Trying out new things

General / 30 August 2023

Hi again! I thought it's time I would share something. 

I'm still very much active in Blender, but I wanted to explore a bit more what else I can do. So I tried some quick and dirty techniques to model an armored vehicle. Quite fun, and it definitely looks 'okay' in my opinion. It would definitely be a first version to work on further. Thoughts?


General / 02 January 2023

Today marks the 1-year anniversary of my career as a fulltime freelance artist! I don't really know what to say about it. It has been an eye opener for sure. For the last 10+ years I have been working day/night jobs while I worked on my craft. Ever building towards that goal. If you've read a bit more of my blogs, you might recall it was not without emberassing mistakes or painful regrets.  

In late December 2021, I was very fortunate to find multiple projects landing at my feet, while I was still working at the restaurant. Three very exciting projects, but only one that would truly be the best fit and the most promising. It was right during the last lockdown in my country. Business at the restaurant job was slow. The year was almost at and end, and here shows up an amazing opportunity. Somehow it felt like destiny calling. 

I called my dad and asked him what I should do. 'Buckle down and ride it out' he said. We bought a christmas tree together, and had a long overdue talk during that car ride. Man to man, not just father and son. He wanted me to know that, if I was really serious about my goals, it was time to look in the mirror and ask myself what I really wanted. Saying you want to become a fulltime artist is one thing, but doing it is another. I knew I had a shot of making it work, but I had to commit. 

So I followed his advice. I set up a schedule, and worked my ass off that month. However I learned a thing or two about crunch time. When the dust settled, December had flew by and suddenly it was 2022 - with two promising job offers. I weighed my options and made a very clear decision. And the rest is history! Bringing the good news to my family at the dinner table was the best feeling ever. I have proven I could do it!

Now, I work as a concept artist for their project; 'Wild Life'! Check out the cinematic trailer and their Patreon here The game is 18+ but don't let that scare you off. We're building some cool stuff!  Speaking of which, I added a sneak preview of some concept art I made. There are a lot more pieces coming soon. 

Sadly, my dad passed away in the summer of 2022. It hasn't been the same without him. Except that I'm now more close with my family than ever. I'm glad he got to see many beautiful things during his short retirement. Moreover I'm proud and happy he saw me grow out of my shell and find a home and a career. He never will have to worry about me again. Thanks dad, for all your love and care. 

I am uncertain where 2023 will take me. For now, I want to focus on learning from my current job. So far It's been a really exiting. Meanwhile, I'm also rebuilding my website. There's a bunch of new artwork coming soon! So stick around :) For all those that read my blogs,thank you for taking an interest in my little life. 

Blender Sketch Dump 5-11-2021

General / 05 November 2021

Every time I saw someone post a new tutorial or addon, I would get hyped and started experimenting in Blender. Eventually I got better at setting up scenes, and I picked up some handy new techniques ( QuickShape, QuickCurves, QuickTexture for example ) I also learned a bit about displacement techniques, by studying Florent Lebrun's tutorials. 

I had played with 3DCoat in the past, but they recently released a new version. It's definitely worth a try. I learned a bit more about sculpting, and even did some PBR painting. The voxel sculpting workflow is great when you switch back and forth between Blender and 3DCoat. And it works with the previous mentioned Quick addons quite well too.

I've taken an interest in texture painting, so I'm trying both Quixel Mixer and Substance Painter. Although Substance Painter seems way complicated to me. More on that later.

Here are some of the sketches and experiments I made over the year. Enjoy!

PleinAirpril !

General / 06 April 2021

Posting some #Pleinairpril ( old and new ! ) 

I jumped on the NFT train!

General / 05 March 2021
Today I 'minted' my first digital artwork on the Ethereum blockchain as 'non-fungible token'  ( NFT )  Maybe some day I can say 'I was there, at the start of a new digital age'  when the internet of things started manifesting itself on a massive commercial level. 

I'm not sure what happens next. Very likely, nothing at all. But I do hope that this is a small step that brings me closer to my goal ; becoming a fully independent artist. If I even sell just one NFT, I'll consider it as a success. 

I minted the artwork 'Heron' on Rarible. Find me there! My username is michielvdheuvel


Article / 23 January 2021

Hi! In this blog post I will talk a little bit about a new image I made. If you want to know more about how I did that,  do read along! I will talk about the thought process, my methods and do a little bit of shameless plugging as well. 

Now let's get started !

I decided that I wanted to paint a cuddly bird reading under a tree. I had 'some' idea what that would look like. In order to make the idea a little more substantial, I would start by looking for real world images that inspire me. 

The importance of using reference images is critical to develop an idea.  I encourage everyone  to spend a good amount of time on this part, as it will help you get a clear idea what you actually want to paint. 

While browsing through Google's vast collection of peaceful nature photography, I found a bunch of images that really did it for me. Sometimes you find exactly what you're looking for. But other times you have to follow a trail of breadcrumbs, so to speak. Knowing the exact names or descriptions of objects and situations will save you a lot of time.

You can experiment with the search engine by opening new images into new tabs, or right-clicking an image and select 'search the web for this image'.  Also,  by  opening  images that might not necessarily be what you need, you will definitely come across stuff that sparks an alternative idea or lead you in a new search direction. This eventually will lead you to a treasure trove of cool reference images or waste a bit of time. 

You have to be a bit strict on yourself and try to focus on the initial idea. Google, especially Pinterest, can lead you through a maze of cool images that will distract you.

I tend to search for very specific keywords and phrases. 'Dappled light' was one of the successful search queries, and led to me a variety of new search terms. It's good practice to organize your idea into key words that you could search for. 

Also be sure to organize your search results into specific folders such as 'style', 'lighting' , 'colours' , 'mood', and so on. This narrows down your search and makes sure you stick to the essence of your idea.

I made three different versions based on a specific set of references images  for each idea. 

I wanted to paint in a Ghibli / Lofi art style, so I looked up more reference for this.  I divided my scene into clear foreground, midground and background sections, gave them a flat colour and then went about painting the various parts. 

My inspiration came from the works of Sylvain Sarrailh and Mathias Zamęcki I just love the colourful, painterly images they create. Be sure to check these guys out! They have some really great work, and show you how they do it as well.

I was really fond of the grass brush tutorial that Mathias made, which can be found at You can see how I used the brush in the foreground of my finished image.  Another super useful find was the cutout / shapes pack by Sylvain. These are hand painted bush PNG files that you can drag into your painting. They come as coloured versions, black silhouettes and as custom shapes. Obviously I had to experiment with them.  I think they really brought my image to life! Check out the pack for yourself at

Another amazing brush pack inspired by Ghibli can be found here :  It's got a whopping 128 brushes for Photoshop and Procreate. It comes with videos and some example paintings!

After the first few hours, I had set up the basics for the image and took a break. I came back and immediately saw that the colours were not exactly popping. It's good to get a fresh perspective on your work. I spent more time  tweaking values, moving layers around, playing with adjustments layers, adding  Shape Blur or Gaussian blur filters and detailing. 

Looking back, I  definitely feel that using the store assets really speed up the process. It wouldn't make sense to put these all over the place, but instead place them at interesting points to bring the scene to life! I definitely want to use them a bit more in different sketches later on.

I also learned that taking your image, messing with layer adjustments and filters can really push the style further. I quite like how the lighting in the background has turned out on the trees. I experimented a lot with selections, masking and layer effects, which is something I'm fairly new to. 

I hope you enjoyed this little blog post.  If you want to stay up to date to more art, be sure to follow me on or

Behind the scenes : Bedchamber concept art. Freebie included!

Tutorial / 05 November 2020


As a warm up to writing more articles and blog posts, I wanted to start with a dissection and tutorial of a older piece from my portfolio. You can find it on the Artstation Marketplace or my website - Did I mention it's totally FREE !  It includes the PSD, reference files and a written document that goes over the process. So be sure to check that out!

2020 is about to end in just under two months, and with that in mind I want to go back to writing.   I have decided to write more articles about my development as an artist, experiences. The aim is to re-ignite the fire of my blog. I would love to share with you what I learned in this year. Particularly I want to share some of my thoughts on interesting topics and methods in the industry as a landscape painter / concept artist.

Be sure to check out my blog every now and then. The second article will, hopefully, land before the end of this year!

If you want to see more regular updates of my work, be sure to follow me on Instagram , Facebook or Linkedin 

If you have any questions you can always shoot me an e-mail at

Art test sketches

General / 23 February 2018

These are some sketches I made for a unannounced animated tv show. Maybe I can show the finished results later this month, maybe not. Either way I had a lot of fun doing these sketches. 

Draw what you know

General / 22 February 2018

Last year I did a daily drawing for two weeks, which is something I had not before. ( But seriously need to pick up on again )  I live in the Netherlands, a country with a rich history in water management. I never really felt all that passionate about that sort of thing, until I saw a documentary about how we have learned to live with the water.  That struck a chord, and it instantly reminded me how much I loved going to the beach with my family when I was a kid. I had this thing for drawing lighthouses when I was younger. That was the main inspiration to start this daily routine. I really learned from this little journey and admit that it opened several doors to potential new projects, both personally and professionally.

This is what my paintings look like in my head

General / 17 February 2018

Last month I was experimenting with some nifty animation app called Werble. Below are some experiments.. Currently I'm working on a different method which I will reveal at a later time. I've been researching a lot about creating atmospheric effects in After Effects and Photoshop, stitching gifs together and trying to composite them into Photoshop.