De S.P.O.R.T.S. Bende #1 - 'Goud... Set... Match!'.

The Belgian cartoonist and comic artist Filip Heyninck spent several years working for the Belgian children's entertainment enterprise Studio 100, drawing the TV characters 'Kabouter Plop' and 'Piet Piraat'. He later ventured into other projects, most notably children's books and comics involving deafness and sign language. Since 2018, he makes the kids gang comic 'De S.P.O.R.T.S. Bende' with writer Nico De Braeckeleer for the publishing imprint Bakermat.

Early life and career
Heyninck was born in 1970 in Waasmunster, East Flanders. He has been drawing since his early childhood, initially inspired by Belgian classics such as Willy Vandersteen's 'Suske en Wiske', Jean Roba's 'Boule et Bill' and Peyo's 'Smurfs'. His later work also shows the influence of Jean-Pol and Charel Cambré, with whom he worked in the early stages of his career at Studio 100. Between 2007 and 2014, Heyninck was employed by this Flemish TV production house, illustrating their children's books, comics and merchandise with their popular TV characters 'Kabouter Plop' and 'Piet Piraat'.

Freelance cartoonist
Since his Studio 100 years, Heyninck has worked as a cartoonist-for-hire from his Waasmunster home studio. His wife Katrien is responsible for the coloring of his work. He makes portraits and caricatures in commission, wall paintings, cartoons and logo designs for companies and drawings for postcards, (educational) children's books and comics. Heyninck additionally gives workshops about drawing comics and cartoons.

'Piet Piraat' strip for a Studio 100 special about sign language ('Alles Over Gebarentaal', 9 October 2010).

Projects about deafness and sign language
Living with deafness himself, Heyninck has worked on many educational projects about this condition, mostly in cooperation with the Doof Vlaanderen assocation. These include children's books that explore sign language in a playful way, such as 'Gebarentaal redt' (2017, written by Hilde Verhelst and Filip Verhelst), as well as his funny animal eBooks with writer Kristof De Weerdt: 'De Avonturen van Pit & Pot' and 'Kioki op Ontdekking'. Heyninck also illustrated posters about the Flemish Hand Alphabet (2019) and how to approach someone who is deaf and blind (2020). In 2016, he wrote and drew a celebrity comic book about the 'Deaf Devils', Belgium's official soccer team during international sport events for the deaf and hard of hearing. With Vincent Ameloot, he made the comic book 'Niet gehoord? SLIM GEZIEN!' (2017), which educates about deafness through the ages and how people live with this condition.

De S.P.O.R.T.S. Bende
In 2018, Filip Heyninck teamed up with scriptwriter Nico De Braeckeleer to launch the comic series 'De S.P.O.R.T.S. Bende' for publisher Bakermat (an imprint of children's book publisher Baeckens Books). S.P.O.R.T.S. stands for Simon, Pablo, Olivia, Robyn, Timur and Shani, a diverse group of children who each practice a specific sport. Their adventures are set around the local sports club and snack bar of their hometown Kortevoorde, and involve jewelry thefts, alien invasions and ninja dance battles.

'Deaf Devils' and 'Niet Gehoord? Slim Gezien', educational comics to help people who are hard of hearing.

Series and books by Filip Heyninck you can order today:


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