Ulfbehrt #1 - 'Drakenvuur' (2019).

Irene Berbee is a Dutch comic artist and illustrator. After a career in graphic design, she shifted focus to editorial cartoons, comics and character design. In 2019, the first installment of her fantasy comic series 'Ulfberht' was released by Syndikaat, and since 2022, she is one of the regular artists of the Dutch family comic 'Jan, Jans en de Kinderen'.

Early life
Born in 1969, Irene Berbee was raised in a family active in the transport industry in the so-called "Bulb Region" ("Bollenstreek"), known for its iconic flower fields. As a child, she enjoyed reading the comic magazine Eppo, as well as Franco-Belgian comic series like 'Les Tuniques Bleues' by Raoul Cauvin and Willy Lambil. Between 1987 and 1990, she studied at the Estor Studioschool in Amsterdam (nowadays known as the Junior Academy for Design and Art Direction). In terms of cartooning, she is self-taught, taking inspiration from both Franco-Belgian comics and the animation style of Walt Disney and Pixar.

Graphic design career
Throughout the 1990s, Berbee worked as graphic designer and eventually senior designer for advertising agencies like Market Team Nederland (Beverwijk), Duckling Communications (The Hague), IQ Media (Leiden) and Dune (Alphen aan den Rijn). Between 2000 and 2016, she was employed as Lead Visual/Interaction Designer by Macaw Nederland, specializing in designing and rebranding the look-and-feel of corporate websites and intranets for companies as Deloitte, Heerema, Master Blenders 1750, Heineken, HEMA, Dixons, Akzo Nobel, ABN AMRO, KLPD, VGZ, Jumbo, Deloitte, Bugaboo and Scotch & Soda.

'Kamps & Co', comic strip for Kamps Nederland/Quality Bakers.

In her spare time, Berbee had been doing commercial cartoon work until in 2016, she switched to a fulltime career as a freelance illustrator, visual artist and cartoonist. Based in Hillegom, she has worked for a variety of clients, including regular jobs through the Golden Delicious advertising agency in Hoorn. She has been a caricaturist for the feminist opinion magazine Opzij, and done editorial comic strips and cartoons for the professional magazine Pharmaceutisch Weekblad and the Kamps Nederland bread factory ('Kamps & Co'). Her other commercial work include character design and illustration work for IP2 Entertainment, the Dutch Heart Foundation, the Princess Beatrix Foundation, KNMP (Royal Dutch Pharmacists Association) and the city of Zoetermeer. Since 2019, she also provides the illustrations for the 'Sunny Twins' youth books by Annette van der Plas.

'Peach Gobbler' (2014).

After responding to an online notice by an American editor for a steampunk-themed comic anthology, Berbee drew her first short comic story. Created for 'Steampunk Originals Volume 7' by Arcana Studios, 'Peach Gobbler' (2014) was produced as an international team with the American writer Ryan Little and the French inker Jean Baptiste Morin. Berbee has additionally contributed stories to the Dutch indie comic magazine Hollandsch Metaal, Leon Verhoeven's superhero anthology '9 Tails - The Chronicles of the Red Sphynx' (Reboot Comics, 2021) and the story collection 'Schets en Scheef 2: Kassandra' (Syndikaat, 2021), written by Kristof Berte.

'Meander duikt in de Geschiedenis van Rheden' (2021).

In 2017, Berbee made her debut as allround comic creator with her historical fantasy series 'Ulfberht', a tale about a magical Viking sword. Written in collaboration with Wim Wijdenes, the story was originally intended to appear as a comic book series with the US indie imprint Rats & Crows Publishing. When this company pulled out, Berbee published the booklets herself and sold them at comic conventions. In 2019, the first installment, 'Drakenvuur', was published in the regular European album format by Syndikaat. For the same publisher, Berbee also illustrated 'Meander Duikt in de Geschiedenis van Rheden' (2021), a comic book written by Marq van Broekhoven in commission of the municipality Rheden. Since mid-2022, Irene Berbee is also one of the artists of 'Jan, Jans en de Kinderen', a longtime Dutch family comic produced by Studio Jan Kruis for the women's weekly Libelle. She filled the spot left vacant after Maarten Gerritsen left the team.

Apart from drawing them on paper, Irene Berbee also makes miniature sculptures of her comic characters.

'Jan, Jans en de Kinderen' from Libelle #39, 2022. © Studio Jan Kruis.


Series and books by Irene Berbee you can order today:


If you want to help us continue and improve our ever- expanding database, we would appreciate your donation through Paypal.