Senoeni - Comics etc. by Margreet R. de Heer
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A Calendar of Tales


A Calendar of Tales, by Neil Gaiman & Me
In February 2013, Neil Gaiman launched 'A Calendar of Tales', a big collaboration between him and the world. He started asking twelve questions on Twitter, and used the answers as inspiration for twelve short stories, one for each month of the year. Then he invited artists to illustrate them.

I've been a huge fan of Neil Gaiman since I discovered The Sandman in the nineties (and I even drew a fanfic comic, The Riddle Of Nine), so I jumped at this opportunity and set myself to drawing twelve illustrations in twelve days, challenging myself to try out new styles and capture as much of the story as I could.

It was a blast.

Like other projects I've worked on that involve groups of artists working in the same groove nation- or even worldwide (like 24 Hour Comics Day), this generated a tremendous amount of almost tangible energy. I like to think of it as "morphogenetic fields" (a term coined by Rupert Sheldrake), a special kind of energy fields that are created by people doing the same thing, connecting with each other no matter the distance between them.

Well, that may all be nonsense but I don't care. The point is that I got an incredible boost from doing this project and that it allowed me to connect with a few other people who were in on the same thing, and that I feel richer for the experience.

I gathered all twelve of my illustrations on this page, and there are links to the twelve stories, as well as some art by others that I really liked. You can skip through all of it and look at the drawings, but better yet: get a nice hot drink and take your time reading all of the stories that go with it. Enjoy!

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Update:

Of my illustrations no less than four were shortlisted for the final website (March, both entries for July and September)! The bear-drawing for July eventually made the cut and can be seen with all the other final selections on the official site aCalendarOfTales.com.
Me and my "winning" drawing

A January Tale

A January Tale, by Margreet de Heer
You can read the story by clicking here.

This is a tale that's very rich in imagery and I tried to capture most of the scenes it describes: the couple drinking champagne, the tree on fire, the tentacle crawling out of the sea, the tiredness of the old soldier, the freshness of the baffled youngster and the dread of the things that "lurk behind the seconds".

I loved seeing what others made of the same story. Here are three illustrations that I liked especially, because they shared my view on the tale in one way or another:
A January Tale, by Shenli
by Shenli
(Hong Kong)
This is exactly how I pictured the things coming from the attic.
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A January Tale, by Jodi Chamberlain
by Jodi Chamberlain
(USA)
I love the extreme perspective and the wacky wallpaper.
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A January Tale, by Antionio Meja
by Antonio Mejía
(Mexico)
Antionio put in pictures of some of the Endless from Sandman!
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A February Tale

A February Tale, by Margreet de Heer
You can read the story by clicking here.

I surprised myself with this one: I didn't know I could draw in this semi-realistic style!

The story actually takes place between the two people on the beach, but in essence it is about this old woman, who lost her pendant fifty years ago. It is speculated how she will react when she finds out what happened to it, and I liked to think that she is really pissed off.

This story spawned a record amount of great art, which you can see here. I especially looked for artists who also drew the old woman:
A February Tale, by Wylie Beckert
by Wylie Elise Beckert
(USA)
I like the oldness of the woman. Reminds me a bit of the Dark Crystal.
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A February Tale, by Mr. Dinks
by Mr. Dinks
I like the expression on the girl's face and the dejection on that of the old woman's.
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A February Tale, by Kat Flint
by Kat Flint
(UK)
The girl, her mother and her grandmother represented as a nesting doll.
An interesting take, since the story suggests the girl might take her grandma's place.
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A March Tale

A March tale, by Margreet de Heer
You can read the story by clicking here.

This tale was about Anne Bonny, who really existed and was a pirate in the eighteenth century. It is thought that after she said the pirate life farewell, she became a respected lady. Here she is sitting with her daughter on the porch of her mansion, remembering her seafaring days.

Somehow the story called for silhouettes, I thought. Of all of the artists that drew this tale, a few had the same idea:
A March Tale, by Maggie Hill
by Maggie Hill
This is so similar to my drawing & I love it! Especially the ship in her head.
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A March Tale, by Skelling Jen
by Jennifer Mones
(USA)
The use of the background (some kind of wood?) works really well.
I also like the proportion of the ship and the girl. Drawings don't need to be literal.
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A March Tale, by Jazzlikestodraw
by Jazzlikestodraw
(UK)
Like me, Jazz worked with black, white and red - and oh, what an elegant result this is!
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An April Tale

An April Tale, by Margreet de Heer
You can read the story by clicking here.

This is a really funny tale that called for a comic. In the original story, the man gets to keep his underpants as well as his socks. My ducks were not that generous.

Some people made great photographic artworks of actual ducks with playing cards - check them out here. I found a few fellow artists who also emphasized the comicky feel of this tale:
An April Tale, by Christopher Reality
by Christopher Reality
This drawing is sequential in a very original way. And the inn looks just like I had it in mind.
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An April Tale, by Spark
by Spark
Thus far this is the ONLY other drawing in which the man also lost his underpants! I love the flailing arms.
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An April Tale, by Flo
by Flo
Nice use of foreground, middle and background.
I love the word balloon. It's as much a comic panel as a painting.
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A May Tale

A May Tale, by Margreet de Heer
You can read the story by clicking here.

The May Tale is a story of accumulative weirdness - bits and pieces of alternative realities seeping randomly into a normal woman's life. I just picked a few of the strange things she gets send over the months. I had fun making the cut-out letters ransom note in Photoshop). The rest of the drawing is just pencil on paper.

The weirdness of this tale makes for a wide variety of artwork.
I picked out a few that really spoke to me:
A May Tale, by Kit Seaton
A May Tale, by Kit Seaton
A May Tale, by Kit Seaton
by Kit Seaton
(USA)
This is the illustration to end all other illustrations, I think. And she did it in Edward Gorey style!
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A May Tale, by Lumi83
by Lumi83
(Brazil)
This looks a bit like my own idea, only better executed.
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A June Tale

A June Tale, by Margreet de Heer
You can read the story by clicking here.

The June Tale felt like a microscopic children's book in the tradition of Roald Dahl and uhm, Neil Gaiman. Nothing beats the theme of children who are exasperated by their inadequate parents. So I went for the childrens-book-illustration style, and had fun thinking up books for the girls to read - all books about girls who have no parents or are stuck with parents they wish they didn't have.

A lot of the wonderful illustrations submitted for this tale focused on the hot/cold relationship of the parents, which is central to the story. I picked out a few that included the children's view, just like my drawing:
A June Tale, by Allsortsofawesome
by Amanda Moscou, All Sorts of Awesome
(UK)
Originally, I wanted to draw something like this: a cross section of the house, showing all the different rooms and people. I couldn't pull it off, but this artist could!
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A June Tale, by Caterina Bassano
by Caterina Bassano
(Venezuela)
Similar layout to my own. I like the floating books.
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A June Tale, by Summer Theatre
by Summer Theatre
This drawing captures the tale so well! In a way, the parents are putting on a play, a tragicomedy of sorts. Great idea to draw an audience
.
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Continued on next page --->
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All the copyrights belong to the people who made the artwork.
I couldn't track all of the artists, so if you see your work here, please let me know and I'll link you!