Review: 'The Art of Henrieke', by Henrieke Goorhuis
This is the fourth volume in Sofawolf Press’ Artistic Visions series of art-sketch format albums, each showcasing one of the best artists in furry fandom. Each is a professional artist, but is especially well-known in furry fandom for convention conbook covers, badge art and other commissioned art, and trades with other Furry artists; many of which are posted on DeviantART, Fur Affinity and other art websites.
The art in these albums emphasize anthropomorphized-animal cartoons and similar humorous work, rather than realistic animal depictions. Other Artistic Visions albums have showcased the work of Hibbary (Hillary Leutkemeyer), Brian and Tracy Reynolds, Kenket (Tess Garman) and Ursula Vernon. These are all American artists.
The Art of Henrieke is the first to feature a European artist. Henrieke Goorhuis, a Dutch artist born in 1990, has become very popular in just the last five years for European Furry convention art and T-shirts, commissioned art featuring fans’ personal icons and for commissioned art for European zoos. Her most popular character is her own cartoon icon, Kiki the ring-tailed lemur.
Good artbooks speak for themselves. Almost every page of The Art of Henrieke: Sketches, Works in Progress, and Commentary by the Artist is crammed with sketches and finished line art.
St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, January 2014, trade paperback $14.95 (75 [+ 1] pages).
All the art is in black and white, although the finished, full-color art is easy to find online on DeviantART. Henrieke acknowledges on page 3 her main cartoon inspirations include Carl Barks, and anyone familiar with the most famous European cartoonists like André Franquin will see their styles in her work (page 25).
In 2012, EuroFurence chose as its theme a funny-animal version of the popular French Astérix comics, and Henrieke was asked to produce a funny-animal equivalent of Astérix artist Albert Uderzo’s art style. See pages 43 through 47 for her roughs, and DeviantART for the published full-color wraparound conbook cover. There are enough realistic sketches of lions, lemurs, dogs, and other animals in addition to the anthropomorphic cartoons to leave no doubt that she can draw a real animal when she wants to.
Her short commentary is next to the appropriate art.
Back in 2007 I got my first real job drawing education panels for a zoo in the Netherlands. Pretty exciting! […] They also asked me if I could design a mascot character that would appear on each panel. I proposed a meerkat, but they were reluctant at first, afraid that he would look too much like a certain Disney character. So I made his snout extra long to make sure he didn’t. Here are some concept sketches of him. (p. 18)
Kiki is the character I draw absently, whenever I want to try something out or when I want to represent myself. […] She started as a real ring-tailed lemur in a zoo, that a friend and I ‘adopted’ and named on my 13th birthday party, 10 years ago. (The reason we chose a lemur was because red pandas were too expensive and my friend thought marabous were too ugly.) […] Over the years I drew her more and more, her nose grew bigger and bigger, and she slowly transformed into the little character (that hardly resembles a lemur) that she is now. (p. 22)
The Art of Henrieke is one of those books that make drawing look so easy that non-artists like myself feel stupid for not being able to draw. It is not really a tutorial, although Henrieke lists her favorite drawing tools and gives some basic art advice. It is mostly a gallery of sketches of furry art by one of the most popular furry artists in Europe, who is just becoming known in America.