Drawing where cameras are forbidden: In October 2017, cartoonists Aimee de Jongh, Judith Vanistendael and Mei-Li Nieuwland travelled to the refugee camps on the Greek island of Lesbos, in order to make a drawn reportage from the inside. Cameras are not allowed, but sketchpads and pencils were. The cartoonists stayed in the camp for seven days. The visual reports they made, including portraits and studies of the environment, offered unique images of the living conditions of the refugees. For the first time, not only the people, but their homes, the restrooms, and camp cafes were documented. Through the comics, readers can almost walk through the camps themselves - and they can see the hardships that the refugees go through every day.

Aimee's final comic became the 25-page story Europe's Waiting Room. Her colleagues Judith and Mei-Li each made a stunning graphic report of their own. The reports were published and exhibited on various locations. Since its publication, Aimee has given several lectures about her experiences in the camps and the importance of graphic journalism. Read the final work below.

Original title: De wachtkamer van Europa / Languages: Dutch and English.
25 Pages / Full colour / 12+ / Commissioned by: NRC

Read the complete work in English at Drawing The Times.com
(click the orange arrow on the right, to read the whole piece)

Read the complete work in Dutch at NRC.nl

Belgium and The Netherlands: 2017 by NRC
For inquiries about rights and licensing: contact the author.


During the seven days we spent in the camp, we made many sketches of the environment and the people. Portraits turned out to be a great way of connecting to the people living there, and also a way of giving something back to them for their generosity.