Hendrik Gericke


Something Wicked Issue 14 - Cover by Hendrik Gericke



Can you give us an idea of what goes into creating a cover like this?

First off, you have to do your prep work. It’s easy to figure out the composition and general light balance in the early stages, so lots of thumbnail sketches are the order of the day. From the outset I work in photoshop, digital painting is a good tool as it allows a lot of freedom to change and rework without  making a mess.  From there you scale it up to the full resolution and begin refining it. The rest of it is basically round after round of tightening, making sure the eye flows across the space and to the correct points. It’s essentially the same as an oil painting, but more premeditated.

Am I right in thinking that you’re a full-time artist? How do you make ends-meet?

Making ends meet is a relative term, but I have a lot of different work I am involved in. I do visual directing developing 3D enviroments, which is a lot of interesting technical and visual problem solving and serves to keep my brain sharp and pays the bills. I paint and draw fine art for gallery showing, which, if it were up to me, I would do every waking minute, but that’s quite a goal to work towards in this economy. I also work in the film industry as a concept and storyboard artist, which is a lot of fun, but quite seasonal.

When working on Something Wicked covers we give you the story to read, but how do you decide which facet or section of the story to base your art on?

Reading any story tends to have definite visual highlights, so I will make notes and maybe quick sketches of what I think might work well. Then it’s the usual elimination to find the ideal image for what you would like to achieve, because an interior illustration and a cover serve different purposes and this informs the choice of image. For a cover, you want the most striking and alluring image to peak the curiosity of anyone who might look at it.

Your lighting is extraordinary, how do you manage to capture light so well?

I’ll blame the oil painting firstly and photography second. For more than a decade I worked only in black and white, which gave me a lot of time to come to grips with how light falls in 3D space. When I began painting with oils, the math of the lighting was already in place, so I could concentrate entirely on the behaviour of colour and light. Essentially when I paint (from life), it has more to do with the atmosphere and the behaviour of light in space than drawing out a scene line by line and then colouring it. I feel like I stole what I could from the Impressionists and now I’m back teaching myself what I can.

How do you start a piece?

With chaos. I tend to block in big shapes of light and dark to create an environment with tangible depth and then work some gradual detail in, perhaps a figure that I will concentrate on. The progress of my paintings tend to look like a muddy blur being gradually dragged into some kind of focus, which is very much how I prefer to look at it, although the process is not particularly premeditated.

What mediums do you work in? What is your favourite?

I work with ink from store-bought Pilots to dipping pens and brushes, oil paint, digital media, 3D, photography and watercolour. I have by far the longest relationship with ink drawing, having all but abandoned pencils more than a decade ago, but I have the most fun with oil paint (which I have been doing for about five years now), it is an absolute bitch to master, but all the more gratifying for it. I also love the possibilities of digital painting as it has so many applications and potential. It’s a tough question to answer, because I make a concerted effort not to get too comfortable with any single medium, lest I stagnate and become too comfortable.

Do you have a favourite subject?

Nature is a big one. I am a massive architecture nut, but I hate working with precise geometric shapes and symmetry in my work, except when doing 3D modelling. I always look for departures from symmetry, organic shapes and patterns. Lots of trees, rock formations and figure studies. Water, ports and shipyards are a bit of a magnet too, but that goes beyond just the art. People are the best, but they’re harder to pin down, which explains the steady stream of self-portraits I produce.

What are you working on now?

I’ve got a number of things on the boil, as usual. I’m producing album art for two  local bands and there are some hefty personal writing/illustation projects I have been chewing on for years which are in various stages of disrepair, so I am forever labouring at getting them to a point of ignition, not unlike Dr Frankenstein’s monster, so watch this space. I am also a contributing writer for www.lostateminor.com which is a new and interesting experience. Having recently returned from a trip to Botswana, I am in the process of writing about my experience to go with the ton of photos I took. Journalism and current affairs are subjects I have a lot of interest in, so my work often bends in that direction, if not overtly so.

Where can we find more of your work? And do you have prints for sale?

My website is the hub of all my endeavours, so that’s the place to go. I have a news feed as well as drawing and photography threads that are updated daily, so there’s always something going on. I do not have prints for sale as yet, but I do have a lot of original work, so feel free to drop me a line for more information. Otherwise just go check out   www.flyingdutchmanart.com

Check out Hendrik’s blog post on the creation of this cover:

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