The second part of Cromwell Stone
took so long
because the publisher of the first part, Deligne (Michel)
bankrupt. Back then I didn't go out to find a new publisher,
because I had so many other things to do. Le Lombard
example, asked me to pick up Rork
published a reissue of Cromwell Stone
when I had some time I started working on this second part for
them. Meanwhile years had passed by.
Wasn't it hard to pick up the thread after such a long time?
Andreas: No, I felt like living it up with the time consuming drawing.
Ten years ago you should have had an idea about this
second part. Have these ideas changed in the meanwhile?
Not really. This second part is more or less supplemental to
the first part; many questions that remained unanswered in that
part, are explained here. The third part will be more autonomous.
I always think a long time before writing a scenario. Through
this long preparation period I can finish the scenario quickly,
so I can start drawing immediately. Hence I seldomly have to
adjust my scenarios.
Don't you ever adjust your ideas while drawing?
Andreas: Seldomly. In my scenarios I work out everything very
precisely. Later I sometimes shift a picture to the next page, or
I spread a page over two pages. The important things are fixed,
Isn't it tiresome to work out a fixed idea for the long time it requires?
It took me a long time indeed to work out the drawings for the
second part of Cromwell Stone
. It took so long because I
somewhat lost sight of the story I was making. Normally speaking
I like to hurry up with the drawings, because the story is
central. In this case I was completely consumed by drawing it. I
had foreseen that, when I wrote the scenario. I wanted to live it
up with drawing for example the double pages that are filled with
ships. Now this album is finished, I've had enough of this way of
working for the time being.
The drawing of the second part is much more detailed
then the first part. Is that a conscious breach of style?
Andreas: I use more of the hatching technique and more shades of gray.
I don't know what caused that. I just felt like doing it. It
suited the story. It doesn't bother me that there is a breach of
style between the albums. The third part may look very different
You make use of extreme perspectives and transformations in your drawings.
Why do you chose to do so?
The story often forces me to it, or... Actually I don't know.
I like to make it hard on myself. That double page in Le retour de Cromwell Stone
took me three weeks. After a week I found out that it
didn't work and it had to be done over again. I was fed up with
it then already. Still I want to continue at such a moment until
I am satisfied with it. Eventually the result is not what I
wanted, yet it resembled it so I kept it that way.
has a page full of tiny pictures of Rork.
That is an idea that I wanted to work out by all means. It is a
lot of work, but if it befits the story, I will do it.
You must be crazy about drawing.
Andreas: (laughs) Yes, indeed I love to draw. My problem is
that I am a limited draughtsman. My illustrations are never
really good and they take me a lot of time. I am more of a
storyteller. I admire artists that commit a good drawing to paper
with great ease. With me the result is always less then I had in
For one, I wasn't satisfied with the scene with the ships,
because I could not get enough contrast in it. Of course I am
content with many of the pictures, but not about the larger share
of my images.
Would you redo some of your albums?
Andreas: No, once its finished, its finished.
Yet a renewed version of Mil has appeared in French.
Andreas: That only involved a few altered pictures. The original
version was longer originally. When I had started the album
already, the publisher wanted less pages, so I deleted two pages.
These are added in the renewed version. The story runs smoother
now. Also I have separated the black-and-white and color-pages
from each other. I had made them seperately and mixed them in the
first version. That was too artificial. The story runs better
Are there any albums about which you are satisfied?
I'm still satisfied with Coutoo
, but mainly about the
scenario. I always wanted to do a detective story with a slight
fantastic element. It worked out reasonably well, I think. The
drawings will do.
Why do you like to draw fantastic things over real things?
Andreas: Because I am a too limited draughtsman to draw realistic
things from daily life. That might be the reason I work with
transformations. It's much more difficult to draw a man sitting
in an armchair in a normal way, because then it should look
natural. Classical draughtsmen like 'Juillard' master this drawing
technique. While drawing I always encounter my limits as a
draughtsman. Yet I am not an unhappy man, because I happen to
like drawing fantastic stories. My drawing style fits perfectly.
When I started out as a strip draughtsman, I used to make
humorous work. I still like to apply transformations in my
illustrations, like in the more charicatural strips I used to
make. I like to give theatrical poses to my personages. My
drawing is more constructing than sketching. I never even make
Andreas: I did that because it worked fast, not because I am having
trouble drawing realistically. The documentation and drawing
technique (site-editor: This technique is called, in Dutch,
schaafkarton) took a lot of the time. In the
chapter about 'Agatha Christie', for example, I used only
photographs. I was in a hurry and the story had to be finished
quickly. I would never do that again, though, since you are only
copying and not really drawing.
Your style of drawing reminds one of Berni Wrightson
Are you influenced by him?
At first I was, when I was working on the first stories of Rork
(Andreas deliberately called the writer in the first Rork
Bernard Wright, red.). Through Wrightson I discovered many
American illustrators from the start of this century. Their
drawing technique using strokes appealed to me.
The theatrical transformations of your personages is
found in the work of your contemporaries, Foerster and Cossu, as
Of Philippe Foerster
I know that he is, like me, influenced by
Wrightson. He loved him even more than I. Antonio Cossu
is influenced by
a much more diverse company of draftsmen. He learned from both
Italian, Argentinian and American draftsmen. Therefore he is a
much more all-round draftsman. All three of us do have a liking
for the fantastic strip.
At the moment I work with Philippe Foerster
on an album, Styx
That is, I ink his drawings. In his scenery I recognize
perspectives and other matters, that I use in my own strips as well.
What kind of album is it?
The scenario is from Philippe Foerster
. It's a detective-story in the way of
'Chandler''s, complemented with fantastic elements. Despite these
elements it remains a good, classical scenario. At the end of
this year it appears at Le Lombard
, so I hope it is translated in Dutch as well.
You were at the drawing-school of St.-Luc together.
Did you acquire common influences there?
Not at school. At St.-Luc everything was more focused on
'Moebius' and the Belgian school. At that time I did discover my
American influences. In shops and at sales of libraries I
encountered their work. Together with Philippe Foerster
I bought my first
albums of Berni Wrightson
and Neal Adams
. Later, the two of us -
together with Antonio Cossu
and Philippe Berthet
- had an atelier together here in
Brussels. The four of us were working on the same things for a long time.
Do you like to work with others?
I prefer to work alone and hesitate to involve others to help
me. On the other hand I do have my limits and it can be
refreshing to work with the ideas of others. It has given me the
opportunity to make things I could never have made by myself.
That's why I made Dérives
stories that have scenarios of different collegues. If you write
a scenario for yourself you like to omit things you don't like to
draw. I for one don't like to draw crowds. An other scenarist can
make you do it anyway an thus you develop as a draftsman.
contains a short story of Frédéric Bézian
. He added
an element to my work that I could never have done myself. With
him I would like to do an album sometime.
you use, as in all of your work, the
most farfetched drawing techniques. Are you still looking for the
most befitting technique or do you just like to experiment?
Andreas: I want to do as much different things as I can. I could never,
like for example 'Morris', work my whole life in the same style. I
also think different kinds of stories require different drawing
techniques. It should correspond to the athmosphere.
There are numerous similarities between the worlds of 'Rork'
and 'Cromwell Stone'. They both play in the same time and in a fantastic world.
Andreas: But the personages Rork and Cromwell Stone are incomparable.
The first is a bizarre and the second a normal personage, living
in a bizarre world.
Andreas: That is a lack of imagination from my part.
Both worlds are dominated by the threat of a
civilization that existed before mankind.
That's a theme from H.P. Lovecraft
. I used to read his books a lot
at the time I started with Rork
. In the first parts you
will find many of his influences. It is indeed true that this
theme returns in Cromwell Stone
, and that's because it
fascinates me very much.
I used to read many fantasy books. When I discovered Lovecraft I
knew it was that I wanted to make. Since then I read everything
of him and haven't touched a fantasy book since. In Lovecraft I
found a theme that appealed to me, what I was looking for, a
theme with a lot of horror.
In Cromwell Stone
you mix those horror motives with metaphysical elements. Why this
I don't work consciously in one specific genre. When I was
young I was very Christian. I was very interested in the bible
and its stories. Later this got less and I became interested in
philosophy, even though I haven't read much about it. Currently I
am no believer any more.
When I wrote the scenario for Cromwell Stone
, I didn't have the
idea in my mind to make a horror story of it. I just let myself
go without a clear storyline in mind. I wrote quickly and had no
control on what I wrote. I worked the same way at the first Rork
The latter albums are written more consciously. In hindsight I
find these albums too much constructed; they are too much written
towards a goal, too much constructed.
Indeed the album contains too much information. When I started
I had enough material for a hundred pages. I then
asked my publisher if I could make an extra large album. They
said it was possible, with the consequence that it would be a
very expensive album and that it could be distributed only by
specialized strips-shops. Considering that the first parts had
been available everywhere for a reasonable price, I chose this
form. I drew smaller pictures to fit more pictures on the same
number of pages. The result is not completely succesful. The
story has not remained clear, the reader has to concentrate too
The first page was a dream I had and that I wanted to use in a
story. The album was a reaction to Rork
, that I made for
the weekly magazine Tintin/Hello BD (fr); Kuifje (nl)
had to fit in Tintin/Hello BD (fr); Kuifje (nl)
so I couldn't do everything I wanted qua storyline. Cyrrus
is the most complicated strip I have ever made. I can tell you
little about the process of its creation, because I have written
it very much unconsciously.
The albums whose process of creation I can tell you about, are
often the not so good ones. Thus I made the album Azteca
(1992, not in Dutch, red.) for the publisher Delcourt
they had asked me to do something pre-Columbian. The album didn't
originate from my own idea. I put in it the things that I wanted
to be in it and that's it. It doesn't have anything extra.
Aren't you afraid to lose sight of such a complex story?
Andreas: No, in my head everything always fits. I don't like to simply
make things that aren't possible, like Escher who once drew water
running upstream. For me everything needs to be explicable. I
always look for logic behind the paradox. Imposibillities in the
scenario are a weakness and unfair to the reader. I demand of my
readers that they puzzle with the story. The logic in my work is
hard to fnd, but its there.
Did you ever make a story, whose storyline was incorrect in hindsight?
something happens that is inconsistent with
what happened in Cyrrus
. That annoys me. My attention
has slipped for a moment. I think it was something with the
temple. I don't remember exactly.
Is that error still present in the renewed version of Mil?
Andreas: Yes, the mistake is in the colorpages and I haven't redrawn
them. Probably noone has noticed. I have, though, and it annoys me.
You are not easy on your readers with your complicated
stories. Do you get many questions for explanation?
Yes, but I don't like to explain my stories. I want the reader
to make the effort to understand and to read the album multiple
times. I think, for example, that Cyrrus
can be read very easily.
One has to read it more than once to understand it, though.
At the moment I am working on a strip about the American
architect Frank Lloyd Wright
, for Philippe Berthet
, Le triangle rouge
You have to read that strip a second time in order to understand
it. You have to notice certain details while reading to
understand the end. I like that.
Andreas: Also because the albums get more expensive. Its frustrating to
buy a strip and to think after reading it: "That was it,
then. I have understood everything". Consequently the strip
disappears in the closet never to come out of it again. I think a strip
should be rereadable. Take for example 'Watchmen', of
'Gibbons' and 'Moore'. Every time you recognize new things in it. I
try to do that too. The strip doesn't have any need for the next
standardstructure a la 'Tintin'.
When I was young, I wanted to be an architect. Only later I
saw myself as a strips artist. I am still fond of architecture.
This liking returns in my work.
Le triangle rouge
has a complicated storyline about
someone who dreams about someone who dreams. Its a nice challenge.
In the near future I want to start a longrunning series for Le Lombard
but I won't tell you anything about that.
Andreas: Maybe it takes as much as ten years before the third part
appears. After the long work on the second part, I am tired of it
for the moment. I do have the idea in my head.
How hard do you work?
I draw all day. I start at eight o'clock and stop at seven in
the evening. This suits me. I work all days, weekends included.
You know, I get more and more things on my hands. So I have to
make time to do all the things that are still in my head. But I
also am more in the mood to do all these things. don't ask me
where I get that urge, its just something I like to do. If I'm on
vacation, I want to start drawing after five days.
I worked one-and-a-half year on Le retour de Cromwell Stone
At the end I started drawing faster because I have so many other
things in my head I want to work out.
Sometimes I am aftraid that I won't have enough time in my life
to make everything that I have in my mind. I am 44 and thus past
half my life. The next twenty years I will have to work very hard
to get everything done.
Are you still looking for that one album about which
you are satisfied?
Of course, but I think and hope that I won't ever make it.