Groundhog Day

It’s Groundhog Day! We’re celebrating either six more weeks of winter or not; and I’m celebrating that my Groundhog Design for the Spoonflower contest came in sixth place, securing a place in the coveted Top Ten Bundle!

This is the drawing I made:

groundhogs

And this is what it looks like on fabric:

groundhogs-fabric

In July, I blogged about my first exploits on awesome fabric-design-site Spoonflower, and by now my shop has grown to this (and this is not even all of it yet):

spoonflower-shop

Most of these designs were made for the weekly contest. I love to get inspired by these diverse themes, and working on a design is a nice change of pace from working on my newest book, Global Power: a Discovery in Comics, which is rather content-heavy.

Here are some of the designs I particularly liked making:

calligraphy

For the Calligraphy contest I chose this John Lennon song text.

library

For the Library contest I crammed in a few literary (and one graphic novel) references – can you spot all four?

 

cat-damask1

I loved the Cat Damask contest and my design actually did quite well, coming out around fiftieth place out of over 300 entries. If I ever live in a country house and need special wallpaper for the library/drawing room, I’ll use this!

 

drachten

For the Rhino Contest I drew Nine Rhinos on Bikes – and lo and behold, they now adorn a children’s bedroom in the North of Holland!

 

neighborhood

The Neighborhood contest was all about drawing you own surroundings. This is the street we live on and the park in fron of our house. A world unto itself!

 

tennis

The Tennis contest was fun although I’m not sure this came out as well as it could have. It’s fun to look at, though. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the computer-tennis fields.

 

winter-toile

I didn’t know what a Toile de Jouy was until the contest asked for one with a wintery theme. So here it is – if I have any antique chairs to upholster, I might opt for this design. Or a simple tea towel might be nice as well.

All these designs are for sale – as fabric, wallpaper or wrapping paper. You can order them from my Spoonflower Shop. If you want a certain design done a little differently – in size, or color, or whatever – just contact me and I will make it so.

 

The current contest is Rocket themed. Below is my entry – if you like it, please vote for it here!

rockets

 

 

Death of a Cat and a Character

Two weeks ago our beautiful sweet Siamese Boris died. We miss him greatly, not just as a pet but as a friend who always seemed so tuned in to our moods and feelings. He was almost eighteen and had a great life and a good death – yet this does not make the sadness any less, only “cleaner” perhaps, since there are no regrets.

Apart from all the “usual” mourning, I have an additional, specific problem. Boris was also a character in our books – a mostly silent one but still part of most of our backgrounds. (I blogged about the cats in my books two years ago, here).

Boris in ‘Philosophy – a Discovery in Comics’

 

We’re about halfway working on our next book and of course Boris has made his appearance. So what do I do, do I keep drawing him? Or do I just drop him from my pictures? Do I need to address his absence in any way, and how can I do that without distracting from the theme of the book? (which is World Power, something most cats have little interest in)

After pondering it for a while, I came up with this solution, in the first panel of a chapter in which I discuss the progress of the book with my brother:

That’s Yiri holding Boris’ picture next to what I call my “deity drawer”, a small cupboard for incense, some god statuettes and assorted spiritual books. It’s also the place where I put pictures of the dearly departed. (The deity drawer is featured in my book about Religion)

So there.

It is addressed. Boris gets his place among the legendary mortal supporting comics characters.

And we will have to face the problems of the world without him from now on – quite literally in our lives but also in our books.

Sleep well, dear Boris, you will live on in our hearts.

boris

Global Power and the Game of Monopoly

Yiri and I are working hard on our next book and have just decided to call it Global Power: a Discovery in Comics, rather than World Domination: a Discovery in Comics. There’s a subtle difference there.

I’m so excited about it and really in a nice work flow right now. But the thing is, it won’t be out for at least a year – it’s scheduled for Fall 2015 in The Netherlands, and Who Knows When, if at all, in the States. So marketing-wise there’s no point in talking about it yet.

But I’m so excited about it!

Last week, I had the idea of putting in a scene between Yiri and me playing a game of Monopoly – but I wasn’t at all sure how well known the game really is. So I posted the question on my Facebook page and was swamped with reactions like “Really?! You don’t know how popular Monopoly is???”.

So no trouble there.

Here are two pages of the end result. There is a third page as well, but I’ll leave that for later. Ha, how’s that for a cliffhanger, marketing-wise…?