Fun and Folly with 4 Belgian Cartoonists
We all love editorial cartoons. They’re witty, they’re wild, and they’re wacky. Makes you wonder what kind of mind is operating behind those mischievous doodles and biting repartees.
In the world of comics, editorial cartoonists belong to a species of their own. Their job requires artistic brilliance, acute editorial insight, a wicked sense of humor, and the willingness to play both the rebel and the clown. Just how zany are they?
Brussels Express recently picked the brains and checked the sanity level of four popular Belgian press cartoonists who were more than willing to divulge their eccentricities. They even made impromptu sketches especially dedicated to our expat readers. So prepare to be ridiculed. That is, after all, part of their job.
- Craziness Level (from 1-10): 15
- Mental Age: 7 years old
- Perceived Superpower: generating chaos, disrupting the world with disturbing questions
Steven Degryse alias Lectrr is more than just an editorial cartoonist. He himself is a walking editorial cartoon. Being anywhere near him is like watching a series of cartoons unfolding before your eyes. And he will pelt you with jokes that will keep you laughing for the next few days, and questions that will keep you awake for the next few nights.
Lectrr believes serious issues must be “ridiculized” to provoke people into finding solutions and answers to problems. He says the subversive nature of humor makes it effective in awakening different perspectives. His editorial cartoons are not meant to make a point, but to inspire the public to ask relevant questions and hopefully find their own point.
At present, Lectrr is the in-house cartoonist of Flemish newspaper De Standaard, but his drawings have been published in numerous magazines and in different languages all over Europe. He is also the creator of comic book series Hara Kiwi.
Lectrr dedicates a lunar-themed sketch to expats. He wants to be the first cartoonist to land on the moon.
- Craziness Level (from 1-10): 9
- Mental Age: undetermined, but definitely “always a child”
- Perceived Superpower: being able to expose the absurdities of life and the silliness of people, x-ray vision that enables her to see the real problems of society and the world
It takes crazy to know crazy. For Cécile Bertrand, being outside the margins of normality gives her a clearer, more objective view of a situation. From that vantage point, she can spot the absurdities and anomalies of life and the world. As an editorial cartoonist, she evokes humor to defuse tension and fear. “When we can laugh about things, then we become less afraid.”
One of Bertrand’s favorite topics is the issue of inequality, something which she herself has experienced as a woman working in a male-dominated industry. Based on her observation, society seems to be more accepting and tolerant of jokes when they are made by men although she perceives no difference between the male and female sense of humor.
Bertrand’s editorial cartoons have been featured in a Bpost stamp and in various publications including La Libre, Le Vif, Courrier International, and Telerama. She has published several books containing a collection of her works. Bertrand is a two-time champion of Press Cartoon Belgium, and also the first woman to win grand prize in the competition.
Cécile Bertrand pokes fun at expats, but she says Belgians are more likely to get the joke.
- Craziness Level: 5, maybe
- Mental Age: more or less the same as his real age
- Perceived Superpower: ability to present a different way of looking at things
Marc De Cloedt alias Marec is a trivial pursuit question, or so he says. As an editorial cartoonist, he cares less about being funny and more about raising unique and unusual points-of-view on issues. He believes humor is dispensable but sometimes necessary to lighten things up when there is too much bad news going around.
After more than 30 years in the press cartoon industry, Marec says he has mellowed over time. Compared to his past self, he has become more compassionate and considerate in crafting his editorial cartoons. He admits his values can sometimes get in the way of his creativity, but he would rather embody and impart the “wisdom of the old” than to play the buffoon.
Marec is the founder of The Cartoonist, a collective of Belgian editorial cartoonists. He is the master illustrator of newspapers Het Nieuwsblad and Dag Allemaal. His long list of accomplishments includes several published books and an accumulation of awards from Press Cartoon Belgium.
The expats’ invasion of Belgium, according to Marec.
- Craziness Level (from 1-10): flexible, 3-4 when illustrating for mainstream newspapers, 8-9 when illustrating for partisan publications
- Mental Age: About 20 years younger than his real age, but 5 years old when hanging out with fellow cartoonists
- Perceived Superpower: the art of mauvaise foi or comedy through farce
Each time you visit Brussels Express, Jacques Sondron is never too far away. He is the culprit behind the colorful and animated masthead of our website and magazine.
Sondron’s ultimate goal as a press cartoonist is to make us laugh. In a world so dark and morose, all he wants is to bring joy and humor back to people’s lives. And he does that best through the use of deliberate and obvious deception which only serves to emphasize reality and truth.
Sondron illustrates regularly for L’Avenir newspapers and a number of magazines including WAW, Zélium, Même Pas Peur, and Satire Hebdo. His earlier works have appeared in Le Soir Illustré, Le Journal du Mardi, and Passe-Partout. He has produced three volumes of cartoon compilations. His oeuvres have earned him several awards and recognitions including two from Press Cartoon Belgium.