Worldbuilding in Animation: 1. Breaking down the source.

A Brief Introduction

Hi! I’m an art director and designer from Amsterdam. I’ve spend most of my time as a professional artist the past decade on creating set design for animation features and series. In this article series I’d like to explain a bit what I do, which I hope will prove insightful for those (starting) in the animation industry in any designing capacity.

Design a whole iceberg, not just the tip.

Good set design goes much deeper then just painting pretty backgrounds. The way I’d like to work on creative projects is to think of the film, series or... Read more »


A new illustrated children’s picture book

Hi! How are you all doing in these weird times?

What’s up and coming? A new series, a very exciting stop motion feature I did design for and… a new picture book called Ferry written by Kendrick Delany and completely illustrated by me. 

Telling the story of Ferry, a boy that is left on an island by his uncle to learn how to swim… but his teacher turns out to be pretty unconventional…

It’s still unclear when it will be in the shelves (and where) but it’s in the making!

Background design tutorial #2

Hi, my name is Leo de Wijs and I’m an art director and concept artist from the Netherlands, specialised in background design. I usually work on commercial projects that are difficult to share with the world. So when I find the opportunity to do some personal research and artwork I like to share what I learned.

Part 1. Inspiration.

Visiting the other kind of zoo.

For a recent animation project I was involved in making and supervising a lot of background art set in nature. This makes you think hard about what shapes, structures, colours and textures you... Read more »

Keeping an illustrated travel journal


One of the beliefs I hold dear is that the only way to grow and evolve as a visual artist is to study for the entirety of your working career. Some of my biggest inspirations – artists like James Gurney, P.J. Lynch and Wouter Tulp – make no secret of the fact that they spend considerable time on everything from plain air landscape studies to regular figure drawing sessions.

1. Get back to study

In 2011, a few years after graduating, some commercial illustrations jobs confronted me with the feeling that I had studied real life too... Read more »

On background art 1


If you’re new to this site: Hi! I’m a Dutch art director and concept artist and I spend most of my time working on a variety of creative projects in animation, education and business. It’s really interesting stuff I would love to share with the world all the time, but unfortunately a lot of what I make involves information my clients consider pretty sensitive, so I usually can’t. Still, I’d love to share some of my insights and fascinations with you – my dear readers (hopefully there’s more than one of you). I plan to blog whenever I find the... Read more »

Pictoplasma 2015


Pictoplasma is a fantastic multidisciplinary festival celebrating the ‘character’ in illustration, animation and design. I try to attend if I see the change – it’s always a great boost for inspiration and to find creative focus.

It entails 3 days of lectures by a great variation of speakers, an exhibition and aligned events. And what’s more, it’s held in Berlin, one of the most inspiring cities I know. In between lectures I took the opportunity to sketch my surroundings.

In between Projects

Earlier this month I’ve been wrapping up a big and important project, and now it’s about time to spend some quality time with my website and leave my plant friends alone for some time….