De Kiekeboes #143 - 'De Truken van Defhoor' (artwork with participation from Kristof Fagard and Jos Vanspauwen).

Kristof Fagard is a Belgian comic artist, best known for being an assistant on Merho's 'De Kiekeboes' since late 2007. Since 2020 he is also Merho's co-successor in terms of artwork, alongside Steve Van Bael, and thus the second and current artist to continue 'De Kiekeboes'. Fagard also works as an illustrator under the pen name "KREO", derived from his first initials.

Early life and career
Kristof Robert Emilie Olivier Fagard was born in 1981. He learned drawing by scribbling on newspaper photos. Among his graphic influences are Walt Disney, Chuck Jones, Don Bluth, Moebius and Hayao Miyazaki. Fagard studied electronics and computer science in Sint-Truiden and then followed a course in animation at Wim Tilkin's Studio Patat. His comic story 'O'pa - Doornkruisje & De Kast' was featured in the 2004 'Studio Patat!' anthology, which compiled work of Tilkin's students. After working in IT support, Fagard was a storyboard artist for the Havana production house between 2004 and 2006. Since January 2007 he works as a freelance illustrator and storyboard artist through Pencil 'n Gum. His core business is providing 2D and 3D animations for production houses in Belgium and the Netherlands, but he also does illustrations and murals in commission of private individuals and companies.

From: 'Kiekeboeket 2.0'.

Studio Merho
In 2004 Merho's assistant Dirk Stallaert left after two years to join Studio Vandersteen. Fagard applied for a job, but Merho had already hired Steve Van Bael and Thomas Du Caju. However, in 2007 Van Bael left, so Fagard could fill the vacant spot in Merho's Zoersel studio. From the 'Kiekeboes' album 'Drie Bollen Met Slagroom' (2008) on, he helped drawing the backgrounds and from 'Joyo de Eerste' (2009) he worked out Merho's sketches. He also contributed to the "learn-how-to-draw" comics book 'Leer Strips Tekenen Met De Kiekeboes' (2016), as well as the digital restauration of the original coloring and the new lettering of older albums. 

In the experimental album 'Vrouwen Komen Van Mars' (2010) the Kiekeboe family is flashed inside a 1950s comic strip, 'Stiefbeen en Zoon', drawn by cartoonist Jef Vandersleen (a contraction of Jef Nys, Willy Vandersteen and Marc Sleen). The plot was inspired by the film 'Pleasantville' (1998) in which two 1990s siblings are flashed inside a typical 1950s TV sitcom. Merho asked Fagard to draw a fake comic strip and turn it into a pastiche of Nys, Vandersteen, Sleen, Pom and other Flemish newspaper comic artists of the 1950s. No detail was spared, including the black-and-white drawings, blue-brown printing, ben-day dots, Flemish dialect (most Flemish comics only changed to standard Dutch in the mid-1960s) and clichés like an absent-minded professor, untrustworthy butler, self-important village police officer and the lack of female characters. Fagard did his job so well that some readers actually believed it was an authentic old-fashioned comic strip! Merho recalled that Urbanus once asked him: "Where did you find that comic strip?" 

Fagard was also largely responsible for the redrawing of the 35th album 'Kiekeboeket' (1986). The original comic book bundled several one-page gags which originally appeared in Ons Volk in the late 1970s. Merho had always felt dissatisfied with some of these gags, since he drew them so early in his career. Therefore he had some of them reworked, updated and added a few new ones as well. This new version, 'Kiekeboeket 2.0', appeared in 2014. In later years, Fagard has drawn full stories written by either Merho or external scriptwriters, such as Peter van Gucht, Jeroen Weckers and Bruno De Roover, while Merho keeps supervision. Inking is provided by Jos Vanspauwen or Peter Koeken.

Continuing 'De Kiekeboes'
On 1 April 2020 the 'Kiekeboes' story 'In Troebel Water' was released, which was notable for two reasons. It was the first digitally drawn 'Kiekeboes' album and the first completely drawn by Fagard. Merho had drawn the series for over 43 years. Even in the final years, he worked alongside his assistants. But he decided to pass the pencil to his successors Fagard and Steve Van Bael, while he keeps writing the scripts and overseeing the creative process. 

For 'Kiekeboes' album #125 ('Vrouwen Komen Van Mars', 2010), Fagard drew the 1950s comic strip segments.

Series and books by Kristof Fagard you can order today:


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