Apart from Jonas himself, Jonas and the Sea is also the story of Marlies van der Wel. It’s an epic tale of one woman, five years, three trips across the Netherlands to comb kilometres of beach, plus countless hours sketching with a pen and animating with a computer.
Yes, Marlies drew and animated every part of the 150 shots herself using a collage technique that combines her distinctive artwork with objects she found on the Dutch coast.
Each shot began with a pencil sketch. The backgrounds were created with photos from her research trips to Terschelling, a small island on the edge of the North Sea, with photographers Maeve Stam and Leon Hendrickx. All this was whipped up into a rich collage before animation of the final artwork began.
‘Funnily enough, just like Jonas, it was everything that I made during the last two years that made my happy ending possible. I didn’t know what the end of the film would look like until the last two weeks of production – that’s when I found my big fish.’