Kristof is an iIlustrator from Belgium, and we first came across his site when he used our support service. He is using our Ink theme for his WordPress-powered site kristofdevos.com, and we were amazed by the attention to detail and the quality of customization he achieved. Here is his story.
John: Hi Kristof, first tell us a couple of things about yourself and what you are working on this period.
Kristof: Well, I’m a 33 years old illustrator of children’s books, based in Belgium. At this moment, I’m finalizing my third book, Schim (shadow) and am already thinking about my fourth, a story I’ve written a couple of months ago and am eager to start illustrating. Currently my work is on the shortlist for the Nami Concours in South Korea. News I’ve heard just a couple of weeks ago and am very happy about. Even a little proud.
J: Where do you find inspiration from?
K: I believe that inspiration comes from looking at every day things from a different angle. I must admit, sometimes it’s very hard to start drawing, because you feel empty. Uninspired. But you always have to get to that drawing table, even if you need to drag yourself, and be convinced that you can do it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But at least you’ve tried.
Quite frequently I visit schools and libraries to give lectures and have noticed that a lot of times people are asking questions about things I’ve written in my posts. It great to see that it’s actually being read.
J: Your website is powered by Ink theme, and from what I see you have made an excellent customisation and ended up with a stunning result. Tell us about it!
K: I’ve been on WordPress for a little more than six years and changed my themes at least once (and mostly twice or more) per year because I got tired of them. There was always something that bothered me. When I first saw Ink, I was stunned. It was the perfect theme for me. Not only did it look great with it’s perfect focus on content, it was also using the WordPress theme customizer as the only options panel. I believe a theme has to fit right out of the box and needs to have as little options as possible. Give a user to much to play with and he ends up messing up his website. I made a couple of css adjustments in my child theme to fit my needs (which was easy to achieve, btw) and am still in no way thinking about switching themes. This is by far the best site I’ve ever had.
J: In general, give us an honest review of your experience of Codestag so far
K: I see you guys are serious about WordPress and are out to build a product with high quality standards, spending time to perfect the details. That’s actually becoming somewhat rare in theming. I needed support a couple of times and you were more than helpful, which I appreciate a lot! I also like the fact that you are concentrating on the blogging niche. Nice work! One other thing I really enjoy is the updates. Bugs are fixed, which is normal, but the theme keeps evolving by adding new features. Those aren’t just some extra’s, but are always well thought off and truly add value to the theme. So, an overall great experience!
I believe a theme has to fit right out of the box and needs to have as little options as possible. Give a user too much to play with and he ends up messing up his website.
J: At your blog, what grabbed my attention is the attention you put to the quality featured images. Do you take these photos yourself?
K: Thanks! I take all the pictures myself, except once, when I used a picture from Unsplash. I focus on creating high quality content and can spend hours on writing a blogpost, so the images deserve the same attention. Ink gives you the ability to make the pictures stand out, that also means they have to be good.
J: How important is blogging for your online appearance? Are you a frequent blogger?
K: I blog one to three times a month, mostly about something that involves illustrating or writing. The main reason I’m doing it is because I like it, though an online appearance is almost inevitable these days for someone who makes books. Through social media & blogging I keep in touch with readers as well as colleagues. That’s something that was unthinkable just a few years ago. It’s a way to show people the story behind the book, a way to show how a book was made, a way to spread ideas that go beyond a book … Quite frequently I visit schools and libraries to give lectures and have noticed that a lot of times people are asking questions about things I’ve written in my posts. It great to see that it’s actually being read.
J: At the homepage I see you have published a book. Tell us about it.
K: Well, as I’ve mentioned in the first question. Schim is my third book. I don’t want to give too many details at this point, but it’s about a boy and his shadow. The book was written by Wally De Doncker, an amazing writer who has recently been elected IBBY president. My previous book, Het Weerjongetje that was released in August has been translated into Danish and is coming to America in May as The Weather Boy. Exciting!
J: Any plans for the future? What’s the next step?
K: I work about a year on a single book, that means things get quite intense. So after finishing a book I really feel the urge to take a break. But knowing myself, I’ll probably start drawing my next book by tomorrow.