Brooklyn Book Festival This Sunday With Margreet de Heer and Stan Mack Appearing!

This Sunday you can find NBM Publishing at the Brooklyn Book Festival located at Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn NY 11201 from 10am-6pm.

We’re located at  Table 76.

The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors. One of America’s premier book festivals, this hip, smart diverse gathering attracts thousands of book lovers of all ages to enjoy authors and the festival’s lively literary marketplace.

Not only will we have our latest titles available, but we’ve also got some special guests appearing.

Margreet de Heer and Yiri T. Kohl will be signing their new book, Science: A Discovery in Comics from 10am-1pm and from 3pm-6pm.

Stan Mack will be signing his book, Taxes, The Tea Party and Those Revolting Rebels and from 1pm-3pm.

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Double Dutch at SPX

Last weekend, Yiri and I attended the SPX comics convention in Washington DC, where we met our publisher Terry Nantier for the first time, and also fellow NBM authors Dara Naraghi and Brent Bowman. Together, we manned the NBM booth, conveniently placed close to the entrance, and had a great time meeting fans and selling books. Science: a Discovery in Comics was received very well, and Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics was even sold out by the end of Sunday!

Yiri and I gave out free “Double Dutch” mini-comics – a collection of the collaborative jam-comics we have done together lately (and also some we did with colleagues Floris Oudshoorn and Ingi Jensson). This proved a great way to introduce ourselves and to trade for some very nice mini-comics by others.

In between “business” on Saturday, I got to make some double-comics with Brent:

On Sunday, we were joined by Matt Aucoin, whose Double Think mini-comics I really enjoy. Yiri and I first met him through Streetpass, a connecting feature on our Nintendo 3DS game console – so one of the comics we made features the Nintendo (there were a LOT around during the expo!):

SPX was the first stop on our American Book Tour, and it couldn’t have been better!

Now we’re off to New York, where we’ll attend the Brooklyn Book Festival next Sunday, sharing a table with Stan Mack.

More adventure to come!

SPX: a good show!

from left to right, Margreet de Heer, Dara Naraghi (standing) and Brent Bowman, signing at our tables.

SPX was a great success, Saturday being especially busy. Even as the hall’s size was increased a lot, we ended up doing as well as last year where many others at the show felt their business was a bit down. Margreet de Heer was very well received on her new book Science, A Discovery in Comics. Dara Naraghi and Brent Bowman also signed their recent release Persia Blues.

 

Yiri Kohl, Margreet’s husband and collaborator, is on the left here, along with the others.

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!

Science: the Tour!

 

Science: a Discovery in Comics has officially hit the stores and it’s time to officially promote it, with an official Promotional Tour! Margreet and Yiri are coming to the USA, and here are the dates and places:

September 14-15: SPX, Washington, table G1-2 (NBM Publishing)

September 22: the Brooklyn Book Festival, NBM Publishing booth

September 25: the Million Year Picnic, Cambridge – book signing

September 27: Bergen St. Comics, Brooklyn, NY – book signing & bubbly!

 

Margreet will be available for interviews or other public appearances – just contact NBM Publishing for more info.

 

NBM Announces SPX Plans

NBM HEADS TO SPX 2013;

Premiering SCIENCE: A DISCOVERY IN COMICS

Margreet de Heer and Dara Naraghi & Brent Bowman (PERSIA BLUES) To Appear


On September 14-15th, you can find some of the most prestigious names in comics at the 2012 Small Press Expo (aka SPX).

Unlike many conventions that are geared toward pop culture or corporately owned comics, SPX was created in 1994 to promote artists and publishers who produce independent comics. SPX hosts an annual festival that provides a forum for artists, writers and publishers of comic art in its various forms to present to the public comic art not normally accessible through normal commercial channels.

It’s one of NBM’s favorite shows and this year we’re proud to bring three of our talented authors with us and the debut of our newest title.

Margreet de Heer will bring her new book, Science: A Discovery in Comics and will be signing throughout the weekend.

Science: dull or hard to understand?

Not if you read this book!

The creators of Philosophy – a Discovery in Comics take on a new challenge, and explain the different scientific disciplines in clear, colorful chapters.

Who exclaimed “Eureka” and why?

Why did Galileo get into a fight with the Church?

What happens when you have your DNA tested?

All these questions and more are answered in a chronological journey from ancient times to modern Quantum Theory, with creators Margreet and Yiri as your witty guides.

A great comic book for anyone who wants to learn in a fun way the bigger framework of science, or brush up on what they learned in school.

Margreet will be appearing at the NBM booth throughout the weekend and will be signing both Science, as well as her previous book, Philosophy.

PERSIA BLUESAlso appearing are Dara Naraghi and Brent Bowman, creators of the recently released first volume of the trilogy, Persia Blues.

Minoo Shirazi is a rebellious young Iranian woman, struggling to define herself amidst the strict social conventions of an oppressive regime, and  the differing wishes of an overbearing father, in between life in Iran and  life in midwestern America. Minoo Shirazi is also a free-spirited adventurer  in a fantasy world, a place where aspects of modern America and ancient Persia meld into a unique landscape. And yet, neither of these women are the true Minoo Shirazi. At the intersection of guilt and freedom, family and self, ancient myths and modern enigmas, lies…Persia Blues.

Also attending the show are Brooke A. Allen (A Home For Mr. Easter) at Table L8 and Jesse Lonergan (Joe and Azat, Flower and Fade and an upcoming title that he’ll have mini comic excerpts from) at Tables N9-10.

We’ll also be offering all of our latest titles and prints from artists Rick Geary and Stan Mack are available for free for any $30 purchase, with a signed version free with a $50 purchase.

Throughout SPX, NBM can be found at tables G1-2.

For further details, visit the SPX website, www.spxpo.com

STAN MACK and MARGREET de HEER Conquer The East Coast!

 

From New York to Boston to New York, this weekend begins a marathon of appearances by Margreet de Heer, who’s new book, Science: A Discovery of Comics premiered as well as two appearances by the inimitable Stan Mack author of Taxes, The Tea Party and Those Revolting Rebels!

Sunday, September 22nd • THE BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL

10am-6pm  Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn NY 11201

Visit NBM Publishing at Table 76 • Meet Margreet de Heer and Stan Mack

The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors. One of America’s premier book festivals, this hip, smart diverse gathering attracts thousands of book lovers of all ages to enjoy authors and the festival’s lively literary marketplace.

 

Wednesday, September 25th • THE MILLION YEAR PICNIC

99 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge MA 02138

Margreet de Heer book signing.

 

Friday, September 27th • BERGEN STREET COMICS

7pm • 470 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Bergen Street Comics closes out a September full of book release parties on Friday the 27th, at 7pm, with an appearance by acclaimed graphic novelists Margreet De Heer and Stan Mack!  It’ll be an evening of fun, with De Heer signing her new release Science: A Discovery in Comics, plus the previous release in the series, Philosophy: A Discovery in Comics, and Mack pitching in with his fantastic historical work Taxes, the Tea Party, and those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution.  Come have a drink on us and pick up some great books while you’re at it!

 

Saturday, September 28th • WARWICK CHILDREN’S BOOK FESTIVAL 2013

11am – 4pm • Park Avenue School, 10 Park Avenue, Warwick, New York 10990

The Warwick Children’s Book Festival’s goal is to celebrate literacy and creativity for children of all ages.  A fun-filled day for the whole family! Meet over 50 authors and illustrators.

Stan Mack will be appearing.

 

We hope to see you at one of these exciting events!

Meeting Neil Gaiman

Readers of my blog will know that I’m a big fan of writer Neil Gaiman – from his Sandman in the nineties, which was a huge influence in my decision to try to make the leap into a life in comics, to his Calendar of Tales last Spring, on which I collaborated; and now there’s his new book The Ocean at the End of the Lane, for which he’s making a grand final Signing Tour. Yesterday, he was in a bookstore in Rotterdam, and my husband and I went there to listen to him being interviewed and have our books signed.

(Photo by Snuggly Oranges)

When Neil came in everyone applauded, and interviewer Marcel van Driel started a relaxed, funny & informative conversation with him. Despite the fact that Neil must have told the same things over and over again in the past weeks, he was very involved and attentive and witty. I tried to sketch him, and failed miserably:

Then I tried not to capture him realistically, but get a bit of his posture and demeanor in a more caricaturized drawing, and also failed at that:

So eventually I decided to go full caricature, and came up with this, which did not totally fail, I think – but judge for yourself:

After the interview, the signing started. In the past weeks, Neil has signed for audiences of over a thousand people – fortunately, here were “only” about 200 people. Yiri and I waited until the very last to get our stuff signed (and made jokes about “The Author at the End of the Line”). I was surprised, impressed and delighted that after 2 hours of signing, Neil Gaiman is still able to direct all of his attention to the person in front of him, and be interested, courteous and, well, charming. I hate getting all fan-girly, star-struck and nervous, but Neil makes it really easy to connect with him – in fact, he made me feel like he’s just a human being; well, a human being endowed with awesome superpowers, but a human being nonetheless. I think. (Although I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s Something Completely Different from Another Dimension either).

I asked Neil to sign my “winning” drawing for the July tale of his Calendar of Tales, and he said some really nice things about it, and I gave him prints of all the calendar-drawings I did and a copy of our new book, Science: A Discovery in Comics.

And then he said: “Do you want a hug?” And I said: “Yes please!”.

I have no photo of that moment. It was a very private and intimate moment between me, Neil Gaiman and my husband Yiri, who was standing aside and had been supporting me all evening and prevented me from nervously running away from this whole encounter a few times.

But I do have this, and the impression that, apart from being a talented writer whose work I find inspiring, Neil Gaiman is also a very nice person – and honestly, people with talent who are also nice make this world a much better place.

 

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!

Bits of Brain

When on holiday in Christ Church, Oxford, I attended the course ‘Human Memory and the Brain’, tutored by professor Gillie McNeill, who did an excellent job in making the subject matter both digestible and enjoyable. I drew a whole bunch of cartoons during class – something I would be chided for in high school but which is encouraged now, fortunately!

When we memorize things, for example a telephone number, our brain can use a variety of strategies.

It may visualize the thing it wants to remember, which is called iconic memory:

Or we may repeat the thing we want to remember with our inner voice, which is called echoic memory:

Also, we can remember something by the way it feels to the touch, which is called tactile memory:

A whole different kind of memory is the way in which we store how we physically do things, such as riding a bike. This is called procedural memory or muscle memory:

Of course we talked about famous brain scientists, such as dr. Pavlov, who experimented with his own dogs, conditioning them to salivate when they heard a bell ring, which they had come to associate with dinner being served:

Then we also looked at how the brain is actually built. I didn’t know that the biggest part is actually like a crumpled up sheet – if you could unfold it the brain would look like a weird-shaped balloon, something like this:

 

The thalamus is where all the information from our eyes, ears, nose, taste and touch goes first, before it’s sent on to other parts of the brain where we make actual sense of it:

A huge role in memory is played by the hippocampus, which is called like that because it looks a bit like a seahorse:

The brain is made of nerve cells called neurons, which process and transmit information in the form of electrical currents:

Each neuron is in touch with huge numbers of other neurons, each passing on information:

The place where neurons almost connect is called the synaps. Here the information is transmitted in the form of neurotransmitters, which are received by receptors in the membrane of the next neuron:

I also learned that it is a myth that the brain has a fixed number of neurons and that we lose millions of them every day as we get older – in fact, every day our brain makes new neurons! We can stimulate the growing of new neurons by getting new information in, in other words: by learning in the broadest sense of the word.

Here are some things that are recommended if you want to keep your brain healthy:

(Stuff like eating fish – omega 3 – is actually a bit overrated, although it can’t hurt either)

And oh! I almost forgot! SLEEP is very good for the brain too, as it needs that down time to process all the input and embed memories.

This finally gives me a scientific excuse for my habit of sleeping in late and taking catnaps in the afternoon.

Another important thing about the brain, that I didn’t make a cartoon of, is that it is fueled by sugar – and if it’s low on that, IT WILL EAT YOUR MUSCLE TISSUE! It won’t touch any of your fat reserves, no, it goes straight to where you keep your physical strength. So if you consider something drastic like crash dieting: DON’T. You’re just undermining yourself and your ability to think straight.

In short: what you need to do to keep a healthy brain is learn, sleep and eat your breakfast.

Do you like the way I depicted these scientific concepts? Then keep an eye out for my new book Science: a Discovery in Comics, which hits the stores next month, and can be ordered already on Amazon.