'Mevrouw Ja en Meneer Nee'.

Inge Bogaerts is a Belgian children's book illustrator, best known for the books 'Mevrouw Ja en Meneer Nee' (written by Pieter van Oudheusden, 2013) and 'Toen Mijn Vader Een Reus Was' (2016). She has also provided illustrations to magazine articles and humanitarian causes. Her work is characterized by frivolous and colourful collage drawings, which she regards as an antidote against the depressing things in life. Her artwork has been exhibited, awarded and 'Toen Mijn Vader Een Reus Was' (2013) has been translated in Chinese.

Early life and career
Inge Bogaerts was born in 1983 in Wilrijk, a town outside Antwerp. Her father was a lab worker at Evonik Industries and is still head of the Vlaams Stripcentrum, a comics-related library and archive in Wilrijk. She enjoyed drawing from an early age. Among her graphic influences are Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Sebastiaan Van Doninck, Gerda Dendooven, Randall.C, Goele Dewanckel, Kitty Krowter, Melanie Rutten, Olivier Jeffers, Judith Vanistendael, Olivier Schrauwen, Brecht Evens, Alice Neel, Shel Silverstein and Edgar Tytgat. She studied plastic arts at Pius X high school in Antwerp, where future Lambiek Comiclopedia writer Kjell Knudde was one of her classmates. Between 2002 and 2006 Bogaerts studied illustrative design at Sint Lucas School of Arts in Antwerp. There she met her then partner Dieter Desmet. After graduation the duo established Dinge, a studio specializing in illustration and graphic design. Eventually Bogaerts decided to become a freelance illustrator. Among her clients have been Theater Luxemburg, Storm op Komst, Cie Barbere, Cie Kajet, 11.11.11, Oxfam and the event Stu Day. Her artwork has appeared in magazines like BoekieBoekie, Okki, Weekend Knack, Trends, De Morgen and issue #4 (2006) of comic magazine Parcifal.

Collaboration with Pieter van Oudheusden
Bogaerts' drawings for BoekieBoekie won the 2008 Art Award and brought her to the attention of novelist and comic writer Pieter van Oudheusden. He wrote a children's book, 'Mevrouw Ja en Meneer Nee' (Lannoo, 2011), which was Bogaerts' debut as a book illustrator. 'Mevrouw Ja en Meneer Nee' is a picture story about the optimistic Mrs. Ja and her pessimistic husband Mr. No. One day Mrs. Ja feels uncharacteristically depressed, which brings it to Mr. No to cheer her up again. Mrs. Ja was an obvious physical self-portrait of Bogaerts. One illustration in the book spoofs Titian's iconic painting 'Venus of Urbino' (1534). In 2018 Vanessa Joosten analyzed 'Mevrouw Ja en Meneer Nee' in a few pages of her 'Adulthood in Children's Literature' (Bloomsbury, 2018).

In 2013 Van Oudheusden published the children's book 'Toen Mijn Vader Een Reus Was' (Lannoo, 2013), livened up with Bogaerts' drawings. The story is a moving portrait of a daughter who experiences her father as a giant. In 2016 it was translated and published by the Chinese company Anhui as a magazine issue. A year later, the Chinese company Liaoning published it in book format. Future collaborations with Van Oudheusden were thwarted when the novelist died of a brain tumor in 2013.

Children's books in the late 2010s
Bogaerts contributed the illustrated fairy tale 'Jorinde en Jorimpel' to 'Het Grote Grimm Boek' (Lanoo, 2011). In 2012 she illustrated Geert de Kockere's children's book 'Iets' (Lannoo, 2017). The story is a fun rendition about the eternal question how life came into existence? When the giantess Moer gets a creature named Something in her nose, she sneezes continents and islands. Something goes ashore, starts crawling and walking upright until he meets another creature, Something Else. They become a couple and conceive their child Something from Nothing. When Something from Nothing grows up, he/she meets yet another creature, Something Too. They conceive their children Something Else and Something Again, until all this offspring decides to give each other a more individual name. The mind boggling story is illustrated with colorful collage drawings.

In 2019 Bogaerts illustrated Anne-Marie Van Herck's 'Adem in, Adem Uit - Reis in de Aarde' (Ti, Mo & Thé, 2019). Van Herck gives weekly workshops to children and adults to stimulate their inituitive development. When Bogaerts followed her course, it inspired them to make a children's book together. In 'Adem In, Adem Uit', three imaginary friends, Ti, Mo and Thé, bring young readers in touch with their inner self to discover their hidden talents. The work is intended as a guide to make children more confident and to brace them against bullying, fears, burn-outs and depressions. 'Adem In, Adem Uit' has also been made available as an audio book, with atmospheric music. 

Children's books in the 2020s
In 2022, Laila Koubaa published the book 'Alles Verandert' (Pelckmans, 2022), illustrated by Bogaerts. The story revolves around a girl named Doenja, who falls asleep while taking the bus and dreams of encounters with all kinds of exotic animals, who help her return home. 

Inge Bogaerts' artwork for Boekie Boekie won the 2008 Art Award. Between 24 February and 17 March 2013 the Antwerp library Permeke exhibited 'Explositie', a dual exhibition of Bogaerts and Mattias De Leeuw's illustration work. Bogaerts' illustrations for her book 'Alles Verandert' are subject of an exhibition in the store Limerick & Limerick in the Koningin Elisabethlaan 14 in Ghent, held between 24 November and 17 December 2022. 

Other activities
In October 2007 Inge Bogaerts launched her own blog. Since 2018 she hosts her own website.

'Toen Mijn Vader Een Reus Was'.

www.ingebogaerts.be (Official website). 

Series and books by Inge Bogaerts you can order today:


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