Collaborators…it’s not just a dirty word…

So this week, I take the pen (keyboard) to write (type) a little about what goes on in the studio, and how we work together.

It might be obvious to us, mayhap not to those outside but we actually do work together and collaborate on a frequent base.

These collaborations usually do not show, as we both have our individual styles and our own individual ways of working, but it is very much a part of how we do things in the studio, and it is for the better of the art. Most of the time, it comes down to doing digital paintovers, or laying down concepts or composition, and not so much actually working on the piece both of us (though this does happen).

So today I will take you through one of those processes.
But first, thank you so much for the support after last time. We received commissions enough to solve our sour situation, and some fantastic pieces are almost done for it. Some were private, some will be revealed in public.

Process – Cetus


It all starts with a sketch. This can be digital or pen on paper, but for this piece, Natasja was painting it in acrylics on canvas.
So she laid down some simple strokes to show her idea.

The Canvas is 100x150cm big, and the lines have been made stronger by use of photoshop, so that you can see them on the image above.

After the lines are done, Natasja then talks to me and asks for advice on colours and if anything comes out as wrong. These sort of things I ask her all the time for my own work. It is easy to get blinded by working on something, and it is good to have someone you trust who can tell you when something looks wrong, or if you need to keep something in mind.

For this piece the design was Natasja’s, and I saw no reason to change anything (to be honest, I was very curious to see how it would turn out, because I liked the idea).


Basic background.
Natasja lays in a dark blue towards dark purple background, to set the scene as the pair moving freely.

We talked a little about tangents on the tails, but the lines where pretty clear and Natasja had a very clear idea on how they would be separated in the final.


The back creature gets its first colour pass.

Yes. Orange.
The contrast between the blue background and the orange creatures is quite well balanced. At this point, we’re just casually talking about the work. General questions and answers. There is no need to get further into it until the entire canvas has gotten paint on it, because the idea is solid, the colours work, and the anatomy makes sense.


The front creature has gotten its first colour, and the back creatures ‘tentacly bits’ as well.


This is the first point where there is active advice involved.

The top part of the above image is the photo that Natasja supplied me with. And the bottom part is my paintover in Photoshop to show areas I thought needed to be worked up.

As you can see, I added a lot of volume. This was already something Natasja had thought about, but I exaggerated it to show where the points were that I thought would be important.

I also added more light to the tentacly bits, and pointed out where I thought the lights would bounce off of their bodies.

10-19-orig 19-10

So, the first above is what Natasja did with that.

She added some more shading to separate the tails, fixed the light bouncing off the skin from the tentacly things and made the ones on the smaller. She asked me for another paintover because ‘it doesn’t feel good’.

So I gave it the same treatment again- exaggerated shades, lights and reflections. I added a bit of rim light from the glow of tentacles on the other side of the big creature, a bit of extra bounce light on the snout area.

The entire focus of this paintover was on the snout area.

And the finished result?

Right here-


Cetus is up for sale.

For €679 + shipping and packaging, you can hang this on your wall. And it looks smashing.

Contact us if you are interested. The email is in the column to the right.



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