-Comic books do have an impact on the sociopolitical realities of societies. At least I think they do. Political cartoons even more because they appear in newspapers and websites following the latest news. Back to the comics: like books, they bring us to worlds that reflect our societies and comment on them. Like the coronavirus that’s crippling us at the moment; loads of stories with a scenario like that have been published already.
-It’s hard to say what my greatest achievement would be. I’m always super proud of my last baked cookies, so goodbye to objectivity. But this one cartoon I made on the death of George Floyd and the rise of Black Lives Matter sticks out. In black silhouette I sketched the position of the officer, sitting with his knee on poor George Floyd. In all the triangular places in the drawing that remained white I drew two dots. At first a lot of people overlooked it (which is okay), but with the two black dots, the triangular forms reveal themselves to be a Ku Klux Clan costume. And so you reveal the crime and its past in one picture.
-At the moment I’m working on a series of illustrations for an A to Z book about ‘3 Oktober’, when the people of my hometown of Leiden celebrate the liberation from the Spanish who besieged the town from 1573 until 1574. 26 Illustrations of the fair, Spanish helmets, a dove sitting on William of Orange’s head and more. Projects of my own are scarce. Most are made out of commissions because people (luckily) do hire me. I pride myself on the fact that I experiment with new things, animation, video, drawing in different perspectives; my skills and style are still — after almost 30 years — a work in progress.
-My advise the new generations: Don’t sit around waiting to be discovered. Get out there showing yourself and get to know the right people; your talent alone is not enough to have a career in this form of art. And look around you. How do things look? A bus, a skateboard, an octopus, a weird tree. It’s a good thing we can search and see everything we want on the internet, still it’s better to have some things ready to use in your mind. And then, look at and listen to the people around you. How do they interact? How does language sometimes hide the real reasons for their behavior? Learn to unscramble the messages. That’s where the jokes are.