Monday, 30 March 2015

Dromeria: If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It

If you want to come live in Dromeria, you do not have to be rich. You do not have to be intelligent, nor fashionable. You just have to be yourself, and never pretend to be someone else. Be yourself, and always stay yourself. Only then you will be able to see all the amazing things that are going on in that beautiful little village. ["Dromeria: Biggie"]

Dromeria is a series of children's stories written by a Flemish author, Marc Geyens. In 2013, he discovered some of my recent drawings, thanks to my mom and her colleagues (*Throws confetti*). Marc did not hesitate one second to contact me. Apparently, he was still looking for an illustrator that could bring his old stories to life. Insert jaw drop here.

Some of Dromeria's main characters, Summer 2013
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Marc had recently become one of the founders of "Uitgeverij Het Punt". Het Punt aims to publish the work of young, ambitious artists, such as illustrators, writers and poets. This formula eventually led to a literary explosion, as many people, including myself, were finally given the rare opportunity to share their work with the outside world. Het Punt still becomes bigger every day, and I am very happy and proud to be part of their community!

My cat Celesse and her "Dromerified" version, September 2013

I spent the Summer of 2013 drawing 20 big story-related illustrations, 20 decorative drawings, and a colourful cover picture for the very first Dromeria adventure. It took me more than 200 hours to finish. "Dromeria: Biggie" tells the story of Biggie, a big-eared pig who likes to play pranks on his friends. The book features a lot of unique creatures, such as owls, crocodiles, and turtles. In fact, many of the characters were inspired by animals that exist in real life, such as my cat Celesse (who owns a little shop in Dromeria and sells delicious cookies), my friends' dogs, chickens and rodents, and even the birds that live in my backyard!

My first time at the "Boekenbeurs", Antwerp, November 2013

"Dromeria: Biggie" was released in November 2013, during the "Boekenbeurs", Belgium's biggest book fair. As an invited illustrator, I was given the opportunity to sign the book and draw tons of happy little animals for happy little kids (What's your favourite animal? What, really, a spider? Oh, and your sister wants a dinosaur? Wait, seriously?!). I have to admit that it was a fantastic experience, and seeing all those amazed faces reminded me of the time when I was a child, eagerly hunting for autographs and illustrations at the book fair. :)

One of the 20 big story-related illustrations in "Dromeria: Lode", August 2014
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Due to tons of homework and lots of studying, I did not have a much time to draw until the Summer of 2014. Marc Geyens had written a new story, and this time, it would feature a crazy stork named Lode. Lode, a rhyming mailman, had already made his appearance in "Dromeria: Biggie". I promised myself to work even harder on the illustrations, adding more detail and finding the perfect colour balance for every single drawing. Well, I certainly did my best! :) "Dromeria: Lode" will be released next month. I am very excited to see the result.

Cover without text for "Dromeria: Lode", February 2015
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Thanks to the support of Marc Geyens and Het Punt, I was present at the Boekenbeurs in November 2014, as well. The publisher managed to surprise me with an lovely series of Dromeria merchandise: fake tattoos, magnets (These were sold out way too quick, I'm actually glad I got one myself!), bookmarks, yo-yos, and even a friendship book. Arigato gozaimasu! :'(

"Dromeria: Biggie", the friendship book, and merchandise at the Boekenbeurs, November 2014

I am really thankful to the people who made all of this possible, and those who never stopped supporting me. I honestly think that some people believe more in me than I do. I am very glad that hard work really pays off. :D I will be posting more Dromeria updates soon, including some of my older drawings. Until then, stay tuned.

See you next time!


P.S. If you would like to order "Dromeria: Biggie", the friendship book, or "Dromeria: Lode" (released next month) online, feel free to have a look at De Leeswinkel! :)

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