Sunday, May 15, 2011

Creating visual stories that make people happy :)

When I first saw Bas' illustrations I felt like smiling... it was a good feeling, so I looked for some more. It's a joy to make and see people smile, even if just a little!

Bas made me even more happy when he agreed to give this very inspirational interview. Enjoy!

Artist Bas Waijers
The Moon from My Attic: Please introduce yourself. My name is Bas Waijers and I’m an illustrator. I wanted to tell stories ever since I saw Fantasia as a 10-year-old kid. I was born and raised in The Netherlands, but seven years ago I moved to New York; that’s where I currently live with my wife and 2 1/2 year old son.

TMFMA: Where do you enjoy doing your creative work? I enjoy working on ideas pretty much anywhere. Inspiration comes from many unexpected places sometimes, so I make sure to always carry around a sketch book and a pen. I love to sketch outside and then produce the actual illustration at my studio. You see my favorite park bench in the picture above!
Sunrise © Bas Waijers
TMFMA: How did you get started? I remember drawing ever since I remember dreaming! As I kid I was always drawing characters from Disney movies. Then around the age of 12, I started to draw more from my own inspiration. My professional career in illustration began in 1996. I never had a formal education in illustration or character design since those don’t exist in Holland. I’m pretty much self taught and learned mostly by looking at work that inspires me, and by trying to figure out how it was made.

TMFMA: What is exciting about your creative work? I love to create characters and the worlds they live in. But the most exciting, and the hardest thing to do, is to give my work a heart. It’s always a thrill when somebody picks up on it, and that’s the greatest reward I can get! I also love the challenge of coming up with new ideas and being original. 

ArtBeat Supplies © Bas Waijers
TMFMA: What’s your favorite medium or tool you create with? Every new illustration starts with making sketches. I always draw my sketches with a ballpoint pen. As a technique, it’s very unforgiving because I can’t erase anything. But because it’s so final, it has taught me to sketch quickly and decisively.

Sketches © Bas Waijers
When the sketch is done, I produce the final art digitally. At the moment I’m really into working with Flash in combination with a Wacom tablet. I like how flexible the drawing tools are, and how they allow me to work loosely and quickly. I also work with software such as Painter and Photoshop.

TMFMA: Do you work by yourself or do you also do collaborative work? I work on my illustrations by myself. But I’m also illustrating two interactive iPad books, and that’s all team work. It’s a great way to get immediate feedback and to see a entire project come to life. These images are from the upcoming app “The wonderful Colorful House.”

Wch © Bas Waijers
TMFMA: Tell us of a fun and creative project or a collaboration, and what you learned from it. One project that I’m really proud of is a book that I illustrated for my Dad when he got sick. I was able to show it to him two weeks before he passed away. It was my way of telling him how much he had meant to me throughout my life. Months later I was asked to develop it further into an interactive book for the iPad. It’s almost done and has a lot of heart. It touches on the topic of losing a loved one, and does so in a gentle, playful way. My hope is that it can help parents discuss this with their children.

TMFMA: Where do you like to look for inspiration? The great thing about inspiration is that it can come from anywhere, at anytime. It’s in everyday life, the way that people act and interact. I also get heavily inspired by animations, movies, games and music.  The trick is to be able to recognize a good idea in the middle of a flurry of not-so-good ones. Brainstorming is a very fast process, and it’s easy to dismiss ideas because you think they may not work for whatever reason. A lot of times though, it turns out that those original thoughts are the ones that are the best.

It's About Life © Bas Waij
TMFMA: Is there a person or thing that has influenced you in your artistic efforts? I’ve mostly been inspired by the wonderful animations from Disney, Pixar and Hayao Miyazaki. To me they are the absolute master storytellers. It’s incredible how they transport the viewer into their worlds of imagination.

TMFMA: What are the reasons for you to do what you do? After I saw Fantasia I knew that I wanted to create work that makes people happy, work that can lift somebody’s spirit and that can make them believe in an imaginary world! That is still my most important motivation today.

Stroll © Bas Waijers
TMFMA: What are your future aspirations and goals? I hope to tell many more stories that people can enjoy, in whatever form. Make Believe!

Website Apps:
Website Illustration:

Mr. Little © Bas Waijers


Amy and Joanne said...

Great article. I am a writer. Bas' view of creativity is very inspiring to me. And I love his drawings. Thanks for posting this interview.

Darlene said...

Wonderful article and amazing illustrator. An insoiration to all creative types!