It’s cartoons time!
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How and why did you start blogging? (via cartoons)
If you specifically mean how the Happysad series began, well, it all just sort of happened, unintentionally. I woke up one day with this one idea for a cartoon, something quite different of what I used to draw. It was kind of a bad time in my life, and some things needed a way out. In hindsight, it is pretty obvious that drawing – which I had already been doing all my life – was the ideal way to express those bad feelings. And yet, somehow it still took me many, many years to put two and two together. Anyway…
Coincidentally I had just started a website, mainly with the purpose of promoting what I would call my “commercial” cartoons. Those I actually make some money with. So I posted this one idea, and soon came up with another, similar one. And then another, and so on… Long story short, an idea was born that took over my website and would eventually lead to some 1500 comics in about 7 years. Somehow people all over the world got wind of it, and I got more and more visitors, and really enthusiastic fans. I never could have planned that to happen if I wanted to. The internet is a strange place.
What inspires you?
Life, in general. Specifically for Happysad, my “muses” of course, who were and still are a big part of my life. I think for me, life’s pretty much the only true source of inspiration. You’d expect that with just using your creativity and imagination, you could come up with any idea in the world, but I believe it is true when they say reality always trumps fantasy. Or in other words: “You can’t make this shit up.”
Mind you, that doesn’t mean that everything that is drawn in the Happysad comics really happened – far from it. Most of the time I would take some small real life occurrence, and then twist and bend the truth a bit to make it fit in a 4-panel comic format, and preferably have a punch line too.
What’s your definition of style?
I don’t know! If you ask me about style, my first thought goes to the drawing style I used for the Happysad series which, as I said, was entirely different from my usual way of drawing cartoons: much, much simpler, only in black and white, clear, crisp lines, characters who have been reduced to the bare minimum: a face with eyes and a mouth but no nose or ears, a body without legs, arms or hands. If needed, I would always find a way to “suggest” they were there. Like the main character (dubbed “the little dude” by fans) holding a brush when he’s drawing portraits of his muse. There are two reasons why I did this: first, it allows me to focus entirely on the story itself, and secondly, it saved me a lot of time drawing all those hundreds of cartoons 🙂
Has the happy-sad hero ever been in contact with the world of fashion?
Hm… Not as such. It’s not really his thing. He does appreciate beauty though, whether it comes in clothes or without.
They say auto-portraits in the past were artists’ selfies. What do you think of that?
As I mentioned before, I got almost all my ideas from real life. The question I received most often about Happysad was “is it autobiographic?”. My standard reply was: some of it really happened, some of it is made up, but most of it is inbetween, and I’ll never tell what’s what. So yes, you could say the series was like a bunch of selfies, but with a few Instagram filters applied on them in order to sufficiently distort the reality. I think I revealed more than enough about myself. Which, by the way, was one of the main reasons why eventually I decided to quit the series after 7 years.
You can see and enjoy the whole Happysad series on http://www.kartoen.be