Erik Vandemeulebroucke, who signs his work with his first name, was the son of famous Flemish sculptor Marcel Vandemeulebourcke. He published his first drawings in the parish paper Kerkelijk Leven in 1959, at the age of 17. In the following year he made his first comic strip for this paper in cooperation with his brother Ignaas, 'Smokkelaars of Belevenissen van Tist Knuppels en Cesar'. It was followed by the stop-comic 'Kobus Koek' in 1962. He studied Humanities with the Jesuits in Borgerhout and then attended the Saint-Luc Art Institute.
After fulfilling his military service with the Air Force in Tongeren in 1963-1964 Erik found employment with the printing firm Govaerts in Deurne. He was a revisor and occasional illustrator for the company, that also published Erik's first comic book in cooperation with the publishing house Hacha in 1965. It was the first story starring his secret agent 'Jim Lont, Geheimagent 0,02' and it was written by his brother, who used the penname Ivan. Erik and Ivan continued the series under the pseudonym Iwan in Het Gazet van Antwerpen from May 1966 throughout the rest of the decade. Erik continued to make drawings for the paper's sports section, especially about the Tour de France, in the 1970s and 1980s.
Felix en de Marsman
By 1970, Vandemeulebroucke worked at the studios of Karel Verschuere and Edward De Rop for a couple of months. He pencilled stories with 'Tom Berry' for the German publisher Pabel Verlag, but left after no payment by Verschuere followed. Between 1971 and 1973, Erik had his own studios in Berchem, and hired artists like Stan Sluydts, André Donders, Guido de Vogel and Hugo de Sterk. The studios worked exclusively for the German Kauka Verlag. Vandemeulebroucke drew the stone age series 'Die Pichelsteiner' himself for Primo, while his co-workers drew stories starring 'Tom und Biberherz' and 'Fix und Foxi' for Fix und Foxi weekly. Disillusioned by the hard work and low pay for his work on series (the exchange rates tumbled), Erik eventually dropped his German activities.
Pichelsteiner (Primo 3, 1972)
He continued to make an occasional comic strip in commission, and worked on comic strips for papers like De Post ('Lamerika: Het Ei van Columbus' and 'Felix en de Marsman', with text by Plinius) and Antwerpse Post ('Dobberman en Van Geyt', written by Wim Tocquet). He also gained notority for designing more than 60 signs with dishes and commendments that were on display in thousands of Flemish bars and friteries.
Erik Vandemeulebroucke began his own printing firm in Wilrijk called Breughel Screen in 1977. He continued to make drawings for the firm's products, including stickers and postcards, and remained business manager until turning 65 in 2007. His firm, by now called Breughel International, is continued by his son. Artwork by Erik continues to appear in puzzle books.