Love is out there!

My newest book, about Love, is now out in The Netherlands! It is a colorful, funny, semi-autobiographical and informational comic about all the ins and outs of love – with dating tips, a critical look at romance, notes on sex, kids, the seven year itch and a whole lot more!

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This month is all about book promotion – there will be an official presentation in bookstore Scheltema in Amsterdam on February 9, then I will be at YaYCon on 19 February where I’ll sell the book and be on a panel, and on 4 and 5 March I’ll be at De Stripdagen in Rijswijk.

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It feels a bit strange. The world is on fire at the moment, every day seems to bring new fear and anger, and here I am, trying to generate attention for something as silly and trivial as love…

But is it? Is Love not exactly the thing that is lacking in the world right now? Is it not what all the protests are about? About this great unifying force that seems to be under threat? Is it not what all people really want – to love and be loved, and to have a safe place where to do just that? It goes beyond left or right, beyond politics and culture. Love is of all times, of all people. And yet, it’s still this mysterious energy, or as I say in my book [SPOILER ALERT]: “Love is an everyday mystery.”

So I’ll just give in to it, and make sure to enjoy it: after all, this book is also a celebration of the love in my life, with Yiri in the center, and a great circle of beloved family and friends around us.

There’s nothing wrong in reminding ourselves every now and then.

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(our marriage in 2009, p. 77)

 

The Coloring Process

I live in the fortunate circumstance that my husband Yiri is also an artist and helps me with my books. Not only does he provide necessary feedback and peptalks, he has taken on the coloring ever since 2009, when we started Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics.

Since then, he has colored Religion, Science – which almost killed him (no kidding! He had a heart attack while we were working on that 192-page monster) – and World Domination. It took a lot from his health and especially caused chronic shoulder and neck pains. So we decided to do things differently for the book about Love; after all, too much love will kill you, as the song says.

Our coloring process in the last year has been this:

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We’re in the last phase of the book now, the deadline for the publisher is next month. So far, this new routine is fast, fun and relatively stress-free. And Yiri is not half dead, which is a great relief to both of us.

The Cover of Love

At the moment I’m working on my fifth book in the ‘Discovery in Comics’-series: about Love.

The Dutch version will come out in February, and this is the time to frantically work on the last pages, promotional blurbs for the publisher and the finalisation of the cover design.

It all started months ago, when I thought I had a great idea that would convey both the loveliness of love as well as its darker connotations: a heart-shaped hole in the ground, with different fumes coming out… Here’s the sketch version:

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My colorist/husband Yiri and I then came up with three different color versions, which we presented to my helpful Facebook-friends:

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This was the winning design we settled on:

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As the months passed, this cover increasingly irked me, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. Then someone commented that they did not really see the heart as a heart-shaped hole, and that did it. Time for a complete revision.

I decided I wanted to incorporate some traditional “lovey” symbols – like hearts and roses. Roses with thorns, of course:

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And then I’d have the Loving Couple (me and Yiri) swing precariously over them-

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add a heart and some color, and this was the result:

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I felt good about this one for a few days, then I started to get annoyed by the anxious looks on our faces. Love is fun! At least, mostly. So the precarious swing went out of the window, and I drew us cozily snuggled together in a rose…

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Now ain’t that sweet? I added some bees and a ladybug, and the final result is this:

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There. This one’s probably going to be it – although you never know. At least it has that sweet & fun love vibe I was going for.

Whoever said that Love is a lot of work, was definitely not kidding! And that’s just the cover!