Johan Braakensiek was a painter, graphic artist, and one of Holland's foremost cartoonists of the first half of the 20th century. He was born Johan Coenraad Braakensiek in Amsterdam as the youngest of ten children. His father was the map draughtsman Albert Braakensiek. He had his first job as a pattern draughtsman in a handicraft shop at age 15, and took evening courses by church painter B.J. Tetar van Elven. He subsequently attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, where he was a pupil of painter David Bles.
Braakensiek began his career as a book illustrator. He made illustrations for several books by Justus van Maurik, starting with 'Uit het volk' in 1879. He also made well-documented drawings for 'Vaderlandsche geschiedenis' by P. Louwerses and the books by captain F. Marryat, but he is probably best-known for his illustrations for the children's book 'Uit het leven van Dik Trom' by C. Joh. Kievit. He also joined his brother Albert as an illustrator of crimes and accidents for Het Geïllustreerde Politienieuws.
It was Van Maurik who brought him to De Amsterdammer, the magazine he would draw for from 1886 until 1931. Braakensiek established himself as one of Hollands best political cartoonists with his weekly lithographs for the magazine. His drawings were printed as seperate supplements, and were regularly hung in Amsterdam cigar shops and coffee bars. His 25th and 40th anniversaries with De Amsterdammer were celebrated with special issues devoted entirely to him.
By 1931, Braakensiek's drawings were deemed too old-fashioned for the magazine that was now called De Groene Amsterdammer. He was fired in July of that year, and replaced by the more modern Leendert Jordaan. The pension of the old master was payed by the paper's editor and co-owner Maurits Kann from his own pockets, since it wasn't provided by the publishing house.
Johan Braakensiek spent his final years in retirement, and passed away in Amsterdam shortly before World War II. He was the grandfather of Jan van Oort, a.k.a. Jean Dulieu, the creator of 'Paulus de Boskabouter'.