Love & Sex

In my upcoming book Love: a Discovery in Comics I don’t skirt the subject of sex. I start the chapter with a visit to my younger self, trying to dispense some sage advice…

advice
Will I listen to my own advice…? Read and find out!

Apart from sharing my own thoughts on the subject, there are also a few divinities chipping in:

kama

I give an analysis of the Kama Sutra, the ancient Hindu text on sex and marriage. The old master Vatsyayana instructs his students with practical knowledge such as this:

kamasutra1
Excerpt from the Kama Sutra

I (or rather: Hindu god Kama) also dwell a bit on the subject of tantric sex:

tantra1

Did you know that even the Bible contains a text on sex?

song-of-songs
Song of Songs – an erotic love poem

When it comes to the role of sex in a long-term relationship, I have personally always liked this Dr. Phil quote:

drphil

Want to read more? Love: a Discovery in Comics will be in stores in June!

love-cover

Advertisements

Visualizing Love

In my upcoming book Love: a Discovery in Comics I go on a quest for a new True Love (because the Seven-Year Itch hit me). When it comes to Love, everyone and anyone has well-meant advice, and most of it is rubbish. The one thing that ever really worked for me, and I am not hesitant to recommend to others, is to VISUALIZE what you want.

visualisation1

Make a list of every little thing you’d like to see in your partner – how they behave towards you and others, what their preferences are in movies, food and holidays, what they look like, how they dress; every silly little detail that pleases you, whether it’s politically correct or not. The trick is, of course, that once you make yourself aware of what you really want, it’s much easier to recognize it when you stumble across it.

visualisation2
Drawing myself going on speed dates with my list was hilarious

 

But the most important thing about such a list is not to hang on to it too tightly. After you made it, put it away and forget about it. Around the time I met Yiri, I thought my true love should look like a tall Viking. If I had stuck to that, I would never have discovered that Yiri has a really cool wizard-Viking inside him.

visualisation4

Did I find new love and was it a better one than I already had…?

Find out soon!

visualisation3

love-cover

What is Love?

Did you know the Ancient Greek had at least seven words to describe the concept of Love? There’s agape (deep devoted love), eros (lust), philia (friendship), storge (family love), ludus (playful love), pragma (rational love) and philautia (self love).

Ludus literally means “game”, so I decided to draw a game board in my upcoming book Love: a Discovery in Comics. It’s not accidental that practitioners of this kind of love are often called “players”.

ludus

On the other end of the spectrum there’s pragma, the very rational, pragmatic approach to relationships. A famous example of someone who used this approach is Charles Darwin:

pragma

I drew part of Darwin’s list before, in Science: a Discovery in Comics:

darwin-science

Love: a Discovery in Comics is out in bookstores in June!

love-cover

Love is coming!

My newest book, on Love this time, will hit bookstores in June! It will be first available at the TCAF comic con in Toronto on May 11 & 12, which Yiri and I will be attending (find us at the NBM booth for a chat!).

love-cover

The first review, from Publisher’s Weekly is already in, and I’m really happy that they call it upbeat, good-natured and affable:

The latest in de Heer’s series of simple, cheery graphic novel guides to big topics like science, philosophy, and religion finds the Dutch cartoonist tackling the meaning of love. Taking her own romantic history and current relationship with her husband (and colorist) Yiri Kohl as the opening story, she expands into such subjects as the history of marriage, the chemical components of desire, the seven kinds of love identified by the ancient Greeks, and the Kama Sutra and Song of Songs. Her gesticulating cartoon avatar shares her expertise on romance novels and attends a speed dating event. It’s an upbeat and good-natured sampling of issues related to partnership, lust, and romance, but the topic of love is far too vast to be covered satisfyingly in a 120-page comic. The broadly smiling, roly-poly cartoon characters and bright colors make the arguments accessible to a fault. Ultimately, the cartoon version of de Heer reaffirms her relationship with Kohl, but she doesn’t come to any conclusions that could be considered truly universal. While affable, this is an unchallenging ramble through a topic that could easily provide fodder for an entire separate series of graphic investigations.

It is true that I found it hard to come up with truly universal truths about love. In my own experience, the subject is so complex, that when you want to condense it you either have to describe purely scientific facts or stick to personal experience, in order to avoid reverting to platitudes. In this book (as in all my books), I’ve done both: the broad view with facts such as the history of marriage, contents of the Kama Sutra and chemicals in the brain, AND my own personal story of being in a long-term relationship with Yiri.

prologue

sweet

Will our marriage withstand the onslaught that is the Seven Year Itch…? Read all about it in ‘Love – a Discovery in Comics!’

leaving

Oh, and I also threw in a few frivolities, such as this:

jealousy

Of all of my books, this is the one I had most fun with drawing. I hope lots of readers will LOVE it!

 

A New Year!

What a year it’s been – what a year to come… Here’s how Minnie and her girlfriend Mia feel about it:

minnie120-newyear1

minnie120-newyear2

And here’s the New Year’s card Yiri and I sent out:

2019

On the left we listed main events of 2018: the death of our beloved cat Toto, my tattoo, a theater play, illustrations for a new book with Karel Eykman, lots of activities as Comic Artist Laureate, especially the publication of a guide for adding graphic novels to the Dutch Literature reading list in schools – and of course our new cats, Ronja and Loesje.

In 2019 we look forward to our tenth wedding anniversary, publication at NBM of the book on Love and lots of new, unknown things.

One year Comics Laureate

For starters: congratulations to Hannah Berry, who was appointed UK Comics Laureate yesterday! To be honest, I was not aware of the title in the UK, or that it’s written as “comics laureate” rather than “comic artist laureate” (although I’ll stick to the latter, because I like more words).

hannah-berry

The task of “comics ambassador” in the UK revolves around many of the same issues as mine: more visibility, and promoting comics in education. And I love that Hannah is also a short-haired, bespectacled female comics creator. In a few years, we will be the new cliché for our profession, I hope!

Also yesterday, I celebrated my first year at this “job”:

sdv-1year800px

Another exciting thing on the agenda for the coming year: my book on Love will be published here at NBM! It is scheduled to come out in June, and here’s the cover:

love-cover500px