maandag 22 mei 2017

Back from the Monastery Part 3: Web Presence

Hi Everyone,

In the last Blog we talked about my experiences with conventions. Today i will discuss my web presence, and how it currently helped me, and hopefully will even more in the future.

As another part of my mentorship with Samuel Flegal we talked about me getting the most out of my exposure on the internet. It seems there are alot of layers to peel here to maximize your exposure and make potential enthousiasts of your art have an efficient and enjoyable experience browsing it.

Hope this blog helps you!

Getting Followers on social media

Its the first thing people think about when they hear the world exposure, and rightfully so. On this section i will tell you a few ways i think you can improve your overall following on the internet.  Each platform has its own way to handle things but i will tackle the general bulletpoints for now.

1. Post consistently: The more and consistent you post, the more you will remain in people;s retina. It will also get you higher on peoples walls due to algorithm which is present on most platforms.
2. Post quality: Even though your work is okay-ish and better than the average human being, internet is flooded with it. We get bombarded by it all the time on all the platforms. Thats why even though it might sound harsh, mediocre work gets ignored. hard. Only post the work you are most proud of and it will show.
3. Interact: If people see you are interacting with them, commenting on their art, giving advice, share WIPS, sharing knowledge, it will get you liked and indirectly familiarized with people and they will be more eager to follow you.
4. Thinking outside the web: Among my most quality followers, (most engaged followers) are people which i met outside the internet. I am not talking about my family or friends only, but people i met on conventions. Try meeting new potential lovers of your art outside, and due to the personal interaction you can get lifelong supporters out of it (see my former blog post).
5. Shameless promotion, what does that even mean?!: There is no such thing as shameless promotion. Share on every group and platform you can think of for maximized exposure. However, dont cross the line by breaking any group rules.
6. Post in relevant groups: Find your niche and interact with that area. It doesn't make much sense to post your realistic dark fantasy art in a group where most people adore chibi art of their favourite animals.

Getting to know the platforms

Now you know how to get followers, its time to find out where to find them. In this section i will discuss most notable platforms i use. Some of them require more knowledge to handle properly, some are just good to have around without paying too much attention to them.


Post as much relevant content daily as possible, but dont get too spammy. Your followers here have a more personal connection with you here in general so you would like to be more connected with them. Posting to groups which are aligned with your artwork is a must too. Do not post/share from your art page! Facebook algorithm forces you to pay money for more people to see your artwork there. I recommend turning on the ''follow'' function and do everything from your personal account.

 My Account:


Post every day as much relevant content as possible with the correct hashtags. Also make use of the ''story'' function to share 24HR snaps, if you aren't interested in posting that specific photo permanently.  Instagram is one of the most used social media platforms to date so being active there could garner you a lot of followers

My Account:

Twitter: This Platform is tricky due to it being bloated. You can easily get 1k+ followers which results in it being hard for your followers to see your posts, because they might follow that amount of people as well. My advice, follow as many interesting/relevant people as you like, and that will be the moment, when they see you followed them that your account will have theyr fullest attention.

My Account:


Same as twitter and instagram. Be connected with other people. Reblog /like/follow their stuff to get noticed in the beginning. after that its just a matter of blogging alot to stay updated and get reblogs easily after.

My Account:


The most unused platform for art in my experience. I just share my art here through other platforms when they offer me to. Further more i connect myself with all relevant people to garner a mutual following.

My Account:

Pinterest: Besides being a goldmine for inspiration, you can also post your art in various boards for other people to repin. Make sure you have pinned alot of inspiration for people to follow you, and after that repin your art. pretty much a win-win situation; You pin your inspiration, and you get exposure as well!

My Account:


Seen its glory days, its the most crowded art related site of the world. From amateur to professional, it takes time to stand out. If you start out share your art in various groups to get seen and be consistent with it. After a while you will see your followers number increase and you will get likes/exposure by itself.

My Account:


A site where mostly professionals are present, and people are hiring. It is mostly focussed on concept art, but more illustrative artists are here as well. Personal interaction for exposure is crucial in this platform due to the limited amount of users compared to deviantart for example.

My Account:


Another design site. As described previously interaction is crucial to gain a following on this platform.

My Account:


Excelent platforms for exposure. People really like to learn and delve into the personal life of an artist. When you use these plaforms post regularly to build a consistent reader/viewerbase. This really takes time to build.


 I heard these platforms are potential exposure goldmines, but  I dont have too much experience on these platforms. If you do please share them in the comments

Making your portfolio website

I see a lot of questions and confusion regarding how a portfolio website should look like. Here are some bulletpoints i would like to share with you on how to make your website as readable as possible for art directors and enthousiasts.

1. Keep it simple: You can add as much gadgets on your website but it most likely just distracts your viewer. Keep separate tabs for each thing you would like to share.

2. Only show your 8-12 best works: Art directors have limited time, they dont want to scroll an unending protfolio. Besides, you get picked for your worst piece. Limiting the chance of having a the worst piece stand out is dont by having the 8-12 piece limit.

3. Dont post student work/studies in your potfolio: It is unusable for 99% of potential clients, and as the title says, it shows a studentlike feel to you an an artist. Avoid this entirely or make a separate tab for it with your best pieces of that specific subjectmatter.

4. Make 1 tab with all your pieces in it: People are not keen to search for your best pieces scattered through 3-5 tabs. Since you only need 8-12 pieces anyway in it you can put your best illustrations, character art and environments in 1 tab.

5. You will get hired for the work you show in your portfolio: As the title says, you will get hired for the work that you show, so only add works that you really like to make. If you would show pieces that you don't like to make it would probably show anyway.

6. Dont use custom websites: Alot of people use Artstation or even worse WIX/Deviantart as their portfolio. While they may serve as artdump platforms, as portfolio sites they look highly unprofessional, with an exception for perhaps Artstation. The problem i have with the Artstation portfolio is that the thumbnails are INCREDIBLY small and cut off your images.

7. How to present your artwork: When making your website, make sure all your images are viewed in full, not too small as explained in point 6., but not too large it covers your entire screen. Make the images clickable so that if someone would like to view the piece in large the posibility is present.

My website for inspiration:

I hope this blog helped you! Next time i will conclude my series of my hiatus year from blogging. If you have any experiences or tip and tricks regarding web presence to share, please do so in the comment section!

Wish you all the best, until next time,


donderdag 11 mei 2017

Back From the Monastery Part 2: Conventions

Hi Everyone,

In Part 1 i talked about my growth towards being a professional artist through my mentorship with Sam Flegal on a technical level. In this blog post i will talk about my growth with conventions and the ins and outs of getting the most out of your presence behind your booth. I will talk about each convention i went through in chronoligical order. Please enjoy and i hope you learn a thing or two!

Elfia 2017

2015 Gooische Comic Con

My first convention ever. Technically a disaster, since there were almost no people attending the convention itself, and ofcourse since it was my first convention ever. I was over confident, ordered too many prints which turned out too dark and sat (!) besides the table, head down, drawing and painting; Making minimal contact with any potential buyers. This was a disaster for social interaction. However, surprisingly i met alot of people which opened various doors for me regarding other conventions later on.

Things i learned:

1. Artwork looks lighter on the screen than it will be printed, due to it being back lit. Always lighten your artwork a bit before you get it printed.
2. This stuff is harder than it looks! haha.
3. Even though the convention may not be a success, you will meet interesting folks to hang out with or who might even prove a plus for your career later down the line!

2015 Kampen Comic Con

This was an outdoors comic con. It went better than the previous convention i have been to but still not very well.

Things i learned:

1. Not much. Perhaps a bit easier talking with people and got a bit more into the convention vibe

2015 Breda Comic Con

This convention was a disaster by itself. I was struggling with depression at the time and it showed on how people reacted to me. The second day i felt better, and i asked advice from artist Iris Compiet, who helped me out with my booth perfectly. She at that point had the best booth and presence i had ever seen irl. She helped me with various points below:

Things i Learned:

1.  I literally left the prints lying on the wood of the table itself. Next time i had to get a tablecloth, preferably a neutral dark one.
2. The prints were strewn on the table. without any order. Time to get some print holders who would make them stand out, to draw attention.
3. Some prints and a poster were stuck to the wall behind me with duckttape. (without any sleeves ) That had to go!
4. Sitting with my head down wouldn't get me any interaction. I had to stand up, and actually invite people into my booth.
5. If you are happy, people around you will! So make sure you are well rested and enthousiastic!

Since this convention was a tought experience i stopped doing them for a while, until my mentorship with Samuel Flegal. He told me i should do the following things: (besides the above)

1. Don't do comissions. It will make you sit down and avoid contact with people.
2. How to talk to people who are interested in your art ( i might get in depth on this on a separate blog)

2016 Utrecht Artistic Comic Con

For that time this was my best convention so far. While the convention itself wasnt that good due to amount of people, i felt i did pretty well. I dropped comissions and focussed purely on representing my personal art in print form, standing up ofcourse. While standing up i felt i was more alert and i could talk better with people about my art. This convention marked the beginning of my successes in conventions.

2016 Breda Comic Con 

This convention was just great. I felt like the roles compared to the year before were reversed completely. I was the guy who gave people advice instead of receiving it regarding their booth presence. My girlfriend helped me out and my mother, mother in law and sister in law with her bf came to visit, which is always good for morale.

Things i learned: 

Having someone to help you out is golden!

 My girlfriend helping me out

2016 Terneuzen Comic Con

This convention was ok. Very little people came. And most of them were comic collectors anyway.

Things i Learned: 

Going to small conventions just isnt worth my time, at this stage in my experience Very little people come so your exposure is limited as well. Time to Take the Plunge into bigger conventions and make a scary investment! However dont do this when you are starting out. learn the ins and outs on smaller cons and grow steadily towards the bigger ones.

2016 Xmas Comic Con

Best Convention until then! I had a friend coming out to help me. Having two people operating a 4M table is just the way to go. This was the biggest convention i had ever been to until then and at first it was a tad intimidating, since i invested so much in it. But at the end it just went great!

Things i Learned:

1. The more you invest in a convention, the more you get out of it on the long and short run.
2. Buy Protective sleeves for your prints 

Friend of mine and me at Xmas Comic Con

2017 Elfia

Again an improvement in the convention scene for me! Not only was it my biggest and most succesful convention to date, it was also one i felt i really levelled up. I went with a friend who had a car. He took various materials with him which facilitated out booth in a positive way. A cardboard covered with cloth which acted as a wall for our prints to lean on, and a rack for his postcards. The funny thing is since i stopped doing comissions, people actually dont realize i am the artist; mostly they think i am a retailer. This has to change! I needed to get a banner.

Things i Learned: 

1. Get a car
2. Get a large holder for my canvas prints
3. Get a postcard rack
4. Get a banner with your name and function on it

Overview of Major things i Learned so far:

1. Its not enough to present quality work. Your booth setup is perhaps as important! It shows a professional attitude towards the viewer and towards your own work. Feel free to get inspiration from my own setup or of artist you have met at your local convention.
2. Be enthoustic and stand up all the time. Standing up makes your blood flow and thus more enthousiastic, and makes people more eager to have a positive interaction with you.
3. Be well groomed and dress nicely. These two things i always tried my best to work on, and might even speak for itself, but people tend to take you more professionaly earlier when you look like you could afford your own work in a heartbeat.
4. When printing prints (for conventions), make sure you lighten them a bit on your computer, since the artwork is back lit, it looks lighter than it actually is when it will be printed
5. Draw your people in your booth an tell them about your work as an artist! Most people dont realise you are the artist anyway in my experience if you are not actively drawing at your booth.
6. Always try to learn new things every convention, be it socially or technically (business modules, gear to buy etc)
7. If possible get a spouse or a friend to help you out. This decreases the workload tremendously.
8. A Simple handshake can do wonders!
9. If possible, get a car to transfer next-level gear to enhance your booth.
10. When starting out you might have a tough convention experience like i did. Dont get discouraged and try to improve each time you do a new ones. You will see that it pays off. No Pain, No Gain.

So this was it, here is a quick overview of my experiences with conventions. Trust me i have way more to tell about this but i suppose i will get to that deeper in other blogposts. Meanwhile i hoped you learned a thing or two from it, and if you have anything to say, please discuss below!

 When your art can make someone happy!

Next Time...

I see alot of artists struggling with their internet presence. Now that i have learned a thing or two from that i really would like to share what i know regarding that subject matter.

So stay tuned for Part 3!

All the best,


vrijdag 5 mei 2017

Back from the Monastery Part 1: Art

Hey everyone,

Now you are wondering, what this specific title means, does it have to do something with my absence from blogging for over a year?

Actually, it does.

I have been training my art skills and business in the metaphorical buddhist monastery with Mentor Samuel Flegal. ( ). The mentorship has concluded, and a few months i were set to test my newfound abilities into the world. The results were mixed. In this session i will try to explain what i learned from the mentorship regarding technical skills.

 Mystic Monastery by Florian de Gesincourt
So around february 2016 i felt, like many artist at a certain stage, a bit stuck with my art. I didnt have any feedback from professionals and i liked to know at which stage i was in art. I was following the One Fantastic Week show online, and one of the hosts seemed like a cool guy with knowledge that suited my interest so i approached him for a mentorship. We started 2 weeks later. It was mostly concluded my that work was 80% on a being of a professional level. The missing 20% being a lack of a personal voice/creativity, rendering and properly using reference.

We started working on the creativity part. I had to choose my favourite time of the year (Spring), my Zodiac Sign (Scorpion), and my favourite flower (Lotus). For each of these i had to make sketches of warriors, to train my imagination. From these sketches i picked a final piece, which was from my favourite time of the year which was Spring.
Final Sketch for the Knight of Spring
For an artistic purpose you could say this piece has value, but technically it lacks various technical aspects. Now it was time to prepare the final piece and make the thumbnails. I have also written a story to guide me on my way. From there i would shoot the references i need to create the painting.
Here is a shot of my girlfriend that i used for the pose of the character

Some Thumbnails i made, none of them which i intented to use. However, it helped me in various ways. Mainly with the narrative.

I also learned that most artists take shooting references to a next level. They even dress up for the occasion and use proper lighting. They make things as easy for themselves as possible. This showed to be a major struggle in this piece since i made a lot of guess work, which kills your time. A few months later, i bought this beauty. A mini suit of armor to guide me with armor, reflections and proper lighting. This saves alot of time guessing and maximizes the realism. 

The more you reference, the faster you paint and the better the realism.
 From here, i started painting. The Process took alot out of me. I made alot of basic mistakes and it really plunged me into the deep. Here are some process shots:

Here are the project shots for the piece. As mentioned earlier it was madness working on this piece, since i kept unlocking new ways to work and to fix. I have around 7 PSD files, all of the filled up with small layers fixing this and that.

Rendering/Final Touch

After i finished the piece at number 6, i posted it online, without asking for a final approval from Sam, and was dissapointed on the response i got on social media. I approached Sam and he told me the piece was not yet ready to post. It was almost done. I didnt get it since in my eyes it was done, but i understood it eventually because of my lack of experience.

 I had around 5% left to go to have my first professional piece done! Sam told me i had to look at artists i admired and see how they polished their work.

               Dryad Arbor by Brad Rigney                                       Artwork By Chris Beatrice

Samuel told me i should compare my work directly to that of artists/art i admired, and i looked for two artpieces i found fitting to the artwork i was working on. I learned that i had more layer of rendering, especially on the focal point. Narrative rendering was crucial as well. Even though the knight was consumed by nature storywise, he still had shining armor. That had to change obviously!

Adding Rust to the knight's armor
I worked and worked, and soon enough, the piece itself was done. I added a layer of color dodge on it, carefully erased parts to make the focal points pop even more. 
 Gawain, Legacy of the Green Knight
Funny thing about certain pieces is that you start your head with one narrative and end with another. This piece depicts Gawain, knight of the round table, being possessed by the spirit of the Green Knight, a storyline that only rolled on the table after i was a long way working on this one.

After i posted this piece, it got a nice reaction from the public. And to this day it is one of my most sought after prints at conventions. It is still the top piece in my portfolio. After this piece i made various other works under the guidance of Sam. Each of those still a major struggle, but none of them can take the place of this piece emotionally, since this piece marks the beginning of my professional portfolio.

Next Time...

Besides working on improving my art, i learned a ton about marketing, approaching companies, and being a part of conventions. I will talk about all these things next time i write a blog.

Thanks for reading this far, if you wish to add a comment please share your experience, thoughts and dont hessitate to discuss,

Wish you the best, and until next time!