two for tea

13 08 2013


DAAN JIPPES did this limited edition poster around 1981 in connection with the publication of his comic strip album TWEE VOOR THEE. daan is a master in the art of visual storytelling, he created numerous covers and stories for the dutch DISNEY comic magazine, spent some years at disney publications in L.A. and from around 1989 at disney animated feature film. we worked together for many years, at disney and amblimation. he is an incredible artists, can draw like ‘hell’ and is a good friend.

© daan jippes

corto maltese

25 01 2013

HUGO EUGENIO PRATT, june 15, 1927 – august 20, 1995, was an Italian comic strip artist who combined strong storytelling with extensive historical research. like his most popular creation, CORTO MALTESE, whose stories first appeared from 1970 on, pratt was a restless world traveller all his life. born in rimini, italy, he spent most of his childhood in venice, then moved with his parents to ethiopia. back to italy he became part of the VENICE GROUP, an association of writers and artists, one of the members – DINO BATTAGLIA. together with them he worked on several comic strip series until because of poor work conditions for comic strip artists in post war italy he moved with a few others to argentine in 1949, where he created numerous comic series for argentine magazines. then pratt taught for a while at an art school in sao paolo, brazil, until in 1959 le left for london to contribute his work to war picture libraries. he briefly moved back to argentine, but settled finally from 1962 on in europe, first in milan, italy, then from 1970 to 1984 in france, later in lausanne, switzerland where he died in 1995 of cancer.

pratt at work

pratt is considered to be one of the greatest comic artists, who cited ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, JOSEPH CONRAD, FENIMORE COOPER and JACK LONDON as influences, along with cartoonists WILL EISNER and MILTON CANIFF. pratt’s cult series protagonist, CORTO MALTESE, an anti-hero sailor-adventurer world-traveler, takes the reader to the most fascinating places in the world, from the WWI-era pacific islands and their smugglers and pirates to dramatic events during the russian civil war after the october revolution and the spanish civil war.

corto maltese side
corto 2
corto pratt orig.1976

one of pratt’s stories, CORTO MALTESE IN SIBERIA from 1975, has been translated to the big screen as a traditional animated feature film. LA COUR SECRETE DES ARCANES released in september 2002 in france. directed by PASCAL MORELLI and with stunning backgrounds by FREDERIC BLANCHARD, GISELLA GIAMPIETRO, LUCIE TREMBLAY, OLIVIER VATINE and JEAN-FRANCOIS MIGNAULT, creates a believable ‘pratt-world’ with all his characters come ‘alive’. it must have been a challenge to go from comic to animation. it shows in some parts of the film, – what works in a graphic novel doesn’t necessarily work in film. but, compared to a lot of other animation, this film is a visual masterpiece. below some of the artwork.

1corto poster
corto maltese 1
corto maltese 2
corto maltese 3
corto maltese 4
corto maltese 5
corto maltese 6
corto head 2
corto head constr.1

© hugo pratt / ellipse animation / canal+


18 09 2012

digging through boxes and drawers I found some historic ‘ducks’, probably from 1988 / 1989, – ALFRED JODOCUS KWAK. the concept had been developed by dutch entertainer HERMAN VAN VEEN, HARALD SIEPERMANN and myself did all the thousands of drawings for 3 comic books, 4 educational books, the storyboards and style-designs for a 52-episode tv series ( produced in japan ) as well as tons of drawings for the connected merchandise ( about 400 different products available in some bigger stores and QUELLE at that time ). there was no photoshop, it all had to be drawn with steel-nibs and chinese ink on some white sheets called ‘paper’ and colored with extremely life threatening chemicals out of funny looking felt-sticks. I know from my students that these little unknown details have to be explained to a younger generation…

© van veen / siepermann / bacher


11 03 2012

8 May 1938 – 10 March 2012

JEAN HENRI GASTON GIRAUD, or as we knew him under his pseudonyms MOEBIUS and GIR, has died today in paris after a long battle with cancer, age 73. besides his creations in the comic strip world – BLUEBERRY, THE MAGAZINE METAL HURLANT, THE AIRTIGHT GARAGE, ARZACH and L’INCAL – moebius worked in live action and animation films – ALIEN, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, TIME MASTERS, LITTLE NEMO and TRON. HAYAO MIYAZAKI and GIRAUD were longtime friends. miyazaki said about moebius’ work – through ARZACH, which dates from 1975 I believe, I only met it in 1980, and it was a big shock. not only for me. all manga authors were shaken by this work. unfortunately when I discovered it, I already had a consolidated style. so I couldn’t use his influence to enrich my drawing. though, even today, I think he has an awesome sense of space. I directed NAUSICAA under MOEBIUS’ influence. -

© moebius

alex nino 11

16 12 2011

ALEX NINO created the following illustrations for the comic novel …JUST PASSING BY! in 1999. in my opinion it is the best work I ever saw from him. he allowed me to xerox the oversized originals before they went into printing and the text bubbles were added. unbelievable artwork, all drawn with a simple pen, hardly with any corrections on the total of twenty pages. the masterpiece was published in july 1999 in FRANK FRAZETTA FANTASY ILLUSTRATED, vol.1, number 7.

© alex nino / quantum cat entertainment

regis loisel 3

6 08 2011

before I am gonna show more of REGIS LOISEL’S designs he did for disney’s MULAN, some more of his stunning artwork in his comic strip series PETER PAN. he wrote the story, came up with the layout, did all the artwork (incl.lettering) and colored everything. the panels read like a film, the staging is flawless, not too talk about the composition and the use of textures in the backgrounds.

© regis loisel / editions vents d’ouest

regis loisel 2

24 07 2011

for everybody who is not familiar with REGIS LOISEL’S comic-strip work I am posting some pages, sketch-page and final color-page, as well as some character designs from his PETER PAN comic-strip version. the six-volume series was published in france between 1990 and 2004 by EDITIONS VENTS D’OUEST ( ). the titles of the series are – LONDRES, OPIKANOBA, TEMPETE, MAINS ROUGES, CROCHET and DESTINS. next will be more of REGIS’ MULAN designs.

© regis loisel / editions vents d’ouest

regis loisel 1

21 07 2011

as far as I remember it was sometime in 1995 during the preproduction of MULAN when my producer at disney PAM COATS asked for my advice about possible illustrators or comic-strip artists who might be willing to work with us for a short time. the more diverse in style, the better. the first name that came to my mind was REGIS LOISEL, next to MOEBIUS one of the most influental french comic-strip artists. after his stunning four volume series LA QUETE DE L’OISEAU DU TEMPS he had started his version of PETER PAN that promised to be even better. I admired the worlds he created, beautifully designed environments as well as very unusual character-design. and – what I liked the most – he was as much away from disney as you could imagine! that’s why I did not really believe he would say yes. finally I talked to him on the phone, he tried to speak a bit english and I tried to remember all my half-forgotten french. somehow it was a good conversation because he agreed to come to L.A. for two weeks to work with us.

these two weeks I will not forget, we spent a lot of time together. next to working with him in my office I showed him L.A. and some of the neighborhood. and we had great dinners and a lot of wine. my french improved and REGIS even learned to comunicate with the other artists in english. he was the nicest guy and what an artist! anyway – we stayed in touch for a while afterwards until he moved to canada and I left disney. his series PETER PAN became a six volume MASTERPIECE. as soon as he had finished a new book he sent me a copy together with a beautiful sketch, treasures in my collection. recently I found copies of the MULAN-designs he had done during the two weeks he stayed with us and I am planning to post some of them. in a way his designs are very similar to ALEX NINO’S work, but he added a lot more story in his sketches, came up with great gags and ideas I wish we had included in our film.

© disney enterprises, inc / regis loisel

alex nino 10

13 07 2011

early in 1999, while ALEX NINO and I were still working at disney, he came to my office to show me a whole pile of new comic pages he had done. the black/white pages were oversized, bigger than A3, and – stunning! alex was euphoric, ‘I am back!’ he had made a new deal with a comic publishing house and hoped for a whole series of publications. the pen+ink drawings were the best I had seen for many years and reminded me somehow of the masters of the barock and rokoko sculptures. like usual he could not explain how he had done them, I could not even imagine how that complex work of composition, exquisite character drawings and textures had been created. of course without any rough sketching and planning, like I had seen him working on MULAN. anyway – following is the cover of the magazine where his story appeared together with several others, released in july 1999. alex had allowed me to xerox his original drawings, I post a few of them and 2 double pages of the printed version, with the added text-blocks.

© alex nino / quantum cat entertainment publ.


5 11 2010

during the time in 1989, when DAAN JIPPES and I worked together on the pre-production of disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST in L.A., DAAN helped me out with some merchandise illustrations for ALFRED J.KWAK. blue-pencil sketch and inking by the master himself, illustration size about 20 x 20 cm.

© harlekijn, van veen, siepermann, bacher


29 07 2010

from 1985 until 1991 I was one of the team-members who brought ALFRED J.KWAK alive. the others were HARALD SIEPERMANN and dutch entertainer HERMAN VAN VEEN. in some earlier posts I talked about the comic- and tv-series and how it happened. here now are some rare pieces, the first planned comic cover, some comic strip samples and calendar illustrations.

© harlekijn / herman van veen / harald siepermann / hans bacher


25 07 2010

the well known fairy tale of the hare and the hedgehog was first illustrated by GRANDVILLE, LUDWIG RICHTER and GUSTAV SUS in the 19th century. the BROTHERS DIEHL produced 1937 in their puppet animation studio in munic, germany, the ‘race between the hare and the hedgehog’, a 15 min animated jewel. in their characterdesign they were inspired by the earlier illustrated versions. like GEORGE PAL, the BROTHERS DIEHL had developed their own technique that allowed them to change facial expressions of their puppets.

in the late forties the hedgehog character became the mascot of a well known german radio-, later tv-magazine HOER ZU, the rights were acquired and in 1950 the drawing artist REINHOLD ESCHER started the first illustrations of the character for the magazine. soon the hedgehog character became a merchandise hit in germany and in september 1951 the first MECKI-adventure as a weekly comic strip was born, illustrated by ESCHER, who was supposed to draw these adventures for the next 25 years. he invented several new characters as MECKI’S companions, CHARLY PENGUIN and the always tired SCHRAT. ESCHER succeded over the years to create his own universe with these characters.

in 1958 a well known illustrator, PROFESSOR WILHELM PETERSEN, was added to the weekly comic-strip team and from then on until 1969 the two illustrators were delivering the stories alternating.

additional to the weekly comics a series of childrenbooks was produced, starting in 1952. REINHOLD ESCHER illustrated the first book, all the following 12 books were done by PETERSEN. in later years several illustrators have tried to follow what ESCHER and PETERSEN had started, but nobody succeeded. the taste of the younger audience had changed as well and they preferred other heroes. here is a selection of historic photographs, magazine covers and comic/book illustrations.

© axel springer publishing / hoer zu
© reinhold escher / prof.wilhelm petersen
© eckart sackmann / comicplus
© F + H. diehl

here is a link to the REINHOLD ESCHER website with hundreds of pictures

if someone is interested, the reprinted MECKI books as well as the comic strip collections of the years 1958 and 1959 are available through AMAZON-GERMANY

1956 game

28 04 2010

games were quite different in the ‘ancient’ days! here is one that was published around christmas 1956 in the german tv-magazine HOER ZU. you played it with dice and the theme was around german fairy tales in connection with the magazine’s theme character MECKI. WILHELM PETERSEN was the illustrator, the same artist who illustrated 12 MECKI children books from the early fifties on and who took over the magazine’s comic strip series in 1958 from REINHOLD ESCHER. in a later post I will have a lot more about the MECKI character.

© diehl film / hoer zu


30 11 2009

TROMBONE ILLUSTRE was a very unusual ‘mini’ comic-magazine attached to the famous comic strip weekly magazine SPIROU. it was published by belgian EDITIONS DUPUIS, starting in march 1977. comic legends like HAUSMAN, LOUP, FRANQUIN, GOTLIB and DELPORTE contributed drawings and short strips. the content of the weekly eight pages was a bit more adult than the usual comic strips at that time. later, that was surpassed by the french comic magazine MORMOIL. below some cover illustrations by the master, ANDRE FRANQUIN.

© andre franquin / editions dupuis


18 09 2009

ANDRE FRANQUIN, 1924 – 1997, is for me the best comic strip artist ever! the characters he developed, especially GASTON LAGAFFE, the incredible, often very sarcastic humor he added to his drawings, the rough drawing style resulting from a mixture of thin brushwork and nibs, the way he translated the real world into a caricature, the buildings, the cars, nature – he is the absolute master!

franquin was not able to finish artschool in brussels, belgium, because of the second worldwar. after his school closed down, he joined an animation studio CBA – compagnie belge d’animation – for a short time, where he met some of his future comic strip colleagues, MAURICE DE BEVERE or MORRIS ( creator of LUCKY LUKE ), PIERRE CULLIFORD or PEYO ( creator of the SMURFS ) and EDDY PAAPE ( creator of LUC ORIENT and numerous other characters ). they all started to work from the mid-forties on for the comic strip publishing house DUPUIS.
in 1957 franquin started in SPIROU, the famous belgian comic magazine, a new series initiated by YVAN DELPORTE, spirou’s chief editor, GASTON LAGAFFE. gaston is the ‘anti-hero’, the office boy with mishaps and disastrous adventures mostly connected to a publishing house. the series became soon the biggest hit and franquin’s best known creation.

following are three pages of the GASTON series in SPIROU.




© franquin/dupuis

more ducks…

29 08 2009

ajk 3 color

ajk 0015

ajk 1620

ajk 4304



christmas ajk

all artwork from the comic strip series THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF THE DUCK ALFRED J.KWAK

ajk c20

© van veen, siepermann, bacher

ducks + moles

21 08 2009

the artwork below is from 1986, from my collaboration with HARALD SIEPERMANN on our comic strip series THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF THE DUCK ALFRED J.KWAK. it started just for fun and became an adventure with three comic books, published in germany, netherlands, belgium and france, and a 52 episodes TV-series on the air in about 20 countries.
harald developed the characters based on a story of HERMAN VAN VEEN and did the pencil sketches. I inked them and added the color and the environment. it is all feltpen and some gouache.





henk's home4312

© van veen, siepermann, bacher

june 1966

6 05 2009


in june1966 my class went on a study trip to the alsasse. I was 15 years old and it was my first time in france. in strassburg I bought this oversized PILOTE comic strip with drawings in a new style and quality I had not seen before. the artist that stood out was ALBERT UDERZO, who had two series published. and these were so different in style like day and night. one was ASTERIX, who became a bit later one of the world’s best known comic strip series. the other was a realistic looking strip MICHEL TANGUY about two pilot friends in the french aitforce. in a way that comic strip, printed on pretty cheap paper and not in the best print quality, changed everything for me. I knew I wanted to become one of these artists, I wanted to learn to draw.




© uderzo/dargaud editeur


26 03 2009

WALTER NEUGEBAUER, 1921 – 1992, born in yugoslavia, published his first cartoons at the age of 14. with his brother he started in 1951 his own animation studio, but moved in the late fifties to germany, where he worked for many years as comic strip artist and art director for ROLF KAUKA’S comic magazine FIX UND FOXI. the following sample pages show two characters, TOM + KLEIN BIBERHERZ, NEUGEBAUER developed in the early sixties



© neugebauer + kauka


16 03 2009

this is a real treasure for me. 1959 – 50 years ago!! – the german weekly magazine STERN started a new comic strip series in the attached STERNCHEN magazine for kids. this very unusual addition to a magazine contained 8 pages, usually a continued story for 8 to 14 year olds, some kid news, a 4 image comic strip series and on the last page the continuing comic series JIMMY DAS GUMMIPFERD ( jimmy the rubber-horse ). maybe I will post a bit of that in the future as well. anyway – I was 10 years old and could not wait for the next issue of the magazine to get the following episodes of that new series – TARO. it was drawn very realistic by a german illustrator FRANZ-WERNER RICHTER-JOHNSEN, 1912 – 1993. you can find richter-johnsen’s bio here, thank you, christoph heuer, for the link. for me it was the ultimate boy-adventure, kind of an INDIANA JONES of that time. have a look…





© STERN, richter-johnson


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