Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Size Matters

Yes it does. Where comics are concerned, at least. The first published comics I made were for a small magazine a friend of my mother set up, and it made sense to me to draw a strip that was full-page, rather than half page. It was called "Hoe het Verder Ging" and was about a couple that got divorced, since the magazine it was to appear in dealt with issues divorcees might encounter. Taken from life, because my parents also got separated back then. Though the first episode of that comic looked a bit different, the following pages contained four strips per page. I found that just enough to build up a gag nicely, and in the process tell a bit more about the (broken) family the strip was about. Besides, every comic strip I knew had that same format, so it didn't really occur to me to do it otherwise.

I made 'Noach & Zijn Familie' for the same magazine, once again choosing the four-strip full page format. The main character was a modern day Noah, who had a small caravan instead of an ark, and the family vacations. No auto-biographic elements in that one, mind you, we didn't have a caravan. 

With later strips I published, I always had the size of the magazine they were for to take into account, so they mainly stayed the same four-strip (A4) size. 

But now with the web, there is suddenly a lot of freedom where the size (and a lot of other things, of course) is concerned! You can do anything you want really, size-wise!

As you can see in this week's comic strip, I am exploring that particular topic:

  See you next week, when our search continues!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A First Try: About Cats

What should my comic strip be about?  A potential topic happened to sit right next to me: Cats!

So, what is it with me and cats? I have always loved them, have always had them around me.

This picture was taken in 1966, the cat is Hugo, the human is me. And the bear in the picture is Flappie, by the way. When Flappie got older, he faded from blue to gray. For years I thought he was an elephant, because of his colour. Only much later, I found out he was an ordinary bear. 

At an early age, I started drawing cats:

Or at least I think it is a cat. We didn't have any other animals in the house, just Hugo, so I am assuming it is him. He certainly is as hairy as the real Hugo!

After some practicing, the cats I drew became more recognizable as such:

And stayed with me through the years, of course:

1974, with Poppeltje

So, to get back to my original topic, it would make a lot of sense to draw a cartoon about cats:
However, as the first episode shows, perhaps it wasn't such a good idea, since it's hardly original.

It is always fun drawing Storm though, the orange cat in this comic strip. He actually has a small cat-bed with giraffe-print that sits on the table in my small studio- or the small room I call that ;) He seems to like to watch me draw, though it makes him fall asleep after a while. I do hope my drawings don't have that effect on you! 

So, no comic about cats, I will need to find something else to draw about. Join me next week, as the search continues! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

First Steps

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to draw. 
Once I discovered comic strips, I knew that was what I wanted to make. My Heroes were Franquin (who made 'Guust Flater'), Morris and Goscinny (Lucky Luke) and Uderzo and Goscinny (Astérix) and Hergé (Kuifje - Tintin).

I don't remember when exactly I made my first small comic strip, but it must have been in the late seventies. Apologies for the poor quality of the image, I had to scan an ancient photocopy, as I seem to have misplaced the original drawings. 

It's about a panicking mother, who comes running into the room where a man is sitting in a chair, reading a newspaper. "The baby just drank all the ink from the inkbottle, what should we do?" "Write with pencil", the man answers. 
I took the idea from a book with (corny) jokes I had, I think I actually planned to turn every joke in that book to a comic strip, but I never got beyond this first one. 
The material I used was the same as it still is: pencil on paper, tracing the pencil with pen and ink and then erase the pencil when the ink has dried.

The second strip was my own idea:

It shouldn't be too hard to understand even if you don't speak Dutch, the text in the last balloon is: "Oh, look at these poor little flowers". 

Though I have been drawing a lot of illustrations and cartoons etc, it has been a while since I have drawn comic strips, and I feel ready for a brand new one! What I want to do here, is take you with me through the process of creating a new comic strip. If you want to join me on that trip, that is!