DIRK’S BUNNY DIARY

DIRK’S BUNNY DIARY

"The cartoons that work best, are the cartoons where actually very little happens.” Dirk Verschure

“I mean, cool is not the right word here, but a guillotine is just absurd." Dirk Verschure

In March 2011, Dirk Verschure (32) made a pledge to himself. Every day he had to add one new cartoon to his Facebook page. He started drawing simple bunnies without trying to make them too neat or pretentious. “I just wanted to draw whatever came to my mind and whatever I thought was funny.” Since then, with almost 10.000 followers on Facebook, a lot has changed for Dirk and his bunnies.

Dirk worked as an animator in the Netherlands for several years. At a certain point he had enough of it: “I got tired of working for other people. Everything was too fixed. Things were moving too slow and I had lost a bit of the playfulness in my work.” Dirk decided to move to Berlin in 2011 and start his own project. “To me, starting with the bunnies, was a way to break loose from that pattern and really think, fuck it, I don’t care what other people think. I just want to draw whatever I like.”

Diary
With this attitude Dirk has been uploading bunny cartoons ever since. All together they have formed a sort of diary: reflecting what’s on Dirk’s mind that day. In many cases this proves to be something really funny or absurd. “I’m not sure what makes them funny. Maybe it’s because the bunnies look very simple – they don’t distract too much. It also has to do with their acting, the way they look and the way they stand. The timing of the text is important and of course the joke itself needs to be good. But the cartoons that work best, are the cartoons where actually very little happens.”

Not all cartoons are intended to be funny: “It’s not necessarily my purpose to make people laugh or amuse them. Who am I to determine what’s funny and what’s not? Nor do I have a certain message that I want to get across. I just draw whatever I feel like that day and sometimes I just feel angry or sombre – so I draw that too.”

Business time
Every weekend Dirk and his Dutch girlfriend Vera go out to different markets in Berlin to sell the cartoons. The bunny cartoons have grown into a small business that they run together. Besides the prints he sells bags and postcards and Dirk is working on a second ‘Bunny Book’. “Surprisingly, I really enjoy the business part too. I like thinking about new ways to show the bunnies and how to distribute our products.”

Dirk enjoys the direct contact with people on the markets. Overall people respond very positively on the cartoons. “Sometimes people don’t get the jokes, but other times people start laughing out loud about something I made. People have also sent me emails telling me a Bunny cartoon really meant something to them. That’s great.”

Guillotines and Fishes
Since Dirk started drawing the bunnies, they have changed quite a bit: “The first cartoons were really not that good.” He laughs: “They were actually pretty bad.” But, as Dirk starts looking through the files on his computer, he explains he has improved a lot. “Here, number 641 for example, this is a drawing I could have never made in the beginning.” Dirk displays a very elaborated cartoon that shows a giant fish with a ship bound on its back, with small bunnies running it. The ship is chasing an air-balloon. “It took me about a week to draw this one.”

Besides the bunnies there are also other images that appear quite often in Dirk’s cartoons. “I do draw a lot of boats and guillotines.” He laughs: “I mean, cool is not the right word, but a guillotine is just absurd. It’s such a strange device. It always makes me think of that very last moment before they cut of someone’s head. Such a bizarre moment.” He starts laughing: “I’m not really sure if that’s what intrigues me. But I guess you can do something funny with it because it’s really not a funny thing.”

1000 cartoons
Adding a new bunny cartoon to Facebook everyday can be quite a challenge: “Sometimes I’m not really satisfied about the result, but I need to post the cartoon anyway because of time pressure – I feel like I need to deliver. That can be frustrating sometimes, because with the bunnies I actually tried to break out of a routine. I don’t want the bunnies to turn into something fixed now too.”

But Dirk still finds ways to break through that routine every now and then. A while ago for example, he drew 100 cartoons in just three hours. He laughs: “I drew really bizarre things that day.” And soon Dirk has a challenge that requires him to draw 1000 cartoons in just 24-hours. He grins. “That’s going to be really mad!”

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