Jasper Rietman, Site 5
Thumbtack Press’s newest artist Jasper Rietman is an emerging illustrator from the Netherlands. Although his witty, beautifully drawn illustrations and comics are gaining a groundswell of recognition around the world, his approach still surprises people with its hilarity, inventiveness, and style. We chatted over GChat for a bit last week and talked about his personal comic project TRI/P, some of the challenges of editorial illustration, what makes a comic funny, and how to tell a story in pictures without words. Part 1 of the chat is here if you missed it.
You can see Jasper’s TTP collection – with pieces starting at $19.99 – here.
TTP: Are you illustrating full time?
JR: Yeah, I try to. It’s pretty difficult but that was to be expected. I think I’m pretty lucky, I have some nice clients.
TTP: That’s great man congrats! I also wanted to talk about voice, if we can. I think part of what It’s Nice That caught in their write-up was that your work has a voice, something consistent and funny but not corny or snarky. It’s something that lasts, you know? I’m wondering if that’s something you’ve worked on, something you’ve crafted, or something you try to just flow with.
JR: Well, with TRI/P I have the “luxury” that it’s not a published cartoon. So when I have an idea I have enough time to think if it’s really good enough to make into a cartoon.
TTP: But it certainly could be published one day, no? Or is it just a personal project?
JR: No, I’d love to. But personally I think a lot, maybe even most, cartoons are just not that funny. And a big part of why is because it’s really hard to be consistently funny every week or day. Still, I’d love to publish it somewhere. And a lot of the time TRI/P might be clever or smart or surprising but I’m not really trying to be a funny guy.
Jasper Rietman, TRI/P 93
TTP: True. And also define “Funny” – some comics I love maybe don’t make me laugh out loud, but they have a lasting point or a lasting humorous angle, you know?
JR: Yes absolutely, just what I mean. For me it’s the same when i’m doing editorial illustration. You need to find an interesting way to say, or show, something about the subject – which I try to do by combining different elements in new and surprising ways that hopefully make the viewer see the subject in a new light.
TTP: So do you like to pick the subjects? Or are you cool with a client saying, “Here do this one.”
JR: No, mostly I get a subject, or an article with the question if I’d like to make an illustration for it. That’s the part that I love, the limitation of already having some existing text, article or subject which needs something visual.
TTP: And you don’t care if it’s politics or sports or general interest or anything?
JR: Well, I guess I wouldn’t really know how to do good illustrations for a women’s fashion magazine. But on a more serious note, I guess I would have problems working for a client with certain political ideas that are not my own. Luckily that hasn’t really happened yet. Most of the time, even when it’s a subject I’m not that familiar with, I still find a way to make it work.
TTP: It’s definitely a complicated thing I know for a fact a lot of people share with you – if you’re really turning a subject over and trying to represent it in a unique way, it becomes more difficult when your own views are conflicting.
JR: It can be very complicated, the expectations people have when they get to know your work. I guess it would be hard to break free from something like that.
TTP: Yeah. Ok Jasper I really appreciate this and I don’t want to take up too much of your time so let’s end it here if it’s alright.
JR: No problem at all.
TTP: Great. Enjoy the rest of the day! Talk soon.
JR: Thanks, you too! Goodbye for now.
Jasper Rietman, Atom.Exe
You can see Jasper’s entire TTP collection (including the pieces pictured here), at his TTP store.