next step will be. I have been posting a lot more of these over on my Instagram, almost every day. Here a small selection.
I often draw outside, on location, things that are in front of me. Usually the drawings do not take longer than 30 to 60 minutes. I try to continue making these and maybe at some point I will report back on what I have learned from doing these.
Here are two recent illustrations I made for Wirtschaftswoche.
The first one is about cyber security. Even as companies become aware of cyber threats and employ increased security measures, there always stays an uncertainty, because they have to trust the companies that they hire to ensure the security, be it in the form of IT services or software like anti virus scanners, cloud or VPN services.
This is about CEOs and their successors. Studies show, that current CEOs often groom successors that are very similar to themselves to ensure their own legacy. The reasoning is, that shared life experiences lead to similar decision making. Studies show, however, that this is not the case. A new CEO that is similar to the old one often leads to diverging paths. A reason for that might be, that there is an incentive for new leaders to show strength by making bold decisions early in their tenure.
Art direction for both by Claudia Immig.
Last week Wednesday I gave a workshop in Steinhaus Bautzen (Germany) - an open youth center.
It was a bit open in the beginning what exactly I would do because the age of the participants was not so clear.
There were about ten to fifteen participants, age about 9 to 15 (I am guessing). I talked a little about what I am doing and what illustration is in general. I showed a few images of other illustrators work, to demonstrate how different the approaches can be, both in medium and in content.
Pretty soon we switched over to the practical part. I had the idea, that we would make portraits of each other. I am not a portrait expert, but I thought of a way, of experimenting with somebody's face and finding likeness: Instead of making a straight-up drawing, where each stroke could be wrong, we would draw eyes, nose, mouth, ears, ... separately and then puzzle them into place, or swap them, if they feel wrong.
Maybe a bit challenging altogether, but surprisingly we got many good results in the end. I was very happy, I hope some of the participants got something out of these 3-4 hours. Thank you!
The images above are by:
This was a first for me, but I would not mind doing it again. I think an interesting age group would be 14 to 18-year-olds who are maybe already interested in art (comics, manga, graffiti, ...). I would like to talk more about illustration as a profession, and its potential, especially in the countryside.
If you are somebody who is interested in making this happen at some school or similar place in Finland, let me know.
All photographs in this article by Reno Rössel of Servicestelle Heimat, who made this event happen.
Here is my latest illustration for the ongoing series for Psykologi magazine, where I illustrate a quote or a saying. This time we had lyrics from the Finnish version of the song "Summer In The City" by Lovin Spoonful - in Finnish: "Kesäkatu" by Danny.'
"Polttaa kesäkatu miestä, kosteaa höyryä nousee tiestä" / "The summer street burns a man, moist steam is rising from the streets".
5 points for recognizing the city depicted.
10 points for knowing the photograph the composition was shamelessly copied from.
(there is a tiny hint in the image)
I created this illustration and - as a first for me - also animation (see below) for Neue Zürcher Zeitung. The article by Nils Pfändler and Fabian Baumgartner, which can be read here (in German) is about the increase in violence between fans of the two competing soccer clubs in Zürich. Extreme violence between fans or even sometimes fans and innocent third parties might erupt suddenly anywhere in the city.
In the last months, I saw how other people attempted to animate drawings of mine. I am aware, that there is quite some technical challenge to overcome when animating a finished image. Nevertheless, I was not so happy with the results. I started to think more about the issue.
I think just adding some movement to a drawing for movement's sake is pointless. Ideally, the animation adds to the experience of the drawing, or even adds other layers of meaning. In this animation, I like how the role of the woman in the center becomes more poignant. How would it feel to suddenly witness a scene like that, and a moment later you are questioning what you have just seen?
Below some sketches.
As usual with book covers, I started quite broadly and we tried to refine the image more and more. Some process images below.
Tomorrow the Tampere Illustrators Club meets at my working room at Valtakatu 36, in Hämeenkyrö. It starts at 18.00. Here all the info in Finnish:
Tampereen kuvittaja-klubi 23. toukokuuta palkitun ja visionäärisen kuvittajan Daniel Stollen työhuoneella
Tuttuun ja totuttuun klubitapaan saamme lähemmin tutustua Danielin töihin, työhuoneeseen ja hänen työskentelyynsä. Vaihdamme myös kuulumisia ja annamme aiheiden löytää keväiset uomansa pienen naposteltavan äärellä.
Koska paikka on hieman hankalammin tavoitettava, järjestäydymme paikalle yhteisillä kyydeillä. Lähdemme Tampereelta liikkeelle Sampolan kirjastolta klo 17 aikoihin. Kyytiin voi toki hypätä muualtakin, jos satut sopivasti asumaan matkan varrella. Ja tietenkin voit tulla paikalle omin neuvoin. Paluukyyti järjestyy myös.
Klubi aika klo 18.00 - paluu Tampereelle n. 21.00
Osoite on: Valtakatu 36, Hämeenkyrö.
Tervetuloa mukaan kaikki uudet ja aiemmin mukana olleet!
Ilmoittaudu mukaan, niin saadaan kyyti järjestettyä.
Terveisin Jani Ikonen
I posted the Fabmobil-project to the Work section.
I still wanted to write a little about the background of the project. From the beginning, the parameters were pretty open. It was not clear what kind of drawings I would produce. In the weeks and months leading up to the project, I was learning to use more traditional tools, pen and ink, pencils, watercolors and Posca markers. I filled a complete sketchbook with drawings done very quickly and on location as a preparation for the Fabmobil trip. My roadtrip drawings, were part of this exercise.
I took all the materials, iPad and traditional media, to Germany. In a first discussion with Sebastian and Christian (makers of the Fabmobil) we decided to go for more finished drawings, which meant digital. The nature of the digital drawing also fits the subject more - after all, it is a bus about modern, creative, digital technologies. This approach suited me fine. On one occasion I was even surrounded by a group of kids, who all wanted to try out the iPad and Apple Pencil. I wonder if there wouldn't be more potential there to also teach kids drawing or art by sneaking it in with the help of iPads and Wacom tablets – and to show them then in a roundabout way, that the tools are really not so important.
I am still interested in using traditional tools, maybe for another project. Making these more finished, digitial drawings meant, that I could create about two to three drawings per day. I believe using pencils or ink, it would be possible to work faster and really follow the action, as it unfolds, rather than creating bigger scenes, as I have done in a lot of these drawings. Then again having the drawings digital allowed us to post them straight away to Instagram and Twitter. I exported timelapse videos of the drawing process, added audio recorded on location and posted it straight after completion to the Fabmobil instagram account. This would be harder with tradtional drawings.
Besides the tools, I was happy to see, that I am able to produce drawings live, outside, on location, even in driving vehicles, heat or crowded spaces. This is something I'd like to explore further in the future.
I made these illustrations for Süddeutsche Zeitung. The topic was worker's rights and the strategies of how companies and their lawyers deal with lawsuits by employees who have suffered injuries at work.
Companies have the means to buy legal teams, they have a team of experts (doctors and other lawyers) that write supporting opinions for them, and they play for time - one of the most cynical strategies, as in severe cases some employees simply do not survive protracted legal battles.
Art direction by Florian Gmach.
I made this illustration for German opera magazine Engelsloge. The subject is "Festspiel-Werkstatt" a special theater workshop, part of the Münchener Opernfestspiele, that stages contemporary musical theater in a more unconventional setting (namely a hall where horses are ridden usually). In the Festspiel-Werkstatt new approaches are tested. The results are experimental, unexpected and surprising.
I am back at home. Here are the rest of the drawings from the Fabmobil project. They were made on Monday and Tuesday in Bautzen and Löbau, Eastern Saxony. I am just going to post them now here, but I am planning to write also a longer article about what I did and what I have learned. Stay tuned.
We posted the drawings "live" on the Fabmobil's instagram account and my instagram account as process videos, with audio recorded on site. If you are interested in that check these accounts.