Joost Swarte (1947) is a cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer. He studied industrial design in Eindhoven, but abandoned his studies after three years and started drawing comic strips. His comic books and books he has illustrated have been translated into various languages. He is best known for his ‘clear-line’ style of drawing and coined the term to describe the defining characteristic of his work: a refined drawing style with clear outlines filled with bright blocks of colour.
Over the years his work shifted from comic strips (Charlie Hebdo, Metal Hurlant, Raw Magazine) to illustrations (for the Humo, Vrij Nederland, The New Yorker magazines), posters, stamps, lettering design and free-form graphics. He also occasionally designs furniture and other objects. In 1992 he initiated the Stripdagen, a biennial international comic event held in Haarlem. In 1996 he presented his design for the Toneelschuur, a new theatre in Haarlem. His plans were elaborated in partnership with Mecanoo architects and the theatre opened in 2003. He also designs leaded and stained glass windows, the largest of which (± 100 m²) was installed in the Palace of Justice in Arnhem in 2004. He was also closely involved in the conception and design of the Hergé Museum in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium).
Joost Swarte has won numerous awards for his work, including, in 2012, the Marten Toonder Award, an oeuvre award presented to a cartoonist who has made an outstanding contribution to Dutch comics.
Als de blaadjes vallenThe title of Joost Swarte’s Miffy statue is Als de blaadjes vallen [When the leaves fall]. ‘Miffy in the autumn. Winter is still to come. But after that there is always the spring.’