Graphic Novel

Five Questions for Lukas Jüliger

Lukas JüligerHatred and despair, sexual repression, abuse and power: the themes Lukas Jüliger deals with in his pictorial work are anything but cheery. The feelings lent visual form in his drawings and illustrations are disturbing and disquieting. Jüliger, born in 1988, studied at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften, HAW Hamburg). He worked on his debut work Vakuum for two years, and used up more than 200 pens.

Your debut work, “Vakuum”, has just appeared: how did it come about?

Over two years ago, I approached Reprodukt Verlag with a shorter pictorial narrative. They asked me if I could imagine doing something longer for them. I said “yes,” and started to write.

What happened then?

I devoted a year to the process of writing. It didn’t have any fixed form, because it’s difficult to influence when ideas come. However, I remember many hours in which I wandered around in my room with a lot of coffee in my organism or lay on my bed listening to very loud music and staring at the ceiling. Then, at some point, two thick sketch books were filled with ideas that increasingly took shape until at last the finished manuscript and storyboard emerged. In comparison, drawing, colouring and writing texts were routine, almost industrial processes, but which were nonetheless bound up with a lot of frustration and low points. The main problems were definitely the combination of the passage of time and the physical need for sleep.

Slideshow Lukas Jüliger

How does “Vakuum” relate to your biography?

number of elements make direct reference to my life and my past; others are more or less representatives of feelings that combined with each other produce an image, a feeling or an atmosphere, that I intend to create.

You work a lot with cross-hatching, detailed drawings and subdued colours. How did that come about?

The focus on details in a lot of my works probably has its origin in a need in me to create an image of what I want to express that is as clear as possible. That can be a particular feeling, a mood or in fact just a picture, a place in my head. I can’t give you any guidelines here. I simply landed in this style for me by following my feeling.

Death, dying and suicide are recurring themes and image motifs, including in your short narrative Manifesto, available on your homepage. Can you amplify on this?

I wrote and drew Manifesto a couple of years ago. Incidentally, that was the story I showed up with at Reprodukt. It sets the basic tone for what speaks through my works. Stylistically, the story is the mother of Vakuum, so to speak. At that time, this story really was a kind of manifesto for me and what was going on inside me. After two years of concentrated work on Vakuum, and of course with these themes, a good deal has of course changed.

Rieke Harmsen conducted the interview.

Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V., Internet-Redaktion

January 2013

    Reading List

    Suggestions for libraries abroad who wish to buy German-language comics