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.

Finishings

When making a graphic novel, there are many milestones that can be celebrated with a heart-felt: “Finished!”. There’s the moment all the pages are drawn; then when they are all digitalized, lettered and put in the right order; when they’re all colored; when the file is sent to the publisher; when the file is sent to the printer’s; and then, finally, when the actual book arrives and can be held in my greedy hands. Finished!

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Yiri and I especially celebrate the first finishing: when all the pages are drawn. It has become tradition to make a little doodle in a tiny booklet, marking time and date.

Here’s the first Finishing, in 2009, when we made Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics:

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This one was drawn a year later, in 2010, when finishing Religion: a Discovery in Comics:

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Science: a Discovery in Comics was a heavy one – it was finished in the summer of 2012:

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The fourth book, about World Domination, is not out in the States yet, but I have just made an info page on my site if you want to take a look. This is how I felt when finishing it, in 2015:

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And just a few weeks ago, the last pages of the book about Love were drawn!

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We’re now in the process of finishing up the other finishings: the colors, the text corrections, the index etc. But those are minor finishings – the big one is out of the way!

Here’s another drawing from the little book, by the way, the only one in English:

doumph

Words to live by!

Animation about the Separation of Powers

Ever wondered what the Separation of Powers is, how it’s meant to work and how many Powers there are nowadays? This animation provides an insight:

It is based on two pages from my newest book World Domination: a Discovery in Comics (not out in the US yet).

In between books

I have been a bit silent on this blog lately, and it’s because I didn’t know what to write. There’s enough going on, but that’s exactly the problem.

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We flew back from New York end of October, after a successful launch of Religion: a Discovery in Comics. We had fun at SPX and the Brooklyn Book Festival, and the first positive reviews are emerging, such as these by readers on Goodreads:

“I LOVE this book! A concise, thoughtful, entertaining overview of five major religions, with a feminist critique added for good measure. Adorable illustrations.” – Vicki

“Religion is not my cup of tea and never was, but I liked this book. (…) Now I’ve got a book to advise to those who are not sure about “what’s that religion thing anyway”, what to think about it and why it is important at all.” – Ekaterina

“A lively, intelligent, and witty survey of the world’s major religions from the Dutch comics artist. De Heer can be critical but is always respectful. Entertaining, informative, and provocative.” – Edward

And then, just after we started to get over our jetlag, our new Dutch book came out, Wereldheerschappij in Beeld, about World Domination. We had a lovely, well-attended presentation in bookstore Scheltema and I gave the first copy to Gean Ockels, who said some very touching things about it.

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This is her favorite picture from the book – her father in space:

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A few interviews with me about this book are on the way (in Dutch) and it had a few very good reviews already.

On 12 November there will be a special Amsterdam presentation of Religion: a Discovery in Comics, at the American Book Center, organized by graphic journalism site Drawing The Times. This event is free to attend and will be taped, so I hope to be able to post it here later. Also, I will draw on the windows of the American Book Center somewhere next week.

So I’m really between books: definitely in my mind but also quite literally in my house, with stacks of books to sign and post.

And then there’s a third book on my mind: the next one! After all the promotion has died down, it’s time to retreat and start thinking and drawing about Love. The Dutch publication of Liefde in Beeld is planned for Spring 2017.

See why I don’t know what to write about…?

Global Power and the Game of Monopoly

Yiri and I are working hard on our next book and have just decided to call it Global Power: a Discovery in Comics, rather than World Domination: a Discovery in Comics. There’s a subtle difference there.

I’m so excited about it and really in a nice work flow right now. But the thing is, it won’t be out for at least a year – it’s scheduled for Fall 2015 in The Netherlands, and Who Knows When, if at all, in the States. So marketing-wise there’s no point in talking about it yet.

But I’m so excited about it!

Last week, I had the idea of putting in a scene between Yiri and me playing a game of Monopoly – but I wasn’t at all sure how well known the game really is. So I posted the question on my Facebook page and was swamped with reactions like “Really?! You don’t know how popular Monopoly is???”.

So no trouble there.

Here are two pages of the end result. There is a third page as well, but I’ll leave that for later. Ha, how’s that for a cliffhanger, marketing-wise…?

The Foundation of Political Thought

The second part of our Oxford Experience, the deliciously enjoyable Summer school in Christ Church, Oxford’s biggest college, was devoted to the course The Foundation of Political Thought, by Dr. James Panton, who looks like a Scottish motorbike-riding construction worker and talks like Socrates.

It was an intense, fast-paced course in which we consecutively looked at the philosophers Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, Hegel, Karl Marx, Durkheim and Weber. Instead of taking notes, I made cartoons, and this is the result:

A little of our previous course on The Beatles still lingered…:

Here’s one Yiri made:

Marx introduced the Capitalist figure of Mr. Moneybags in his writings – the same name that was given to the little Monopoly-guy not long after:

The course was very inspirational and has given me a lot to think about working on my next book, World Domination – a Discovery in Comics.

Intrigued by the Oxford Experience? Check out the program for next year – applications start in September.

Feel free to share these cartoons on the Net and in educational presentations – just don’t remove my name from them. Thanks!

Death of a Spaceman

Last week, Dutch astronaut and innovator Wubbo Ockels died at the age of 68. This came as a shock to everyone of my generation who sat glued to the TV screen as a child in 1985, when he went into space. The day after I heard the news, I made this comic:

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These pages will be part of the new book I’m working on, World Domination: a Discovery in Comics.