Last month the retirement of 86-year-old Miffy creator Dick Bruna was suddenly world news. But there was nothing newsworthy about that fact according to Stadsblad Utrecht: Bruna retired two years ago.
“News about nothing”, Marja Kerkhof called it. She is the manager of publisher Mercis, the company that will continue to release new Miffy books based on an archive of Dick Bruna’s drawings of the past 60 years. “We will only use original drawings by Dick Bruna. We will not be using other artists.” Bruna has made over 3,000 Miffy drawings. Currently there are about 130 Miffy books.
Kerkhof used the sudden attention for Bruna’s retirement to squash rumours that the artist suffers from dementia in AD: “When I see him, and I visit him regularly, he knows exactly who I am, where we’ve met and how long we’ve known each other.”
Next year Bruna’s studio will be moved to and exhibited at Centraal Museum in Utrecht. The same year the start of the Tour de France in Utrecht, Bruna’s home town, will be Miffy-themed.
(Photo of Miffy in un-Bruna-like garb at this year’s Tour de France by Thomas Bresson, some rights reserved)
Tags: Centraal Museum, Dick Bruna, Miffy, Nijntje
After famous Dutch artist Dirk Bruna took some Japanese company to court for making a poor copy (Kathy) of his famous bunny Nijntje (Miffy in English), the case was settled in a way that ends like a children’s story. Kathy the Japanese bunny said goodbye to the Japanese boys and girls while both companies, the one that holds the rights to Nijntje and the one pushing Kathy donated 150,000 euro to the victims of the disaster in Japan. The money is basically the amount it would have cost both companies to continue to fight it out in court.
Now everybody go ‘aaaaaw’.
(Link: depers.nl, image: nijntje.nl)
Tags: Dirk Bruna, Miffy, Nijntje
The Dick Bruna House in Utrecht is celebrating its fifth anniversary on 1 April, offering free admission from 1 April to 3 April, as it is also National Museum Week. Dick Burna is the creator of Miffy (‘Nijntje’), one of the Netherlands’ biggest export products.
For the occasion Miffy will be dressed by top designers from the Netherlands and abroad, including Saskia van Drimmelen, Claes Iversen, Jan Taminiau, Britian’s Boudicca and Japan’s Minä Perhonen. The dress will be fitted on a 40 cm statue of Miffy and can be admired as of 1 April in the Dick Bruna House.
(Link: depers.nl, image: nijntje.nl)
Tags: Dick Bruna, Miffy, Nijntje, Utrecht
Dick Bruna, the man who introduced the world to Miffy, one of the Netherlands’ biggest export ‘products’ some 50 years ago, is sueing Japanese company Sanrio for its Japanese Miffy, called Kathy. For the record, Miffy is the English name of Nijntje, a shortened, affectionate name for ‘bunny’ in Dutch (konijntje).
At 83 years of age and basically world famous, Bruna is surely not trying to gain status with this case, but simply make the point that you can’t just make lesser copies of his work and get away with it. We’ll keep you posted if we hear more.
“Japan’s ‘Kathy’ is drawn with the same simple lines, wears an almost identical dress and has very similar ears. The main difference is that Kathy wears a bow.” It really does look like ‘Hello Kitty’ went ‘Hello Bunny’.
(Link: rnw.nl, Image: nijntje.nl)
Tags: copyright, Dick Bruna, Miffy
Miffy representative Mercis lost an old-fashioned game of bully-the-penniless-blogger yesterday when a web hosting provider who refused to lie down won most points of a copyright infringement lawsuit.
The hoster, Punt.nl of Gouda, argued that cartoons some of its users hosted in which Miffy is depicted doing cocaine or DJing at a party are parodies, and therefore protected by an exemption to copyright law. The court went along with that argument, and felt that since Miffy was depicted in the cartoons as engaging in activities Dick Bruna would never put her through, it should be abundantly clear to the reader that these are parodies. Using the same shaky logic, the court banned two cartoons that were too close to the original.
As Punt.nl’s Henri de Jong pointed out to De Volkskrant, “What the judge is really saying is the harder the better, because that way you put distance between the parody and the original.” Cory Doctorow argued something similar in his column for the Guardian earlier this year.
The text of the illustration goes:
Matt is at the party.
Dan is there too.
Matt is playing trance.
“What noise,” Dan yells,
And pushes Matt.
Dan throws a fat hardcore
Tune on the SL-1200.
Everybody is happy.
Matt is a dirty trance fag.
Several more Miffy parodies can be found in the verdict. According to De Volkskrant, Marja Kerkhof of Mercis denies the company is bullying bloggers.
(Source illustration: Iusmentis.com, artist unknown)
Tags: copyright, Miffy, Nijntje, parody, web hosting
A little over 50 years ago Miffy, one of the Netherlands’ biggest export ‘products’, was introduced to the world by her creator Dick Bruna in a book that described how she lived in the dunes of Egmond aan Zee. The village now wants to turn itself into a “Nijntje” village (Dutch for Miffy and pronounced somewhere between NAYN-CHE and NINE-CHE). To do this the village association will place direction signs with a Miffy motif on the beach, and will build a Miffy boat that will be placed on the Nijntje aan Zee Pleintje. The latter is a pun, for “pleintje” is the diminutive of “plein,” square. The city of Utrecht already has a Nijntje Pleintje which was designed by Bruna’s son Marc.
The Nijntje aan Zee Pleintje will be located at the main beach entrance. The boat will be a pinck, a type of flat-bottom fishing vessel that was developed locally and used from the 17th through the 19th century when it stopped being competitive.
Via webregio.nl (Dutch). Source image: nijntje.nl.
Tags: beach, children's books, city marketing, Dick Bruna, Egmond aan Zee, Miffy, Nijntje, Noord Holland, sea
Dutch designer and artist Dick Bruna will turn 80 this week, and in his honour the main office of the public library of Rotterdam is hosting an exhibition of his book covers called 2000× dick. Admission is free, and the exhibition runs from August 16 till September 16.
Illustration: cover of the Dutch translation of the James Bond story The Man with the Golden Gun, illustration and cover design by Dick Bruna.
Outside the Netherlands, Dick Bruna is probably best known for his series of books for very young children, revolving around young bunny rabbit Miffy, but within the country, his book covers for series such as Maigret, James Bond and The Saint are probably as famous. Bruna was born to a long line of publishers, and his father wanted him to follow in those footsteps. However, Bruna had other plans, and went for a career in design and illustration.
His father had started a line of book shops at railway stations, where the publisher sold its own range of Zwarte Beertjes (black bears) books. They were pocket novels that went over well with travellers who wanted something easy to read while in the train. Bruna translated a number of these books, and typeset and illustrated thousands of them. Being a great fan of the minimalist De Stijl, both his children’s books and book covers are remarkable for their clean and simple look.
There are several anthologies of Bruna’s book covers, both printed and electronic. On the web you can find pictures of book covers at Retrobook.com as tiny thumbnails, and at De Boekenplank as bigger scans, but unfortunately not sorted by cover designer (google the site for “omslag Dick Bruna” or “omslagillustratie Dick Bruna”).
Tags: book covers, Dick Bruna, James Bond, Miffy, Nijntje