'Opa'.

Herman Roozen is a Dutch comic artist and scriptwriter, working for both mainstream media and commercial clients. He has created several comic strips for specialized magazines, most notably 'De Morinel' in Ons Platteland (1988-1994), 'Opa' in Boerderij (since 2004) and 'Kukel en Kakel' in Pluimveehouderij (since 2007). He also had his own newspaper strip 'Eefenement' (2007), but is mainly known for his scriptwork for other artists. With Pieter Hogenbirk, he gave comical takes on Dutch historical characters in the gag strips 'Rembrandt' (2006-) and 'De Ruyter' (2009-2017), as well as the Dutch royal family in 'Van Oranje' (2016-2018). He has been a longtime gag contributor to the newspaper comics 'Dirkjan' by Mark Retera and 'Kort en triest' by Jean-Marc van Tol, and was also a regular scriptwriter for the family comic 'Jan, Jans en de Kinderen' in the women's weekly Libelle. Roozen's stories have appeared in nearly all 21st century Dutch comics magazines, including Donald Duck, Okki, Eppo and Tina, but also the TV shows 'Sesamstraat' and 'Het Sinterklaasjournaal'.

Early life
Roozen was born in 1966 in Toldijk, a small town in the Achterhoek region of the province Gelderland. His upbringing on a farm would provide a fruitful source of inspiration for his later comics output. An avid doodler as a child, he ranked the Dutch comics artists Peter de Smet, Martin Lodewijk and Dick Matena among his favorites. He also enjoyed the work of René Goscinny, Marc Wasterlain, Jacques Sandron and the 'Brammetje Bram' series by Eddy Ryssack. He later grew fond of the American artists George Herriman, Garry Trudeau and Chris Ware as well. However, it took several years before he became a fulltime cartoonist himself. After receiving his bachelor in Engineering and Agriculture from the CAH Dronten in 1988, he studied Artificial Intelligence at the Radboud University in Nijmegen from 1989 to 1993. In addition, he served as editor of the student magazines Critic! and BLANCO, while succeeding Mark Retera as the house cartoonist of another student paper, ANS (Algemeen Nijmeegs Studentenblad). After his graduation, Roozen went to work as a supply chain management researcher and then as an information analyst with several companies.

Early comics
During his student years, Roozen drew comics in his spare time. In fact, he managed to pay his final university year with the proceeds. His early strips remained firmly rooted in his agricultural background. His first regular client was Ons Platteland, the magazine of the Dutch Christian Farmers and Horticultural Union (CBTB). For many years, he provided this trade journal with the weekly gag strip 'De Morinel' (1988-1994). The main character was Bertus, who encountered all kinds of colorful characters on his farm, called "De Morinel". Elements of the strip returned in later productions. Misters Broeikas ("Hothouse") and Ozon of the "environmental aesthetic inspection service" came back in Roozen's 'Opa' pages, while the gentleman farmer 'Uuterwaerdt' lended his name to a comics series by Roozen and Daniel van den Broek. When Ons Platteland was replaced by a similar magazine, Aanwas, Roozen created a new comic called 'Stekkel' (1995). This strip lasted only one year, after which it was replaced by a bi-weekly cartoon. Another early comic strip was 'New Megen City' (1990-1993) in Critic!, starring the psychologist-detective Harry Freud.


'De Morinel'.

Dirkjan
Roozen's longest association throughout his career has been with comic artist Mark Retera. Both studied at the same university, and were cartoonists for the same student newspaper. They both also contributed to Iris, the small press magazine by fellow university students Remco Polman, Marc Middelhuis, Paul Hoogma and Wilfred Ottenheijm. Roozen wrote and drew the title comic for the first issue in 1991. Each later issue had a title comic starring a different Iris by another artist. Retera's signature comic strip 'Dirkjan' originally appeared in both Iris and a couple of Nijmegen student magazines, but turned mainstream when it debuted in the 18 January 1993 issue of the comics magazine Sjors en Sjimmie Stripblad.

Around that time, Retera began relying on external help for coming up with the gags. Herman Roozen was the first to submit jokes, and he has remained a contributor to the strip ever since. He used to write about eight 'Dirkjan' strips a month, and regularly engaged in plotting sessions with the artist. The popular gag strip about the maladjusted students Dirkjan and Bert turned out into a hallmark of Dutch humor with its wordplay, unexpected twists, literal humor and absurd vulgarity. 'Dirkjan' subsequently appeared in SjoSji, Striparazzi, Eppo, Veronica Magazine, Dagblad van het Noorden and Algemeen Dagblad, as well as album collections and annual tear-off calendars.

Other early scriptwork
During the 1990s, Roozen also provided scripts to 'Meneer Foutjes' by Mars Gremmen and a longer story with Robert van der Kroft's version of 'Sjors en Sjimmie', both also for SjoSji. He additionally provided ideas to Mars Gremmen's 'De Red@ctie' (in Veronica Magazine) and 'Mac & Maggie' (in MacFan). From 2003 on, Roozen was a prominent writer for Jean-Marc van Tol's 'Kort en Triest', a gag strip which spoofed famous fairy tales. It ran most notably in 7Days until its cancellation in 2018.

Comic House
In early 2003, Herman Roozen's employer went bankrupt, leaving him without a job. It prompted him to take the plunge and turn to fulltime cartooning. First based in Assen and since 2013 in Coevorden, Roozen specializes in comics, cartoons and illustrations for trade journals, newsletters and corporations. He is represented by Hans Buying's Comic House agency in Oosterbeek. Besides comics and cartoons, he makes what he calls "praatplaten" ("talking pictures"), large format business visuals or learning maps to visually transcribe corporate communication or informative messages. He is also for hire as a live cartoonist at events and conferences.


'Opa' episode about the 2009 swine flu pandemic (known as "Mexican flu" in the Netherlands).

Opa
Herman Roozen's best-known and longest-running project is writing and drawing the weekly 'Opa' ("Grandpa") page for the farmers' magazine Boerderij. Roozen succeeded the retiring Henk Groeneveld, who created the flinty old farmer with his inseparable cap back in 1971. Herman Roozen's first episode appeared on 23 March 2004. It was also the first 'Opa' page to appear in color. Roozen gradually modernized the character and made him graphically his own. While Groeneveld's Opa was old-fashioned and averse to modern technology, Roozen's rendition is more receptive to innovations. Like with his earlier strips for Ons Platteland, the cartoonist could rely on his own countryside background for ideas. Other plots are inspired by current affairs or Boerderij's theme of the week. In 2020, for instance, Opa was the first Dutch comics character who contracted the COVID-19 disease.

TechEddie, by Herman Roozen
'TechEddie'.

Other commercial cartoons
Another early assignment was the gag strip 'TechEddie' (2005-2011), which appeared in the Technet newsletter of Microsoft Netherlands. The cartoonist's previous occupation as a data analyst came in handy for the ideas. For one of the house organs of power company Eneco, Roozen created four episodes a year of 'Wendy en Wilco' (2005-2008). 'Jelle' (2006-2011) was a comic strip for Jellinek Journaal, the newspaper of the Jellinek clinic for drug rehabilitation. Following several reorganisations, the strip was later retitled to 'Jelle+Mendie' and then 'Jelle+Mendie+Merijn'. Since 2007 Roozen makes the comic strip 'Kukel en Kakel' for Pluimveehouderij, the magazine of the Dutch Organization of Poultry Farmers. In the full page gags, the two chickens cackle their vision on the topical matters in poultry farming. Roozen self-published the book collection '1 ei is geen ei' in 2010.


For this episode of 'Kukel en Kakel', Roozen drew inspiration from his passion for board games.

Eefenement
Comic House also gave Roozen the opportunity to make his own newspaper comic. 'Eefenement' (2007) was launched in newspaper AD (Algemeen Dagblad) on 2 January 2007, and ran for a full year, sharing the page with Jan-Dirk Barreveld's 'Eugène', Peter de Wit and Ben Westervoorde's 'Rebuzz' and Floor de Goede's 'Flo'. The funny comic dealt with the manager of an event agency and his wide range of clients. The gags were collected in the book 'Je Eeft maar 1 keer' (2008) by Jean-Marc van Tol's publishing imprint Catullus. Roozen resumed his strip in AD on a couple of occasions in 2009 and 2010, when 'FC Knudde' artist Toon van Driel went on a holiday. He revived the strip once again in 2013, when it appeared on the website and social media channels of De Drentse Zaak, a work and knowledge center for entrepreneurs in Assen.

Eefenement, by Herman Roozen
'Eefenement'.

Jan, Jans en de Kinderen
By the time Roozen turned to full time cartooning, he also became a prominent scriptwriter for Dutch mainstream comic productions. In addition to his associations with Mark Retera and Jean-Marc van Tol, he was approached by the women's weekly Libelle to provide scripts for the family comic 'Jan, Jans en de Kinderen'. The comic was created by Jan Kruis in 1970, but taken over by a studio after Kruis' retirement a couple of years earlier. Roozen worked on the comic until 2013; his gags appear in the albums #35 through 51. Since 2017 he is one of the writers for the juvenile spin-off 'Karlijn, Catootje en de Ouders' in girls' magazine Tina.

Disney comics
Herman Roozen sold his first script to the Dutch Disney weekly Donald Duck in 2003, and has remained a steady contributor to the local story production ever since. He wrote stories with nearly every Disney character, from 'Little Hiawatha' and 'Mad Madam Mim' to the 'Big Bad Wolf' and 'Brer Rabbit', but his favorites remain Donald Duck and his family. Roozen's stories have appeared in both the weekly magazine and its younger version Donald Duck Junior, as well as custom-made issues for commercial clients.


Script pages for 'Karlijn, Catootje & de Ouders' and 'Donald Duck'.

Malmberg magazines
For publisher Malmberg, Roozen wrote the title comic of the pre-school magazine Okki (2005-2009), before the major restyling of 2009. It was drawn by Dirk van Dulmen. With the artist ckoe, Roozen created the gag strip 'Ruimte-piraat Rick' for Okki, and also the cartoon/photo comic 'Koen' (2006-2007) for Jippo, another Malmberg magazine. Roozen was also present in Malmberg's girls' magazine Flo' with a comic about a space girl trio, 'Galaktika' (2005-2006), drawn by Maarten Vande Wiele. Mars Gremmen took over the scriptwriting duties in 2006.

Association with Pieter Hogenbirk
In 2006 Herman Roozen participated in a comics contest held by newspaper Het Parool. His own submission didn't pass the preliminary rounds, but the experience did launch his enduring collaboration with the cartoonist Pieter Hogenbirk. Hogenbirk's gag strip 'Rembrandt' (2006-), a comical take on the Dutch classical painter, was still in the running. The artist asked Roozen to provide the rest of the scripts. 'Rembrandt' ended up third, after Michiel van de Pol's 'Cartoondiarree' (first place) and Floris Oudshoorn's 'Swamp Thing' (second). 'Rembrandt' appeared in Het Parool for two additional months and then found a spot in the comics magazines StripNieuws and MYX. The gags were collected in book format by Shaker Media (2009) and Strip2000 (2013).

Roozen and Hogenbirk continued their collaboration by creating other strips based on famous persons from Dutch history. The gag strip 'De Ruyter' (2009-2014) spoofed the famous admiral of the Dutch Golden Age (the 17th century), Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter. The authors made the first strips in 2007, and the strip was a regular feature in Eppo magazine from 2009 to 2014. Book collections were published by Strip2000 between 2012 and 2015. An additional volume, 'De tocht naar Chatham' (2017), was made in collaboration with the De Ruyter Foundation and dealt with the historical "Raid on the Medway" in 1667, during which Admiral De Ruyter allegedly sailed through a British chain barrier in the river near Gillingham. After 'De Ruyter' came 'Van Oranje' (2016-2018), a gag strip about the Dutch royal family. Other gag comics about Dutch royals have been Marc De Boer's 'Willem & Max' (2017) and Ruud Straatman's 'Royaal Modaal' (2003-2006).    

The two men have also collaborated on comics in commission. For the scouting magazine Scouts Info, they made 'Ross & Robbie' (2009). The comic was actually a reboot of an earlier comic that Roozen made in 1990 for the local scouting association Het Twentse Ros.

Eppo magazine
In 2009 publisher Rob van Bavel and his imprint Don Lawrence Collection relaunched Eppo, the classic Dutch comics magazine of the 1970s and 1980s. Roozen and Hogenbirk found a stable spot for their collaborative series 'De Ruyter' and 'Van Oranje', but also contributed other comics. Between 2009 and 2011 Herman Roozen provided the gags for the equally relaunched title comic, drawn by Uco Egmond and Dick Heins. Eppo also offered Roozen the opportunity to try his hand at a longer adventure comic. 'Uuterwaerdt' (2010-2011) was drawn by Daniel van den Broek, and the first episode started in January 2010. Set in the late 20th century, the series revolves around history student Herald Berkhout and the Baroness Theresa Dingsgrave-Borchave van Wavel, who lives on the Uuterwaerdt estate. Two episodes were made. The plot of 'Fout in de oorlog' (2010) is about a well-kept family secret, while 'Van echt tot vals' (2010-2011) is set in the world of art forgery. Strip2000 collected 'Uuterwaerdt' in two albums in 2014. In 2011 Roozen was also present in Van Bavel's short-lived relaunch of the Dutch edition of Mad Magazine.

Other collaborations
Throughout his career, Herman Roozen has provided scripts, gag ideas or plots to a great many comic productions and artists. Besides the previously mentioned series, he provided gag ideas to Daniel van den Broek's gag strip 'Viktor & Frenky' and plots for a 'Jack Slender' story by Hendrik J. Vos. Other collaborations came about through Comic House commissions. With Mars Gremmen, he made the adventures of 'Billy Bankbiljet' ("Billy Banknote", 2010-2012) for educational folders of the Dutch National Bank. In 2011 he scripted the second volume of 'Lila & Kross', an educational comic series drawn by Eric Heuvel for the Amsterdam Municipal Transport Company. The first installment in 2004 was written by Patty Klein. Roozen has worked together on smaller projects with other Comic House associates, including Coen Braber, Michiel de Jong, Minck Oosterveer and Erik Varekamp.

TV scriptwork
Since 2004, Herman Roozen also works as a scriptwriter for Dutch television. From that year on, he wrote sketches and scenes for the Dutch segments of 'Sesamstraat', a co-production with the American children's TV show 'Sesame Street', originally created by Jim Henson. From 2006 to 2008, Roozen has additionally written stories for Sesamstraat Magazine. The final Dutch episode of the TV program was broadcast on 28 June 2019. Through this experience, Roozen also landed assignments from the children's TV shows 'Het Sinterklaasjournaal' (2014-), 'Studio Snugger' (2015-) and 'De Boterhamshow' (2017-). In 2015, Roozen and animator John Croezen provided a weekly animated short based on the news of the week for the regional TV station RTV Drenthe. These short segments appeared at the end of the current affairs programme 'DrentheNu'. In 2011 he and Pieter Hogenbirk began working on the script of 'Heldt van Hollandt', a proposed animated feature film starring both 'De Ruyter' and 'Rembrandt'.


'Broertje'.

Broertje
In addition to all his commercial work, Herman Roozen works on several personal projects. In 2016 he self-published the graphic novel 'Broertje', a largely pantomime account of his childhood on a farm in Toldijk. Roozen challenged himself in the production of his autobiographical book. He worked with a predetermined grid of page lay-outs in which he had to fit his story. The author launched his book in Toldijk's Flophouse on 31 May 2016, and presented the first copy to a childhood friend. In the next couple of years, he was steadily working on a second volume, 'Wittebrink'. It was released in 2019 with a print run of 148 copies (the first book had only 74 copies).


Part of Roozen's "Centsprent" about the IJzerkoeken riot.

"Centsprenten"
Another personal project by Roozen is making so-called picture story prints, in the style of the 16th century "centsprenten" ("cent prints"). Historically, these printed sheets contained moralistic tales, folk wisdoms or news reports in pictures, accompanied with text captions in prose or rhyme. They were sold from door to door for a cent each, hence the name "centsprent". Roozen made his first modern print for a 2018 exhibition in Coevorden's City Museum, for which he adapted the city's historical "IJzerkoeken riot" of 1770. While the original prints were hand-colored woodcuts, Roozen simulated this effect with a dip pen on paper and "sloppy" digital coloring. Roozen has since then made new prints for his own pleasure, or in groups during events and workshops.

Coevorden
Herman Roozen regularly gives workshops in making comics and cartoons at schools in and around his hometown Coevorden. In July and August 2017 he set up a pop-up atelier near the city's market square, where passersby could see him working. The atelier also featured guest appearances of his colleagues Rob Derks, Floris Oudshoorn, Pieter Hogenbirk, Tommy A and his son Lance Roozen. Since 2013 Roozen sporadically comments on the ins and outs of Coevorden in his online comic 'Gans en Geesje'.


'Gans en Geesje' strip, announcing Roozen's pop-up atelier.

Comics industry
Herman Roozen is a member of the "Vereniging Oost-Indische Inkt Compagnie" (the "Dutch East Indian Ink Company), an association of illustrators. In 2014, he was a founding member of the BNS (Beroepsgroep Nederlandse Stripmakers), the national association of Dutch comics artists. He served as treasurer from 2011 to 2015 and remained a member until the BNS merged into the BNO, the professional organization of Dutch Designers, in 2018. In 2011-2012 Roozen had his own column in comics news magazine StripNieuws under the title 'Fekst en fekeningen', in which he reflected on the industry and the medium. He was succeeded as columnist by Fred de Heij. On 2 October 2020, it was announced that Herman Roozen will succeed Margreet de Heer as Comics Laureate of the Netherlands ("Stripmaker des Vaderlands"), starting in January 2021.

In 2020 he joined 75 Dutch & Flemish comics artists to make a contribution to the free collective comic book 'Striphelden versus Corona' (Oogachtend, Uitgeverij L, 2020). The book is intended to support comics stores who had to close their doors for two months during the lockdown at the height of the COVID-19 virus pandemic. 


"Centsprent" about the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

Working method and style
His personal projects aside, Herman Roozen works mostly in the service of his clients, often on a "no cure, no pay" basis. The versatile Roozen is capable of adapting into the mood and style of the project at hand. Whether he writes for 'Dirkjan', 'Donald Duck' or 'Jan, Jans en de Kinderen', his scripts are always "in character". Still, they can be picked out for their well-considered and original plots, subtle humor and clear storytelling. The practical approach to his trade also comes in handy for his commercial assignments. As he states on his website: "I put things into perspective, entertain and clarify by writing and drawing", exemplified on his Linkedin profile with "I don't talk or draw or beat around the bush".

Family
Herman Roozen's son Lance is also an illustrator and cartoonist. He made the 'Dot en Junior' strip (2019-2020) for the children's news site Nujunior.


Business visual about the repairs to the Drentsche Aa river.

www.hermanroozen.nl

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