My mother is behind this one. An advocate of the performing arts, she approached me as follows: “Ansgar, wouldn’t it be nice to work on a series of collages depicting different groups of friends engaged in various kinds of performative activities?”
Beside the 12-page zine, there is also a 32-page ruled notebook – on the cover of which you see some of the unfortunate characters that didn’t make it into the zine:
The original collage used for the notebook’s cover, the Freunde zine, the Freunde notebook, plus two Freunde postcards (see below) can all be purchased from my online store.
Voor jou zou ik een bos doen groeien
Voor jou zou ik een bos doen groeien is the most expansive book project I have realized to date: a 100 page attempt to communicate a straightforward narrative by visual rather than textual means.
Captivatingly beautiful, Ansgar Reul’s seemingly floating pictorial renditions enthral the reader while insinuating a double loss: the loss of a beloved person shadowed by the ever deepening loss of oneself. Throughout delicately drawn quests, and surreal encounters and memories, he blends warmly hued characters, motives, and structures into distinct compositions, complemented by but a handful of sparse sentences.
Stefanie Stegmann, Literaturhaus Stuttgart
The postcards below feature background drawings that didn’t make it into the book, yet they’re all available from my online store.
The making of Voor jou zou ik een bos doen groeien was generously supported by the Flemish Literature Fund. In 2019 it was shortlisted for the Berthold Leibinger Foundation’s ‘Comicbuchpreis’.
For the series of collages I made for this birth announcement I used ‘Washi’, that is: Japanese paper. As I had been asked to make something non-representational yet fittingly evocative, I figured that a collage made of delicate, warmly hued paper would make for a perfectly suitable fit.
A pangram is a sentence that features every single letter of the alphabet. A perfect pangram would, on top of that, feature each of those letters only once. Given that only five of the Latin alphabet’s 26 letters are vowels, a perfect pangram is almost impossible to conceive.
Due to the emphasis on a sentence’s formal nature, pangrams are oftentimes fairly quirky in what they actually say. This calendar puts that absurd quality to use and stars a series of twelve illustrations to accompany some of the German language’s most marvellous pangram-extravaganza.
The animation below is a partial, step-by-step illustration of the process behind the front cover’s making.
While strictly two-dimensional, this invitation card aims – conceptually – for the third dimension: while the tree-surrounding trio is split into two groups front and back, both the musicians’ silhouettes and their instruments leap from their own onto that other page; to see what I mean you’ll have to crank up your display’s brightness and look really closely though.
One of the lesser known pieces from the Rijksmuseum’s incredible collection is the master woodcut “Group of Egrets”. Made sometime between 1925 and 1936 by Ohara Koson, it is this print that I had in mind when I was asked to design this birth announcement.
As I remembered Leenke’s parents’ apartment to not only house a newborn, but also legions of origami cranes, some kind of long-legged coastal bird it had to be! In a nod to origami, I chose to combine a bird made of several flat, cut out elements with some smaller, folded features; some samples of my effort to get to grips with this approach can be seen below.
The goal I set myself for this project was this: to make a gif with an energy just as radiant as that of the two people for whose electronic 50th-birthday-invitation-mail it was to be used. The hardest part, as it turned out, was not the design, but to visually establish a rhythm in a medium that is basically mute.
The inspiration for this four colour, riso-printed wedding invitation is a German nursery rhyme that keeps popping into my head every time I come across something – anything! – wedding-related: “Die Vogelhochzeit”. One’s conscience’s maddening reflexes should, after all, be put to constructive ends!
This birth announcement is actually a series of circa 100 two colour, hand-pulled, two-sided linocut prints. As I’d been asked to come up with something involving a whale, I sought to simulate that first fortunate glimpse you might catch of a whale in its natural habitat: through a layer of water – before revealing the young mammal more straightforwardly on the card’s inside:
Below you see some of the preliminary sketches, as well as a couple of (very small) roughs I made to figure out the card’s layout.
This one is special because it is the first birth announcement I had the privilege to design. Throughout his very first days, Hannes already got to demonstrate an impressive set of persevering fighting capabilities, so the lion really was an obvious choice. To guarantee the luminous quality required by the occasion, the card was printed on a risograph, using the splendid colours orange and green.
Signed and numbered, yellow and pink riso-prints of the Hannes-Lion can be purchased from my online store.
This is a colouring book. It was printed on a risograph in an edition of 100 copies and boasts the extremely pleasing colour combination of gold plus pink.
These are some of the early sketches – some of which led to the more elaborate drawings that eventually wound up in the book:
Copies of the VOGELS colouring book, a set of two riso printed postcards, and a riso printed VOGELS poster can all be purchased from my online store.
Kafe Karlsson 1/3
The two illustrations for this invitation card’s front and rear were designed ‘as one’: when splitting a single image in two and printing it on 80g paper, the paper’s very thinness will allow the original, ‘single’ visual to re-emerge. The degree to which the two sides blend into one another depends, of course, on the light source’s intensity.
Above (top left) you see the uncoloured, original arrangement of blossoms. Aside from the final version (bottom right), there are also two models simulating different colouring options.
The gif below serves as the printed invitation’s digital counterpart. It is the somewhat unorthodox attempt to pair a stereotypically Japanese, sparse aesthetic with the concept of horror vacuii, the fear of empty spaces.
The one thing you’ll need to know about this Christmas card to not mistake it for a Halloween thing: it’s really not a regular Christmas card, but an invitation to a Christmas carol singing event! My idea was to use two images for the card’s front and rear that essentially sum up the whole affair: Christmas (= tree) + carols (= singing mouth). I conceived the a) out of place (see tree), and b) disgusting (see mouth) golden triangles so as to strengthen the two motives’ visual cohesion by means of a visual likeness. In retrospect I doubt whether the idea actually works, yet at the same time I’m quite content with the card’s bizarre look.
This pantone print is a duotone version of a drawing from the Tekeningen-Anthology (see DRAWING > Tekeningen). It is part of the 2016 edition of a portfolio published for the occasion of the annual graphic arts festival Grafixx.
Few things on this planet are as unabashedly self-centred as business cards. Unfortunately, this unappealing quality is also what business cards are really all about. In trying to overcome that self-important nuisance, I did not shy away from a particular shallow act of cultural appropriation: referencing the Chinese zodiac, these twelve two colour, riso-printed business cards aim to center the person given the card responding to their respective zodiac – instead of revolving all around me. Of course, I would have achieved the same gimmicky result with the western astrological signs; some day, in fact, I will!
Both a postcard, and signed and numbered duotone riso-prints featuring the wide-eyed monkey can be purchased from my online store.
This is the invitation card I made for my grandmother’s 90th birthday. When asked what she had in mind as regards invitation cards, she candidly requested something a) pretty that she would b) get.
Instead of using but one pretty image, we eventually settled for four different versions – all of which were printed in different three colour combinations on the risograph; getting to invite your family and friends to your 90th birthday party is after all a rare feat!
Bookmark Tijdschrift Ei
This bookmark was designed and printed by the Dutch online magazine Tijdschrift Ei. It features a poem by J.V. Neylen alongside a drawing of mine. Good match!
A diver hanging out with a group of astronauts surely is the proper manifestation of that pure, boundary defying kind of love that Christmas is apparently all about. If you don’t feel it, this card just ain’t for you.
Printed in the two colours orange and blue, the animation below features an example of a digital pre-press preview (left), as well as an illustration of one method of colour-separation you might want to apply when printing on a risograph (right).
Designed to simulate various insects’ natural habitats, insect hotels are one of man’s modest attempts to counter that other man-made thing called species extinction.
I got to design this quartet of three colour prints for a small, low-profile campaign by a regional arm of NABU, a non-governmental German ecology group. While putting four different, rather fantastic insects front and centre, the prints’ polka dot background touches on one of the hotels’ most striking visual features: the holes providing shelter for solitary bees.
For a nominal charge covering production costs, signed and numbered copies of all four prints can be purchased from my online store.
Another Christmas card! If you’ll ever get to visit the Botanical Garden Meise, located just north of Brussels, pay close attention and you might actually spot the exact same group of fir trees you see above.
This is a two colour, 14-page woodcut picture book printed in an edition of three. To mirror the technique as regards a woodcut’s raw material, I cut and engraved the book’s wooden cover by means of a laser cutter.
For the pages to visually function as a whole, I manually printed both the twofold images and the text on the woodcut printing press. While I hand-cut the former, I digitally set and mirrored the latter before laser-cutting them. One of these laser engraved printing plates can be seen below.
Kafe Karlsson 2/3
One lesson this project taught me: more often than not, a Photoshop file with more than a dozen of layers is just a bad idea. Yet at the same time I’m glad that I endured the headaches I suffered while assembling the digital puzzle that this red elephant in a swimming pool really is.