Nicolas Wallendorff: “Designers are always learning and evolving”

“Experimentation, curiosity, perfectionism”: that is how Nicolas Wallendorff, a 25-year-old graphic designer from Belgium, sums up his creative process. Nicolas caught the creative bug from admiring the pencil-work in US and European graphic novels as a child. He holds a degree in Advertising and has been freelancing for various communication agencies in Brussels. In his spare time, he strives to improve his technique by devoting himself to more personal works. An avid learner, Nicolas’ next milestones are serigraphy and photography classes. One day, he hopes to land his dream job in publishing, which would allow him to give free rein to his passions for illustration and typography.

TH : Hi Nicolas! Could you introduce yourself in a few sentences ?
Nicolas : I am passionate about imagery in every form. I’ve been freelancing for various communication agencies in Brussels for over a year now. I am 25 years old, and have a degree in Advertising. I am trying to build myself a future in which, I hope, I will achieve many creative successes.

I do not feel that I would be entirely satisfied with a regimen of storyboard creation, roughs and/or photo manipulations ; I aspire to work on more personal creations. I therefore spend my spare time perfecting my technique and my visual approach : I have found Talenthouse to be the perfect venue for that.

However, I would not call myself an illustrator, nor an artist. These skills are for me something extra, complementary with my primary function as a graphic designer, a boundless passion for which I strive to surpass myself everyday.

“Dressed to Impress” – personal illustration

Talenthouse Creative Invites are great for a challenge and to get ahead in my passion for illustration.

TH : What made you want to become a graphic designer ? Where do you go for inspiration and what are your influences ?
Nicolas : I caught the creative bug from a very young age, as soon as I discovered graphic novels and learnt how to hold a pencil. I loved all the comic books I read, not for the characters or the stories, but rather for their look, their design and the style in which they were portrayed. I wanted to copy them and write my own stories by reshaping them with my imagination.

At the beginning, I took it as a hobby and never thought it would become a career. After several years of thinking about what I really wanted, I started to study Advertising and specialized in illustration, with a special emphasis on visual aspects as opposed to concepts. This led me to do an internship where I learnt more about graphic design, especially print. I was able to develop a rather vast range of competences.

The best thing about this career is that we designers are always able to learn and continue to evolve. That is what I am looking to achieve by participating in Creative Invites on Talenthouse : testing new techniques and express myself in other works than those commissionned by agencies.

As far as influences go, I have to say that I rely on many different references. Fashion, culture and music are for me so rich in creativity that I can’t help but be in awe of the artists that contribute to these fields. I am also a big fan of contemporary belgian illustrators like « 13 Pulsions » or « Mydeadpony », as well as the graffiti artist « Bonom ». Let’s not forget to mention American or Franco-Belgian comic artists like Frank Quitely, John Romita Junior, Tim Sale or Moebius. If any of those names sound unfamiliar, I urge you to go check them out !

“Looking for an Angel” – Nicolas’ contribution to the Kylie Minogue and D&G Creative Invite

TH : What is the project you took part it that you are proudest of ?
Nicolas : At this point in my career, I don’t think I can yet say that I am satisfied with my achievements. I feel like I have only just begun, and I’m impatient for the day when I can really feel proud !

[lquote]I am always on the lookout to meet all kinds of creative people.[/lquote]

That being said, there is actually a project that I consider to be more « special » than others : this was something I undertook as an intern and was given a lot of responsibility for. The Belgian promotion campaign of eyeglass frames brand Persol remains for me my first « professional » work, and I was very satisfied with the diversity of tasks that were assigned to me at the time. Thanks to that project, I was able to learn a lot about advertising, and was also given the chance to make the press kit. For the second wave of the campaign, I drew the storyboards and created the visuals for the shooting. It is still one of my best projects to date.

TH : We really love your creation for the Florence + The Machine Secret 7 Creative Invite ! Could you tell us more ? What are the aspects you emphasized in this design and which tools did you use ?
Nicolas : Since I am a big fan of the band, taking part in this contest was only natural for me. I took a lot of time to immerse myself in Florence’s musical universe, learning as much as I could in order to remain on topic and create something relevant. That was a very important part of the creation process for me. The final image was a result of a lot of research into the material and techniques I wanted to use. I thought it was logical to use a lot of watercolors and mixed media in order to create a very soft texture, that is at the same time heavy with meaning.

“You’re the Only Light” – Nicolas’ contribution to the “Florence + The Machine” Secret 7′ Creative Invite

It is really the first time that I work on a composition which is not simply a subjective portrait, but an entire scene in a surrealist universe. I have drawn « The Birth of Florence » as a character that symbolically represents Night attracted to the light ; watched closely by a simplistic anatomical silhouette.

The fact that the Invite was linked to charity made it all the more rewarding for me.

TH : Now what ? Tell us about your current projects !
Nicolas : I am currently freelancing full-time for the Morris & Chapman agency in Brussels, as a graphic designer / ilustrator / 3D display designer. Their clients are very diverse, and that allows me to experiment with various media and fully leverage all my competences. The experience is valuable for my own development, and I am earning a living.

Apart from that, I am also working on some personal projects and am always on the lookout for clubs and to meet all kinds of creative people. I keep a close eye on contests that excite my imagination. I am trying hard to start the word-of-mouth going about me and get involved in may different things, but of course, I can unfortunately not always say yes to everything.

TH : Is there something that you would like to accomplish most of all in your career ?
Nicolas : I think that everyone has goals they aspire to more than others. Ideally, I would love to work in the fields of publishing or culture and apply my skills in illustration, page layout and typography in my job.

I am also thinking about partnering with some fashion designers so as to express myself on a medium other than just paper or screen. In the near future, I am thinking of expanding my skills et with serigraphy and photography.

In the long run, I would like to earn a living with what I do and what I have to offer. I am still young, and I feel like to have so much to discover and experiment with, I am eager for every opportunity I have to move forwards. This interview counts as one, and I hope it will be the beginning of a long series.

Thank you to the Talenthouse team for offering me this privilege !

“Adidas Originals x Daft Punk” – personal illustration inspired by the Adidas Star Wars collection which featured the band Daft Punk

TH: Thank you so much Nicolas for taking the time to answer our questions so thoughtfully! It’s really delightful to have such talented and creative people on board of Talenthouse. We hope you continue to find fulfillment in taking up the challenge of our Creative Invites!

Nicolas on the Web: Portfolio | Talenthouse | Facebook