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Jeroen: ‘You can really hit the mark with a drawing’

Jeroen2klein

Role at Bord&Stift: Illustrator.
Working here since: Spring 2017.
What is your favorite comic book? Pinocchio from Winshluss is my comic book bible. Because of the pale coloring it is reminiscent of old American newspaper comics. I’m also a fan of Love and Rockets, from the Hernandez brothers. And De Incal, from Jodorowsky and Moebius. And don’t forget Donald Duck from master storyteller and illustrator Carl Barks. Duck has everything that makes a comic fun; adventure, humor and zeitgeist.’

You are originally a cartoonist.

‘That’s right. I attended art school for a year, but I dropped out because I wanted to make comics. That wasn’t an option there. Ever since I was fourteen, I visited comic artist Fred Julsing, who for years made Ukkie for the magazine Margriet . I was a big fan. He trained me. Because of the contact with him I was already in the Eppo at my twentieth. At that time – in the late seventies, eighties – a harder, surrealistic kind of comic strip emerged, such as Hein de Kort, Familie Doorzon.’ Very nice, but I am more of a sweet boy who likes long adventure comics. That ties in well with youth magazines. I have illustrated for Donald Duck for a long time. Then I started illustrating for educational publishers.’

How can you describe your drawing style?

‘I am classically trained, according to the Belgian school. Many well-known comic magazines are in that style, such as Tintin, Spike and Suzy, the Smurfs. That classic style works well for a magazine like Donald Duck, you have to maintain a certain style very tightly and consistently. In my own work I do experiment more with a looser, more artistic approach. There is just not real money to be made with that, there is only a small alternative comics scene.’

The comic book you recently released isn’t all about your best work. Why did you choose to do that?

Hildebrand Comix is a collection of personal work. I chose the comics that I found most interesting. It even contains comics that I consider my worst. I wanted to show how I have developed, how I have tried to explore boundaries. Not showing the end product, but the process. For example, I made Pelle comics for a long time. When the magazine stopped, I started looking for a more naive style in the comic for the last edition. They were not happy with that at the magazine! They did not place it in the magazine. But I do like to show what I tried there.’

How does a cartoonist end up at Bord&Stift?

‘I reached out, it seemed like something. I was pleasantly surprised that everything is drawn by hand here, not digitally. It is interesting for me because I can draw in a looser style. First you make test drawings, but then you have to get it on that whiteboard in one go. That doesn’t always go perfectly, but that does not matter. Telling the story is more important than making very tight drawings. As an illustrator it’s wonderful to be able to draw this way.

As a cartoonist you build a very concrete world, in a whiteboard film for a certain organization it is often a somewhat more abstract story; a vision of the future or a certain way of working. I like to look for a way to clarify something, to see how you can flesh out something so abstract. You can really hit the mark with a drawing.’

Which videos give you that feeling?

‘It can be dry food, such as a reward system from an umbrella organization for opticians. By drawing it very simply, it comes across as simple and sincere. A video that also worked out particularly well is that for Women Inc. The message of the video is that it is good to be aware of the division of roles in the house, that as a woman you often consciously or unconsciously attract care tasks to you. The moment you, the viewer, might think: ‘What kind of feminist message am I getting presented to?’ You see on screen in a corner one of the children throwing his breakfast cereal into the cat’s bowl. That way you lighten it up a bit again. By making it very narrative and coming up with good characters, we really created a world. I am proud of that.’

Video for Women Inc:

Also read the interview with Astrid:
‘I like to think in drawing language.

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