Monday, May 23, 2011

Dutch Classic: Jan van Haasteren

You might be familiar with the funny jigsaw puzzles made by Jan van Haasteren (JvH). His drawings are part of our Dutch collective youth memories, and known all over the world. Born in 1936 he is an old man now, but still produces three puzzles a year. To me, he is a hero that has had a big influence, I remember being utterly fascinated by his posters, at the butchers, in the hospital, wherever I saw his posters I would stop and try to find all the hidden jokes he squeezed on the paper.
He started out as a comic/animation artist for the famous 'Toonder studios' and worked on the various projects they produced, like Donald Duck magazine, the Smurfs, commercial illustrations, mostly anonymous in others' styles and set formats.

He got more and more credit for his work and started creating his own series in which we can see his his style devellop into the one we know.
But far more than for his comics, he is famous for his posters and puzzles. With his vast imagination he makes every scene he draws into a hilarious chaos, adding jokes and funny details in every small space available. But he does this with great craftmanship, superb drawing skills in terms of placement and perspective, character design and use of color. It is always a chaos, but never a mess. He has some copycats trying to do what he does, but he is the master, and always recognisable by the shark fin coming through and the hands coming from everywhere since those are registered trademarks!

1 comment:

  1. Nice stuff! I certainly recognize his style from some comics I read as a little kid. Also, those big detailed drawings remind me of the "Where is Waldo" pictures and others of a similar theme... great fun!