Maartje Van Hoorn

“Band of Brothers” is more than just a television series; it is a powerful portrayal of camaraderie, sacrifice, and heroism during World War II. Beyond the gripping storyline, the series has left an indelible mark on veterans, their families, and a global fan base.

The global fan base of “Band of Brothers” attests to its universal appeal. Fans from different corners of the world have connected with the series, drawn to its authenticity, historical accuracy, and the emotional depth with which it explores the human experience in times of war. The enduring legacy of “Band of Brothers” extends beyond the screen. It has become a cultural touchstone, fostering a sense of community among those who appreciate its portrayal of the sacrifices made by the men of Easy Company.

I have had the pleasure of interviewing one of the Band of Brothers community. Meet Maartje.

Maartje with Robin Laing who portrayed Babe Hefron. Photo by Stuart Bertie.
Welcome to Madhatterpress. Can you share a few words about yourself.

I’m Maartje, from the Netherlands. I write, take photos and, perhaps most relevant here, have been making art since I was 19.

When did you first start drawing and what was your subject?

I have photos of me drawing a stove with eyes (?) at a very young age, but I always preferred writing to drawing when I was growing up. I became serious about art when I was nineteen, and my dad bought an early graphics tablet that I ‘borrowed’. I’ve always drawn things from popular media, as well as the musicians that I liked.

Tell me about your love of BoB. When did you first watch it, and what drew you to it?
I grew up passionate about history because my dad is. But I saw Band of Brothers for the first time in high school, this was when it came out. We had a cool history teacher who let us watch it. After that, I watched it with my dad and then didn’t watch it for a long time before getting into it again at the start of the Covid drama. I love good storytelling, and Band of Brothers is such a masterpiece. I’ve seen it probably over 50 times at this point.

What made you start drawing the 506E men?

I paint things I’m passionate about. The fact that I hadn’t drawn them sooner is a little surprising to me. I also love sharing the art with the people I’ve depicted, and Band gave me that opportunity. Did I think I was going to paint so many of them though? Not really, but the community around Band as a series and the military history community are really supportive and excited about the paintings, which is a dream!  I have a couple of things in mind I want to do with the actual men of Easy Company, though, but who knows if I’ll end up doing it.  

A young Maartje
A snapshot of some of Maartje's work

Tell me about your drawing process.

Okay, here goes:

  1. Decide who I want to draw
  2. Change my mind 3 million times
  3. Look through the 653 screenshots I already have saved
  4. Decide they’re not good enough
  5. Go to the episodes the character is in
  6. Plan to take just screenshots
  7. End up watching the entire episodes and forget to take screenshots
  8. Repeat steps 3-6
  9. Pick a screenshot
  10. Make a sketch based on it
  11. Abandon sketch and start over
  12. Ok, sketch is ok
  13. Take a break
  14. Spend an estimate of anywhere between 4-12 hours colouring my sketch until it’s a full-colour painting
  15. Cry, but post it on social media anyway

Who have you drawn?

Perhaps the better question is who I haven’t painted yet!!  In total, there have been 23 individual character paintings. I have yet to paint Lewis Nixon, Harry Welsh, Joe Toye, Bill Guarnere, and probably a million others.

Do you have a plan with your drawings? Are you thinking of a ‘Band’ book?

That is the plan if I ever decide I’m done. I used to make art books yearly, so I’d love to dedicate a book to this series. Maybe selling it can help me go on more tours. (See the last extra bit of info for more about that)  

What reaction has there been from family and friends?

There’s a difference between family and friends in the same niche corner as me, and those who don’t care about Band. It’s a stark contrast between an eye roll and being very excited. Also, having made art this way for as long as I have, most people close to me have stopped caring. And so has most of the internet, with the existence of ‘AI art’, but that’s another discussion. 

What is the reaction from those who have seen and signed them for you?

I never quite know if it’s embarrassing or flattering for them to see themselves in a painting. But everyone has been extremely kind and flattering to me about it. They’d never tell me if they didn’t like it, anyway, they’re much too nice for that! 

Anything else you want to share.

The best part about making Band of Brothers art are the people I’ve met because of it. Many of them on the We Happy Few 506 tours. Between the actors on the tours and people just participating and learning, I feel like I’ve met true friends who would let me call them in the middle of the night if something was up. With those people, I don’t feel disabled (I have CP and use a wheelchair). I just feel appreciated, and I genuinely love them. I’d recommend the tours to anyone for the amazing history and the people.

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Photo of Maartje and Robin taken by Stuart Bertie Photography