On the Forbidden Planet International Weblog their continental correspondent has written an article about my books and coming story Splinters under the heading Translation Please. Want to read more, then go to Forbidden Planet
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
As I blogged earlier, there are now 2 sets of postcards in the Erik de Graaf assortment. As a little celebration of this new release, we present a contest where you can win a set of these cards. All you have to do to win is make the little livingroom above as funny as possible with your own text, pictures and everything you want. Email your result to: Erikdegraafcomics@gmail.com
You can join the contest untill the 31th of january, as many times as you want. If you win the contest, I'll let you know by email!
You can get some inspiration from these pictures from people who already did this!
New in the Erik de Graaf assortment are 2 different sets of 6 postcards. One set contains 6 postcards with illustrations from the last 3 books, and the other set contains 6 different illustrations from the new book Splinters. If you are interested in the set(s) of postcards, please feel free to email me at: Email Me and I will answer you as soon as possible.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Somebody of the famous Dutch comic-magazine Stripschrift visited the opening of my exposition on the 30th of november. He asked me some questions and made a few pictures. You can find his findings on www.stripschrift.nl
Especially for my exposition I have made some life-size objects related to my 'Muis-stories'. The idea was that, apart from the frames on the walls, it would be nice when there would be something three-dimensional in the gallery. So I created some furniture that you could find in peoples houses during my childhood, like a chair, a Tv, a floor lamp etc... and also a life-size Muis. The plan is that on sunday the 21st of december a visitor can be photographed 'in a comic-picture' with his or her head 'on Tv' or together with Muis. I have added text-balloons to both Muis and the TV on which the visitor can write his own text. Of course the visitor can get the picture for a sympathetic price. So if you want to be immortalized in a real comic-picture, come to Lilys, Weimarstraat 58, The Hague on the 21st of december. The gallery opens at 13.00 hrs.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Although there fell snow and rain on sunday, quite a lot of people visited the opening of the exposition. Even before 16.00 hours some curious passers-by entered Lilys gallery to have a look at my drawings. Just after four o'clock Lily Priester opened the expo by telling the visitors that she always tried to find artists that really work from their heart and that she felt that was the case with me! After her words people took their time to wander around and absorp the drawings, while enjoying a drink.
Not only did I sign quite a few books, but some of my drawings were already sold. And the expo had just begun! I got a lot of positive reactions on the works based on Scherven also and that strengthens somebody even more to go on creating such a long story.
The exposition will last until the 27th of december, so if you didn't have the opportunity yet, come and visit us! On sunday the 21th I will be at Lilys for a special event, about which I will place a post later.
The weeks before the opening of my exposition I've been very busy with things like framing my drawings, designing the postcards and preparing all kind of other stuff. Luckily I got a lot of help. Especially from André (who I like to thank again), but also from Rolin, Chloë, Danny, Thijs, Jaap and George (thank you all!). We could start to arrange the exposition only on the evening before the opening on sunday, because there was an expo ending at the gallery that saturday. After a few hours of hard work everything was hung and cleaned. I had exactly enough drawings to fill the room: my youth memories on one side and the Scherven drawings on the other side. The serene atmosphere of the gallery and my drawings fitted perfectly together. All visitors could enter!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Especially for the coming exposition I have produced two sets of postcards. Each set consists of six cards and is wrapped in a semi-transparant bag. One set shows pages from my graphic novels, but without text. The nice thing is that even without words the images seem to tell a small story.
The other six cards carry images of my new story Scherven. All illustrations show scenes taking place in may 1940. On five of them you can see things that happen in the story on the 10th of may 1940, the day the Germans invaded Holland. The adventures of the maincharacter Victor on that day, will take up a large part of the first book.
Both sets will be for sale for the first time at the opening of my exposition at Lilys coming sunday.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Coming sunday, 30th of november at 16.oo hrs, my exposition at Lilys will be opened. Illustrations related to my books and my new story Scherven will be shown. The work has different sizes, varying from 70x100 centimeters to 30x30 and most of the illustrations are for sale. Of course, all my work is framed and signed. Apart from enjoying the illustrations, visitors have the possibility to really step into my imagery and get an all-time memory. I realize this sounds quite mysterious, but I want to keep it that way till the opening, so come and see it!
At the opening I will sign my books and also have some new work, about which I will tell you in my next post.
Lilys is at Weimarstraat 58, The Hague and the exposition lasts till 27th of december.
At sunday 21th of december I will be at the gallery again to sign my books. I hope to see you at one of these days!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I have got an invitation from Lily Priester to expose illustration-work in her Gallery Lilys in The Hague! Lily wants to show all kind of different forms of art in her gallery: from paintings to textile art, from sculptures to photography and now also comic-related illustrations. The opening of my exposition will be at sunday the 30th of november at 16.00 hours.
From then on I will show work related to my first three graphic novels and work that has to do with my new story Scherven. At the opening I also will sign my books for everybody who want to buy one. Within a short time I will tell you more about the expo.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
The new story Splinters I'm currently working on, is going to be a long one. I think Book One will consist of 250 to 300 pages. Apart from my daily work as a designer, it means a drawing-marathon during evenings and week-ends and it asks a lot of discipline to bring the story to an end.
Don't misunderstand me, I like drawing it, but sometimes I feel like doing something else for a change. For instance making illustrations related to Splinters. I use different material then, like pastel pencils. They give a sensitive, grainy character that fits nice to the atmosphere of the story. I like to show you some of the illustrations now and then. Here are the first three of the maincharacters of Splinters.
Monday, October 27, 2008
My new story Splinters is playing in different periods before, during and after the Second Worldwar. The present time in the story is the year 1946. The year in which Victor and Esther meet again. There are also a lot of flashbacks to the years before the war and the war years themselves. To make clear to the reader in which part the story is, I have given each period its own colour palette.
The years before the war are drawn in warm grey, which refers to black and white pictures and the period of crisis in the Thirties.
The war years themselves are coloured sepia. Brownish colours that have a relation with the sepia photographs from the beginning of the last century. The 'present' (1946) is made in 'greyish' full colour. That kind of full colour appeared in pictures shortly after the war (even already in some pictures taken during the war).
I also coloured the background of the pages. The pages about the years before and during the war have black backgrounds and those that play after the war are kept white. On the one hand the black background together with the warm grey and sepia colors shows the gloominess of the (pre) war period. On the other hand, the white pages with the cautious full colour drawings show something of the hope just after the war. So the use of different colour palettes in Splinters is not only functional, but also has an emotional component.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
As a comicartist it's not easy to get your stories published or get publicity about it. A lot of people still think comics are meant for children. But that's history since a long time. Especially Graphic Novels are responsible that comics are taken more serious, but, as I said before, there are not many ways to draw the public's attention.
A weblog is one of the posibilities and that's why I want to ask you, dear visitor, to send the link of this blog to people you think could be interested. You can help to spread my weblog all over the world!
I also would appreciate if you would leave a comment now and then (just click on comments at the bottom of an article), with a remark or a question or with something you would like to know. It will make my blog more dynamic and interactive. I count on you, dear visitor!
My new story Splinters is growing and growing. In volume and in atmosphere. I have almost finished page 135 and I think at least one hundred pages will follow before I finish Book One.
I also try to catch the atmosphere of the period during and around the Second Worldwar as realistic as possible. I will come back to that later in another post.
The thread through the whole story is the meeting between Victor and Esther on saturday the 4th of May 1946 at a cemetery. A year after the war ended, they both visit the grave of a loved one. Their meeting brings back a lot of emotions and pain about the past horrible years.
On the one hand Victor is very open in telling all about his adventures as a soldier fighting the Germans, about the dramatic events during the days in May 1940 and the loss of some people.
On the other hand Esther is reserved in talking about what she has gone through, although before the war she and Victor were loversand told each other everything.
So Victor is telling a lot but when he asks Esther about her past years, she keeps distance and changes the subject. After some time at the cemetery Esther says she has to leave. Only after Victor urges her to make an appointment for the next day, she agrees. Victor hopes she will tell more about her war-years and how she survived.
After Esther has left, Victor goes home, but his meeting with Esther has brought back a lot of memories. They don't leave him alone and he shares them with the reader. The reader does not only discover what has happened to him but also sees how his personality is changing during the war. That brings him to make a decision that will influence the rest of his life.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
After making sketches and descriptions of all important characters, I decided to visualize them also in another way. I made scraps (a sort of collages) of all persons from the first book. From Victor to Geert and from Chris to Maas. I wanted the scraps to have the atmosphere of the period in which Splinters takes place.
So I bought all kind of authentic stuff, like paper, accessories, used old photo's and newspaper articles to create that authentic feel. My goal was to get more grip on the different characters, to create some -fictitious- personal history. About a characters' background, profession, circumstances, etc... That would help me to have a clearer view on how each other would act and react in Splinters.
I don't know what I am going to do with the scraps. Maybe I put them in a special quire in the book or maybe I make a seperate booklet together with the documents and photographs of the part of the story that really happened.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Not only did I make sketches and drawings of the different characters, but I also made a description of each person. I have written quite extensive pieces about the maincharacters Victor and Esther. But the supporting roles weren't forgotten.
The religious Dingeman, the childish Pieter, the unpolished Corné, the wise Mr. Rozenberg etc... All of them were described, because in such a long story as Splinters, it's important to keep the characters clear and to know how a person is going to act or react when something happens. Does Pieter start crying when the war breaks out? Can Corné be kept under control when the soldiers take prisoner some enemies? And does Mr. Rozenberg stay calm and wise when the Germans start transporting Jewish people?
Character descriptions help me to answer those questions and situations in a consistent way.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Splinters is going to be a long story. I think it will consist of two books. Because it will be such an extensive story I have written quite a detailed script, containing all actions and dialogues. Of course some things change slightly while I'm drawing, but I stay rather close to the original script.
Before I started drawing the first pages I also made several sketches of the maincharacters and of the characters that have a supporting role. I found it important to have good startingpoints before I started making such a long story about such a delicate subject.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I wanted to make a story about the effect of the Second Worldwar on 'normal' people. Not one with big battles and lots of blood, but a story about what happened to people who had to survive under the pressure of the enemy during the five years lasting war.
Splinters tells the story of young people losing their youth, their friends, their love and their belief in the future. Main characters are Victor and Esther. He, a normal boy, son of a baker, living in a small village and serving the army at the beginning of the war. She, a Jewish refugee from fascist Germany, a smart girl, daughter of an antique-trader and living in the same village as Victor. They are deeply in love with each other, but then the war breaks out. In the following chaotic period they lose sight of each other: Victor fights at the warfront and Esther flees,forced by her father, together with her mother and sister.
Only a year after the war has ended Victor and Esther find each other back and can tell their stories.
Since my childhood I have always been interested in the Second Worldwar. I read a lot of books about it and saw a lot of movies. The cruelty of the war impressed me very much, but I was also caught by the exciting stories, especially the ones about the members of the resistance. My grandmother told me several stories about the war, mostly about the five days in may 1940 and the period before the war began. In the small village were she, my grandfather and my mother lived an air-defense battalion was stationed. The soldiers stayed at the houses of the citizens.
My grandparents also gave accomodation to three of them. One of them became my uncle after war, his name was Cor. Another soldier, Gijs, came around a lot during the mobilization period, and always kept in close touch with our family (till my mother died in 2001). When I was a boy I used to call him 'uncle', although he wasn't a real uncle. As a boy I also stayed with him and his wife during holidays and did holiday work in his printing office. He also told me warstories and was somebody who stimulated me to use my drawing-talent.
After my three books came out I visited uncle Gijs to give him the books and told him I was considering making a story about the Second Worldwar. Immediately he searched for some books and also showed me his diary from that period. He said I could borrow it and happy and surprised as I was I asked him if I could use parts of it for my new book. He agreed with it and I left not much later, promising him I would come back to show parts of my new story. Ten months later he died.
Currently I'm working on a new book. The temporary title is Splinters. Splinters tells the story about the young love couple Victor and Esther, before, during and after the Second World War.
When the war begins they lose sight of each other, because Victor is fighting at the front and the Jewish Esther flees, under pressure of her father, together with her mother and sister. A year after the end of the war Victor and Esther find each other back at a cemetery by coincidence. That's where the story begins and from where we discover through which dramatic years they have been. I will keep you informed about the progress of the story in the future and tell you more about specific elements like the use of colour, the part of the story that was based upon real facts, etc...
At the end of 2005 I got the opportunity to expose my illustrations at the Amsterdam Galerie Lambiek.Several artist have had an exposition at the worldfamous comicstore before: from Joost Swarte to Dupuy & Berberian and from Chris Ware to François Avril. So it was really a great honour to have the possibility to fill the galerie with my work. The illustrations that were shown, were related to my three graphic novels and presented in a booklet called Ingelijste Herinneringen. The booklet was signed and numbered and is still available at Oog en Blik and Lambiek. If you want to see the exposition virtually, just click here.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
In december 2005 I had an exposition in the world famous Galerie Lambiek in Amsterdam. There were shown several illustrations that were related to my first three graphic novels. On all of them Muis had the leading part. On occasion of the exposition Oog en Blik and myself published a booklet in a limited edition called Ingelijste Herinneringen. All exposed illustrations were in it and the booklet was signed and numbered. Some of the illustrations were sold, some of them are still for sale (More information? Just send me an email). Ingelijste Herinneringen is still available at Oog en Blik and Lambiek. For an over view of the exposition see the link on the right side.
Cover Pentti Otsamo
In spring 2004 the Drawn and Quarterly Showcase #2 came out. The Showcase is an anthology presenting work of new, talented artists. Chris Oliveiros, founder of the famous publishing house, had written me end of 2003, he wanted to put in one of my stories. I was extremely surprised and honored! One of my stories in a worldwide published anthology! Chris had chosen Bout (translated as Game). He also asked me if I wanted to do the inside covers of the showcase. I made two special illustrations related to the story. The name of the main character, Muis, was translated into Whitey and the story was hand-lettered by Dirk Rehm, who has worked f.i. for Michel Rabligiati and Dupuy & Berberian. Dirk developed a special alphabet for my story! The Showcase is still available, although it's quite rare.
Friday, September 12, 2008
At the end of spring 2005 the collection of my first three graphic novels was published: Verzamelde Herinneringen. The seven stories about Muis were brought together in a limited edition. The book had a special new cover and was accompanied by a numbered and signed silk-screen print.
Verzamelde Herinneringen is still available at Oog en Blik.
In 2004 the trilogy of my childhood memories was completed. Gevonden Verleden arrived in stores in spring. The book told two new adventures of Muis. The first, longer story was called Wat een feest in which the boy celebrates a not really happy birthday. The other story, Helden, shows that being a superhero isn't without risk. Gevonden Verleden was nominated for the Dutch comic-award Stripschapsprijs in the category literature. The book is still available at Oog en Blik.
My second graphic novel came out shortly -two weeks- after Verbleekte Herinneringen. The book was called Gekleurd Geheugen and contained two new stories about Muis. In Zomer 1969 the little boy has an exciting experience with an old 'enemy' and in Aardappeleter an uninvited guest makes the house of his grandparents unsafe. Gekleurd Geheugen is still available at Oog en Blik.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
In october 2003 my first graphic novel Verbleekte Herinneringen appeared. At the age of 42 I finally made my debut. The book contained three short stories based on my childhood memories. Stories about little happiness and little sadness. The first one, Spierballen, tells the story about Muis, who wants to have muscles like his hero. In the second adventure, de Autorit, Muis discovers that not everything is what it seems to be. And the in last story, Bout, the little boy mourns the loss of a dear friend. Verbleekte Herinneringen is still available at Oog en Blik.
Welcome to my space on the internet. Here I will keep you updated about my latest work, my books, my new story Splinters, press releases and interviews. But also about my favourite books and artists. So if you want to read and see my novelties first, please visit my blog frequently! (and leave a reaction if you like). Before I will tell and show you more about the story I'm working on currently, I 'll take you a bit through my history as a comic-artist.