Jan wasn’t formally trained – his drawing and painting skills are self-taught, and have been honed by years of both experience and experimentation. However, he studied graphic design briefly and this gave him a good sense of layout and composition.
Jan’s career began just before computers became the mainstream tools of artists, and his approach reflects this. He’s as happy working with pencils as stencils, painting large format canvases or using a Mac. Working with his hands and real materials is what Jan loves best and inks and brushes are his prime media.
There are four main styles Jan works in. His comic art/graphic novel style ranges from smooth, clean, line-based look through to grittier, more mature graphic novel imagery. He delivers pencil illustrations too – monochrome images that have a vintage feel. Digital painting is another forté, and he’s particularly good when it comes to an airbrushed look. Finally, he has his own brand of acrylic painting, which he often uses for rock n roll cover art.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Jan: It was quite obvious from the very beginning that I would go in the creative area. My mother was an artist and had a gallery, which influenced my education. Being enthusiastic about art and film, I firstly wanted to become director of photography or director, but after a few first steps I was convinced that illustration would be better for me because of its variety. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Jan: Not really. I did study for a short time, but it did not have much to do with illustration. So I quit after a semester and kept on working autodidactic. Question: Where do you live?Jan: After I lived in Essen for more than ten years, I recently moved to a smaller town close to the border to the Netherlands. Question: Can you describe your studio for me? Jan: It´s always been my apartment. I can´t think of anything better than working from home. I do not have a separation between work and private life. The creative work is not an occupation for me, but my passion. I can´t imagine, stopping at 6 o´clock in the evening and turning on the TV. I rather draw right through the night. If not for clients, then for myself. I have two parts in my working room- one for the Mac with it´s equipment and the other one for drawing and painting and anything I need for that. With some work I switch from side to side- that way things keep moving! Question: What is your biggest inspiration? Jan: I look a lot at other illustrations and art, read artbooks, magazines and go to exhibitions. I deeply respect other artists who are ahead of me and try to learn from them as much as I can. I am also inspired by everyday life and my hobbies like films, cars and music. Question: How do you get the best ideas? Jan: Mostly with watching films (especially on the big screen in the cinema) But also during long road trips, flights or walks. It must be the movement, that gets my thoughts going? Question: What technique do you use? I try to be open and test different things. Digital and analog is at a 50/50 level. I draw many images and just as many are completely digital. Apart from that I like using the paintbrush and ink, acrylic on canvas and sometimes watercolor. The most interesting jobs are those where I can combine many analog and digital techniques. Question: Tell us about a favorite project you have recently completed. Jan: Much fun is the work for a young label of Rockabilly clothes, because I am quite free in the creative part and can act out completely: Shoot fashion editorials, design shirts and catalogues. Do the web design and much more. The greatest project is this entire profession. Because of its variety and new clients and challenges it´s something like a lifelong project. Question: What would be your dream job/Commission? Jan: Difficult, maybe clients like Nike or "Absolut" come to any illustrators mind, right? In the end it depends on the circumstances: large client, worldwide publishing, creative freedom and a big budget- would be perfect, wherever it comes from. Question: Who are your illustration heroes? Jan: It changes once in a while. It used to be fantasy artists like Giger or Frazetta, then comic artists like Frank Miller, Todd Mc Farlane, Will Eisner, for a while graffitti and its artists played a big role in my life and because of my love for film I an interested in legends like Syd Mead and Ralph McQuarrie. In addition to that there are american subculture/pop art and independent artists like Jim Phillips, Ed Roth, Robert Williams , Glenn Barr, Mel Ramos,… too many to all be named. Question: Do you keep a sketchbook? Jan: I do, but in cases of emergency I use beer mats or catalogue pages. Question: What are your hobbies? Jan: I love going to the movies, even though I don´t get a chance as often as I would like to. Or I watch the movies later on on DVD. I am crazy about Oldtimers and Muscle Cars. I own a 67 Mustang and a 64 Galaxy. Always a lot to work on. Question: If you were not an illustrator, what would you be? Jan: I think something in the movie business. But probably not in Germany. Question: Who would you like to meet? Jan: Steven Spielberg, even though I would probably not be able to say a single word. Or maybe someone slightly more realistic like Quentin Tarrantino or James Hetfield to ask if we could do a project together. Question: If you could travel back in time, where would you go to? That would be a great thing to do! Middle Ages probably or the antique Rome or earlier than that. Or maybe "just" South California in 1968 or an Elvis concert in the 50´s. Question: What kind of music do you listen to? Jan: Motown from the 60´s and 70´s, Rockabilly, Rap or Metal from the 90´s, Independent, Nancy Sinatra, Southern Rock, Blues, Doo Wop, BigBeat/Electro Question: What is the funniest thing you have ever done? Jan: I am not really funny. But according to my friends that would be my pub fight with Bela B. Question: If you won the lottery, would you still work as illustrator? Jan: Definitely! Question: Do you collect anything? Jan: Art books and Coffee Table Books, US Cars and DVDs. Question: Do you have a favorite game? Jan: Nope.
Freixenet, Beck´s, Smart, MTV, ZDF, Audi, Ford, Javaanse JongensFavourites
: Pinsel, Bleistift, Wacom Tablet
: Copronason, L.A.
: Buchhandlung König
, Amoeba Music
: Soul Hellcafe in Essen
: Pfannkuchen, indisch