…and The Stjärtman did return!

Just picked up this gorgeous fanzine book from my local grocery store (which is also my local post office these days):


It contains the first half of the batch of Stjärtman strips I made last year. It’s my first ever fanzine appearance, believe it or not.


It’s great to see these strips in print. That was always the way they were supposed to be presented. Thanks Ola Forssblad for having me on board!

The book includes a wide variety of homemade comics, some great, some pretty weird. In other words, The Stjärtman fits in perfectly!

You can order Homemade Comics #16 at:

The Stjärtman will return…

I promised myself to make at least 52 strips about The Incredible Stjärtman, one strip a week for a year. I had a very good time doing these strips. I got to explore my own drawing style, my own humor (yes, it is what it is), my own method of working, and most importantly I got to create without people with sticks up their butts telling me dos and donts. I actually had fun while drawing, how about that?

If no one discovered the subtle geniality of the strip within that year (i.e. showing an interest in publishing it and giving me sacks of money to produce more) I said I’d take a break from the buttheaded guy. I’m still waiting for that e-mail…

As I predicted a small percentage of my friends loved Mr AssDude (big hug to all of you!) whereas most people were like “Hrm, it’s… eh… not my kind of humor” or “It’s a bit difficult, isn’t it?”. These kinds of responses alone made the efforts worthwhile.

This was the 53rd strip:

53_feed the stjärt_color_v2

Don’t worry guys, The Stjärtman WILL return one way or the other, whether you like it or not. If you haven’t already, read all strips at stjartman.com And for all you filthy rich publishers out there, the strips are available for print in all its 4 color glory.

Thank you, we had a good run.

Gogo Hayes


We’re currently waiting for our second child. Our first born is now 2,5 years. I wanted to give him something special as a token of my appreciation of being his father. I was on parental leave with him from when he was 1 to ca. 1,5. During that time we started watching Dr Snuggles, a childhood favorite of mine created by Jeffrey O’Kelly and Nick Price, on DVD. At first it was a bit much for him to digest, but gradually he got into it, and then for some months he didn’t want to watch anything else. Sometimes several times a day, and he’d talk constantly about these strange stories and characters. There are only 13 episodes all together, so the family kind of know them by heart now. He used to call Dr Snuggles “Gogo Hayes” back then. I thought I’d make a painting for him, to remember the good times we spent together in that weird and magical world. Above you can see the end result. If you’re interested, here’s how it was made.

gogo_doodle1I usually start with doodles in my sketchbook.

gogo_doodle2I always loved the spotted camel Woogie (Puckli), sitting in the clouds sipping his tea, so I decided to set the scene there.


The preliminary sketch (A4). I decided late on to include Miss Nettles (Beata).


The final sketch before moving on to painting.


To get the sketch onto water color paper, I pencilled the backside, then put the sketch on top of the water color paper, retracing the lines on the front. Probably a stupid way of doing it, but at least it worked.


First thing I did was covering the details with masking fluid.


Aided by masking fluid you can make nice gradient skies, not having to worry about the detailed elements. Turned out far from perfect as you can see. But that’s one of the things I enjoy with water color. Not being fully in control. There’s an element of “it is what it is”.


Applying flat fields of color. When doing water color you start with the lightest parts, then gradually going darker. I guess that’s the opposite of what you would do with acrylics or oil, but since I’m not a painter I wouldn’t know really.


Started adding shades and tones. With this painting I wanted to step away from my usual minimalistic ideals and make something more lavish. That’s quite a challenge with water colors which usually lend themselves to kind of light renderings. I started with the rocket Dreamy Boom Boom (Sprutti Bang-Bang) to work out the level of “spiciness”.


Added colored outlines to the main components. That’s not really “painting”, but the idea was that it would force me to go even more “spicy” with the shading and tones, i.e. try to bring the shading so close to the opaqueness of the outline that you wouldn’t really think about the outline.


I went over it again and again until I ended up with this and decided that’s it. Like any creative work you’re never really “done”, you just have to decide when to stop. The white spikes underneath Dreamy Boom Boom as well as the lines around the Cosmic Cat are gouache. The rest is pure water color.


When doing watercolors you really benefit from mounting the paper properly on a board. That way you avoid buckling from the water, which can make the paint/water gather in pools where you don’t want them to. My favorite part of water color painting is when you get to cut it off from the board, and you end up with a flat paper.

My son discovered the finished painting in my home office. Big eyes. He clearly recognized these guys, but he got a bit shy and didn’t want to say who they were (usually he talks a lot about them). He wanted to touch the characters, which he wasn’t allowed to (water color is sensitive to moisture). Still I thought of that as a good sign. Like he wanted to pick them out of the picture and play with them. The painting is currently at the frame shop waiting to get mounted. I hope it will be a treasured item for him.

I guess this means I’ll have to make something similar for his sibling. This one only took me a week, and I’m going to have sooo much time from now on…


The Stjärtman Wants You


By now The Incredible Stjärtman has pushed down “Åke Stjärtman on Facebook” to a despicable second place on the Google search results for “stjärtman”. If against all odds you haven’t read it, immediately go to stjartman.com and indulge. Your life will never be the same. Spread the word. Follow on Facebook. It’ll make the world a better place, without a doubt.

The latest strip is part of a storyline involving Stjärtman’s old aqcuaintance The Amazing Framstjärten.

34_pung lao_color

Thanks to my wonderful friend Alfred Beckman the site looks better than I could ever have imagined. There are now some neat interactive options making for a much more pleasant reading experience than before. Thanks Alfred!

I’m posting a new strip every Monday. So far there’s 34 of them up there. I promised myself to make at least 50. If I still laugh at my own jokes at that stage, I’ll look for a publisher. I’m actually having a great time, so 50 shouldn’t be a problem. If the world is ready for The Stjärtman is another question entirely.

Yemen 2015

On the 25th of March, a Saudia Arabia led coalition of Arab countries (with Western military and intelligence support) started bombing Yemen, the beautiful ancient country of my Father and Grandmother. The stated goal of the intervention was the reinstallment of legitimate governance, by striking military targets and weakening the Houthi insurgents and forces loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The situation was indeed very bad and volatile before the war. Now, after two months of non stop destruction, fighting continues, chaos reigns, and the humanitarian situation is catastrophic. Basic commodities like electricity, petrol, water and food are scarce. Yemen is a poor third world country, the poorest in the Middle East. More than half of its 26 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. What they get instead are bombs and rockets from above and armed delusional maniacs on the ground, destroying everything regardless if it’s schools, hospitals or civilian homes.

Living where I live, Yemen is always the forgotten country in the media. Compare with reports on Gaza for example, during Israel’s military campaigns. By the way, there are similarities: Big guy strikes small guy, blockade (nothing gets in, nothing gets out), collective punishment etc.

I had to express my frustration and grief somehow. The only way I know is through drawing, so I made these comments on the war in Yemen. As I’m aware most people aren’t involved in Yemeni politics, I added some short explanations. All I want to say basically is: Enough war!


This one was done when the aerial bombardment had just started, based on media claims that Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting a proxy war in Yemen. Seems to me Iran wasn’t aware this was the case, at least not from the outset.


The second cartoon was based on hearing different accounts of how “Decisive Storm” was “a necessary intervention” to stop the disgusting Houthis. It was like civilians was out of the equation altogether. When all comes around, would you really support aerial bombardment if the bombs were being dropped outside YOUR window?


This one refers to reports of the Houthis using child soldiers, knowing they’re not the only group in Yemen to do so.


An allusion to Marie Antoinette who is said to have suggested her people could eat cake when being out of bread. To me, Yemen’s ousted president personifies the corrupt politician being out of touch with reality.


And finally, a simple joke about US involvement in this war. This war shouldn’t be dismissed as an Arab affair in which Arabs kill each other for whatever reason. As always it’s a fight for influence and power. The West is involved this time as well, yet at arms length.

I’d like to conclude by saying that there’s nothing funny about the Yemen war, but humor and cartoons have been my way of coping with worries for my family’s safety, and preventing myself from breaking down in a heap of tears over the sad sad state the country of my Father and Grandmother has reached. I’ll make more cartoons whenever I have the time.

#Stand4Yemen #KefayaWar