Staying Creative with Joost Stokhof
Art Director, Illustrator and Amsterdam local Joost Stokhof joined us as an artist collab on our Left Behind collection. In our latest Interview, Joost talks with us about his earliest drawings and how he balances the melancholy and humour of his personality in his illustration work.
Thanks for chatting with us Joost, when did you first get into illustration?
I have been drawing since I was a little kid: I remember redrawing all of the Mad Magazines my dad had laying around, that slowly (very slowly) developed in my own thing. I often describe my work with the description ‘drawing the smaller picture’. So it has to do with illustration, art, visual journalism maybe? I try not to put myself in a box too much.
Any artists you can say immediately influenced your style?
I got to know the work of Kim Hiorthøy during a residency in Norway in 2010, and it blew me away. So versatile, poetic, mystririous; it gave me a huge urrge to do and try more. During my art acedemy years I picked up a book called ‘Yokoland’ by two graphic designers working under that moniker: they make fun, weird, naive, crazy album covers, videoclips, posters and installations. I was really atracted tot heir punk mentality (more in approach than style) and have been trying to live by those rules ever since.
How much of your work is a reflection of your personality? Does that ever clash when you're making client work?
It’s basically who I am, I tend to be melancholic, nostalgic, slightly awkward, but also love making jokes and making people laugh. So I guess all the themes in my work come from there: I see my work as very melancholic, but there’s also a hint of humour in it. The main technique is drawing. And I always start from there.
With client work, I don’t think too much about the briefing but start drawing from intuition and then I try to fit what I have drawn into what the client has briefed. It enables me to not overthink too much but to work from my, am I really gonna say this, heart. I think it comes down to feeling the freedom to do what I like doing, sometimes you feel that a client has a very clear image in her/his head and those are never great processes.
Do you use any digital processes to aid your illustrations?
No, I am completely analogue, I only do a little coloring in photoshop, but all my lines are drawn on a piece of paper (I’m getting an I-pad pro, so ask me again in a few months!). But yeah, I haven't tried anything too new for a while, which is a bad thing. I’d love to do some more writing, now my writing is always accompanying my drawings, but I love to see where it will go on it’s own. With drawing I can sort of judge myself objectively, but as far as writing goes I have no idea. That’s an exciting (and scary) starting point. I guess working digitally can go both ways: as long as you keep making honest work it can truely benefit you since it makes work so easy.
"I think it comes down to feeling the freedom to do what I like doing, sometimes you feel that a client has a very clear image in her/his head and those are never great processes."
‘Beginners’ by Mike Mills
I’d love to be the main design guy by a nice little record label and make a shitload of record covers.
Finally, any artists/ designers we should know about?
Graphic design: @basterandthefunkybunch