“From making portraits for a few years, I’ve found that some people just have a good head. Fausto Coppi’s has so much character.
“His nose is famous, but I think his eyes are also very characteristic – they really pop. So it wasn’t really difficult finding a good photograph of him to work from: almost every picture of him is nice.
“In this case, I decided to do a side-on portrait. I don’t know why I had the idea to make it en profil, I thought it would be good on the cover for a change.
“I start by hand, printing in a very low opacity and tracing certain shapes with a pencil. I print four different sheets – on one I trace the darker shapes, on another, I do those that are a bit lighter, and on another, the lightest shapes. Then I scan them, make it digital again and use Adobe Illustrator to fill the shapes and make them more geometrical.
“It’s black and white at first, then I search for the colours I’m going to use. In this case, I was browsing through Bianchi jerseys and started with that nice blue shade. The editors at Rouleur had feedback to use brighter colours [including Tour de France yellow and Giro pink – Ed] so I tried that – and the orange is a bit of my Dutch flavour.
“This assignment was more unique because of doing a double page cover too. I read up about Coppi and found that the Stelvio was his mountain. I thought I could use it in a kind of abstract way on the back cover, a nice shape I could add to the whole composition. I’m really happy with the illustration.
“I really like a recent portrait I did of Roger Federer (below), for the Dutch national broadcaster NRS. But so far, my favourite from my portfolio is one of David Bowie I did just after he died – even though my style has simplified a lot since then. But it worked really well and I still get a lot of good reactions from it.”
Issue 19.8, starring Fausto Coppi: prisoner of war, Bjarne Riis, Tour de Suisse, pro cycling’s one-team men and Lorena Wiebes is on sale December 10 2019.