Michael Akkerman: Unfolding World War 2 stories through his drawings

Interviews, WW2

By Pierre Kosmidis

Drawings by Michael Akkerman, submitted to www.ww2wrecks.com and used by permission


Michael Akkerman, a 29 year old man from Boise, Idaho, has an incredible talent in depicting World War 2 stories with his drawings, with attention to detail, accurately and with precision.
Each drawing tells its own story, based on actual events, as described by the soldiers who were there and saw with their own eyes the brutality of war.
Vichy Milice
I would say I have been taking drawing seriously since about 3rd grade.  WWII history has just always interested me.  I can’t really pinpoint a time or event where it hooked me”, Mike Akkerman says to www.ww2wrecks.com.
What made you start putting the stories on paper, drawing specific episodes of the war?
I think growing up watching WWII films picked my interest on the subject matter.  I always wanted to know more about it and why it happened.
Michael Wittmann (1)
Which are the most interesting, drawing-wise, war theatres for you and why?
European and Mediterranean theatre obviously have been my main focus.  I think I have a keen interest in that topic because I want to depict it in ways no one has ever seen before.
Tenno Heika Banzai
You strive for historical accuracy, looking for more details on the stories you decide to draw, be it the colours or the names. Why is that?
I strive for ultimate accuracy because I have a bit of an obsession with it.
If something is off, inaccurate, or anachronistic then how can it be taken seriously as a depiction of a real event?
Claus Von Stauffenberg
I have started to go all the way down to how soldiers carried themselves and carried their weapons during WWII; it is far different from today.  You see this inaccuracy in movies a lot, but in some war paintings as well – soldiers handling their weapons in modern day ready-positions at the shoulder.
Soldiers during WWII were trained to handle their weapons at the waist and only shoulder them when taking aim to fire (No soldier during WWII would be seen moving with his rifle to his shoulder like a modern-day trooper with a M4).
Buffalo Soldier
For me, it is these things that complete a piece depicting historical events.  You need to research the hell out of your topics down to the smallest detail, because history deserves that attention.
Do you plan to illustrate a graphic novel?
If someone hires me to illustrate their graphic novel, I would be glad to.  I just have not had the opportunity yet.
Afrika Korps (2)
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are quite ambitious.
My film school friends and I have been developing an action/war cartoon series for about a year now and it is looking pretty serious – so I am full-throttle on that.
In terms of drawing and painting, I just plan on depicting more events I learn about from the war that I either find interesting or that a lot of people don’t know about.  And I am always up for commissions!
How can anyone get in touch with you for more info or to commission a painting?
You can always hit me up through Facebook messenger, but my official email to reach me is [email protected]