'Magnus' (2019).

Skelte Braaksma is a Dutch comic artist, active in the province of Frisia. Publishing since his teenage years, Braaksma's comics delve into largely neglected Frisian history and the region's unsung heroes. Apart from creating graphic novels like 'De FKP' (2010), 'Fete' (2019) and 'Magnus' (2019), he is the driving force behind De Noorderlingen, an association of Frisian comic creators.

Early life and education
Skelte Siweris Braaksma was born in 1995 in Leeuwarden, the capital of the province of Frisia. With creative blood running in the family - his parents are the fine artists Machiel Braaksma and Lolkje van der Kooi - Braaksma grew up in a former dairy factory in Marrum, a northern town near the Wadden Sea. As a child, he was fond of historical comics, mainly ones about World War II. He took a particular liking to comics that explored national or regional history, like the 'Van Nul tot Nu' series by Thom Roep and Co Loerakker and later also Hennie Vaessen's 'De Slag om Arnhem'.

Braaksma got his artistic education at Pre Cibap in Leeuwarden and Art&Design at the ROC Friese Poort in Drachten. As a cartoonist, he is largely self-taught, studying the work of the French graphic novelist Jacques Tardi, the Korean illustrator Kim Jung Gi and other artists he admires. Since March 2017, Skelte Braaksma has been working as a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and cartoonist under the Striplân ("Comics Land") banner. For his comics - made in the Frisian language - Braaksma takes inspiration from his own region, working on either alternate or historically accurate depictions of Frisia's past and present.

De FKP by Skelte Braaksma
'De FKP' (2010).

Fiction comics
At the age of fourteen, Braaksma began working on his debut comic book, 'De FKP' (Perio, 2010), an alternate history about an early 20th century war between the provinces Frisia and Groningen, centered around the Frisian Communist Party. A follow-up, 'De FKP2 Revolúsje', appeared in 2014 at Afûk, the largest Frisian publishing house. In between, Braaksma created more alternate reality comics, such as the self-published 'Victoria Romana in de 20e eeuw' (2012), in which the armies of the Romans, Persians, Mongols, Teutons and Celts are fighting for present-day world domination. For his comic story 'Het Front' - inspired by George Orwell's dystopian novel '1984' - Braaksma was awarded the First Prize on the 2017 Kamper Stripspektakel.

'Fete' (2019).

Historical comics
Most of Braaksma's other comics are depictions of real-life Frisian history. His 2016 book about Saint Boniface ('Bonifatius en de Friezen - Het Stripverhaal') was made in commission of the Dokkum Museum, intended as supporting material for an educational program for primary schools. Braaksma's graphic novel 'Fete' (Afûk, 2019) dealt with the Great Frisian War between the Skieringers and Fetkeapers (1413-1422). The book presentation coincided with a joint exposition by the artist and the Mudhoen comic collective in the Museum Dokkum, about comics and Frisian heroes. Another promotional event about 'Fete', held in the Schierstins castle, featured a performance of the Frisian folk metal band Baldrs Draumar.

After the Schierstins show, the band asked Braaksma to create a comic to accompany their next music album, about the 9th-century mystical hero Magnus Forteman, who took Rome for Charlemagne in order to earn Frisian freedom. In addition to the album and the comic - called 'Magnus' (2019) - the band released merchandise like T-shirts and beer bottles featuring Braaksma's art. In his next project, 'It Blauwe Hûs' (De Ryp, 2020), Skelte Braaksma tells the history of the village of Blauwhuis. Braaksma then made a comic adaptation of the Willem Schoorstra book 'Rêdbâd', about the pagan Frisian king of the same name.

'It Blauwe Hûs' (2020).

Frisian comics
Stepping into the tradition of 'Kopkewoartel' (by Lieuwe Brolsma and Nico Oeloff), 'De Aventoeren fan Hotze Klots' (by Otto Gielstra and Aart Cornelissen) and comics by the Mudhoen collective, Skelte Braaksma is one of the few Dutch creators who makes comics exclusively in the Frisian language. Delving into the stories and history of his province, he has settled into a regional niche, making him one of the most prominent Frisian comic creators. To further boost comics in the Northern Dutch provinces, he initiated De Noorderlingen, a group of Frisian comic creators and other creative spirits who since 2018 support each other by making collective appearances on comic festivals and other events.


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