Jacques Kleynhans is the Professional winner of the Exploration Category. Here he gives his insights into how he created this award-winning project.
Zeb and the Bungle Bee of Death is an exploration into non-linear narrative. It deals with memory, depression and dreams in a bizarre and cartoonish science-fiction setting. With no left-to-right way of reading the artworks the result was a few artworks that resemble a board game or crossword puzzle.
The main goal of this project was for me to bridge the gaps in my varying styles and create a cohesive style to move forward with.
Because of it being such a personal project I allowed myself to just selfishly portray things the way they make sense to me. In future, however, I would like to do similar work with a more universal language which would then require much better research.
Everything I do starts as pencil or pen sketches. I don’t refine much while sketching, I just doodle the same thing continuously, which helps to generate ideas. I then move over to Procreate to colour and finalise each design. The, I’m either done or I move to Illustrator to do very clean vector lines, and put the whole layout together.
I rarely plan one big piece, but focus on the smaller elements and then piece the whole together. I see all my “frames” as single ideas, I approach it the same way a designer approaches an icon. I try to capture a simple idea with a simple graphic.
Because my own brief was so open and focused on other goals such as my visual style there weren’t many hurdles – I did realise that my plan to create non-linear narratives is easier said than done, I still don’t think I’ve entirely cleared that obstacle and am still working on perfecting my compositions.
I’ve definitely learned which elements of my work still need development, but I also feel more confident in using what used to feel like opposing techniques or styles to create cohesive pieces.
It was quite an unusual time, my wife and I just got married and were busy packing up our entire life to travel Europe with the aim of eventually moving there. It suddenly became a necessity to harmonise all these differing pieces of my work, so I found the time somewhere.
Variety of eyes: 14; Faces without eyes: 0; Eyes without a face: 10; Faces with 6 eyes: 1; Eyes floating in a glass of water: 2; Eyes floating in green goo: 1
I think that I managed to reach the goals I set out to achieve, but in retrospect I do wish I had gone into the project with more of a structured plan. At times the individual pieces feel a little aimless to me, like they need a bigger picture.
Set goals – you can always change a little or adjust here and there but it’s very rewarding to finish what you set out to do. Creating novel works lies somewhere in between following closely what your peers are doing and doing the exact opposite.
For now I’d like to continue developing my style for both client and personal work with the aim of eventually doing something like a non-linear graphic novel, perhaps not even in a book format. I’m very energised by clients that want to do something new and different, so I’m hoping for more of those.
Because my work has a narrative element I think it would be amazing to do something for film or music, such as a film poster that expounds on the story details or an album cover for something like a concept album that visually presents the content of the music.
Favourite thing to draw
I must have thousands of disembodied heads staring back at me from my sketchbook pages. Not necessarily my favourite thing to draw but it’s clear my go-to doodle is a face.
My wife and I started an illustration studio 2 years ago. We work really well together so it’s the perfect setup. We’re in the process of moving to Europe, so we’re looking forward to setting up a more permanent space. No pets right now, and sadly we had to leave all our plants in the care of friends and family.
I’d very much like to thank everyone supporting me, it really means everything to me