3DTotal:Hi Jelmer, could you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit about yourself please? Jelmer: Hey Chris, thanks for having me! My name is Jelmer, born and raised in the Netherlands and now working as a creature designer and digital modeler in the film and television industry. Since my graduation at the Vancouver Film School, I have been involved in several film and TV-commercial projects, working both as a designer and as a 3D modeler.
3DTotal: Looking over your portfolio, you have created some amazing looking creatures. How did this fascination with this type of creature start, and what sort of research do you do when you’re creating them? Jelmer: I am afraid I have no clue who or what is to blame for my fascination with creatures. I have been drawing Ninja Turtles and monsters since I was a kid really. When I started learning about the art of creating creatures on film I got sucked into it right away. I really enjoy the feeling I get when I can call something done and there’s a creature there. A creature that people can look at, and hopefully enjoy looking at, that came from my mind and started from a blank piece of paper. Once the main idea is there, I look for photographs as reference points. Bats, lizards, horses, seals, humans, snakes … There’s a lot of reference material available on the internet, but I also hold a fair collection of books filled with all kinds of curious creatures on this planet.
3DTotal: Is there any creature that you would like to recreate and add your own twist to? Jelmer: Not specifically. But since I love making scrawny, gnarly creatures for some reason, I think I would enjoy doing a version of the evil house elf “Kreacher” from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Simply because the character has so many of the characteristics I like to put in my own work. He is a rather mysterious creature. He’s not completely evil, but definitely not too friendly: slightly twisted and a bit dark-sided; very little amount of body fat, so there’s a lot of interesting shapes to play with in his physique. Perfect ingredients!
3DTotal: You’ve worked on a few big named films in your short career, but one stands out more than most: Watchmen. Could you tell how what your involvement was on the production of this film and how did you land this position? Jelmer: Watchmen is a project I hold very dear. Although my involvement on the project was very minimal, it truly opened my eyes to where I wanted to go. For Watchmen I worked on early-look development tests and pre-vis modeling. The cool thing about the whole experience was that we got to work in the hectic environment of the production office in Vancouver, where the sets were built and the art department was located as well. The work I was doing myself was nothing to write home about really, but seeing the work coming out of the art department did excite me. I realized there that the work I was doing wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to design and sculpt creatures as much as I could. There’s plenty of cool work out there for a select few fortunate artists. I wanted to see if I could get myself into such a position. That’s the goal I set for myself, right there on the Watchmen set.