If you’re not signed up to Goodreads this might be a moment to consider it: it’s a great site where you can keep track of what you read, connect with other readers and discover new books.
Coming up with a good cover is always a challenge. Ideally, a cover drawing conveys precisely what the book is about. For Religion: a Discovery in Comics I wanted it to contain me (since there’s a lot of autobiography in there), an image of “God”, and the symbols of the five world religions. The very first sketch (for the Dutch edition) was this:
The image of Man reaching for God and God reaching out to infuse Man with life is an allusion to this famous fresco by Michelangelo, called ‘The Creation of Adam’:
Although I liked the overall feel of the picture, I was having a hard time getting all the elements right. This was an early version:
Nice enough, but colleagues pointed out that this picture has two focus points: the divine halo in top and the yellow circle where pencil and God’s hand almost meet. It’s better to have one point in the picture to draw the eye to, and someone suggested this:
I liked that, but I wasn’t sure about the space between the pencil and God’s hand. In the original Michelangelo painting there is this space, and it creates a good suspense of almost-being-animated – but then I realized that my book is not about a one-way relationship with the divine, but rather about the dynamic between people and how they perceive any “higher force”.
When I made the finger and the pencil meet, the image suddenly “clicked”. It can be read in two ways: either the divine is inspiring the artist, or the artist is conjuring up an image of the divine. Or both!
So this is the final result, and the cover to keep an eye out for in stores soon:
A new book is coming! The files of Religion: a Discovery in Comics have been sent to the printer and the physical book will be in stores after the Summer. Time to let the world know what it’s all about.
After Philosophy and Science, Religion: a Discovery in Comics is again a graphic novel that gives a colorful overview of the basic concepts of the field – in this case: the five major world religions, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.
But this book is more. Far more than the other two books, this one is about me – because I firmly belief that you can’t tell truth about religion without getting into what it means personally.
I have quite some experience with all kinds of religious surroundings. As a toddler, I literally played in church, since my father was a minister in the small village of Okkenbroek and we lived in a vicarage attached to the church. The holy and the mundane were very naturally intertwined for me from an early age. My parents (both theologians) encouraged stories and questions and welcomed discussions, even (especially!) when they were very critical.
Here’s a page from the book that more or less sums up those early years of my life:
The village and the church are still the same as they were 35 years ago, here’s a recent picture:
It’s Pentecost Sunday today, the Christian feast of the descent of the Holy Spirit – but what does that even mean? Here’s a comic I did a few years ago (for Dutch spiritual magazine Speling) about what spirit and inspiration means to me:
In my upcoming book Religion: a Discovery in Comics I list what I think is the core of each world religion – for Christianity I chose the holy communion as significant ritual. But personally, in the eclectic way I experience my own spirituality, I feel much more for this feast that celebrates inspiration, exhilaration and communication.
Last weekend, Yiri and I attended the famous Torontonian comics festival TCAF on our first ever trip to Canada, and we had a blast! I drew a few webcomics about our first days, and our stay in the wonderful Church/Wellesley-district:
TCAF has so many great names and wonderful events, I felt a bit humbled at the start of it all…
…but then this happened:
We loved the whole experience! And now we’re back on the European side of the pond, and back to working on the approaching publications of no less than two books: the Dutch Wereldheerschappij in Beeld and the english Religion: a Discovery in Comics. Both will appear in October 2015!
Next weekend is TCAF, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and I’ll be there! It looks to be more than exciting, with hundreds of artists and dozens of events. If you can be there – come!
If you have an iPad, you can download it for FREE through the Sequential app, just click here – and you’ll be able to read the full context of this panel:
Not convinced yet? Wait till you hear the names of the other artists in there: Barbara Stok, Hunt Emerson, Noah Van Sciver, Kristyna Baczynski, Simon Moreton, Joe Decie and Elaine M. Will!
The anthology can only be downloaded during TCAF, so get it before it ends on May 11!
It’s King’s Day today in The Netherlands! The whole country is full of orange celebrations – and let me add to the festivities with this comic about the inauguration of our first king, Willem I.
This panel is part of a 10-panel traveling exhibition, initiated by Museum Meermanno.
Exactly ten years ago on Easter Monday I started my first webcomic – it was black&white and I vowed not to spend more time on it than one hour a day, including scanning and putting it online, so that I would learn to be fast and productive and not to second-guess myself too much. This comic ran for almost two years – although calling it a “daily” proved far too optimistic.
Here are some of the comics I made then:
I had a different life back then: I had stepchildren, four cats, blond hair and I was taking driving lessons, which finally resulted in me getting my license at age 33!
My drawing style was still very much in development at that stage. The webcomic really helped me to find the courage to draw a nice quick, loose line.
Now, ten years later, the world of webcomics has grown bigger and bigger and I enjoy quite a lot of them on a daily basis. So much that I want to get back in there myself. I like the productive flow that a webcomic can bring, as well as the direct interaction with an audience. I’ve been working on so many things lately that I can’t show yet, since it’s for books and projects that will be revealed later – and with this webcomic I can draw and rant about stuff and send it out in the world immediately.
This time, I’m aiming for more polished, colored comics that loosely connect to my graphic novels in that they depict my interests in all kinds of things, but also show autobiographical bits of my life with Yiri and our cat Toto. The tagline is “Discoveries about my life, the universe and everything” – with a wink to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 😉
I’m posting the webcomic on my Tumblr account, which was pretty dormant in the past months. I like Tumblr’s layout options and the easy archiving, and hope it will make for easy reading.
It’s International Women’s Day, and here’s a comic I made a few years ago for an exhibition about Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader – I chose to highlight the story of his mother, Jo Ader-Appels, who showed remarkable strength through many hardships, including the murder of her husband and the disappearance of her son.
(click on the comic to read the big version)
(click on the comic to read the big version)