Playtime with Toy Factory

As the name of his one-man studio, Toy Factory, suggests, Belgian illustrator Sam de Buysscher’s work is playful and slightly kitsch. It draws on the 1940s and 50s to create bright, fun works filled with robots, zeppelins and monsters. A late bloomer to hand drawing, Antwerp-based Sam admits this added a new lease of life to his work. 

“In the beginning, I worked directly in Illustrator – no sketching, no scanning, just my mouse and Mac. Illustrator’s borders are wide, but I wanted to create a more ‘trashy’ style; I needed more dynamic characters. That’s when I started sketching again, and rediscovered my love for drawing. It has taken my work to another level.”

Sketching has quickly become the starting point for almost all his images. “You get a whole other look to your work when you first make sketches. When I’m creating new characters and need to place them in different positions, it’s handy to draw them first – you get a clearer image.”

For Sam, rediscovering drawing is part of an ongoing urge to experiment. “It’s part of my freedom and not getting stuck in a specific style.”

He adds, “Lately I’ve started to get invitations for live drawing sessions, something I would never have done a few years ago.”

Left Sam de Buysscher says, “Robots are fun to draw. They always have kind of magic and people keep on loving them.”

Top AtomBoy is a character created by Sam. “At the moment I’m totally in love with my AtomBoy character,” he says. “I could go on drawing it forever. It’s a lovely mixture of characters and objects.”