Philip Lindeman surprises his viewers by hiding jokes within his detailed works
- Jyni Ong
- 5 June 2019
Known in primary school as “the boy who draws,” Philip Lindeman filled his childhood notebooks with drawings of Space Jam figures, Cartoon Network characters, superheroes and crooks. Now a freelance illustrator based in Utrecht, Philip’s colourful portraits – influenced by a myriad of his adolescent interests – have been commissioned by several Dutch publications such as De Volkskrant, De Standaard and Vpro Gids.
In high school, Philip gathered references to graffiti and hip hop characters into his aesthetic. He tells It’s Nice That: “At school, I didn’t have a clue about the possibility of turning a hobby into a career. My dean at the time told me about a graphic design course where ‘drawing stood central’ which sounded like music to my ears and I immediately jumped in.” Going on to study illustration at the University of the Arts, Philip honed his signature style of image making only by “exploring all possibilities” at the beginning of his course.
“At the time, I made a lot of work which I didn’t see as immediately useful,” says Philip. “So gradually, I came back to a style of working that seemed to suit me the most. It consists of characters that carry the story, outlined by a bold black line as the basis of the composition and a colour palette to mark the atmosphere.” Since then, he’s continued to deliver striking illustrations in this indicative style for all manner of commissions and personal projects.
“When visualising scenes,” says the illustrator, “I look for a fictional reality or a world that can be experienced as recognisable by the viewer in an indirect way.” Whether it’s a certain style of fashion or a cheeky expression, Philip draws out characterful details to inform the immersive narration within a still image. “Within my creative process, intuition, impulsiveness and a strong urge to draw lead the outcome for the scenes I depict. I think by doing and I like to surprise myself,” he states on the matter and by closely observing peoples’ behaviour at all times, a walk down the road provides plenty of inspiration for the next characters he’s set to draw.
Through illustration, Philip can express his fascination for various memorabilia. He starts off many personal works by identifying objects he wants to draw such as souvenirs on shelves, decorated living rooms or hatter, then curates these elements into meaningful compositions that tell a particular story. “The details in the stories come out through my interest in the toys, clothes, furniture and branding I like,” adds the illustrator. “I like to add Easter eggs whenever I get the chance and when I was a little kid, I was a big fan of the busy worlds of Richard Scarry and Where’s Waldo. So discovering elements within an image always fascinates me and now I like to surprise the viewers of my work by hiding jokes within the composition.”
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.