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Storyteller, Observer, and a Curious Mind
What do you do when you see so much beauty around you and don’t want to forget it? You draw it. At least, that’s what Belgian illustrator Koen Aelterman does. Inspired by everyday life, travels, concerts, movies, and art, Aelterman creates illustrations and graphic designs that encapsulate his love for life. He is a storyteller, a diligent observer, and a curious mind.
For me, drawing is a way of organizing the world around me. I see a lot of beauty, and I want to give it a place. I’m scared to forget the beauty, as so many people do.
Aelterman develops two different artistic directions. He loves to make comic books and children illustrations, but he also challenges himself to create designs with powerful messages. In some works, you can find humor and innocence, while in others, you can find more drama and theatrical effects such as strong contrast, bright colors, and fluid lines. His aesthetic is continuously changing and adapting as the artist finds new sources of inspiration and engages in new projects and adventures.
I don’t believe that I already found my style or aesthetic, but I’ll probably be working on it for the rest of my life. Maybe that is part of my aesthetic: letting go of the idea that everything needs to fit together. The thing that makes my work cohesive is the fact that I made it.
Maybe the most powerful component of Aelterman’s art is his realism. His works are a visual journal: from documenting his travels to depicting his love for music and making portraits of random people during the pandemic. Aelterman captures small patches of reality and makes them memorable. Moreover, he makes them accessible to children and grown-ups, fans and commercial clients alike. Therefore, his drawings become a tool for conveying important messages and raising awareness. For example, he’s currently working on a book for children called Light-headed Lou that aims to make children feel good about themselves.
My intention with this story is to help children who feel different, to understand that it’s not a bad thing to have too much fantasy, or too much energy, or different feelings than others. You don’t need to be like the rest. Being different is a good thing.
Koen Aelterman puts struggle and joy into his art. You can feel his heart beating behind each character and his imagination flying above each story. His art is a journey that makes you curious and excited and reminds you of the beauty of life.
Article written by Monica Radulescu