• 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. Karansingh-mop-int-list

    The glorious coming together of pattern, shape and colour makes for a joyous experience and that’s why print designers are held in such high regard. Last week we commissioned Animade to turn three eye-poppingly good Pucci x Orlebar Brown patterns into trippy GIFs, this week we’re turning our attention to profiling creatives we believe are among the best around when it comes to working in this area. We are proud to present these #mastersofprint.

  2. Jg-street-demon-int-list

    Got the mid-week hump-day gloom, friend? Allow me to do away with it for you with a bumper-pack of animated GIFs by the talented hand of illustrator and animator Julian Glander. He once came up with a clever app which transformed colour data into sound for an eight-note synth and made us all into synaesthetes for a day, which was intricate and complicated enough to warrant a dose of fun to follow. A gang of tiny blob men whirling their arms over their heads at impossible speeds? Yes, please. A tiny man on a bicycle riding in tiny circles forevermore? Go on then. Great things are in the pipeline for this master of 3D shapes, bulgy eyeballs and jumping hamburgers. You mark our words.

  3. Tim-brown-int-list

    As a one-time news journalist (albeit at a very low level) I have a real affinity for reportage illustrators. George Butler is one of the best around and this new film by Tim Brown which follows him on a three-week trip to Afghanistan provides a great insight into his finely-honed talents. On his first trip to the war-torn country George was embedded with British troops, but he hungered to draw the locals whose lives had been so irrevocably changed over recent years. “I was always aware that over the walls there were millions of people getting on with their lives,” he says.

  4. Angiewang-int-main

    Angie Wang is FANTASTIC, she’s hands-down my absolute favourite new illustrator. Her work is an explosive, jelly bean-coloured tangle of cool girls, comic books, hair, nature and clouds: dreamy waves of cuteness and attitude floating along on the backs of ghosts. Some of her drawings may appear silly and adorable, but underneath the fuzziness is a melancholy wisdom of the world around her. She has an ability to capture what only the best kinds of comics do: aspects of life that are loving, scary, otherworldly and magnificent.

  5. Zeloot-int-list-2

    Look at the giant bulbous characters! The boy clamping his hand between his own giant gnashers! The tiny hairy willy floating in mid-air with a bunch of other body parts! This collection could be the work of one woman only and that woman is Eline Van Dam, aka Zeloot, a Dutch illustrator with a taste for the funny, the weird and the generally brilliant. She’s been hard at work of late with a stack of commissions for the likes of Vrij Nederland and The New York Times among others, all of whom are thoroughly enamoured with her unique style. As are we.

  6. Barzilai-int-list

    If you’re currently experiencing some love-related dramas allow me to gently suggest you don’t take them to Pauline Barzilaï for sorting. The French illustrator’s new project Les Peines de l’Amour, a sweet illustrated series on rose pink paper, takes a great sledgehammer to tender affairs of the heart, and smashes them all to pieces with a brutally funny satirical edge.

  7. Die-katze-int-list-2

    You don’t really see them in the UK anymore but there was once a time when fag machines populated bars, clubs, railway stations, street corners and children’s swimming pools so that everyone could readily get their hands on a dose of sweet lady nicotine at a moment’s notice. There’s still a few lingering in Switzerland though, so Daniel Peter and Alice Kolb have found a more family-friendly and creative use for them.

  8. Marta-monteiro-int-list

    Remember Marta Monteiro, whose series of Lilliputian heroines effectively encaptured all of our best Borrower-themed dreams last summer? The illustrator based in Penafiel, Portugal been busy at work since we last checked in, creating all manner of editorial illustrations for the likes of The New York Times and the Washington Post, not to mention some self-initiated projects which have materialised into beautiful books, like Sombras. Her work gives the impression of an illustrator still refining her style, which in her instance is immeasurably exciting, lending her a versatility and an authenticity few manage to successfully pull off. We’re especially enjoying the piece for The Man Who Knew It All, a giant-headed polka-dot dress-wearing lady borrowing the brain of another.

  9. Moonhead-book22-list

    It’s so reassuring to hear that a job at a top ad agency can be secured from an interview on no sleep, feeling “a bit spaced out.” While it’s possibly not the best career advice, that’s exactly how Andrew Rae landed a role at BBH, he told us in his talk at Offset festival. We’re huge fans of Andrew’s work, which over the years has included creating characters for the Mighty Book of Boosh, beautiful botanical illustrations and the wonderful, heartwarming and psychedelic graphic novel Moonhead and the Music Machine.

  10. Jasongalea-int-main

    I came across Jason when I was ogling at this poster for the Panache Spring Fling featuring White Fence, yet another ear-watering gig that I won’t be able to make it to because it’s across the Atlantic. Panache is a boutique booking agency in LA which represent bands like Ty Segall, Chris Cohen, Jacco Gardner, Fuzz, Juliana Barwick, U.S Girls…I could go on. In keeping with its roster it commissions the likes of Melbourne-based visual artist Jason Galea to make the posters and sleeves look as cool and apt as possible. Jason clearly knows what he’s doing with these posters, record sleeves and animations. This is the work of someone who has studied the music visuals of the past, sat around a Ouija board, reincarnated them, and smoked the spirits up in an acid-green infinity bong before splurging them out as art. It’s okay to rip stylistic qualities from eras gone by, but only if you, like Jason, genuinely love the music, and know exactly what you are doing.

  11. Andyrementer-sanmarinostamps-int-list

    Here’s some things you probably didn’t know about the tiny Republic of San Marino. It has no railway. Its 33,00 citizens enjoy one of the highest life expectancies in the world. It is famous for its stamps, which are widely collected by philatelists, or stamp collectors. This last revelation is the one that concerns us here, because we found out yesterday that illustrator, artist and long-time friend of the site Andy Rementer has just designed a set of stamps for The Philatelic and Numismatic Bureau of San Marino, themed around fantastical interpretations of 3D printing.

  12. Chrissie_macdonald_17_theredlist-int-hero

    From walks on Hampstead Heath and shelves bursting with books to cinema tickets and old magazines, Chrissie Macdonald takes a very analogue approach when she starts work on a new idea. Screens take a backseat as she rifles through her collections of stuff, filed in boxes alongside perhaps less useful collections including a “Keanu Reeves file,” shown in all its glory on the huge screen at this year’s Offset festival.

  13. Icinori-int-main

    French duo Mayumi Otero and Raphael Urwiller are a couple united by their unbridled love for print. When their visual arts/illustrative forces are brought together they go by the name of Icinori, and create some of the most beautifully considered, traditional publications, pamphlets, concertina books and posters around. Considering the staggering detail present in every single image they piece together and print, it’s shocking how much new work they’ve just whacked up on their site.