Six Questions for: Oli Hilbring

The cartoonist Oli Hilbring from Bochum began drawing even as a little boy. One of his cartoons has appeared every Monday in the German football magazine RevierSport since 2009. When Hilbring isn’t watching football or working as art director, he is drawing away at his linguistically witty, but also occasionally crass or bitter cartoons. In his new book, "Fiesbook - Die etwas anderen Statusmeldungen” (i.e. Meanbook – slightly different status messages; “Fiesbook” is an untranslatable pun on “Facebook” – trans. note), Hilbring subtly investigates how we deal with the social network.

You have been drawing cartoons for the football magazine RevierSport and various other magazines for many years now. How do you get your ideas for individual scenes?

Oli HilbringBasically, my ideas always occur pretty spontaneously. But in the case of football cartoons, there is always a follow-up consideration about the Bundesliga match day. There you wait for something or other to happen in the games that you can use in a cartoon.

What makes your work difficult, and what makes it fun?

The dumb part is that at some point or other, the editorial deadline arrives. And you have to have an idea right up to submission time – and then you have to draw the whole thing, too. The nice thing about drawing cartoons is that I can do anything I like. Now and then I’m politically incorrect - or just plain daft.

How do you go about your work? What are your favourite computer tools?

My newest toy is an iPad on which I sketch ideas and draw preliminary designs. I construct the cartoons digitally with a character display, and I do the fleshing-out and finishing with Photoshop.

What constitutes a good cartoon?

A good gag and a brief, condensed realisation in the text and drawing.

In your book "Fiesbook,” you present fictional persons – like Dracula, Hannibal Lecter and Indiana Jones. How did you develop the figures?

Oli Hilbring: FiesbookI took not only figures from film and literature, but also from real life, such as the musicians Udo Lindenberg, Herbert Grönemeyer and Keith Richards. In other words, people who really do exist. It was exciting to connect up these persons’ character traits and physical appearance with my own drawing style and the big noses. I was surprised that it somehow worked out and that one can identify the figures quite well.

If you had to draw a status message about yourself, what would it look like?

Oli Hilbring: Fiesbook - Die etwas anderen Statusmeldungen, Lappan Verlag 2012.

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

March 2012
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