Johan van Zanten studied at the Technical University in Eindhoven. After graduation, he worked as an architect for a year, before he decided to devote himself to drawing comics and illustrations. He founded his own studio, Studio Noord, in 2002. He works as a freelance illustrator and created the comic strip 'Swah?', which was published in newspaper Noordhollands Dagblad and Dagblad van het Noorden from 2001.
Van Zanten expanded his studio and began associations with Olivier Heiligers and some freelance artists. Studio Noord produces a comic called 'Lucky 13' for a European safety campaign for the motor industry, as well as a monthly comic for MAxxx, the house organ of the Amsterdam city council.