Olivier Flap, by Dirk Arend

Dirk Arend van Duijn, mostly referred to as simply Dirk Arend, is a former Dutch cartoonist and illustrator. He made commercial comic strips and cartoons for several clients during the 1980s and 1990s. His best-known creation is the little elephant 'Olivier Flap'.

Early life and career
Dirk Arend was born in 1962 in Katwijk aan Zee. In 1980 he began his career with the newspaper comic strip 'Jan Hagel' in Leidsch Dagblad (the Duin en Bollenstreek edition). He then went to work as a comic artist, cartoonist and character designer for commercial clients, like the record label Boni Records and its subdivision Break Records. One of his designs was 'Tico Tac', the alien in the videoclip of the synthpop single 'Woodpeckers From Space' (1985) by Videokids. The animation was done by Bjørn Frank Jensen, who also made a comic strip with the character. Dirk Arend's art furthermore appeared in free local papers of the region Leiden and Kennemerland-Zuid, published by the Buijze Press group.

Olivier Flap
His best-known comic character is 'Olivier Flap', a little elephant who lives in the forest with several other animals. It was the mascot of the 1990s children's comics and puzzles monthly Happy voor Kids (1994-1995) by publisher De Denker. Dirk Arend was the magazine's lead cartoonist along with house artist Henk van Munster, while Koos Verkaik participated in the scriptwork. Other characters drawn by Dirk Arend for Happy voor Kids were 'Barrie Beer', 'Jopper' and 'Roos'. Years later, Stefan de Groot's Creative Cave Publishers released an eBook with one of the elephant's adventures, called 'Olivier Flap Kleuravontuur'.

Later comics work
Later in the 1990s, Dirk Arend made the comic strip 'Dokter Quack' for Telekids Now! (Keesing, 1997-1999), the magazine related to the kids TV show Telekids. The scripts were by Wessel Breukelaar. The artist continued to work on developing artwork and concepts aimed at children through Studio Babbelstan until back problems forced him to retire from drawing. He has served as a consultant during the early stages of Striptekenaars.nl (Stefan de Groot) and Striptekenaar.info (Piet Zeeman), two agencies producing comics and other artwork for print and digital media. For the artwork, the agencies relied on an international network including artists from Argentina (Atilio Millan, Fernando Sosa, Joe Limado), Indonesia (Redy Prio, Roedy Rillf, Yuen Eriyama's Studio Dokutoku), Serbia (Bojan M. Djukic) and the Netherlands (Ruud Straatman).

Toonder connaisseur
Dirk is an expert on classic Dutch comics and especially regarding the Toonder Studio's. In late 2003 he began writing about the artists related to the studio on his weblog De Wereld van Strips. He has furthermore been a great help to the Lambiek website with identifying artwork and providing additional information for both the Comiclopedia and our section on Dutch Comics History.

Dirk Arends weblog (in dutch)

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