Leo de Budt, who signed his work Buth, studied art at the St.-Lucas Institute in Ghent. He worked for the newspaper Vooruit from 1936, where he continued the work of his teacher Frits van den Berghe in 1939. He also came up with his own comics, such as 'Mijnheer Dinges' (Vooruit, 1941).
During World War II, De Budt worked for the pro-German press, including Volk en Staat, De Nationaalsocialist, De Blauwvoet, De SS-man, De Vlaamsche Post, Stemmen uit Duitsland and Balming. For Volk en Staat and the weekly Balming, De Budt filled the children's sections 'Voor Ons Jonge Volkje' and 'Voor Onze Jongeren' together with Blanca Gijselen. His contributions varied from innocent children's comics to anti-Semitic cartoons and propaganda. Comics include the daily children's strip 'De Wereldreis van Flip en Flop' in Volk en Staat (1941) and 'Gawain de Dappere' in Balming (1943).
Flip en Flop (Volk en Staat, 1941)
De Budt was condemned to a lifelong publication ban after the War in 1947, but this was withdrawn in 1951. However, De Budt continued to work, this time using the pseudonym Buth. He made the comic 'De Blauwe Wolk: De Wereldramp van 6491' in Taptoe in 1946, as well as the cover of the 1946 'Ivanov's Almanak'.
In February of that same year, he also introduced his best-known character 'Thomas Pips' in Het Volk. It started out as a stop-comic, but longer stories, written by John Flanders and Lod Lavki, appeared from August 1947. Starting in June 1951, this detective comic appeared on the center pages of comic magazine 't Kapoentje, where it stayed until 1985. 'Thomas Pips' is however best known for his annual adventures during the Tour de France, that Buth made between 1947 and 1982. Buth is well-known for his Tour de France gags and cartoons, and generations of Belgians have grown up searching for the hidden house in these drawings.
Buth had a large production. After the War, he became a versatile artist for Zonneland, where he illustrated stories like 'Op Zoek naar de Zonne-Eilanden' with a script by John Flanders, as well as 'Het Leven van Jezus', 'De Moeraskerels', 'De Zwijgende Parelvissers' 'Vacantie aan de Grens', and 'Het Gezin van Marc Trenters'. In addition, he drew 'De Avonturen van Joke en Maaike' in Tam-Tam (1948) and a fantastic version of the Flemish folktale 'Tijl Uilenspiegel' for 't Kapoentje in 1950.
Vader Kapoen (Kapoentjesalbum 1971)
In De Post, he illustrated several comic biographies and a comic adaptation of 'De Leeuw van Vlaanderen' in 1955-56. Other adaptations include 'De Baron van Münchhausen' and 'Reinaert de Vos', which he made for De Post under the pseudonym Tijl in 1953-54. Between 1953 and 1956 he was present in Handel en Ambacht, the magazine for local tradespeople in Ghent, with the character of 'Stanneke'. For several years, Leo de Budt was the oldest Flemish comic artist alive, until he passed away in October 2010.
Over his 45 year long career, Buth produced thousands of drawings, cartoons and comics. His production was immense and to keep his up he often resulted to drawing his inspiration from other artists and series, such as Chic Young's 'Blondie' (note the resemblance between Dagwood and Thomas Pips), Bob de Moor's adaptation of 'De Leeuw van Vlaanderen' and certain scripts from series like 'Les 3 As' (Mittéï & Vasseur) and 'Gil Jourdan' (Tillieux). The educational series 'Vader Kapoen vertelt', that he made for 't Kapoentje between 1969 and 1982, calls to mind the tales of Oncle Paul from Spirou magazine. However, Leo de Budt still counts as one of the key artists in Flemish comics history.