Legendary “Love is…” comics creator presents new illustrations

Bill Asprey, the creator of the legendary “Love is…” comics, has presented new illustrations. He created the new comics series “Friendship is…” for the International Day of Friendship (July 30). The main characters of the comics are Freddy the dog and Freida the cat – the mascots of the Gazprom International Children’s Social Programme Football for Friendship.

Bill Asprey, a British artist, has been sharing the stories of his famous “Love is…” characters for 45 years. The story begins with Kim Casali, an artist from New Zealand, who drew love notes for her husband Roberto on paper napkins. At the top of the drawings she signed “Love is…” and finished the thought at the bottom. In 1975, the family invited Bill to create a complete series of drawings and continue their story.

The new illustrations from the “Friendship is…” series show how much Freddy the dog and Freida the cat love football and what the two do during the breaks, how they respect the referee’s decisions, and make new friends on the field.

Bill says his inspiration for Freddy and Frieda was the friendship of the dog and cat who lived in his home. “Those two naughty little characters really sparked me off on the idea. I had experimented with all sorts of things before thinking of Freddy and Freida. I thought of talking footballs with little legs and arms and faces so they can run about and do things. But I just felt that a cat and a dog was something a little different and that everybody all over the world could relate to,” shares Bill Asprey.

And he’s right. Over the years, the programme united over 6 000 participants from 211 countries and regions of the world. At the final events, children play football in mixed teams, work together during sports and creative workshops, and learn to communicate through the international language of friendship (sometimes despite complicated relations between their home countries). This way, they show that universal values come first.

Rafael Camacho McCluskey, the Young Correspondent of Football for Friendship from Luxembourg, interviewed the famous artist before for International Day of Friendship. During the interview, Bill suggested that in 50 years Freddy and Frieda will play football in space. He also shared what friendship means to him and what it was like to see his characters come to life as the programme’s mascots. [Watch the interview]

“Football for Friendship and the whole concept of friendship is one of the greatest things that I have been involved in throughout my career. And to be asked to come up with the characters, to front and to synthesize it is a great privilege. And I think it is a unique organization, it is a unique concept and there is nothing like it in the world. When I saw Freddy and Freida for the first time running on to the football field with all the youngsters it was just wonderful. To be able to go up to the characters, to actually touch and hug them was a wonderful experience. And it brought them alive from the drawing board – from two-dimension they became three-dimension and that gave them a whole new aspect. I am excited every time I see them,” shares Asprey.

Bill Asprey supports Football for Friendship since 2017. He shares the secrets of his trade secrets with Young Participants during workshops on drawing. This year, the programme will celebrate the International Day of Friendship with a contest on social media. To join the contest, you need to define the word “friendship” and tag a friend. Authors of the best definitions will receive souvenirs from the organizer and may become the inspiration for the author of the “Friendship is…” comics.


Information about the programme:

The International Children’s Social Programme Football for Friendship is implemented by Gazprom since 2013. The key values promoted by the programme’s participants are friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honour. Football for Friendship is supported by FIFA, UEFA, International Olympic Committee, football federations of different countries, children’s charitable foundations, famous athletes, and the world’s leading football clubs. Over the previous seven seasons, the programme has united over 6 000 participants and over 5 000 000 supporters, including famous athletes, artists, and politicians. The programme has 47 national and international awards, including the world record for the Most nationalities in a football training session in history.


Programme’s official online resources:

Photo and video materials for the media: http://media.footballforfriendship.com

Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FootballForFriendship/

Official YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/FOOTBALL4FRIENDSHIP   

Official Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_for_Friendship

Official Twitter account: https://twitter.com/f4fprogramme  

Official website: https://www.gazprom-football.com/en/football-for-friendship/