Random Piece of Duct Tape Inspires Artist to Create Imaginative Illustrations

Drawing Exercise by Bas Goverde

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A piece of duct tape might seem like an unlikely source of inspiration for a series of drawings; but, for Bas Goverde (aka Mr. Babbel), it’s the perfect jumping-off point for his work. The graphic designer sees a strip of tape or a crumpled piece of paper and then transforms it into a colorful cast of characters. If you're privy to the initial inspiration, you can see the essence of the object in Goverde’s work. But it’s not required to enjoy his pieces, as each digital drawing stands on its own.

Like many of us, Goverde experiences pareidolia, or the psychological phenomenon that causes us to see human faces in random things. “Every time I got home to my shed,” he tells My Modern Met, “I saw the piece of duct tape and every time I saw a face in it and a wizard.” Once he saw the cat, however, he knew he needed to sketch them all. “I started drawing seriously a year and a half ago (really sitting down every day for a few hours and getting rid of all the other distractions),” he shares, “and this seemed like a fun exercise for me with getting better and better results.”

Goverde shared his duct tape-inspired drawing on Reddit where it got thousands of upvotes. “There was someone who sent the piece of paper among all the messages,” he says, “and I immediately saw the man and the rat. So, I thought to try to put those thoughts into the drawing again. I imagined the bird quite shortly after sketching the man and the rat.”

Though he has just started this fun drawing challenge, Goverde is working on more. “I already have the drawing in lines and base colors,” he explains. “And this time also with a recognizable material—potato chips!”

Bas Goverde completes fun drawing exercises that transform unlikely inspiration into character-driven artwork.

Drawing Exercise by Bas Goverde

Bas Goverde: Instagram | Reddit | Redbubble

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Bas Goverde.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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