Margreet de Heer

The Comeback of Stella

February 26, 2013 by  


If you’re lucky as a comic artist, you get to make a comic for a magazine that appears with some frequency. This allows you to build a world, to flesh out characters, to introduce backgrounds and depths.

If you’re really lucky, your comic runs for a few years and builds a readership. A run of two, three, four years is a really good one in this time when magazines seem to re-style at a disturbing rate. (Unfortunately, the comic is usually the first thing to get changed under a new editor.)

And if you’re really really lucky, you get a chance to revive such a comic, even after years and years, in another magazine.

This is what happened to me with my comic Stella.

Stella appeared in girls’ magazine Flo’ from 2005 to 2008, when the magazine folded. Stella was an eleven-year old, as were the readers, and she was well loved.

Last Summer, I was asked to make a comic for magazine Hoe Overleef Ik, aimed at girls around 15 years old. I asked if I could draw Stella again, this time a little older. The editor was OK, and the readers liked it, and by now I have already made six new adventures for her.

 

Here’s the comic at the very start, in 2005:

 

And this is the new Stella, that appeared last Summer:


Stefan Blitz

“THE INITIATES is One of The Best Books About Wine I’ve Ever Read, Period.”

February 24, 2013 by  


There’s a reason why we’re especially enthusiastic about our latest release, The Initiates: A Comic Artist And a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs by Etienne Davodeau.

Page45.com sums it up rather succinctly;

“This is a fantastic work which illuminates just how similar the approach to being successful in any artistic field is, really. Yes, you need talent and an eye for your subject, yes you need hard work to produce the goods, but you also need passion.”

Hard work and passion truly are two of the cornerstones of creativity, but this book resonates even beyond that.

Our headline comes from a review from Jameson Fink, a name likely unfamiliar to comic readers, but wine connoisseurs know.  He is considered one of “The 9 Most Important Wine Bloggers in the US” and his site was a finalist for the 2012 “Best Overall Wine Blog.”

He recently reviewed The Initiates on his site and had this to say:

“The Initiates illustrates the rewards of remaining curious and thoughtful when it comes to your life’s work, and what you can learn from others by listening and observing. Sometimes it may involve pruning shears and a vine; other times, a pen and paper. For anyone looking  to break out of their personal and professional comfort zone, The Initiates is a well-illustrated inspiration.”

 

 


Margreet de Heer

A Calendar of Tales

February 21, 2013 by  


Widely beloved author Neil Gaiman has started the project A Calendar of Tales, in which he invites the world to make art with him. Using the tweets of thousands of people as an inspiration, he has written twelve tales, one for each month, and is now inviting artists to illustrate them.

I love this.

Even though I’m busy enough preparing the translation of ‘Science: a Discovery in Comics’ (to be published in September) and the second print of ‘Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics’ (Yay! A second print!) AND the usual assignments and commissions, I’m making time to get into this project, reading and illustrating one tale a day.

Why?

It doesn’t pay anything – and though it may generate some exposure of my work, it’s highly unlikely it will make a big splash amidst the thousands of artworks that are being uploaded.

I’m doing this because it’s FUN – with all capital letters – the kind of fun that working aith others in a studio or 24 Hour Comics Day brings me. It’s the pleasure of working without restrictions, combined with the energy generated by a whole bunch of people doing the same thing, riding the same creative wave. Yes, I know I sound like a hippie, but I can really feel this almost tangible energy that surrounds a project like this. It’s crisp, it’s fresh, it’s positive. It’s thousands of people making stuff that did not exist before. It’s miraculous.

I wish the world could be more like this: simply Creative, without worrying about payments or copyrights. I’m so happy with people like Neil Gaiman and his wife Amanda Palmer, who are showing the world the power of connectivity and what it can do for art.

Anyway, here are my illustrations so far:

Even though the tales are only about two pages long, Gaiman manages to conjure up such a wealth of imagery. It’s in my comic artist’s blood to try to get as much of the story into my drawing: the soldiers, the forest, the beach, the couple with the champagne, and of course the Unspeakable Things that lurk behind the seconds… You can read the story here.

 

The February Tale became a tryptich. It’s about an old lady who lost a pendant on a beach – but she doesn’t actually feature directly in the story. So I wanted to draw her, and her reaction to what’s happening, something that’s only speculated about.

I surprised myself with this one. Even though I can often picture in my head what kind of drawing I want, it always turns out different. That’s partly, I think, because I never had any formal education in drawing. I have not tried different styles as much as I would have liked to. In the past years, working on my books, I have stuck closely to my “simple” drawing style. After such a long time of full time drawing, I find that I actually have built some skill, a certain routine, a confidence that I can make a drawing work on a page. And now I can apply that confidence to these drawings in a whole new way and style, and here’s actually a realistic-looking Old Woman, that I didn’t know I could draw until now!

 

The March Tale is about pirates and a Southern porch and when I read it, I immediately saw silhouettes, because that reflects the nostalgia as well as the frilliness of the story. But I’ve never really done silhouettes, so again this was a nice experiment, and again I surprised myself! And lo and behold, it also turned out to be a tryptich:

 

It’s my intention to illustrate all of the twelve stories in the coming week. It gives a nice new impulse to my work rhythm. It’s like pushing myself into new territories – full of discoveries and unexpected vistas.

If you want to get in on this project, you can! You should! Artwork can be submitted until March 11. You can read all about it when you click this link.

Join in!

As Neil Gaiman says: “Sure, the world is full of artists, but none of them is YOU. Don’t withhold the world your unique view on things.”

 

 


Stefan Blitz

NBM Review Round-Up!

February 18, 2013 by  


Here we are, back again, with some recent reviews of various NBM titles.

The Initiates: A Comic Artist And a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs

“The excellent writing, characterizations, and tranquil-yet-stimulating vibe make this a treat to savor slowly, like wine. Davodeau’s smoky realism, though black-and-white, manages to suggest the full range of wine-growing climate shifts. Oenophiles will love this and the merely curious will be plenty satisfied.”

– Library Journal/School Library Journal

An Enchantment

“Durieux veils every panel with crepuscular sepia, which dulls the colors and contours of the featured paintings and installations but warmly enfolds the protagonists’ developing relationship. His drawing style is otherwise pure European comics realism, eschewing caricature and approaching the photographic, with, throughout, hints of the amusing, quicksilver line of . . . Cocteau”

Booklist

“Durieux’s fantasia peeps occasionally at these darker things: the legacy of dictatorship and history’s evils contained in the Louvre’s hallways and priceless works of art. This brooding subtext, however, is overridden by the artist’s sweet sense of mystery and magic, which has produced a beautiful lark of a story.”

Publisher’s Weekly

 

A Treasury of Victorian Murder Compendium

“A must-read for those who love comics and Gothic-tinged history…With heavy black ink on white paper, Geary draws impeccably drafted, brilliantly composed panels of stylized characters, gorgeous architecture, panoramic cityscapes and attention-grabbing close-ups. These pages are an artist’s master class. Geary’s cinematic style establishes visual rhythms that set the pace for a story that remains vibrant despite the fact that the only voice we read is the narrator’s. Beautiful.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Abelard

“A strange mix of bleak and cute.”

Grovel

“Wonderful, thoughtful, and moving.”

Sequential Tart

 

Philosophy – A Discovery in Comics

“A relatively quick read, especially for a book on philosophy, but it also makes philosophy approachable and less intimidating than it might be…A great overview.”

Portland Book Review

Salvatore Vol. 1: Transports of Love

“The leisurely pace, slightly skewed sense of humor, and young adult-that-looks-kid-friendly content might make the book a somewhat acquired taste, but, once you’ve acquired it, Salvatore is something of a feast.”

School Library Journal: Good Comics For Kids

 

Taxes, The Tea Party and Those Revolting Rebels

“Mack’s history is a vital and entertaining one. It captures Americans as radicals and wild cards and assures that rebellion is in our blood, even if it must be against each other.”

Archive 7


NBM

The Initiates and An Enchantment at comics stores this week!

February 14, 2013 by  


Go take a look at these two great books just in stores now:

THE INITIATES

A Comic Artist And a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs

 Etienne Davodeau

 Etienne Davodeau is a comic artist. He doesn’t know much about the world of wine-making. Richard Leroy is a wine-maker. He‘s rarely even read comics. But these two are full of good will and curiosity. Why do we choose to spend one’s life writing and creating comics or producing wine? How and for whom do we do them? To answer these questions, for more than a year, Etienne went to work in Richard’s vineyards and cellar. Richard, in return, leapt into the world of comics. They opened a lot of bottles and read many comics. They traveled around, meeting authors and wine-makers sharing their passion for their jobs. The first time a book explores the nature of a man’s vocation with a true life representation of it from two very different perspectives. They get to realize they both have that precious and necessary power to bring people together. With guest appearances by Trondheim (Dungeon, Little Nothings), Emmanuel Guibert (The Photographer) and Marc-Antoine Matthieu (Museum Vaults).
OVER 100,000 SOLD IN FRANCE
“This nugget in black & white is both graphic novel and autobiography. Proposing discovery of the making of a wine and a book at the same time, the story is up to the natural and living nectar it’s looking to make evident.”
-Le Monde

8×11, 272pp., B&W hardcover $29.99, ISBN 9781561637034

SEE PREVIEWS

AND:

In the Louvre Collection:

AN ENCHANTMENT

Christian Durieux

Those two, they never should have met. In the night, in a long corridor pinned with ancient dreams, they make of this encounter a party. Those two, they must have a gift.
The next remarkable graphic novel in the Louvre collection after Glacial Period, The Sky Over the Louvre and Rohan at the Louvre tells the tale of the retiring museum director on a fugue from his retirement dinner through the vast halls of the museum, eloping with a muse…

“[A]sweet sense of mystery and magic. Beautiful lark of a story.” -Publishers Weekly

10 ½ x 11 ¼, 72pp, full color hardcover, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-56163-705-8

SEE PREVIEWS


Margreet de Heer

LOVE

February 13, 2013 by  


It’s Valentine’s Day! Here are some doodles I made of the loved ones I live with:

The cats, Boris and Toto.

The husband, Yiri.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Eric Hobbs

Family Ties Giveaway

February 13, 2013 by  


I did this with The Broadcast and had some success with it so I figured I would do it again and give readers a chance to win a free copy of Family Ties. Like before, you have to be a member of the Good Reads website to enter, but membership is free and definitely worth it if you’re an avid reader. However, if you’re already a member you can just click below and you are automatically entered to win. Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Family Ties by Eric Hobbs

Family Ties

by Eric Hobbs

Giveaway ends May 01, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 


Margreet de Heer

A Composing Companion

February 9, 2013 by  


Lately, a friend has joined our little workspace, bringing a whole new discipline in our comics-dominated world: Michiel Mensingh is an old high-school friend of Yiri, and an acclaimed composer of modern classical music.

The new input inspired me to make these cartoons:

The piece Michiel has been composing will be performed by pianist Laurens de Boer on 22 March 2013. More information here.


Eric Hobbs

A Long Distance Collaboration

February 3, 2013 by  


So as Noel and I continue to finish up Family Ties, something occurred to me. Together, he and I have created almost 400 pages of comic art. It’s kind of crazy, when I think about it like that. It’s even crazier when I think that it’s been five whole years since I sent him that first e-mail introducing myself and a little book called The Broadcast.

I have a number of people I collaborate with, but Noel has always been my favorite. Mainly because he’s good, but also because we’ve developed a great working relationship through the years. At first, my panel descriptions were fairly detailed. But now, I don’t say much. I don’t have to. First of all, Noel usually knows exactly what I’m looking for — we’re like ballplayers who have been playing together for a really long time. But even if he doesn’t know what I’m expecting, he usually comes up with something even better. That’s one thing I’ve learned working with a great artist: when it comes to the art, his vision is almost always going to be better than mine. I didn’t always write that way. There was a time that I was married to every idea I had, but with Noel it has always felt like a true collaboration. The books we do aren’t his or mine — their ours.
But here’s the one thing that makes our collaboration a little strange … we’ve never met. Not once. In fact, in five years, we’ve never even talked on the phone.
Sometimes I wonder just how difficult it must have been to find a (good) collaborator before the internet made the world so small. I guess creators are better off now. When I was a kid, just finding someone interested in comics was tough enough. Finding someone interested in making them — even tougher. But now, if you’re a young creator looking to make his mark, all you have to do is jump online and you’ll find there are thousands of people just like you. If you want to be the next Stan Lee, it doesn’t matter if the next Steve Ditko lives next door or a thousand miles away — you can find each other online and come up with the next Spider-Man.
Still, as great as my collaboration with Noel has been, there are times I wish we were in the same town, meeting once or twice a week to go over our work and talk things out. After all, if we were closer to one another he wouldn’t have to send me pictures like the one below. I could just sit there with him, flip through those giant art boards … and smile. (I imagine Stan Lee did a lot of that.)
All those pages scattered across Noel’s floor will be bound together in Family Ties. Please be sure to pre-order a copy as pre-orders are vvvverrryyy important for an indie book like this. We are really excited for this one. Fans of The Broadcast will love it. But if you don’t let your comic shop know that you want a copy, there’s a really good chance it won’t make it onto their shelf.

Margreet de Heer

The Sandbox Dialogues

February 3, 2013 by  


I hardly ever make political cartoons or comics. But when I was invited to comment on the pending Iraq War in March 2003, I made this:

I can only grasp global problems by scaling them down to “sandbox”-size. It all the more emphasizes the pettiness of human behavior and motives – which really depresses me, but at least it makes for an entertaining comic. As you can see, this one was heavily influenced by Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes, both in style and tone.

After being put up on the site Stripster.nl, the comic went viral – and I kicked myself for not having put in a recognizable signature (it has one now).

Recently, I got to make another comic about a global issue, for magazine Open Deur: the theme was Rich and Poor. After giving it some thought, I decided to revive the Sandbox, and this is how it turned out:


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