About me

In short:

Margreet de Heer: born in Leiden, The Netherlands, 1972

Education: Film Academy, Theology, Kees Kousemaker Comics Academy

Lives: in Amsterdam and Germany

Married to: Yiri T. Kohl

Cats: 3 (2 in Amsterdam, 1 in Germany)

Has been spewing comics since: 1999

Photo: Laura Cnossen
Baby me in 1973 with my 2015 graphic novel on World Domination

I am Margreet and I’m a comic artist – but what does that mean?

How did I get here?

My road to comics was a relatively winding one. Even though I did read a lot of comics as a child (favorites: Carl Barks’ Donald Duck, Asterix, Lucky Luke, Familie Doorzon) and I even scribbled a few comics as a teenager (one of which was even published in Lembas, the magazine of the Dutch Tolkien Society), I did not consider making comics as a career until I was much older – 27 in fact, when I met people my age making a living from comics, and I thought: “Why not?”

At the time (this was 1999), I was a student of Theology at the University of Amsterdam. A study I had chosen because half of my family consists of theologians and because I flunked at the Film Academy, which I had entered at the tender age of 17. Come to think of it, comics are much like film, but without the hassle of having to work with other people, to scrape for money and to have expensive equipment. I just wanted to tell stories, I still do. Theology didn’t seem like a bad choice; after all, religion is about the great stories of mankind and its place in the universe.

I graduated in 1999 and immediately decided I did not want to work in a church. I found a job in comic store Lambiek, where I got the best education in comics I could have ever dreamed of, from the legendary Kees Kousemaker. I was webmistress of the Lambiek Comiclopedia from 2000-2005, put Dutch comics history online and co-wrote a book on Dutch comics with Kees, ‘De Wereld van de Nederlandse Strip’.

Me (left) in Lambiek in 2003,
with Bas Schuddeboom (also left), Kees Kousemaker (middle) and Klaas Knol (right).

At the same time, I drew comics.

I made a website, showcased my best work there and sent emails to potential clients. In 2002 I got my first assignment (a short monthly comic for parenting magazine J/M), and in 2004 I landed a weekly comic in Yes magazine. In 2005 I quit my job at Lambiek and became a fulltime comic artist.

My first website!
To stand out, I chose the webname Senoeni.
In 2013, I dropped senoeni.net and started using margreetdeheer.com

From 2005-2009 I basically took on any assignment that came my way. I drew for several kids magazines, girls magazines and a lesbian magazine, did live-cartooning (lucrative!) and landed two longer-term gigs in national newspapers (NRC.Next and Trouw). I also drew personal comics about life with my three stepchildren, which I self-published in my own small-press publishing house Senoeni Comics Productions, where I also published comics drawn by promising kids and teenagers, to give them a leg up in the Dutch comics scene.

When I stopped paper publishing in 2008,
my activities with comics made by kids were continued online on the site dailydanger.nl, until 2011

Then the financial crisis of 2009 hit and I lost about 2/3 of my paid assignments. Fortunately, I had just married my husband Yiri, also a comic artist, and moved in with him in his very reasonably priced Amsterdam apartment, which brought my living costs way down. My comic reports that still appeared in newspaper Trouw drew the attention of a publisher who asked me if I would be interested in drawing a full-length graphic novel on philosophy. It did not pay upfront, but I had full creative control and plenty of time of my hands, as well as a husband who encouraged me and did my coloring for me, so I immediately said: “Sure! Yes please!”

This was a turning point in my career! In 2010, my graphic primer on philosophy ‘Filosofie in Beeld’ appeared and was sold out in the first week. We proceeded to write, draw and color four more books, on religion, science, world domination and love – all between 2010 and 2017. The series went international, with translations in the USA, Brazil and South-Korea.

Then, in 2017, came another turning point when I was elected Stripmaker des Vaderlands (comic artist laureate), an ambassadorship for Dutch comics that I embraced for over three years: I promoted comics in schools, compiled a list of Dutch graphic novels suited for the Dutch reading list in high schools, I appeared on radio and TV, and drew many, many comics about anything related to Holland, comics and education.

I concluded my term as Stripmaker des Vaderlands with a crowdfunding for a book compilation. On platform Voordekunst I raised 15,000 euro and had such a blast doing the campaign (I even stripped!) that I’ve become a fervent champion of crowdfunding ever since.

Me, stripping, for the crowdfunding of my book ‘Strip Holland Strip’

Of course, “normal” comics work always continued. I draw comics about reverends and sex workers; I draw for kids and for adults; for print and for the web; funny gag strips as well as a serious 200-page graphic novel about child abuse; highly personal comics online for free and well-paid assignments for various publishers.

In 2023 I decided to shift my attention back to the international comics scene and started my newsletter on Substack, where I’m building a new audience with my mostly autobiographical comics. If you’ve read all this way, you might want to consider signing up – it’s free, weekly-ish and never dull, I promise!

Me in 2020, just before I abandoned my red hair in favor of my natural grey look.
Photo: Paul Tolenaar

Some secret content in Dutch:

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© Margreet de Heer 2024