Wouter Tulp is a Character Designer and Illustrator. Born in Vlaardingen, Netherlands to a very creative family, he was surrounded by art from a young age. Tulp studied at Willem de Kooning Academie Rotterdam, before going on to work as a freelance illustrator.
Due to the limited amount of creative work available in the Netherlands, Tulp decided not to specialise early on, consequently motivating him to develop many different styles. This expanded and shaped his techniques and processes. His versatility allowed him to work on a range of projects including children’s books, book covers, editorial and caricatures.
For the most part of his career, however, Tulp has work as a visual development artist and character designer for 2D and 3D animated projects. Which is where I believe his work really shines. Tulp is one of the few illustrators that makes the process of character design look easy. His characters are both exaggerated and believable to the point that you feel like you have met the people his characters are based on. Gratefully, Tulp actually shares his much of his knowlage and techniques on his tutorial blog.
Since its launch in 2011 Gumroad has fast become the one of the most popular platforms for creatives to sell their digital content. However, Gumroad is purposely designed without a centralised area of search and discovery, instead the emphasis is on the creators to direct their audience. Which makes it impossible to just stumble on all that great content. You can find some good stuff in the Gumroad Collections section, but that really does not even scratch the surface of how many gems the site has.
So I took it upon myself to put together a list of 28 Gumroad creators you really should know:
Comics & Sketchbooks
1. Carey Pietsch – Many of the Brooklyn-based illustrator’s acliamed comics, including her Keepsakes stories.
2. Anna Cattish – The popular comic artist and character designer is currently selling a special digital edition of her Sketchbook 2014.
3. Edward Ross – A small collection of comics from Edinburgh-based comic book artist, including Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film.
4. Eric Grissom – A Couple of free comics from the writer and letterer of the comic series Deadhorse.
5. Evan Dahm – Comics and sketchbooks from the creator and illustrator of the Rice Boy webcomic.
6. Ian Andersen – A host of comics from the cartoonist behind the daily auto-bio journal comic, Citric Journal.
7. Ian Lawrence – A collection of sketchbooks from the North Carolina illustrator and tattoo designer, Inkloose.
8. Lucy Bellwood – Many nutical-themed comics from the ship-sailing cartoonist.
9. Maré Odomo – Comics and drawings from the Seattle illustrator.
10. Natalie Nourigat – Sketchbooks from the Eisner-nominated writer and cartoonist.
11. Polly Guo – Both volumes of Houdini & Holmes, from the New York-base comic artist and animator.
12. Rachel Kahn – Comics and drawings from the illustrator and concept artist.
13. Retrofit Comics – A publishing house, founded by Box Brown, features an array of comic from various illustrators.
14. Sam Bosma – Currently hosting his highly praised comic, The Hanging Tower.
15. Sarah Horrocks – A small collection of comics from the writer and artist.
16. Will Terrell – The sketchbooks of popular YouTube illustrator.
17. Yale Stewart – More comics from the creator of webcomic JL8.
Tools & Tutorials
18. Adam Duff – Digital painting tutorials from the Canadian concept artist.
19. Alexandre diboine – Character design video tutorial that includes the brushes used.
20. Dave Rapoza – In-depth video tutorials from the phenomenal freelance illustrator and comic artist.
21. Eytan Zana – Beautiful landscape video tutorials covering colour, light and composition.
We asked 200 artists one question.”If I was a magic genie, and could make a book that would solve all of your art problems, what would that book be?” We got many different answers, but after a while, we started to see similar patterns in their responses. Most common problems had to do with character design, movement, facial expressions & drawing hands. 21 Draw solves all of these problems.
21 Draw is a book about character design, movement and expression drawn by over 100 amazing artists who have worked for Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Rockstar Games, Marvel, D.C Comics, Capcom and other giants of the entertainment and gaming industry.
The Book Review:
21 Draw is the exact type of project that could only be conceived and delivered with today’s social media and crowd-funding backdrop. The Lounge was lucky enough to be contacted by Chris O’Hara about the project very early on. So, in May last year, once the project went live on Indiegogo we watched in anticipation how well it would be received. However, with the roster of phenomenal artist including Steve Rude, Ariel Olivetti, Kim Jung Gi, Artgerm, Loish, Phobes and many other industry giants attached to 21 Draw, we needn’t fret. In just one week the project raised $77,000. Over the course on May 2,337 backers raised $150,181, more than 3 times its original goal.
The 21 Draw dream was to be both an artbook and a reference book. It focused on answering common artist problems. After surveying 200 artist, the recurring topics were a lack of good character references, action poses, drawing faces and (no surprise) drawing hands.
Addressing this, the book is broken up by character type, for each character the artists produce two pages of headshots, turnarounds, action poses and hands. Included are common characters tropes such as adventurer, detective, hero, magician, pirate, princess and more, as well as quite a few not so common ones, like Kawai Tokyo girl. I enjoy this repetitive nature of the book, comparing how each illustrator manage the same brief. All artist, except Kim Jung Gi, whom the editor thought would be “cool” to give him a much looser brief, I think most of us would agree.
As well as being categorised reference book, 21 Draw includes 13 tutorials, in which the artist explain their process from sketch to the final image. Including what medium and programmes they work in and a few neat tricks. I love going behind-the-curtain of such skilled illustrators. Out of all the tutorials, for me, the highlight was Steve Rude’s four pages. I would more than happily buy a full book of just those.
Flicking through the book, just when you think you have had your fill of inspiration, it keeps going. Like a five-course-meal, with two deserts. 21 Draw is an achievement that not only collates an excellent array of talent, it is genuinely helpful. Even if it is just a springboard of inspiration, the quality and diversity of the illustrations; both in terms of style and subject, will undoubtedly earn 21 Draw a permanent space on your drawing desk.
A follow-up book titled 21 Draw: Illustrators Guidebook is in the works which I am very excited to see what it has in store. You can find out more about that on their Facebook page.
Hardback or Paperback
215 x 255mm
When 3DTotal offered the Illustrator’s Lounge an opportunity to review their Sketch Workshop series I jumped at the chance. I first heard about it through their exceedingly successful Kickstarter campaign. My intrigued was peaked, how would they tackle explaining some rather complex and layered subject matters to a novice?
Expecting to receive one or two of the workbooks, when I opened the parcel to find the entire Sketch Workshop bundle, there was a genuine gasp of joy. It included the leather-style folder, all five workbooks, and a set of drawl-inducing drawing tools, including five Koh-I-Noor graphite pencils. It is a very attractive set, which I sat staring at for a while, before it suddenly dawned on me that I may need some help if I planned on doing a review of this set any justice.
I decided to recruit the help of my 8-year-old cousin, (appropriately named) Arty. Definitely younger than the demographic that these workbooks are aimed for, but I was interested to see how accessible the tutorials are. I know that Arty already has an interest in illustration and has an attention span that could rival mine. So I knew it would not be too laborious to ask him to sit down for an hour or so and work through some of the pages with me.
I thought that Robot & Spaceships and Creatures workbooks would be best, as I know that Arty has a love of cars, and as you can’t really draw “creatures” wrong, can you? When I arrived workbooks in hand and told Arty that today we will be drawing together, he got really excited. When I pulled out the stationary he got even more excited, which is an indication of a future artist if there ever was one.
Given the choice of the two workbooks, Arty decided to go for Creatures. So I opened it up to a tutorial which looked the simplest. I showed him the page and explained what we would be drawing, then I read all the instructions to him, to which he responded “Wow, that’s hard”. I laughed and then tried to simplify the instructions a bit for him. He chose his pencils and got started.
Interestingly I had already given the Anatomy workbook a go a few days earlier, and my initial reaction was very similar to Arty’s. I am a competent illustrator and there was not anything in the Anatomy workbook that I would particularly struggle drawing, but yet I found some of the tutorials intimidating. A combination of a beautifully rendered sketch accompanied with instructions that neglected to explain the basics just threw me off. All workbooks have multiple tutors, so this scenario is not case for all tasks, but it is a common theme across the workbooks.
An example that came up when drawing with Arty was that he did not understanding the 3D aspect of the jaw and stuck to drawing the front row of teeth. I sketched a cylinder to help explain how he should think of a jaw and he quickly understood adapted his drawing to show back teeth. After an hour of drawing, Arty had filled a couple pages of A4 paper with a few pretty impressive creature teeth and dinosaur eyes. That was sadly as far as his attention span went. He then proceeded to shape the putty rubber into a rocket and throw it around the room. However, working alongside Arty’s helped me better gauge whom these workbooks are best suited to.
It is sadly a tad advanced for an 8-year-old (specifically Arty). I felt the tutorials were a bit too specific for my own needs, but I will probably give Robots & Spaceships and Cityscapes another go, as I have always found this area of technical drawing difficult. So ruling out the novice and the seasoned illustrator (ahem) I would say that these books best suit intermediate artist, those who have a good grasps of the basics, understand construction well, and have just starting to push their art into a direction.
Which brings me to the strength of the Sketch Workshop. It does a great job of encouraging the artist to really think. If you are drawing a creature, is it dangerous? If so where will their jaw hinge? If it is a robot, what fuel does it use? After you have really thought about the physicality of the drawing you are asked to consider lighting, so that you can render your drawing as realistic as possible too. These are definitely areas which can get left behind when learning to draw, so there is obvious merit in their approach.
All in all, if I had the Sketch Workshop when I was in Secondary School it would likely be one of my most prized possessions. It is beautifully presented and impossible not to get excited about. I will surely be wrapping the bundle up and gifting it to Arty for Christmas, and just like a Christmas jumper, hope he grows into it.
Try Sketch Workshops for FREE!
3DTotal is currently giving away a free sample chapter of the Robots & Spaceships Sketch Workshop on their site. Check it out here.
Sketch Workshop Bundle 3DTotal Publishing Includes:
The Sketch Workshop leather-style folder
5 Workbooks (Anatomy, Characters, Creatures, Robots & Spaceships, Cityscapes)
A set of drawing tools (graphite pencils, sketching pens, a putty rubber and dual pencil sharpener)
I follow quite a few illustrators on Instagram, but recently the work of J.A.W. Cooper has been blowing me away. You know when you complete an illustration, take a step back and think to yourself, “Yes! Nailed it”. Well, that’s what I imagine Ms Cooper is doing every time right before she uploads a new picture to her Instagram.
Born in England but currently living in Los Angeles, Ms Cooper is a freelance illustrator, sculpture, jewelry maker and member of the Prisma Collective. Professionally she illustrates for the entertainment and advertising industry creating storyboards, concept and character design. Personally she frequently produces work for galleries. Her work has been exhibited in Gallery Nucleus, Spoke Art Gallery, and La Luz de Jesus Gallery.
J.A.W. Cooper regularly updates her blog. Which is of course filled with her beautiful artwork, and lots of photographs of her process. So much so that she set up a separate tutorial section just for it. Ms Cooper breaks down her process step-by-step and explains her thinking as well as highlight problematic areas of her process. It is full of good tips, and very helpful to see such detailed breakdowns of her work.