Inspiration will always find her: Joke Boudens


1. Your name and title/business name? City, Country location?

My name is Joke Boudens and I’m a freelancer for lettering and illustration. I live in Bruges, Belgium. I occasionally conduct workshops in Belgium and abroad.

2. What’s your educational​ and professional​ background, i.e., college, professional school, high school, apprenticeship, etc.?

I was trained as an art teacher in Brussels, Belgium. I took some calligraphy workshops but I’m mostly self-taught. Grew up with lettering and calligraphy all around because my father was a calligrapher and my 4 siblings are all connected to calligraphy and letter carving. I have a wide spectrum of styles like Roman capital, Blackletter, Uncial, and Carolingian but you will not see a lot of Italic in my work. I think you could say my lettering is shipshape. Illustrations have become more and more important. Some of my works are nearly totally illustrated with only a small addition of lettering.


3. Preferred tool(s) and medium?

In the early years, I always used Mitchell pen nibs for my calligraphy because I loved the flexibility of them. Only recently I began to see the benefits of the Brause pens my father left me: they are a lot stiffer but very accurate. For my black-and-white drawings I use fineliners, mostly Staedler. For my illustrations I use colored pencils (different brands), gouache and watercolor (Winsor and Newton,Talens). The brushes I use are Isabey but also synthetic ones. Many people think that I use very fine brushes which is not true. I love brushes that are quite thick but having a fine tip point. I also love to use leaf gold laid on gesso. I always have some sketchbooks around, small and bigger ones. I love Moleskine. You have them with heavy and light paper, love them both.


4. Where or how do you “recharge your creative battery,” i.e., books, blogs, music, art, exercise, meditation, prayer, hobbies, interests, etc.?

Every now and then I have difficult moments and feel despair, new ideas are not coming. I have learned that the only solution is to keep on working without thinking. I just draw, write, and paint anything. Inspiration is always coming back. Or I go walking or visiting exhibitions and musea: that also helps. I’m inspired by many things. Sometimes one sentence in a good book can trigger me. Also folk art and ‘art brut’ are very motivating for me, as well as illustrated children books: I have an immense admiration for those illustrators.


5. Tell us something about you that might surprise or delight us.

I am left-handed but I write right-handed due to teachers telling me it would be “better” to be right handed. I get extremely vexed at procrastination and doing tasks at the very last minute. I love gardening, am very fond of nature, flora and fauna. If I wouldn’t have done what I do, I could have been a landscaper, an investigator (yes, I love murder cases!), an archaeologist in Turkey or a biologist looking for some new species of plants or insects in Bali.


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