• Interview With Leen de Jager


    When did you start developing for flight simulators and what got you interested in it?

    I first started painting liveries for aircraft about 13 years ago. This was whilst I was using MSFS. When FlyII came out, I was really impressed by what this sim could offer, and so decided to start painting for that simulator, with the PA19 being my inspiration. After returning to MSFS for a short time, I started painting liveries for X-Plane. For me, personally, I found painting for different simulators, pretty much the same. There are a few differences of course, but the tools and techniques I use for each are almost identical.

    Tell us about the nature of your designs and what you do?

    The first thing I must tell you is that designing whole aircraft is not really my thing. My main skill is creating new paints for aircraft. As a rule, I don't use paint kits as I far prefer to create my own base textures. Some aircraft don't come with normal files, so for those planes that do not have them, this is something I particularly enjoy.

    What do you consider your best or most popular work?

    I am constantly learning as I go, so like many of the developers you have interviewed, I would have to repeat what many of them have said, and that is, my latest work is always the one I like best. At the moment I am working on an ATR 72 livery for the McPhat ATR (X-Plane) and it's quite a challenge to improve on what McPhat have already done...but it will be done! Sometimes it's not so hard to improve on what others have done, whilst in the case of McPhat, it is a definite challenge.


    What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of a project?

    When I create a livery my first aim is to try and make it more attractive than what's been previously made. This way I am always challenging myself to reach the next level in detail. Being asked to create liveries is a great compliment for me, especially when it comes from the author of that particular aircraft.

    What have been your favorite projects?

    There have been quite a few favorite projects. For example, years ago I made a series of liveries (about 20) for the Project Fokker F28. This was for FS2004 and was really enjoyable. More recently I have worked for McPhat Studios on their ATR 72 and also with Leading Edge Simulation. Working on Leading Edge Simulation's Saab was really very interesting because I entered the project at an early stage and was able to have some influence over the mapping of the textures.


    What software packages and tools do you use to develop?

    As a painter, I use a variety of tools. These include PaintShop, DXTbmp, convimx.exe and a dozen more. Choosing the right tools is vital for a texture artist and you will find that many artists use completely different tools. It's a very personal choice. Also, some liveries might require you to use tools which you wouldn't use on another. This goes to show you how different the painting process can be and the importance in knowing and understanding more than one program.

    Painting liveries is a very time consuming process and one which has taken me many years to master. I have been painting for years and still there are things I am learning. Just because you can pick up a Steinway, doesn't mean you can be a concert pianist...

    Ah...I forgot to mention some other vital tools. There are: Classical music, a glass of Claret and a piece of Dutch cheese. Without these important items, nothing gets painted!


    Who would you consider to be your mentors or inspiration in the development world?

    I can't really think of one specific name as there are so many talented painters out there. What I would say though, is that I have always admired the work of some of the 'big guys' and try to learn as much as I can from their work. At several flight simulation forums, I run the painting groups and help other (starting) painters get up and running. These include AVSim and DutchFs.

    1. 5171's Avatar
      5171 -
      Leen's Art Work used to develop his liveries is not only renowned at X Plane but is "Jaw Dropping " You have to see it on one of his projects to get the full effect!

      Thanks Leen for taking the time to do the interview, it was so nice to know more about the man I so respect!

    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Leen's work is simply amazing!

      Agree with Mark, in that you have to see his work first hand to get the full effect. It's amazing how big the little details are!!

      Thanks for a great interview!!
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