Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stick Stook Ackin Ook: The Wonderful Illustrations of Douglas Holgate

I first noticed Australian illustrator Douglas Holgate by happy accident. I was dorking around on Tumblr looking at illustrations and a really magical interpretation of Fantastic Mr. Fox caught my eye. So, I started stalking Douglas Holgate's various pages and one image after another was just completely endearing and mind blowing at the same time. And then I noticed The Adventures of Dermott: The Cute Gay Nerd comic series Douglas illustrated for the Victorian Aids Council. Instantly, I knew I had to reach out and ask if we could feature his art.

Douglas has been a freelance comic book artist and illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia for over 10 years. He's illustrated books for publishers such as Harper Collins, Random House, Penguin, Hachette and Simon And Schuster including the Planet Tad series, Cheesie Mack, Case File 13 and Zoo Sleepover.

Douglas has illustrated comics for Image, Dynamite, Abrams and Random House. He's currently working on the self published series Maralinga that received grant funding from the Australian Society of Authors and the Victorian Council for the Arts as well as the all ages graphic novel Clem Hetherington and the Ironwood Race both co-created with writer Jen Breach.

We also noticed art for two really interesting projects that may or may not still be in the works: The King of Worms collaboration with Tristan Jones and a comic book called Relic collaboration with Rachel Deering for Monkeybrain Comics. Aside from these projects, Douglas attends numerous Cons and is always contributing art to one exhibition or another.

Via email, I asked Douglas about how The Adventures of Dermott: The Cute Gay Nerd fared with the Australian public. I was impressed that he was commissioned to do a real comic strip rather than just some canned safe sex ads. He responded:
Cute Gay Nerd was a really great project! Basically the guy who wrote it worked for VICaids which is a Melbourne based sexual health NGO and he approached me pretty much just because he liked my work. It was always pitched as being about sexual health but not a stuffy "here are the dire health warnings" brochure so I'm glad that came across.  It got lots of coverage in gay media and street press. They did a big promo campaign with instore postcards all sorts of stuff and then collected them all in a magazine that they gave out for free in cafes and stores and of course sexual health centres. And eventually built a bit of a weird local cult following. Very cool. CGN is pretty old, probably about 5 or 6 years ago now but I'm still in touch with the writer and we've chatted about maybe doing a web series based on the characters. We'll see! 
If you would like to go explore the entire Douglas Holgate universe, we suggest starting with his Website, Flickr, Twitter (where he posts tons of Work in Progress pics), Deviant Art, and Facebook. You can also download The Cute Gay Nerd series for free HERE. In the meantime, enjoy the images below.

Click any pic to enlarge!

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