Picture book Debut

Het verhaal
van Donker

Period: 2020-2022

What started out as a graduation project and a plan for a short film grew out into a handmade picturebook for kids. Het verhaal van Donker (the tale of Dark) was released in Dutch bookstores on the 16th of February (2022). 

Together with kids publishing company Condor (WPG media) the story came to life. I had complete freedom to develop my own illustration style which was a great journey! And now the book shines on several bookshelves through the Netherlands, but also in Germany, Austria and Schwitzerland! How crazy is that!… Read more about the process of this project down below. 

Sea made from foil, rock made from styrofoam, mountains made from paper, clouds made from wool

Dark is afraid. Afraid of Night. But when a beautiful lamplight appears in his bedroom, he decides to follow it. The light brings him amongst rustling trees, sparkling caves and a flaming lighthouse. Dark learns quickly how beautiful night can be.

This fairy-like picture book is entirely made by hand.  With this story I hope I can start the conversation between kids and their parents about the subject darkness. Het Verhaal van Donker is now available for pre-order on the following sites: Bruna, Donner, Bol.com, Libris, Bookspot, kinderboeken.nl

As a kid I’ve always been afraid of the dark. But during my minor at the Willem de Kooning Academy I started growing a fascination by the dark during an experiment. For my project ‘Days in dark, days in light’ I’ve lived an entire week conscious of the light and darkness surrounding us, noticing what effect it had on me as an individual. During this week I got to know the beautiful aspects of the dark. With this short story I want to translate the dark, an abstract and mysterious concept into something that everyone can understand. Through creating a character that kids can relate to (being the personification of the dark) we set on a journey through Night.

All the sets/characters and props are handmade or composed. Within this project I’ve been writing, designing, directing, shooting and editing the handmade content. Together with a wonderful, small team I managed to build and shoot the entire book within three months time.

Bregje Doesburg (graduated animator and amazing set-designer) helped out with creating several sets. Her fantasy-filled mind helped me think outside the box. During the time I worked on the stop-motion short about Dark (before the book came to being) Bregje helped out with shooting & animating several shots in stop-motion. 

Melvin de Wijs (student architecture & VR specialist)being a boss in general managing and being head support within the technicalities- 
& building department.
Wesley de Wijs (artist and designer) helped me out with making props and with photo editing within Photoshop.
Anouk Abels (word magician & publicist) from publishing company Condor helped me edit the story .

Also a big thanks to: Leanne, Koen, Jelmer, Familie Kok, Familie de Wijs, Anouk, Emile & all the VoordeKunst contributors for the endless support and belief in Dark. 

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