The Augustine Adventures
Small Packages

NdA Press, London U.K. 1984 - 1988





"Even within such a talented body as small press, a true genius will occasionally emerge who outshines the rest. Such a creator is Natalie d'Arbeloff, and her publication SMALL PACKAGES, featuring the soul-searching adventures of Augustine, is brilliantly fresh, original and intelligent...These MUST NOT BE MISSED! You'll treasure them for years." Tim Corrigan, 1987, C&T GRAPHICS, USA.

"Very few Small Press creators are producing work on the level of Natalie d'Arbeloff! These are very touching slices of philosophy/society/life. Inquire about back isues because these are well worth the overseas postage! Recommended." Tim Corrigan, Dec. 1987, C&T GRAPHICS

"SMALL PACKAGES are what good things come in. In these booklets are adventures of the resourceful Augustine told with no frills by artist/printmaker Natalie d'Arbeloff. In No.1 Augustine confronts her many escapes from uncertainty. In No.2 she discovers the Ultimate Deterrent to gloom. In No.3 she's after people's attention. Natalie takes a witty look at contemporary problems and attitudes." ESCAPE Magazine No.6, London

"SMALL PACKAGES is Natalie d'Arbeloff's first venture into inexpensive, and potentially unlimited-edition work. Previously Natalie d'Arbeloff collaborated on many limited-edition or one-of-a-kind livres d'artiste. Augustine, the subject of Small Packages, livesin a city that is probably London but which could be almost any large Western city. She struggles with money, love, fear of nuclear war, identity crises, isolation and noisy neighbors. D'Arbeloff's cartoon style is reminiscent of Thurber's, but unlike Thurber, she incorporates complex backgrounds which provide commentary on the main action. The series provides a quick and very enjoyable read, full of humor and wisdom. Resolutions to Augustine's very familiar problems are thoroughly unconvincing, which rings true to much of what we "learn" in life." George Gessert, April 1989, NORTHWEST REVIEW, Oregon

"AUGUSTINE NOT IN LOVE - The sixth and last episode in the first series of Augustine Adventures - a gripping finale with the heroine pondering her loveless state as she does her yoga exercises. Having considered the horrendous aspects of being in love, Augustine has a flash of inspiration and her adventure ends with a moral - not quite Stendhal but illuminating anyway. Written, drawn and published by Natalie d'Arbeloff who deserves everyone's gratitude for introducing Augustine to the pages of this magazine." ARTISTS NEWSLETTER, UK, April 1986

"AUGUSTINE AND IDENTITY - 'I talk to the trees but they don't listen to me...' Augustine though, does better and holds a meaningful conversation with an apple tree in this, her seventh adventure and the first of a new series. Shameless anthropomorphism is the keynote to this episode which manages to deal effortlessly with the existential problems of choice, identity, innate potential, pesticide abuse, ageism and Smithism, in a mere 16 pages. The dénouement involves an unlikely textual encounter between Descartes, Greta Garbo and the Bible." ARTISTS NEWSLETTER, July 1986

"AUGUSTINE NOT IN LOVE by Natalie d'Arbeloff, NdA Press, is the sixth and last episode in the first series of Augustine Adventures. Augustine ponders her loveless state as she does her yoga exercises. Reconsidering the ill effects of being in love, Augustine has a flash of inspiration at the end, and a moral finishes it all....Number 7 in this series, Augustine and Identity,really is pertinent to many of us; whereas the apple tree knows who it is, what it will produce, etc., Augustine wonders." Judith Hoffberg, October 1986,UMBRELLA, Los Angeles

"SMALL PACKAGES 8 - By Natalie d'Arbeloff. Tremendous. Natalie's drawings look better than ever. Heroine Augustine is harassed by timekeeping caterpillars in this charming tale, and responds by redefining the concept of time. A fine little artist's booklet." FAST FICTION, UK, April 1987

"AUGUSTINE AND TIME - As usual the perennial problems of the Universe loom large on the heroine's horizon. Augustine, caught in the conjunction of an old and a new year, speculates on the nature of time and concludes that there is no such thing. Who can blame her? The old year is wrinkled and reproachful, and the new one provocative and depressingly cheerful. Augustine decides they can disappear up their own annus and leave room for a new system which translates time into space." ARTISTS NEWSLETTER, May 1987

"AUGUSTINE AND MONEY - (Number 9 of Augustine Adventures) has appeared, aptly timed for the big crash of 1987... you definitely must have the whole set." Judith Hoffberg, December 1987, UMBRELLA, Los Angeles

"AUGUSTINE AND MONEY" - The penultimate 'small packages' adventure of long-suffering but ever-ingenious Augustine, whose artistic endeavours are seriously hampered by life's everyday atrocities. Augustine's ninth adventure finds her grappling with the horrendous spectre of Money. An avalanche of brown envelopes through the letter box forces Augustine to take stock of this creature which is demanding, and notorious for playing hard to get. Our heroine is baffled by Money and its endless ramifications - overdrafts, overheads, turnover, inflation, recession, gross, VAT, net, etc. etc. Her solution is to reduce it to one manageable entity inspired by the concept of 'liquidity'. This effectively revolutionises universal economics, and if you want to know how she does it you'll have to invest in Augustine and Money which offers high returns for minimal outlay." ARTISTS NEWSLETTER, February 1988

"AUGUSTINE ANGRY - This is the tenth and last of Augustine's adventures in Small Packages and she bows out on a suitably enraged note. Augustine enthusiasts should not panic however, as her creator Natalie d'Arbeloff, under-equipped with time, space and money, is valiantly searching for another publisher to take on her popular heroine. In the meantime Augustine makes the most of her last appearance to become extremely angry with her adverse circumstances. Menaced by noisy neighbours, cooking odours, bad weather, pavements rendered perilous by piles of dogshit, impending physical ailments and environmental pollution, Augustine's rancour knows no bounds. Well actually it does, as space shortage means that the total number of things Augustine is angry about cannot be shown in 20 pages. Quizzed by her karma she is obliged to examine the roots of anger and to ponder the implications of powerlessness, power, choice and freewill. Even with the staggering 5p price increase, this adventure, like all the others, is a gem, 'deep but not heavy', witty and thought-provoking." ARTISTS NEWSLETTER, May 1988

AN INTERVIEW WITH NATALIE d'ARBELOFF by Edd Vick (about Augustine, Gabriel,etc.) was published in COMICS FX, Seattle, December 1988

"In 1984 Natalie conceived the idea of Augustine - a symbolic but secular sister to Gabriel. She is a hilariously misunderstood and perplexed cartoon figure, quasi-autobiographical, who is assailed by life's problems and is beset by rage and frustration. Her idealistic naivety in fighting a cynical world forms a satirically humorous thread linking this series of 10 A6 booklets, and provides an underlying seriousness of intent by questioning life's ultimate purpose. Although published in small editions by NdA, Natalie's press formed in 1974, they deserve commercial publication on a wider scale." James Burr, PRINTMAKING TODAY, UK, Autumn 1993

"Thank you so much...for sending me those really devastating little books. I say devastating because every single one of them seems to reveal a hidden vice in me personally, and I imagine most of your readers feel the same. I'm passing them on to the lady who does Observatory because I feel she might tremble even more than I do, and in some way she might help them along...." Katharine Whitehorn, columnist for The Observer, London (in a private letter to Natalie, January 1986)

"Augustine est la sagesse même. Je veux qu'elle soit mon amie et mon guide. Je promets de l'écouter attentivement et de lui obéir toujours. Elle distribue le bonheur." Michel Seuphor, August 1984

And from some of Augustine's fan letters:

" must be Fate, as another package always seems to arrive at a much-needed or appropriate moment, to cheer/encourage/confirm - Augustine's situation frequently mirrors my own..."

"...was much taken with and amused by Augustine because essentially she is me. In fact, since receiving the Small Package I have taken the decision to try to hire a room in which to write - as opposed to working at home which is fatal to one's ability to concentrate. Perhaps the change was just coming but I'm sure Augustine prompted me..."

"...Augustine Adventures - we have a set in the school of Psychotherapy in which I practice and find them very good..."

"...thankyou, Augustine. It's a long time since I've read anything that has given me so much pleasure. So many cartoons are ironic, satirical etc. Yours is so straightforward and without guile. Augustine stands for no-one except herself - or everyone..."

"...Thank you for the latest Augustine. It's the funniest and saddest so far. You have created a character - or lived her? - who rings the same bell of recognition we find in Chekhov and Shakespeare. If you wanted to be rich above all things you'd have her syndicated in all the papers, but that would mean doing a new one every week and having no time to live..."

"...Augustine has helped me dream dreams once more!..."