Cartoon by Bavo, 18 August 2020. 

Bavo Bobelijn is a Belgian cartoonist, notable since 2020 for drawing educational comics and cartoons at the commission of the mayor of the town Brakel. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, his graphic talent was put to frequent use to either inform people or keep their spirits up. Bavo even has a recurring character, namely the mayor of Brakel himself.

Life and career
Bavo Bobelijn is a cartoonist from the town Brakel, in the province East Flanders. While still a teenager, his cartoons gained local attention when they appeared on local news sites like 't Brakelt!. In 2021, he enrolled at the University of Ghent to study Communication.

Cartoon by Bavo, 20 February 2020.

Brakel municipal cartoons
In early 2020, he first teamed up with mayor Stefaan Devleeschouwer to make some of the town's municipal measures and communication public. Devleeschouwer's approach was unusual in the sense that he let a local cartoonist visualize his message through humorous comics and cartoons, which then went in circulation on news sites and social media channels. On 20 February 2020, the Bavo cartoon was made public. At the time, several speed cameras near the highway were out of order and had to be replaced. Since many drivers assumed that they could easily cross the speed limits, Devleeschouwer and Bavo's cartoon informed them of quite the opposite. Although the cameras didn't work, the local police still kept an eye on the road. In Bavo's cartoon, mayor Devleeschouwer is literally sitting on the camera pole to flash road hogs and speed demons.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 virus became a global pandemic. In many countries lockdowns were implemented on the population, to get the spreading of the coronavirus under control. Having proven the effectiveness of reaching the Brakel townspeople through cartoons, Bavo was asked to summarize and visualize every method on how to avoid COVID-19 in comic strip format. On 14 March 2020, the comic 'Corona: Wat Kan Ik Doen?' ("Corona: What Can I Do?") was distributed. It stars mayor Devleeschouwer and Belgian Minister of Health Maggie De Block as protagonists. The cartoon also references De Block's infamous blunt command "Blijf in uw kot!" ("Stay in your shack!") when she informed the Flemish citizens to stay home as much as possible during the lockdown.

Educational cartoon on how to take preventive measures against COVID-19, 14 March 2020. 

Nevertheless, despite the lockdowns, many people died or got terribly ill. In June 2020, mouth masks became mandatory inside public buildings, while an evening clock was implemented in Flanders between 1.00 and 7.00 a.m. As could be expected, the measurements caused much distress and despair, largely because the pandemic seemed such a dead-end situation. Insisting on patience, Devleeschouwer had another cartoon released, created on 18 August 2020. The drawing shows a group of citizens fighting corona, depicted as a monster that tries to pull them over a straight line. But the people are united and determined to "not give up".

When the vaccination campaigns finally got started, the COVID-19 info call center in Brakel was overwhelmed with questions. To relief the medical aid, mayor Devleeschouwer ordered another educational cartoon. Released on 2 April 2021, 'Operatie Vaccinatie' ("Operation Vaccination"), summarized the frequently asked questions, so that people wouldn't have to bother the call center with them.

Front cover of 'Operatie Vaccinatie', 8 April 2021. 

Series and books by Bavo you can order today:


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