In Poland, authors of comic books weren’t always appreciated as much as other graphic artists or illustrators. Until 1989 comic books were associated primarily with drawn tales for children and youths. Later this form of storytelling was considered a niche activity for eccentrics. Fortunately today nobody disagrees with the fact that comic books belong to the world of art.
Dennis Wojda was born in 1973 and he became a comic book author in 1994 when he and his colleague Krzysztof Gawronkiewicz, with whom Wojda studied at the Faculty of Graphic Arts of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, began making their own picture stories. Together they made comic strips, for which Wojda wrote the scripts and Gawronkiewicz drew the images. Their works were published by newspapers and magazines (for instance by: the musical journal Brum, the lifestyle magazine Fluid, the daily Gazeta Wyborcza and periodicals from the Czech Republic, Hungary or Belgium).
In 2001, 2002 and 2005 three books appeared which contained the very popular stories about the inhabitants of the town Mikropolis, the atmosphere of which was a mix of Slavic dash and Scandinavian reserve. Scandinavian influences are an important part of Wojda’s life. The author was born in Stockholm, where he also grew up. That was where he encountered comic books for the first time – not only stories for children but also artistic and underground publications.
Wojda completed the Faculty of Graphic Arts and he draws very well, nevertheless in the world of comic books he is chiefly known as a script writer. He collaborated with many draughtsmen, amongst others with: Tomasz Leśniak, Rafał Gosienicki, Krzysztof Ostrowski and Jakub Rebelka. The duos he formed with the abovementioned artists won many awards at Polish and international comic book festivals, for instance the Grand Prix at the Łódź International Comic Book Festival.
Wojda began to create his own picture story in March 2010. At first he wanted to create one illustration per day until he would have an amount of drawings that would exceed the number of days in a year by one. However the story was to long and the assumed plan had to be exceeded. The author himself said that:
I wanted to make a comic book in 366 days. It was to be an experiment, a stream of consciousness in slow motion – almost each day, one illustration was made. I kept my promise. But I couldn’t just simply bring the story to a halt. There was too much left to be told.
After 566 Frames, Wojda decided that the story was over. The finished work was issued by the W.A.B. publishing house, international editions are planned.
A simple, black contour and sporadic blue accents in the background – the story inspired by the life of Wojda’s family is shown in simple, almost minimalistic drawings. Wojda believes that “a heavy load of experiences is a basis for a good story. You have to observe life, talk to people, read good books, watch interesting movies.” One might add that it is convenient to have an interesting family, the life of which might inspire the events of a comic book.
Dennis Wojda may be cheifly asssociated with comic books, but on an everyday basis he deals mostly with graphic design and press illustrations. He used to work as an art director for various advertising companies. He also acted as creative director for a number of publishing houses. He designed layouts for many magazines and made illustrations for countless newspapers, weeklies and monthlies (for instance: Przekrój, Wprost, Media Marketing, Leenia, Kikimora). As he says himself - in his spare time he takes photos and makes documentaries. His movie Poland: The update – cała prawda o Polakach (Poland: The Update – The Whole Truth About Poles) shows how Poles are perceived by foreigners living in Poland. The film was produced by TVP (Polish Television) in 2001 and it won many awards at Independent Polish Film Festivals.
Author: Anna Cymer, August 2013, translation: Marek Kępa
More about him at www.dennissimo.com