Graphic Novel

Jens HarderCongratulations on winning the Angoulême Comics Award 2010. What does this mean for you?
Harder: Recognition – no less, but also no more. I am doing now exactly what I was doing before. I just have gotten a bit more self-confidence and now know that there are some people out there who like my work…

How did the “Alpha” project come about?
I have been interested in archaeology and palaeontology since my childhood, but also in astronomy, geology, and biology. After completing my first work, Leviathan, in 2004, I wanted to tackle a story that was even more comprehensive and richer in content. Then I had the idea of reviving my old interests and giving them visual form as a comic artist and illustrator. I got ideas for the pictures from anywhere and everywhere, but first and foremost from books, of course – but also from magazines, videos, tips from friends and colleagues and from my travels.

The volume “Alpha” has 350 pages: How does one proceed with such a large project?
Veeeery slooooowly. First, I made a rough timeline of billion-year stages, which I continually refined during the first months of my research – into million-year intervals. No kidding! Then I drew little storyboards of the pages. My next step was to sketch in the first pages – the Big Bang and the emergence of our universe – onto A3 format, texted and coloured. Parallel to this I sketched the following epochs and researched additional material.

Rieke C. Harmsen conducted the interview. Carlsen VerlagCarlsen VerlagCarlsen Verlag