Dutch Open 2023
The organizers of the Dutch Open 2023 commissioned me to make a poster design. The Dutch Open is the largest go tournament of the Netherlands, the replacement of what used to be the Amsterdam International Go Tournament. It attracts go players from all over Europe. This year the tournament will be held in the city of Leiden, from May 19-21 in the Denksportcentrum (mind sport center) at Robijnstraat 4.
My design features a view from the Burcht van Leiden to the Hooglandse kerk, two iconic buildings of the city. We see a traditional go board with 22 moves played out on it. This modern opening pattern is taken from a professional game between Mi Yuting and Ke Jie that was played on February 15th of this year (click here to view the game). The open doors invite us in.
I largely based my artwork on a photograph by Harry van der Krogt, who is an active organizer in the Dutch go community, the former manager of the European Go Cultural Center and a board member of the European Go Federation.
This design took me several weeks to make, and it probably topped my Go Peacock drawing in terms of hours spent on it. It most certainly is the design with the most layers in Photoshop I have ever created.
The poster will be used to promote the tournament online and will be physically hung at the location of the tournament. More details about the tournament can be accessed by scanning the QR code or by clicking here.
I plan to make a version without text for my Etsy shop, purchasable as posters and postcards.
Below some zoomed-in details of the artwork.
Today I finished a drawing that had been lying on the shelf for some time. Before covid, so more than two years ago, I received a private commission from John, who'd commissioned me to make art for him twice before ("Salsa Dancing Tigers" and "Ski Jumping Penguin"). John always comes up with fun and challenging ideas to draw. This time was no different. The task at hand was to draw a peacock with go stone feathers. Later an extra criterion was added: two little birds, black and white as metaphors for the colors of the stones, would have to place the stones on the peacock's plumage, effectively playing a game of go against each other.
I'm a fan of Peng Liyao's complicated and tesuji-packed playing style (彭立尧, Chinese 8-dan professional go player) and so I decided to use his games for the go motif. I picked two of his game records and merged parts of their go positions, adding or omitting stones here and there. A black and white version of the drawing was created, and I placed it aside to think about the next stage: color.
Putting a drawing aside is a dangerous thing for me. I tend to work on an artwork continuously until it's finished, making optimal use of the flowing creative juices, because I know I need to. If I stop, life takes over. That's what happened in this case, too: other things took priority and the drawing ended in one of my many art folders. Luckily, John was in no hurry, and covid took away any urgency that was left.
I'm the kind of person that doesn't like to leave things unfinished, and the drawing was gnawing at my thoughts for months on end. It was one of those things you know you still have to do, but somehow cannot muster the willpower for. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to commit to. One day in July I decided to finally get back to the drawing and ignore my fear of ruining it. After all that postponement, once you get going it's surprising how "easy" and pleasant the task often turns out to be. Not that I finished the drawing quickly though: I probably spent more hours on it than I did on any drawing, ever. Here is a little glimpse into the coloring process:
For me drawing is an experience of ups and downs. There are those rare drawings where everything magically seems to go the way you want it to, but more often than not I ponder, fret and experience mood swings galore. Justyna has to live through my cries of desperation: "Arrghh! The drawing is ruined!". "It's fine, I can't even see it." "Are you sure? It's right there. It's a huge mistake!". "Nah, come on, it's barely visible." I'm lucky that she is as understanding as she is and genuinely likes my art. She always reassures me and puts me back on track.
The key is to find peace in "mistakes" and learn to go with the flow. If I do that, the mistake often evolves into something else that becomes a part of the whole. During this particular drawing, the coloring process of the background was particularly stressful. I put so much time into the feathers and go stones of the peacock, and I was so content with the result, that the background had to be perfect. Because my expectations were high, anything I would have done would have probably disappointed me. I wasn't happy with the grass at first, and then the sunset seemed to make it better, but halfway through it felt like it was only making it worse. Sometimes you need some distance, and after it was finished I gained a different perspective. It also helped that everybody else seemed to love the drawing, so now I'm loving it too!
The disc golf starter set that I designed for Frisbeewinkel last year has recently been produced by Disc Golf UK and is now available for purchase online! If you are interested, click here.
I am mostly impressed with the look and feel of the Bumblebee. It has a micro bead and reminds me a bit of the Whale by Innova, my favorite putter, although it is more flexible than the Whale. The Stag Beetle is even more flexible than the Bumblebee, and is an overstable midrange. The Dragonfly is the most stiff and sturdy disc of the set, and is an understable fairway driver.
I wrote more background information on the design and the symbolism of the stamps in a previous post that you can read here. Below are all the different color-variations of the discs. The Bumblebee comes in 5 different colors and the Stag Beetle and the Dragonfly both in 3 colors.
Logo for the European Go Journal
I was commissioned to make a logo for the European Go Journal.
The quill represents the written word. It draws a line on the go board, symbolizing the creativity and inspiration we take away from the journal, ready to be used in our own games of go.
Artem Kachanovskyi and I brainstormed about the design: it was to be simple but easily recognizable in different sizes, since it will be used on the new website for the journal as well as on the cover of each edition. We sent sketches back and forth. My initial idea was to have a fountain pen draw a go stone on a board. My second idea was for the pen to shoot or drip drops of ink that would shape into go stones. Artem preferred a classic quill over a fountain pen and showed me a picture of a quill drawing a line. This gave me the idea of the quill drawing one of the lines of the go board, which form the intersections on which stones are placed. This felt like a better metaphor for the journal, with the quill "preparing" the setting for us to play on.
I wanted the font of the text to represent the classy, old-fashioned atmosphere of the drawing and after confirming with Artem, we chose "Quintessential" for the job.
I made a color version and a black and white version for the logo. In the end I think I prefer the b&w one, as its go board feels less defined, which makes the movement of the quill more apparent.
Artem also asked if I could design a favicon for the website, which ended up as a cross-cut shape of four go stones. This was a shape that he had suggested during the creation of the logo as well, and it is very characteristic for the complexity of the game of go, because it usually indicates a difficult fight.
Artem and I are currently working on the fourth edition of the magazine, the May 2021 print, which will be published in the beginning of June.
If you are interested to get a copy of the European Go Journal, have a look at its Patreon page.
EGJ - March 2021
The March edition of the European Go Journal is ready. The digital edition has already been distributed to the subscribers. The PDF is at the printer and a new, more luxurious paperback than the first edition will soon be posted to the subscribers that want to read from real paper.
For the cover I made a special black and white version of my artwork "Sniffing the Third Line". On pages 26-28 the color version of the same artwork is included with more background information on my inspirations for that painting.
I also helped Artem Kachanovskyi, the author and compiler of the European Go Journal, with the layouting and overall editing of the magazine. We worked hard together this month to create a magazine for European go with high quality content and I'm proud of the result.
This is only the second edition of the journal. I started working with Artem in the beginning of March, when I had just one or two days to proofread the entire first edition before we released it. We've come a long way since then, with already more than 100 subscribers! We are still perfecting the streamlining of the creative process.
If you want to get a copy, go to www.patreon.com/europeangojournal
Logo for the Midway Go Club
One of my customers on Etsy, William Sheehan, was happy with his order and asked me if I'd consider doing a private commission for him. William is 54 years old and has 20+ years of experience in chess under his belt. Only recently, about two months ago, he got into go and has already reached the level of 14-kyu. Previously William ran a chess club and as he is now fully submerged into go, and plans to start a go club. He showed me the logo of his chess club that he made himself (see picture below), in which he incorporated the blue and red colors of the flag of Chicago. The stars in the top left corner are taken from the same flag and the buildings in the background form the skyline of the city.
We exchanged some ideas and soon I understood that the go logo was to be quite similar, but that I was free to give it my personal twist. William told me that he lives close to the Midway International Airport, and that's where the name of his club comes from. Soon after, I got the idea to include an airplane in the design and have it take off from the go board. William had also mentioned the tarmac of the airport and this gave me an idea for the go-position: the go stones shown in the logo form a ladder that resembles a tarmac and emphasizes the movement of the plane. The ladder is good for White: White is in atari, but can move out with the next move, connecting up to his corner stones and breaking free, just like the plane.
Interestingly, although the blue of the plane looks darker than the blue of the sky, they are in fact the same color. It is an optical illusion caused by the black skyline. Another optical illusion is at play in the go stones: did you know that when go stones are produced, the white stones are made slightly smaller than the black ones? This is done because white objects seem larger to our eyes. I experienced that first hand during the design process: when using same-sized stones for black and white, the white stones appeared much larger, and I had to reduce them for a balanced composition.
For the font of the letters we ended up chosing a mechanical-style font called 'Noise Machine'.
If I'm ever in Chicago, I look forward to dropping by at the Midway Go Club.
I made a logo for IGLO - Internetowa Go Liga O!
IGLO is an online go league that was started around the time the covid-19 pandemic began. The league was created by Cezary Czernecki, supported by the Polish Go Association, and is now running its 9th season with 57 players competing. Participation is free of charge and most participants are from Poland and Ukraine, but anybody is welcome to take part. Each group consists of 8 players, in which each player plays against seven others, one game per week, The players compete to promote to the higher rated groups and, when results are suboptimal, can also fall down to the groups below. When a new player joins, he/she will be placed in a suitable group relative to their playing strength. IGLO includes regular lessons and game commentaries by top European players Stanislaw Frejlak 7 dan and Lukas Podpera 7 dan.
You can find out more about IGLO on its website here.
European Go Journal
A new monthly go magazine is born, called the European Go Journal. This is a great initiative by Artem Kachanovskyi 2dan professional, under the banner of the European Go Federation.
Artem got in touch with me earlier this year and told me of his aspirations to start the journal. His plan was to include a chapter on go-related art and photography in each edition and he asked me if I wanted to take part in it - as a way to make the magazine more interesting and at the same time promote my illustrations and Etsy shop. I agreed and chose "The Ear Reddening Move" for the first edition, an artwork I did on commission for the Latin American Go Congress in 2019. The artwork and a small background story about it can be found on page 35 of the journal. Artem also asked me advice on the layout and design of a magazine, and because of my experience as an author of go related articles and the 2016 European Go Yearbook, I ended up proofreading the whole journal. I also created the cover for the first edition, which features a beautiful artwork called "Hope" by French illustrator Camille Lévêque from Stoned on the Goban.
The February 2021 edition of the European Go Journal is now available, free for download. The magazine will appear monthly in both online (PDF) and printed (paperback) form.
If you want one or if you want to support future editions, please have a look at the Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/europeangojournal
The plan is for me to stay involved in the making of future editions of the journal. I will edit, proofread and design the cover. Artem has asked me to use one of my own artworks for the March-edition and I am thinking to make a black and white version of my go playing cat for the occasion.
Disc Golf School
Previously, I designed a disc golf winter logo for the guys from Next Move in Groningen. This time around, they asked me to make a logo for Disc Golf School, a new initiative to teach disc golf to kids and grow the sport throughout the Netherlands.
I had two concept sketches that I pitched to Next Move:
- A basket with chains that grow out like the branches of a tree, forming new baskets as fruits of labor. Trees are often used as a symbol of wisdom and physical and spiritual nourishment. The multiplication of the baskets is a metaphor of the passing on of knowledge and the creation of new disc golf players.
- A teacher and a pupil in a disc golf environment. The teacher shows the student where to throw and the pupil executes the shot. This was my literal translation of the idea of a school.
Although Next Move liked the idea of multiplication, they chose the second design because of its more professional feel. I added trees, a teepad, some details, colour and of course the text. Next Move also requested a black and white version. No problemo guys, roger that.
NGoB Yearbook 2019-2020
The go playing cat on the 2019-2020 Dutch Go Yearbook is the fifth consecutive cover in a series I have made for the Nederlandse Go Bond. The covers feature animals, go positions and paper marbling. The other four designs with background information can be found here.
The cat came into being as a watercolour painting in May earlier this year. It was inspired by other go-cat related art I had seen in the past. You can read more information about it here. I gave away the original drawing in an art raffle on social media to lift spirits during the covid-19 pandemic and to celebrate having almost 800 likes on my Facebook page. You can watch the raffle video here.
I'm grateful to the NGoB; this series of yearbooks is becoming quite something and I hope future Dutch go players will enjoy my covers as much as I do. The 2019-2020 edition will be printed and distributed among the members of the Dutch Go Association in January 2021.
Welcome to my website! My name is Kim Ouweleen, my artist pseudonym is Murugandi. I am an illustrator, author, proofreader and go teacher from Amsterdam.
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