The Resonating Brain

In July, I went to Oxford Summer School and attended a course about the human brain – it still resonates with me, and somehow, consciously or subconsciously, these “brain”-drawings keep popping up in the comics I made since.

For magazine Open Deur I did an illustration about music – including the route musical sensation takes throughout our brain…

I also made another comic about Stella for magazine Hoe Overleef Ik – and lo and behold: all of a sudden we’re inside her brain as well!

Meanwhile I’m working on a comic about inspiration, for magazine Speling, and this is how I depicted the ideas streaming into my mind (always while taking a bath)…

And this is an excerpt from the comic for student magazine H/Link, about performance anxiety:

So it’s not a big surprise that when Terry Nantier of NBM Publishing asked me to do a drawing they can make into a print to go with bigger orders, this is (part of) what I came up with:

The print is called The Science of Making Comics, and will be available with orders from $30.

I’m sure they’ll be available at SPX in Washington next week, where I’ll be signing my books Science: a Discovery in Comics and Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics – so if you’re curious about the print (or the books), drop by our booth at G1-2!

NBM Review Round-Up!

Zombillenium

“This is an absolute comedy, and it’s a total riot. Zombillenium is nothing but fun, from its cute tongue-in-cheek moments to its laugh-out-loud humor. You don’t have to be a fan of zombies or anything like that to enjoy this graphic novel. If you’ve got a sense of humor, that’s all you need.”

MTV Geek

“Whatever dark dealings you think go on behind the doors and in the underground tunnels of Disneyworld, they’ve got nothing on the secrets of Zombillenium and its mysterious proprietor…de Pins’ work is fun, lively, and thoroughly funny, but a true sense of terror lurks just beyond the panels. The last page of the first volume ends with a perfect note of a very human monster showing us just how inhuman this story could truly be.”

New Jersey Online

“Before you think this is another book capitalizing on the zombie trend, it’s not. Zombillenium is an amusement park filled with entertaining staff members that are monsters.”

Fortress of Solitude

Philosophy – A Discovery in Comics

“Definitely recommended for those with an interest in graphic storytelling that goes beyond the usual genre work – or anyone who wants to bone up on the basics of Western thinking.”

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Omaha The Cat Dancer Volume 8

“It’s hard to imagine a combination of explicit sex and character development that would be less gratuitous. The characters in Omaha have sex because they are complicated, adult characters who do things that complicated adults do. It’s part of their lives, just like sleeping, eating, going to work, taking a walk, or breathing…Omaha is a wonderful character, and Omaha is a wonderful series.”

Comic Mix

“One of the seminal series that bridged underground with the new indie comics.”

Comics For Sinners

The P. Craig Russell Library of Opera Adaptations

P. Craig Russell's Opera Adaptations Hardcover set“Russell’s adaptations stay generally true to the story lines, though their panel serialization necessitates some liberties with the text. Their staging can be quite a bit more fantastic than what’s seen in the theater. Russell takes advantage of the graphic format to construct strong, detailed backgrounds.”

Santa Fe New Mexican

Publication, publication, publication!

Yes, that’s THREE publications of my work that are coming out this month! The first is of course Science: a Discovery in Comics which is available now (even though the official presentation date is in September, when I’ll be in the US at the SPX festival to sign and celebrate) – I got my copies in yesterday so I know now that it’s REAL! The publication is beautiful again, thank you NBM! I love the hardcover, and the endsheets – and this is the first official publication that’s lettered with my own computerized blockletter font. I think it looks great, but please judge for yourself.

At the same time, the Portuguese edition of Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics is underway – it will be presented at the International Book Fair in Rio de Janeiro at the end of this month. This publication has a whole new cover, which looks like this:

And then there’s the long awaited physical appearance of the anthology Anything That Loves, which contains ten pages of my comic character Minnie. It’s out now and getting good reviews on Goodreads!

Scientific contents

How do you structure a comic book that supposedly covers *all* of Science? Where do you start, and what line do you choose to make it into somewhat of a coherent narrative?

For Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics I chose the historical approach, and that’s what I’ve done for Science: a Discovery in Comics as well. Looking at things in their historic context makes it easier to see connections and understand how science, philosophy, politics, art and economics are all interconnected.

That said, taking this approach for Science still makes for a bit of a roller coaster ride – skipping ahead, rolling around, looping back, lingering at certain topics. Here’s the content page, so you see what a long and eclectic journey this book promises to be (in 192 pages!):

Contents of ‘Science: a Discovery in Comics’ – click to enlarge

 

Yes, it’s a lot – but don’t be daunted by the amount of topics, for me and my husband will guide you through:

This way, we hope to provide many opportunities to catch your breath, have a giggle or even a small insight. It’s a book you can easily read in smaller installments, or pick up every now and then to read up on a specific topic.

The book will be in stores in September, if you’re a shop you can order them now from NBM. If you’re not a shop, you can also pre-order at NBM, or at Amazon.

A Calendar of Tales revisited

In February, I blogged about the project ‘A Calendar of Tales‘ that writer Neil Gaiman had started in cooperation with the whole wide world – he wrote 12 short stories prompted by tweets on Twitter, and invited everyone to illustrate them.

I spent an enjoyable fortnight making one illustration a day, one for each tale. It was very inspiring and energizing, and made me think outside my own box. The result was 12 drawings that I have posted on my website, together with the stories by Neil and art by others that I liked.

The project was not a contest per se, more an invitation to create. Even so, I was incredibly gratified to have four of my illustrations shortlisted, and one of them even made it as a “runner-up”! It is featured on the official A Calendar Of Tales website, which launched last week and is a beautiful scrolling experience, so check it out.

Accompanying the month of July, you’ll find my drawing:

Philosophical question: since it is all made of words, can it still be called a drawing…? Food for thought.

Pentecost

It’s the Christian feast of Pentecost today – but what’s it all about? It celebrates “the descent of the Holy Spirit” on the disciples and other followers of Jesus, fifty days after Christ was seen to ascend to heaven.

But what is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is often thought of as an inspirational force, an impulse to go out and create something, to pass something on. Together with God the Father and Jesus the Son it makes up the Holy Trinity.

Holy Trinity? But wait, isn’t Christianity supposed to be monotheistic – doesn’t it have only one true God, not three?

The early Christians solved this conundrum by declaring God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit three aspects of one God. So – there’s one True God, and He may manifest himself in either of these three ways. But He’s still the same One and you can’t really distinguish between the works of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Confused? Well, that’s why it’s called mysticism. Maybe this comic I made illuminates it a bit:

 

 

(Note to all who may feel offended by my depiction of God: I chose to draw Him as an amoeba because that’s the beginning of all life, unformed but with the potential to take any form. Also, it’s what we ourselves are made from, and all life that surrounds us. Omnipresent, so to speak.)

 

The Scientific Method

This week, Science: a Discovery in Comics is going out to the printer in China! A memorable step, after months of translating and proofreading and finetuning. The physical book won’t be in stores until at least August, but for me the hard work is done.

To celebrate, here’s a page from the book. It explains the Scientific Method. In The Netherlands, I heard this page is popular with physics teachers, and a card is in the making that will be distributed in high schools.

If you’re a teacher (or even if you aren’t) please feel free to use this picture. Just remember there’s a lot more where it came from, which is my book Science: a Discovery in Comics, and it’s coming out this Summer.

The page concludes with the inevitable Aristotle, who also featured of course in my previous book Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics – he’s a pivotal figure in the history of science as well (and basically in the whole of the development of Western culture).

Stuff

Here’s some info that needs posting, concerning present and future books.

To celebrate the second printing of Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics, I made another GiveAway on GoodReads.com. Now’s your chance to win a free, autographed copy of the first print! Click here to sign into GoodReads and enter the giveaway.

In the meantime, the newest book Science: a Discovery in Comics is almost ready to go to the printer! To start promotion, I made a page on my website detailing the contents of this book, with a lot of pictures and even a large spread about genetics. Click here to check it out!

 

 

 

Picture in the Park, Park in the Picture

We have the great fortune to live next to a great park in Amsterdam. It’s out of the way of the tourist routes and has really become a park for all of the neighborhood: young families, joggers, people with dogs, families at a barbecue, and tormented artists like ourselves seeking the solace of nature.

Two years ago the old abandoned shack in the park grounds was reopened by an enthusiastic young couple, Tim and Astrid, who started selling delicious smoothies, toasties and other goodies there. Their cafe in the park, called Terrasmus, became a great success and last winter they remodeled the place, so they can accommodate more people inside and have more room for workshops, music festivals and all sorts of activities for kids.

A few days before the reopening, we walked by to check the place out, and bumped into Tim and Astrid themselves, who showed us around. They pointed out a great empty stretch of wall where they were thinking of asking a local artist to do a mural – so we immediately volunteered and the same evening I made a sketch for a drawing of about 3,5 by 1,20 meters.

After some back and forth about things to include in the picture – basically everything and everyone that can be found in the park on a nice sunny day – we had an approved sketch that Yiri then colored in bright summery colors. We sent it to the printer to have it printed on wallpaper, and within a week a big package was delivered to our doorstep.

Yiri and part of the drawing, fresh from the printer’s; it’s HUGE!

 

The picture rolled out on the floor of the cafe.

 

The glueing of the picture, by Tim and Astrid’s parents.

 

The placing of the picture, by Tim & Astrid, and Astrid’s parents.

 

The end result!

 

And here is the whole picture, enlarge by clicking on it:

 

Intended audience, the picture & me.

 

If you’re in Amsterdam, come and take a look at it at Terrasmus in the Erasmuspark – and have one of Tim & Astrid’s great smoothies to make it a perfect experience!