Bored Panda readers got the first glimpse of Valérie Minelli's comics a couple of years ago when she submitted them to our website. Since then, the adorable series called Mrs. Frollein has become tremendously popular—it now has over 490K followers on Instagram!
Minelli continues to illustrate her daily life, including her relationship with her partner and her struggles, but her strips remain fresh and genuine even after all this time.
You might say that's because Mrs. Frollein is based on Minelli's actual experiences. Or because she has mastered the art of storytelling. I say both. Continue scrolling and check out her work.
More info: Instagram
Valérie is 28 and she's originally from Luxembourg but at one point she moved to Germany to go to art school. "I really wanted to do traditional oil painting when I enrolled but it turned out I wasn't that talented," the humble artist told Bored Panda. "I then attended a comic class held by Jonathan Kunz from War and Peas."
"I immediately fell in love with making comics. That was like 6 or 7 years ago and I've been drawing comics ever since almost daily."
Even though her life is the blueprint for Mrs. Frollein, Valérie doesn't just copy-paste whatever she wants. "I always ask my boyfriend if he's okay with sharing our intimate moment with the whole world. I have rejected a bunch of comic ideas because they were just too private to share," Valérie explained.
"I used to only draw stuff that I knew would be relatable, but I kinda stopped doing that. Now, I also share certain moments or weird [situations] just to find out if we are the only couple that does that kind of stuff. Take the meow comic for example. I always thought we were the only couple that communicates using cat language, so I made a comic about it to find out if that was true. Turns out, we are definitely not the only ones!"
You also won't see any fights or other situations where people get hurt in Mrs. Frollein. Valérie said such things just don't belong in her comics.
Now that she has so many followers, Valérie also has to battle additional pressure when publishing her work that simply wasn't there when she was just starting out. "I used to get very anxious every time I posted a comic (which is at least once a week, normally). I worried that people wouldn't like it, or that it wouldn't receive as many likes as the other comics. Sometimes I posted strips that I thought were great but they didn't receive the feedback that I had hoped for. So I began to think that maybe they weren't so good after all."
"I also rejected some comic ideas because they weren't relationship comics—I know that's what people want to see. Isn't that sad? Not being able to create what you want to because you are so afraid that fewer people will like it? Don't get me wrong, I love to make people happy with my comics. But I also want to make myself happy."
When all of this happened, Valérie took a little break. It made her realize that it's best to do whatever pleases her.
"Even though I still like doing relationship comics, I also really enjoy drawing about self-care. Especially now, in the middle of a pandemic," she said. "I think we all should go easy on ourselves. Sometimes we need little reminders; it doesn't matter if they come from strangers on the Internet, too."
"If anybody reads my comics and thinks 'Aw man, maybe I should wrap up in a blanket and just take a well-deserved break!" then I've done a good job."