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Joris Mertens - Beatrice

#artofcomicstrip

19 May 2020

The silent comic strip is a genre that has been on the rise in recent years. Joris Mertens also chose it in his debut story 'Beatrice'. In this story, he takes the reader to a vibrant city that could be both Brussels and Paris in the 1970s, and follows a young shop assistant who daily takes the train to the city center. When, after much hesitation, she takes a lonely and striking red bag she sees every day, she's transported out of her routine life and into a magical love story...

Storyboarding is hardly ever done by Joris Mertens: he wants to try out whether something works visually as quickly as possible, and often only sees this when a page of artwork is completely finished. After a few brief sketches he quickly starts on the final pencil drawing. Here he draws each box separately, and afterwards compiles his pages on the basis of the individual boxes. He adds colour with the computer in a limited sepia palette, supplemented with red. If the result is disappointing, he doesn't hesitate to dump the work of one or more days in the dustbin and start again!

Because the story has no text, the expressions and attitudes of the characters are, if possible, even more important than in a classic comic book. On the drawings, for example, the special expressiveness of the hands is noticeable, which the author carefully studies in front of the mirror or on the basis of photographs. Joris Mertens evokes the atmosphere of the different eras in which we see Beatrice evolve in the furniture or costumes of the characters, but also in the architecture or even the utensils.


 

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