Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Character descriptions

Karakters.jpg picture by erikdegraaf
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

Script and characters

Scenario.jpg picture by erikdegraaf
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.
Schetsenpers.jpg picture by erikdegraaf

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The story

Esther-Victor.jpg picture by erikdegraaf
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.

How the story began

FamilieVermaas.jpg picture by erikdegraaf
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.
           OomGijs.jpg picture by erikdegraaf


 Pag22.jpg picture by erikdegraaf
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...

Exposition at Galerie Lambiek

Uitnodiging.jpg picture by erikdegraaf
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

Ingelijste Herinneringen

IngHerinneringen.jpg picture by erikdegraaf
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.

Drawn and Quarterly Showcase

DQShowcase.jpg picture by erikdegraaf
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.
Insidecovers.jpg picture by erikdegraaf

Friday, September 12, 2008

Verzamelde Herinneringen

Collection.jpg picture by erikdegraaf
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.

Gevonden Verleden

Livre3.jpg picture by erikdegraaf
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.

Gekleurd Geheugen

Livre2.jpg picture by erikdegraaf
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

Verbleekte Herinneringen

Livre1.jpg picture by erikdegraaf
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.

Discover the Erik de Graaf novelties first!

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.