The cover of the 2021-2023 Dutch Go Yearbook is the seventh consecutive one in a series I have made for the Nederlandse Go Bond (the Dutch Association for the game of Go, also known as baduk (바둑) in Korea, weiqi (围棋) in China and igo (囲碁) in Japan). It features my artwork "Two Little Birds Play Go on the Feathers of a Peacock", which was originally made as a private commission between 2020 and 2022, You can read more background information and view some detailed pictures of the peacock artwork by clicking here.
I recently created a logo for the Ambassadors Group of NBD Biblion.
NBD Biblion is a foundation that supports libraries throughout the Netherlands and parts of Flanders and provides them with a wide array of services. The foundation stimulates the sharing of information through books and other media. Among other things, NBD Biblion prepares all the books for Dutch libraries so that they have the right coding, are durable and ready for long-term use, offers logistic services to libraries and schools for the management of collections, collects metadata and writes summaries on new publications in the Dutch language, creates specialist machinery for the sorting, printing and plastification of books, stimulates reading through educational programs and provides book recommendation software for librarians and individual readers.
The Ambassadors Group of NBD Biblion was created for the employees. It gives them a place to feel proud of what they do, voice their opinions within the company and share their expertise with the rest of the world.
The design I made is largely based on NBD Biblion's colourful logo and its corporate identity, inspired by innovation, paper and traditional printing techniques. The crowns represent the value of the employees: they are essential to the organisation and should be celebrated. An ambassador is a true representative of a company, someone that can convey what they stand for.
Yesterday, on 4th of June, Justyna and I gave our first workshop on paper marbling, also known as Turkish marbling (ebru) and suminagashi. It took place in Galerie de Stoker at Witte de Withstraat 124 in Amsterdam, as part of the art expo “Colourful Art on Paper” by Philo Ouweleen.
It was a great success. We were fully booked with seven people that signed up. They all showed up, and an extra participant even walked in to ask if we still had another spot left. Since we brought eight trays to marble in, one extra tray to do a small demonstration in at the start of the workshop, we gladly let her take part. After a short introduction, all participants were eager to get their hands dirty and immersed themselves in the marbling arts. Justyna and I assisted where necessary and gave some tips on techniques and how to smoothly print the designs on paper. We saw so many smiles and excited faces. Everyone genuinely seemed to enjoy it and some people even said that they'd like to do it again. All our preparation paid off. It was a good day. We might have to do it again.
Below some more photos of the workshop and the marbled papers of the participants:
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.
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.
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
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.
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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