• Anton-van-hertbruggen-memoires_of_a_suburban_utopia

    Anton Van hertgruggen: Memoires of a Suburban Utopia (detail)

Illustration

Introducing...Anton Van Hertbruggen’s beautiful, spacious illustrations of star-gazing in surburbia

Posted by Anna Trench,

We’re over the moon to have discovered Anton Van Hertbruggen. Whether illustrating adventures with giraffes in tents or star gazing in suburbia, Anton uses space beautifully, has a delicate line and the loveliest palette of blues. At only 22 the illustrator from Antwerp’s style is impressively assured.

He says he’s always searching for a utopian world for himself in his work and is happiest when visualising how things could have been in a certain time or place. To find out more, we asked Anton about his work and working habits. You can see his illustrations and works-in-progress and read his thoughtful answers below. Let’s hope he keeps cycling round Antwerp exploring ideas and collecting stories for a very, very long time.

  • Anton-van-hertbruggen-desk

    Anton Van Hertbruggen: Desk

  • Anton-van-hertbruggen-het-honje-dat-nino-niet-had-1

    Anton Van Hertbruggen: from Het Honje Dat Nino Niet Had

  • Anton-van-hertbruggen-work-in-progress

    Anton Van Hertbruggen: Work in Progress

  • Anton-van-hertbruggen-work-in--progress-2

    Anton Van Hertbruggen: Work in Progress

Where do you work?

I still live with my parents, not far from Antwerp, so for the moment I work in my bedroom and in the attic, where I have a big comfortable space to work. The digital part happens in one room and everything else in the other. So I switch between these places and don’t have to sit on the same chair all day, which is good.

How does your working day start?

I always try to start as early as possible, which off course doesn’t always go exactly as planned. First I make myself some tea or coffee and put on some music. As long as I’m working there’s music playing – that’s a good thing about the job if you like listening to music… Then I look back at the work I made the day before. If I’m happy, I can see it again, and mostly that means I’m ok with it and I want to carry on immediately. But if I’m avoiding it, it means I don’t really like it.

Before I start working I tend to browse the library of pictures I’ve gathered on the internet because I’ve found them interesting for various reasons. This often takes longer than planned, but it often helps me to get in the right direction for some projects, give me new ideas or just gives me a boost to go and make something. The rest of the day I just keep on working as good as possible and try not to be distracted every five minutes. I’m not that good at sitting still for a long time…

How do you work and how has that changed?

As I haven’t been working that long it’s a bit difficult to answer this one, but I can already say that the time I spend on a piece is getting longer. Before I begin with a piece or project I spend a lot of time searching for documentation. For me that’s a very important part and I really like to do it. I’m not a big sketcher. I make only one or two bigger sketches for an illustration. Most of the time I have the full illustration in my head already when I start drawing. It changes a bit during the process, but the biggest part of it is there already. 

I work half digital/half manual. First I make a pencil drawing, which get’s scanned in afterwards. Then I put the same pencil drawing on a light box and trace most of the shapes, especially the organic ones like clouds, trees, smoke, water, shadows… Then I paint these with black paint, fill them with charcoal, pencil – everything that gives me the structure I’m looking for. All these shapes get scanned in, changed to the right colour and put underneath the pencil drawing.

As I’m trying to push my technique further I notice that it’s beginning to be really time consuming. The amount of layers is increasing and it’s becoming a bit too technical sometimes as I try to make more dynamic and lively pieces. Some of the newer works aren’t meant to be made digitally. I think I’m on the verge of starting to paint them. It seems like a more honest technique for the work – also because I want them to be bigger. So there’s a long road ahead and I like it. 

  • On-van-hertgruggen-memoires-of-a-suburban-utopia-3

    Anton Van Hertbruggen: from Memoires of a Suburban Utopia

  • On-van-hertgruggen-memoires-of-a-suburban-utopia

    Anton Van Hertbruggen: from Memoires of a Suburban Utopia

  • Anton-van-hertgruggen-memoires-of-a-suburban-utopia

    Anton Van Hertbruggen: from Memoires of a Suburban Utopia

  • On-van-hertgruggen-memoires-of-a-suburban-utopia-4

    Anton Van Hertbruggen: from Memoires of a Suburban Utopia

  • On-van-hertgruggen-memoires-of-a-suburban-utopia-explosions-in-tke-sky

    Anton Van Hertbruggen: from Memoires of a Suburban Utopia

Where would we find you when you’re not at work?

Riding my bike on my way to my girlfriend or friends is something you could definitely catch me doing as I try to do as much as possible by bike or by foot. Besides that, walks and bike trips are the best way to find inspiration for me. Most of my works are made that way. When I’m not working I like to be outside and surrounded by my girlfriend or friends. I don’t like to be alone. 
I don’t spend much time behind the television and if I do it’s mostly to watch BBC documentaries about animals and nature. 

Would you intern for yourself?

Haha I wouldn’t know actually. I guess I would do but I would be constantly telling myself that I have to stop wasting time and concentrate more. The fact that we both wouldn’t be alone all day would be awesome although sitting in a room with another me each day would become a bit too much talking and less working. I would constantly disturb my intern because I just can’t keep my mouth shut. 

  • On-van-hertgruggen-memoires-of-a-suburban-utopia2

    Anton Van Hertbruggen: from Memoires of a Suburban Utopia

  • Anton-van-hertbruggen-slanted-magazine

    Anton Van Hertbruggen: for Slanted Magazine

  • Anton-van-hertbruggen-het-honje-dat-nino-niet-had-2

    Anton Van Hertbruggen: from Het Honje Dat Nino Niet Had

  • Anton-van-hertbruggen-het-honje-dat-nino-niet-had-4

    Anton Van Hertbruggen: from Het Honje Dat Nino Niet Had

Portrait16

Posted by Anna Trench

Anna is a writer and illustrator who joined us as an editorial intern after studying at Cambridge University and Falmouth university. She wrote for the site between January and March 2013.

Most Recent: Illustration View Archive

  1. Margheritaurbani-list-int

    Being huge fans of Andy Rementer’s cheeky work we’ve seen illustrator Margherita Urbani’s name bandied around a lot over the past few years, whether in credits in Apartamento or The New York Times, but it wasn’t until last week that we thought to look up exactly what she does. Which, as it turns out, is quite a lot.

  2. Mattpanuska-barbara-int-list

    In ancient times Matt Panuska would have been some kind of shamanistic guide, plying his wards with ayahuasca and leading them through their subconscious with a gentle hand. Unfortunately he lives in modern-day Brooklyn, where DMT-related healing is positively discouraged, so Matt makes his living drawing images that seem born from an altered mind.

  3. Brandon-celi-cold-storage-int-8

    Covering beer-holding Furbys, flaxen-haired Nickelback chump Chad Kroeger and laptop Scrabble, Toronto-based illustrator Brandon Celi’s subjects are as varied as his work is brilliant. He works in paint to bring to life hilarious scenarios including a reimagining of the Wizard of Oz scene where the wicked witch is crushed by a house, but this time targeting surely the most evil (aesthetically, at least) of all footwear: Crocs.

  4. Christophniemann-sundaysketch-int-list

    Christoph Niemann is one of our creative heroes, an illustrator and artist whose talent, imagination and sense of humour puts him smack bang in the top drawer. So imagine our excitement when we found out he was doing an Ask Me Anything on Reddit yesterday, where he held forth on all manner of topics, from serious illustration insight to his love of butter. Here’s some of the wit and wisdom he shared…

  5. Charlottedelarue-list-3-int

    Illustrator and art director Charlotte Delarue’s varied work shows her to be an uncommonly talented illustrator, conjuring incredibly realistic portraits out of paper and pencil safe in the knowledge that she doesn’t need to do anything more to make them impressive. Her art direction is of another ilk entirely, however – she works with the likes of electro acts Chromeo, Justice and Kavinsky to draw up impactful logotypes and album artwork concepts that can be spotted from miles away, from the golden legs which reappear on almost every Chromeo album cover to Kavinsky’s mysterious blue-tinged scenes.

  6. Majic_riso

    Sophy Hollington has been busy making some sassy new printed matter. With fan art, band T-shirts, record sleeves and commissions from The New York Times and Japanese gallery Parades, Sophy’s detailed, lino-cut and Risograph printed work is gorgeous, varied and often rather strange.

  7. Joedator-self-int

    Interviewing cartoonist Joe Dator is a real honour, because he’s a total hero and also a spectacular interviewee. Listen to him talk about his working life: “Everything revolves around Tuesday. The New Yorker cartoon meeting is on Tuesday, so that’s the day we all submit our new ideas to the editor…I usually work over the weekend and by Monday night I’m in full-on lockdown to get my batch of ideas ready. Wednesday is a day off. If you ever want to socialise with a New Yorker cartoonist, Wednesday is the day to do it.”

  8. Ben_mendelwicz-collage-7-int

    New York-based illustrator Ben Mendelewicz draws comics, illustrates and animates for the likes of Adult Swim, Stussy and Funny or Die. He has contributed to Mouldmap, Happiness and Weird with comic horror stories of white collar jobs with fragmented scripts of bastardised professional jargon.

  9. Robpybus-thenewrepublic

    It’s great to see Rob Pybus’ work again after a little bit of a break. Like many illustrators at the moment, Rob has been unable to resist the allure of GIFs, and has clearly been spending a lot of his time recently turning his marvellous, perspective-skewing illustrations into mini films. Rob’s also been busy working for a whole bunch of exciting new clients such as Wired, The New York Times, Jacobin and Original Source, among others.

  10. Main

    When we were up at Graphic Design Festival Scotland last year we met two nice guys called Dominic Kesterton and Orlando Lloyd who were assisting people in their design dreams by showing them how to make their own riso prints. A fantastic illustrator and designer respectively, Dominic and Orlando started up a small printing press, Workhorse Press, during their time studying in Edinburgh. We wanted to talk to them about why they’re still at it, the difficulties they face, and why Scotland’s print, design and illustration scene would be lost without them. Here they are…

  11. List

    Rand Renfrow is one of the illustrators we came across among the scores of upcoming artists and illustrators publishing with Clay Hickson’s independent project Tan & Loose yesterday, and seeing as how last time we featured him it was in our Introducing feature nearly two years ago, it seemed high time to check in.

  12. List

    Illustrator Graham Roumieu may be one of the most prolific creatives around. Already the 2015 tab on his website is populated with a load of work, less than two weeks into the year. And because it’s been nearly two years since we last featured him on the site, it’s no great surprise that there is a tonne of great imagery for us, and you, to enjoy. Regular clients include The Atlantic, New York Magazine and the Readers’ Questions feature in Popular Mechanics (where he brings to life such public puzzlers as “What do pilots talk about on long-haul flights?").

  13. 20

    “All hail Hickson!” were the words with which we finished our last post about Chicago-based illustrator Clay Hickson back in 2012, and while it doesn’t give us much to improve on, the expression certainly still seems to fit our feelings for him. Since we last checked in, Clay has developed his practice immeasurably, stepping away from pencils to embrace Adobe Illustrator and printmaking all the more enthusiastically, and making a heap of new work in the process. He’s stuck to his old penchant for pop surrealist scenes and funny-shaped girl parts – he loves a boob and a sausage, does Clay – but the calibre of the work has improved in a striking way.