Currently resides in: Brugge, Belgium
Pen, pencil, acrylic, collage,
More than one hundred publications to date.
Complete bibliography and more information on www.klaas.be
and in The First Klaasbook, an anthology of the past 20 years, published by Oogachtend Belgium.
Illustrating is often called ‘illumination’, as if our work can only be light and airy and is merely a way to make texts more accessible. I do not wish to surrender to that definition. On the contrary, I want to take things further and demand more of the reader. Thus, I am happy that I get the chance to illustrate books for adults here in Flanders. It pierces through clichés assigned to illustration and demonstrates how the art is far more than some kind of lubricant for readers.
Content comes first, then form. Content cannot be free of engagement, because then the basis would lack credibility and could not be constructed into a solid foundation. Thus, the content should have meaning and weight as well. I want to convey meaning primarily, to share something when I speak out in my stories. I am not talking about wisdom, but about experience or a particular thought that may spark the reader’s mind. Which books do I still remember as a reader? Those which do not disclose their content at first sight, but do so gradually as one rereads, again and again. I want my books to have these effects also. That is how I choose which texts and stories I illustrate. They have to intrigue me, create empty spaces or raise questions. That kind of interpretation challenges me.
A lot of illustrators use their trademark style and characters in every new story. That is not how it works with me, because I don’t like that kind of interchangeability. I want to surprise myself and my readers. The end of a book can never be the start of another, because every story is unique and deserves its unique illustrative approach. The most important aspects of the creative process are the choice of form and style; this determines the image I will use to get as close as possible to the individual character of the text. My books always look different, but only on the surface. Behind this first glance is the genuine, philosophical Klaas signature.