Welkom everybody! No, I didn't drink too many piña coladas yesterday, and I'm not getting a simple English language word wrong, it's just that the surprise we'd promised is finally here! The whole of the month of June is dedicated to artists from the Netherlands. After discovering La Nonette, we fell in love with all of the new art coming from this little known country and decided to brave the cold, the rain and the windmills (Don Quixotte style). Laten we beginnen met het interview.
-What are your name, surname and nickname? -Abe Borst a.k.a. Squabe.
-Why did you choose this nickname?
-It's a nickname my friends used for me and it kinda stuck with me. We were combining names with the word squid, and I liked the results with my name, so I kept it. Now I use it to publish my work. In a way it's a tribute to my friends. I make autobiographical work, so my friends have played a big part in that, being part of my life and all.
-How old are you?
-Where do you live?
-Arnhem, the Netherlands.
-What's your job?
-Currently I'm a full-time illustrator and comic artist, but money is a problem. So I'm also looking for a job on the side.
-What's your journey?
-After I finished High School I didn't know what I wanted to do. I started to study biochemistry, but it was too rigourous for me, too many rules and regulations. Don't ask questions and do what is asked from you. It goes against what I am. So I dropped out and decided that I wanted to do something more creative. I was always busy with stories and drawing them. So I went to art school to study animation, but very quickly I noticed the time and effort you have to put in an animation; I did not like that. I have respect for animators who have the patience to do all that, but it's not for me. So I switched to illustration, but I missed the bit where I could tell a story. At the end of my first year as an illustration student the answer came to me; a new course started at my school: comic design. So for my second year of art school I started to follow the comic design lessons. I LOVED IT. It was the thing I was looking for. I could tell a story in a visual way, but didn't have to put the crazy amount of time and effort in to create the image that I wanted to as with animations. I found the right direction I needed to talk about stuff. So I started to keep a comic diary where I would tell small, funny stories about my life; thoughts and feelings I had.
-What are your inspirations?
-My own life is my biggest inspiration; not that my life is so full of interesting stuff, but I like to switch the perspective on things. That way I can make the most boring stuff interesting. I also get inspired by some good storytelling. There are some Buffy episodes and movies I can keep watching and the way how the stories get told just make me want to get to my desk and start telling my own stories.
-Do you read webcomics?
-I do read them; they are a part of my daily life. It's also good to see what other webcomic artists are up to. I always read the comics of one of mycolleagues Ype Driessen. He makes picture comics about his own life. Sometimes we like to make some comics together. In those we answer questions from readers. It is fun to combine my drawings with his pictures. Other Dutch webcomics I always read are from Floor de Goede and Vera Groos, they also talk about their own lives. I also love the work of Kate Beaton, I do not always get it because I'm not such a history nerd, but still. Her style is nice and free, and I always have to laugh when I read her comics featuring superheroes.
-Tell us more about your autobiographical webcomic? -The last few months more and more people started to read my webcomic. It is kind of strange, because I'm telling all these people I don't know all this stuff about my life. So they know what I do, what I think, what I dream of, but I know nothing about them. Some people act like they know me because they read my comics, but there is a lot that I don't tell in them. It is also weird because in the last few months I also got recognized on the street and some people start to call me a famous Dutchman. I don't think I'm that famous, just more noticed then the average person. But still I like to act like I'm famous, I think it's fun to be a bit of a drama queen.
-How do you work?
-I mostly work at home. I also like to work with people surrounding me, so I also work some days of the week in a studio. There are a lot of other comic artists there, as well as illustrators and graphic designers. I like the diversity there, I can always get some different opnions on my work. The people there are fun, some times a bit to much, then it's hard to concentrate, but that's why they invented headphones.
-Why did you choose this FML story?
-I got a visual when I read this story. There was enough space for me to play with. I like it when I can make a story my own, and this one felt perfect for it. Also, I already got the punchline from it.
If you want to be the next published artist, send an email to alice [at] fmylife.com including a link to your website/blog/DeviantArt. But DON'T send your illustration right away! You need first to get in touch with me, and I'll tell you what you have to do!
This is great. I've always had a creative side but I'm currently studying molecular biology in college and had the same thought about how frustrating it was just doing things without asking questions or not knowing how they worked sometimes. Maybe I should switch to something more creative too. :)