Newlywed couples often have a daunting task ahead of them – they must now navigate their first few years together to build a strong foundation for their marriage. And as they settle into the rhythm of their lives together – their first apartment/house, whose turn it is to do the dishes or take out the garbage, who leaves their clothes out, does the shopping (and so on) – reality can hit hard.
Israeli married couple Yehuda and Maya Devir found an unconventional way to process their domestic adventures together.
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They sketch them out.
The Israeli illustrators, who recently welcomed their first daughter, have been coming up with charming, hilarious webcomics about their relationship ups and downs since 2016, with the now hugely popular webcomic series called One of Those Days. It features an array of exaggerated and highly stylized drawings where they depict relatable, sweet, funny moments together.
The pair, who have known each other since their army service and began dating as students in the Visual Communications Department at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Art, have earned an avid and devoted following around the world since the illustrations were picked up in 2017 by Bored Panda, a Lithuania-based magazine that covers art, design, and photography.
Even so, the couple remains humble and surprised by the scope of their influence, even as their Instagram followers top 5 million, and counting.
They recently won The Most Creative Content Maker Award at the Inflow Global Summit 2019 Awards, a leading global competition for social media influencers held in Istanbul, Turkey in October. Yehuda Devir, the illustrator behind the famed drawings, who comes up with ideas with Maya, tells NoCamels he didn’t even know they were up for this award until they had won, effectively besting 150 influencers from around the world.
“We didn’t start this to be influencers,” he says of their comics, which have earned the duo a devoted fan base in the US, Israel, Europe, and Muslim-majority countries like Egypt, Iraq, and Syria. “But now we understand the impact of we have done.”
The Devirs also won a YouTube award recently for having over 100,000 subscribers and shot a short video showing their barely contained excitement.
The couple avidly interacts with their fans, traveling the world to display their work at numerous Comic Cons and art exhibitions, as well as speaking at TEDx Klagenfurt this past June about the “secret to a perfect relationship.”
“We don’t have a perfect relationship,” Devir says, “People say they want to be just like us. You are us!” he affirms.
The couple recently released the third volume of their webcomic series, which deals with their efforts to conceive, the pregnancy experience (cravings, constant bathroom breaks, and a belly that takes up the entire bed), the reality of a difficult birth, and eventually, their struggles as first-time parents – changing diapers, sleepless nights, and leaving the baby with grandma for the first time. They’ve even set up an Instagram page for their daughter, Ariel, which has over 200,000 Instagram followers.
“A funny thing happened when she was born,” Devir jokes, “Now when we show up at events, people are always asking to see the baby.”
How it all began
For many young Israelis living away from the center, especially ones who aim to make a living in the arts, moving to Israel’s cultural capital, Tel Aviv, is a rite of passage. For Yehuda, who hails from the Reut area of Maccabim-Reut, and Maya, who grew up Kibbutz Beit Alfa in northern Israel, looking for a decent, affordable apartment in the city was the inspiration for their first drawing.
“We didn’t know how to deal with finding an apartment in Tel Aviv. We kept seeing these ads on Facebook of couples looking for apartments,” Devir says, explaining that they took it one step further. “We posted an illustration of ourselves on Facebook and it worked.”
Yehuda began posting a drawing of the couple once a week on social media, typically focusing on their daily adventures and often, arguments. He called it “personal therapy.” The two combined forces when Maya jokingly told him that if he was going to draw her, he was going to have to make her “hotter.”
Nothing was hotter than one of their first illustrations that drew widespread attention on Instagram — a drawing of the pair in a very hot shower, appropriately titled “My hot wife!” In the sketch, Maya is enjoying the high temperature of the shower while Yehuda’s face and body are melting off.
Bored Panda wrote up an article about the illustrations, shared it on social media, and the rest is history.
“I remember I woke up one day and I had 50,000 Instagram followers,” Yehuda says, “I would refresh and the next minute it was close to 500,000.”
Yehuda says Maya is a key element of the creation process. While he creates the illustration, he builds on Maya’s original ideas and her input on composition, color scheme, and other artistic elements. She also runs the business and marketing element of their brand.
“The fact that I’m holding the pen means nothing. Everything is combined together. I’m the artist and she’s the art director,” he says.
The illustrations are available in a series of books and the Devirs also sell t-shirts, key chains, caps, and calendars featuring their designs.
“The books came out because the followers wanted them,” Yehuda says, “They kept asking me, where can I get a print?”
“We didn’t even think about making money. But now we are super busy.”