Peter van Dongen and the Clear Line

One of my duties as Comic Artist Laureate of The Netherlands is awarding the prestigious Stripschapprijs to this year’s recipient, Peter van Dongen.

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The first months as Comic Artist Laureate of The Netherlands

In October, I was voted Comic Artist Laureate of The Netherlands. What has happened since? Well, among other things, I drew this comic about the first few months…

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Death of a Cat

Our cat Toto has died, well over eighteen years old. For us at-home-working, childfree artists, out cats have always been much more than just pets to us – they are life companions…

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Our cats have always found their way into our work. Here’s the last drawing of Toto in the Discovery-series (the book about Love, to be released at a later date by NMB):

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The Story of Our Love

This week, Yiri and I celebrate nine years of marriage and ten years of being together! The funny thing is, I remember saying on our second day or so: “I’m sure that in ten years we’ll still be together, and basically still feeling for each other what we’re feeling now.” And I was right.

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These pages are from our graphic novel about Love, which came out in The Netherlands last year, and may be appearing in the US later this year…

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!

Proofreading

There’s much more to comics proofreading than to “normal” proofreading, as Dan Schiff, proofreader of Margreet de Heer’s graphic novels, explains.

 

 

I translate my comics from Dutch to English myself, but I would be nowhere without my trusted Californian proofreader Dan Schiff

 

 

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There’s so much more to comics proofreading than to “normal” proofreading, as Dan himself explains:

 

I take the proofing seriously and think hard because I know translators will be using the English language version. I know it is easier to not go back and redo comics as a deadline approaches, so I feel I need to let Maggie know when a change might simply be a rewording to consider, of if it is a glaring error that MUST be attended to.

Although we call it the English language, British spelling (humour instead of humor), overly formal words (whilst instead of while) regional terms (biscuits instead of cookies) are swapped out for American versions of these terms.

Proofing comics includes noticing alignment of word balloons and captions to make sure they are consistent throughout the strip. It also includes noticing if the handles of the word balloons are pointing at the correct person, and if the coloring is off or not blended in a small area.

Punctuation widely varies and is the subject of passionate expression of views. Exclamation points, after much discussion, can appear singly or in sets of three, but never ever two side by side!! (Joke there!)

I argue my case for each proofing change, but The Stripmaker is the final voice, and as long as the pros and cons of my suggestions are considered, I am happy with whatever Maggie chooses to change, or leave as it is.

That‘s it. Waaaaay TMI, but picky picky is my job.”

Dan and I have been collaborating for over 15 years now, mostly with an ocean and a continent between us, but recently he came over for a European trip and we met up – that’s when Dan came up with the idea of the photo comic above, which we shot in comics store Lambiek. Apart from a dedicated proofreader, Dan is also an artist himself with a great sense of composition and humorous timing!

Looking forward to many more projects together, Dan!