Belgian filmmaker Vincent Bal has made four feature films and numerous commercials, but the long creative process filmmaking requires often left him frustrated. Combining a love for comic strips with a bit of creativity, his quick doodles incorporating shadows have become an unexpected creative outlet. By using a variety of objects, Bal is able to find a form within the shadow cast, deftly taking his pen to fill in what’s missing.
“While I was working on a new script last April, I noticed how my teacup made a nice shadow on a piece of paper. I drew some lines on it and suddenly the shadow was an elephant,” Bal writes. “I took a pic with my phone and posted it on Facebook. Before I knew it, this pic was shared and liked as never before. I was surprised how much people liked it. Since that day I’ve been posting a doodle a day.”
Sharing the doodles gives Bal immediate feedback that’s not possible with his films—something he finds liberating. “I have an idea, make it, and find an audience, all in less than half an hour. I love the freedom. There are no restrictions. I can just watch a shadow and see if I recognize a shape.” The sketches are light and upbeat, playing with both the negative and positive space of the shadows. Bal’s keen eye as a filmmaker comes into play, as he’s able to work out the perfect character to fit within the shadow. Thieves sneak away from the scene of the crime, fantastical monsters emerge from a leaf—it’s all possible as Bal stretches his creative muscle.
The creative filmmaker-turned-illustrator’s doodles have become so successful that he’s started an Etsy shop, where prints and postcards are available for purchase.
All images via Vincent Bal.