Vel is a graphic novel about bodies and proximity.
Vel is a visual story about bodies and closeness and concerns two women, who are linked together as illustrator and model. Their relationship is about vulnerability and physicality, about looking and being looked at. Themes such as ageing, motherhood, perfection (and imperfection), shame and pride are discussed. Author Mieke Versyp and illustrator Sabien Clement worked for six years on the book, which was laid out by Quod voor de vorm and published by Oogachtend.
“This book is a personal project that touches on different emotions that we as people experience every day in our interactions. With limited colour and in a style that is personal and expressive.”
Sabien Clement: It’s the culmination of six years of toil and intense collaboration. It is also the acknowledgement of the vulnerability that we as both creators have shown to each other throughout the creative process and ultimately to our future readers.
Sabien Clement: Mieke and I have known each other for a long time. As writer and as illustrator. But also as a model and illustrator. The reason for a third collaboration between Mieke and myself was a shared fascination with the subject of the “body”, more specifically the way people look at their own bodies and how they interact with them. This fascination is inspired, among other things, by the weekly workshops that Sabien organises, which involve drawing life models. Mieke has been posing since she was eighteen and is one of Sabien’s nude models.
Sabien Clement: From the reactions of some readers, we notice that they feel supported and recognise themselves in the struggle with their own physicality and all that concerns the body. After all, body language is an emotional language. Apparently, we touched a universal sensitive nerve with the themes in the book.