Creator Interview – Chris Evenhuis
Hey folks and welcome to the first ever written BGCP creator interview. We are lucky enough to be chatting today with Chris Evenhuis.
Chris Evenhuis is an incredibly talented artist from the Netherlands. He has worked in the comic book industry since the late 1990s.
His credits include:
- Darkness: Resurrection
- Wynonna Earp
- Monstro Mechanica
- GI Joe
- And concept art for Overlord 2
As well as multiple other cool titles that you can find over on his socials:
- Insta: https://www.instagram.com/chris_evenhuis/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chris.evenhuis
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisEvenhuis?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
BGCP: Hi Chris, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Would you mind starting off by telling us a bit about yourself, your educational background and your career?
Chris Evenhuis: Hi there, I’m Chris Evenhuis and I’m a comic artist and illustrator based in The Netherlands. My education wasn’t art-related (I started out as an Environmental Scientist), so as an artist I’m self-taught.
BGCP: How did you go from studying Environmental Art to becoming a full time illustrator?
CE: I’ve been drawing comics ever since I was a kid and had some indie shorts published by age seventeen. However, teachers convinced me to also pursue a ‘real job’, something with better career prospects. So, I ended up graduating as an Environmental Scientist instead. But by that time, the social climate in The Netherlands had shifted and jobs in that field kinda dried up. This meant that I ended up mostly jobless anyway. Thankfully I was able to move on to video games, where I worked as a concept artist for several years. Until I moved on again to Franco/Belgian comics, and eventually US comics as well.
BGCP: Who are your main influences when it comes to your art?
CE: This one’s difficult to answer because for a large part it depends on what type of project I’m working on. I do tend to see influences from Alphonse Mucha and Steve Dillon in my own work, but I’m not sure others would agree?
BGCP: You have a really distinct art style in all of your work. Did you intentionally hone this style or is that how you have always drawn?
CE: Thank you so much, that’s one of the nicest things I could hope for as an artist. It’s a combination of gradually developing a style that all at once feels natural, tells a clear story and helps making deadlines. Over the years I’ve found myself mostly looking for things to remove from my rendering, trying to find a style that has the least amount of ‘distraction’. It used to have a lot more details and cross-hatching, things like that. Lately my focus has shifted more to bold lines and shapes, and clear movements and emotions. It’s an ongoing process which I really enjoy.
BGCP: Do you have a favourite part of the illustration process?
CE: My favourite parts are coming up with ideas and then at the end, finishing them. Everything in between is usually a terrible struggle and oftentimes almost like solving math problems.
BGCP: I have always been amazed at how talented comic artists like yourself are able to capture detailed expressions and convey complex emotions in a still frame. How do you go about tackling this?
CE: Thank you! This is possibly my favourite aspect of drawing comics. First of all, I’ll ask the writers I work with as many questions as feels appropriate about what their characters are like other than what the scripts says about them. Anything could be helpful: favourite breakfast, pet peeves, weird habits, taste in music, type of friends etc. Everything else I will then make up on my own. So I’ll just imagine how each individual character would move and react to different situations. Sometimes, I’ll physically act out scenes on their behalf to figure out the expressions, gestures, movements across a sequence of panels and such. What I’m hoping to achieve by this is to create characters that – just from the way they look, move and express themselves – reveal parts of their personal stories on top of the one that’s in the script.
BGCP: Out of the multiple different comics that you have worked on, which was your favourite?
CE: I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with some of my favourite writers in the industry. I’ve gotten the chance to work on some of the most fun books I can imagine. I have loved every single one of them, and also did some of my proudest work in each of them. Especially Wynonna Earp and GI Joe, but overall my favourite is probably still Monstro Mechanica. This is my creator-owned series with G.I. Joe writer Paul Allor and colour artist Sjan Weijers. The series is about Leonardo da Vinci, his female apprentice and their wooden robot bodyguard. There’s something special about getting to create every single thing from the ground up.
BGCP: When it comes to working on a licenced comic such as GI Joe, do you have to stick to a certain art style, or is your own unique art style embraced?
CE: The art style can be pretty flexible; GI Joe had already seen quite a diverse range of styles throughout its different runs at IDW before I came on board. The most important thing is how well the art and writing style mesh together and I think Paul and I make a pretty great team in that regard.
BGCP: Are there any comic book titles that you would like to work on in the future?
CE: I’ve always felt Paul and I would do a killer Rocketeer run. Another dream project I can think of would be a licensed comic series based on the 2001 video game ‘Clive Barker’s Undying.’
BGCP: You have also worked as a concept artists on a couple of videogames, how did that come about?
CE: I had made a few friends in comics who later started a game developing studio and were looking for artists. Both the comics and games industries in The Netherlands are tiny; even more so back then, so pretty much everyone knew how to find each other.
BGCP: When it comes to creating concept art, how do you go about capturing the vision of what the storyteller had in mind? Are you given lots of notes to follow etc?
CE: Working in games is even more of a team effort than in comics, so there some things that a character needs to be able to do, gameplay-wise, as well as making sense storyline-wise. Coming up with a visual design from there usually involves a lot of going back-and-forth with different departments to bring it all together, but in the end you do get to decide how to bring it together visually.
BGCP: Do you prefer to work in the comic medium or the videogame medium and which of the two do you find more challenging?
CE: There’s more of a corporate culture in games; at least if you’re working as part of a studio. Also working for a studio, you don’t get to own anything you create. In the end I felt there was much more creative freedom in comics. Plus, I really enjoy storytelling through sequential art – getting the most from as little means as possible. But probably most importantly, as a comic artist I get to work from home.
BGCP: Do you have any advice for aspiring illustrators and artists trying to break into the creative industry?
CE: Aside from the usual “always make art”, I’m going to be pragmatic and also recommend having some kind of financial backup plan. Or already be rich. Or be ok with being poor!
BGCP: Looking to the future, is there a chance that we will see you working on videogame concept art again at some point? Are there any franchises out there currently that you would like to work on?
CE: I do sometimes find myself wanting to try my hand at game art again. As a freelancer/independent, maybe, because I’m not great with the whole office culture thing that comes with it, which can be super toxic. The interactive storytelling aspect about video games can be so incredibly amazing, though.
BGCP: Finally, is there anything that you currently have in the pipeline that you can tell us about or anything that you would like to promote?
CE: Everything I’m currently working on is still under wraps, but I’m really, really looking forward to revealing some of it soon!
There you have it; our first written interview with the fantastically talented Chris Evenhuis. I really enjoyed getting to chat to him and felt like I got to garner some really valuable insight into the mind of an artist. If you are interested in purchasing any of Chris’ work, you can do so here.
If you are interested in reading more of my stuff, you can check out the latest entry in my AG@G series here.
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