Inspiration will always find her: Joke Boudens

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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