Happy New Year!

2018

A good new year to all!

This year’s card features a background by famous Dutch illustrator Anton Pieck – it’s a view of the Schreierstoren in Amsterdam. There’s no skating on the canals at the moment, but hey, we can dream…

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The Formula: Inside ‘The Mercenary V.2’

In this gallery, I will tell you first hand how I was about to quit The Mercenary after the first volume due to the large amount of effort it required, but gunpowder lit the fuse of the series. I will also include some interesting information on gunpowder power, the world of aviation and crossbows and how I created the main characters.

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BEGINNING THE HARD WORK

I had finished volume one of The Mercenary, and it was time to measure things up. Regarding work, with my slow oil painting technique, I need more than a year and a half to finish it and, to be honest, what I was being paid was not worth it. Each page took me on average ten days of work while, in the same amount of time, any other illustrator made at least four pages, and the price per page was the same for everyone. But there was something that, despite everything, made me go on: the good response from fans and critics. There were some specific moments that cheered me up, like the enthusiastic comments from movie maker Federico Fellini, big fan of comics who even called me at home to congratulate me.

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With that said, if I wanted to continue the comic, the only logical option seemed to be move on with the character and make a series, which I was told was the sound thing to do economically speaking. So that’s what I chose. I went back to my ideas reservoir making sure they were original and unreleased. I wrote the script for a second story, which continued from the previous book without necessarily being a sequel, and drew it in a very simple way to fit the 48 pages for the episode. That was the real beginning of The Mercenary. That was the moment to create and shape the characters.

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From the very first page, I had to face an important decision: to dress up the warrior, who had lost his armor, with what would be his distinctive attire for the rest of the series. When it came to armor, I was very knowledgeable thanks to some previous works, like the helmet from the previous page which is an illustration I did in Indian ink for THE UNIVERSAL HISTORY OF WEAPONS, plus the endless magazine covers on medieval subjects.

To be continued…

Annie Goetzinger, Grande Dame of French Comics, passes away…suddenly.

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I’m in shock. She looked in perfect health with many more productive years ahead of her, but the author of Girl in Dior, one of our bestsellers and an exquisite triumph for her, is no longer with us…

She was one of the pioneer women in comics in France well-known ever since the seventies. Her work was always  elegant, even when she did more erotic work which she did not shy away from. In person, she emanated that same sense of style and elegance.

We still have a book by her on our schedule, I guess her last, on an inspiration for her: Colette, the woman writer who refused to be subservient to men and was an impish rebel. I think she may have recognized herself in Colette. This is coming in August next year.

Annie Goetzinger will be greatly missed. But the oeuvre she leaves behind is amazing and an inspiration.

Workshop

I rarely give workshops for kids anymore, but when I was invited by my local primary school for an interview with the editors of the school magazine, I thought it would be a good idea to make the event into a mini-workshop. And it worked out great!

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There were six kids and they were all so enthusiastic and creative! One of them even had made me a special drawing, with me in it!

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I had not really planned anything solid, but as soon as I drew some examples of how you can set up your own comic character, they were off…

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If there’s anything I like to get across about drawing comics, it’s to have FUN with it. Fun always translates. The rest is just handy tips & tricks about using thick markers so your lines are solid, adding black to make it look instantly professional, and putting jokes in.

In the meantime, they asked me questions for the school paper interview. They ranged from “Do you have hobbies beside comics?” (Yes: writing) to “Is that your real hair color?” (No).

At the end, I offered to make them all a drawing per their request – and the result reads almost like a comic:

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Lots of thanks to the Rosa Boekdrukkerschool in Amsterdam and Mechteld Jansen, who helps out with the school paper and invited me to do this. It was great fun!

The Munoz gallery opening

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It was a pleasure to meet Jose Munoz, artist of our striking Billie Holiday book, and world-famed Argentine comic artist, at the Scott Eder Gallery where he opened the exhibit of his originals for sale Friday evening. I obviously had him sign and do a drawing in my copy as seen here. The opening went well. Went with Papercutz editor-in-chief Jim Salicrup and discovered some of Jersey City in so doing, including a Little India you have to go through to get there. On our way back we couldn’t resist one of the tempting restaurants…

Recommend you see the show, open through middle of January, his art is amazing and there are numerous books of his to purchase.