We're constantly looking for interesting artists on Instagram. We will be introducing them every tuesday in a series called Introtuesday. Please meet Utrecht, the Netherlands based illustrator Nik van Es.
What are you working on at the moment? I just finished working on a poster for "Everything will be okay", which is a stand-up comedy club in Baltimore, USA. I’m also currently working on a little portfolio book to send out to potential clients. I’m really excited (and maybe a little bit scared) because it’s something I haven’t done before, but I’m really looking forward seeing the end result. Hopefully it will land me some more work! Besides that I’m always working on personal work. I feel like your creativity and skill set is almost like a muscle which you need to train on the regular, so that when you get an assignment you can give it everything you got.
What is your work process like? I haven’t really put that much thought into writing out or documenting my process because I tend to switch things up a lot. I like to have an open mind when it comes to creating and don’t like to get stuck in the same routine or technique. But, a little while ago I had to answer a similar question for an interview and paid some more attention to what I was doing and tried to notice some recurring things.
One thing I noticed is that a part of my (creative) process consists of a little ritual. I always start a new work or project (either client work or personal work) with a clean desk. It like to think that it gives me space and room to think, it really gives me the feeling of starting completely blank. As time passes by, and I get further into my project, my desk gets more cluttered with bad drawings, different layers, abandoned ideas, dirty dishes and so on. When I finish the work or project I completely clean the desk again. It doesn’t feel finished if I don’t clean up, but I guess it’s also some sort of discipline that I like in my life. Please note that I’m also working from home right now, so maybe it’s also a way for me to divide work and personal life.
Another thing that comes into mind is music – I can’t work without it. I like having a short playlist but I also really like to work with one single song on repeat, it’s almost hypnotizing to me. Sometimes I listen to the same song for a few hours!
As far as my technical process: I don’t like to sketch too much. I actually prefer to start immediately on a work or project and make adjustments while working on it or when a client wants me to change anything. In the past sketching was a bigger part of my process but at a certain point I noticed that I was relying too much on the sketch. I was basically trying to redraw the exact same sketch in a perfect way, which most of the time led to a really rigid, forced illustration. It makes me really uncomfortable to redraw something because I like my work to have some spontaneity and movement so I just pretty much decided to stop doing it, at least for personal work. When I’m working for a client I prefer to show them in-between shots instead of sketches, but if the client really insists I just show some really rough sketches.
Favorite work snack? I don’t snack a lot really, but when I do I eat a whole package of Snickers, for example.
Any personal projects on the side that you're excited about? I just started to paint again and I’m really excited about that. It’s really nice for me to have a break from creating these computer files. It’s great to have a physical piece of work and I like the fact that you can easily make mistakes which are really hard to resolve. It forces me to concentrate, get better at my craft and improve. I really want to do larger format paintings too, so I’m currently looking for a studio and I’m really excited about that too :-)
Follow Nik on Instagram and check out his portfolio at www.nikvanes.com