Raising a rambunctious one-year-old is no easy task, but throw in a global health crisis and a thriving career in comics and you’ve got the chaotic but rewarding lives of Israeli couple Yehuda and Maya Devir. The two have been depicting their domestic adventures for several years now through charming, hilarious illustrations that have often gone viral. And those that paint a picture of life with an infant and toddler are especially relatable.
There’s more good news, though. Last month, the Tel Aviv-based duo announced they were expecting their second child. And this week, the artists will release their wildly popular webcomic series One of Those Days as a first-edition hardcover featuring 272 vividly printed pages of their work, published by Penguin Random House. The book, which was previously available for pre-order on the Penguin Random House website and on Amazon.com, has already become Amazon’s #1 new release in the bookseller’s Romance Graphic Novels section.
The couple’s ongoing series chronicles the life and love of Yehuda and Maya Devir as they take on the minutiae of marriage, the ups and downs of daily life, and the paradigm shift of new parenthood.
“This book is an album of our memories, a collection of intimate moments from a relationship, a marriage, a family – just like yours,” the pair said in an email announcement for the hardcover. “We love hearing from fans around the world about how ‘the same thing happened’ to them as one of our comics or how they can totally relate to a particular strip.”
At the heart of the comics are “true stories from our personal life,” Yehuda Devir tells NoCamels in an email just before the official release of the book on November 10. “Actually, it’s everyone’s personal life, and that’s the reason so many people around the world can relate to it. It’s authentic, with no filters and the desire to be perfect like we see on social media today.”
Yehuda and Maya Devir have known each other since their Israeli army service and began dating as students in the Visual Communications Department at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Art.
The pair have earned an avid and devoted following around the world since their illustrations were picked up in 2017 by Bored Panda, a Lithuania-based magazine that covers art, design, and photography.
Those illustrations, which have gone viral numerous times, have earned them over five million followers on Instagram and two influential awards in 2019, including a YouTube award, and The Most Creative Content Maker Award at the Inflow Global Summit 2019 Awards.
The couple has consistently been applauded for their images depicting real-life scenarios that occur as they navigate through the trials and tribulations of married life (dividing up chores, buying their first apartment, arguments) and family life (raising their first child, balancing career and toddler, finding time for intimacy.)
Last year, the Devirs told NoCamels that their baby girl, Ariel, was their “biggest accomplishment” thus far. The one-year-old has subsequently earned her own Instagram following, with over 360,000 followers, and worked her way into most of their illustrations.
The couple commemorated Ariel’s first birthday with an illustration showing her playing with a shoe while her parents spoil her with gifts she has no interest in. Other illustrations include the struggles of being a first-time parent — getting bath time right, teething, diaper changes, and trying to find alone time.
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“The chemistry between us has changed because we are not just the two of us anymore,” Devir tells NoCamels of the effort it takes to find a balance between family and career. “We think as a family now and it takes a big part of the relationship out… And because our work is based on our personal life, it’s very challenging to stay effective all the time.”
Life is about to get much more demanding, with a second baby on the way. While Yehuda Devir says the first six months will probably be even more challenging, he is comforted by the advice the couple has received from many of their followers who relate to the artwork by sending their own stories of life experiences as well as pictures.
“Aw congrats!!!” Cherubella-Polymer Clay Artist (user @bella.enchanted.studios) wrote on Instagram when the Devirs announced they were expecting their second child, “Having a second baby has been such an amazing experience watching my son become a big brother. The love siblings have for one another is magical.”
While Yehuda Devir is the illustrator and graphic designer behind the artwork, he has always been quick to point out his wife Maya’s important contributions to their brand. Maya is a key element to the creation process, he has said. His illustrations often build on Maya’s original ideas and her input on artistic elements like composition and color scheme. She also runs the business and marketing side of the operation.
While the couple continues to sell separate volumes of their comics as well as other merchandise that includes bags, gifts, clothing, wallpaper, and even plush toys of themselves, they have also traveled extensively throughout the world giving lectures, workshops, and talks about themselves and their artwork. In March, like many others in Israel and around the world, they took a hard hit to their brand when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
They made the most of the tough situation by doing what they are recognized for — putting out illustrations that address the difficulty of real-life challenges. There’s been at least one illustration of the Devirs cooped up at home during Israel’s two lockdowns and other illustrations where they try to manage working from home with a baby who is not in daycare.
The duo has had to move all of their lectures and workshops online.
“Creativity is the key word. Like everyone else, we have to be creative every single day to handle the changes, especially with the lockdown. Everything has to be shifted to online, and with a 1.5-year-old around the house, it is not easy. We have a lot of guilt around not giving her the attention she deserves due to work,” Yehuda Devir says.
The couple’s upcoming book tour has shifted online, as well as other events they had scheduled this year “but this is how life is today,” he says.
“We had to find creative ways to stay present in front of our audience by being online,” says Devir.